Senior artist exhibits story of tradition

Kelly Hurla, Washburn Review

From the rough texture of ceramics to the feel of a canvas or gingerbread, Mona Morrissey has always paid attention to the feel of things around her.

Morrissey’s senior art exhibition is titled “Mothers and Daughters: A repeating history.” The exhibit will remain on display at the Art Building through Dec. 14.

The exhibit in part chronicles what Morrissey has learned through the quest of completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art education but also her experiences as a mother, among other parts of her past.

“I wrote this story a long time ago that I kind of dedicated to my daughter and it took on this fictional quality,” said Morrissey. “I’d always wanted to illustrate it as a graphic novel or something like that, but I am not trained to be a graphic artist.”

For the past five years and on back, Morrissey focused some of her skills on making gingerbread houses. Due to the market for that line of work only being prominent once a year, Morrissey had plans to pursue other options.

“I wrote it [the story] for my daughter, but I actually realized after I finished writing it that it was actually kind of an ode to my mother,” said Morrissey. “Some of the same things that you say about your kids, you can actually say about your parents too.”

Having a mother working at Menninger’s as a lab tech or phlebotomist, Morrissey grew up valuing something simple enough as the feel and appearance of veins in someone’s hands.

“My mother and I, we actually used to sit in church and she would show me how she’d do tricks with her hands,” said Morrissey.  “So when we’d sit in church, she’d really appreciate that I had veins she could mess with. If she needed to draw blood, it’d be easy.”

The exhibit itself is compiled of various pieces of oil on canvas, digital prints, photography and a large installation piece for example.

“It seemed to have a lot of say about the subject as opposed to just painting the picture,” said Jared Benson, junior art major. “Each picture is a story in itself, but as a series I’d say that it works. Some pieces were stronger connecting-wise than others, but as a total body of work I’d say that it was fairly strong.”

Morrisey struggled with the overall theme of the exhibit, wondering if it would connect to every member in it’s audience.

“I know that my theme only really addresses mothers and daughters, and I feel bad about that,” said Morrissey. “Any man that comes to the show may feel lost and I feel bad that I wasn’t able to really include the male point of view or perspective.”

Contrary to Morrissey’s prediction, at least one man didn’t appear to be bothered from the mother/daughter theme.

“I’m a dad, so I can kind of relate,” said Benson. “I know it’s not the same thing, but being a parent still plays a role.”

When the exhibit commences, Morrissey will be more focused on her next semester of student teaching.

The gallery talk will be held today at noon in the art building. For those with or without an art background, the gallery reception for Morrissey’s exhibit will be held Friday, Dec. 7 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. also in the Art Building. The reception will tie into December’s First Friday Art Walk.

The gallery is available for viewing Monday – Thursday, 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 pm. The John R. Adams Gallery is located in the Washburn University Art Building at 1746 SW Durow Drive.