Erickson highlights nature and industrialization in her art

Yue Li

“I think art is a universal language. It’s a good way of communicating and figuring out exactly what’s in your head,” said Jenna Erickson.

Erickson is a senior art education major. She held her senior exhibition, Axiology, at John R. Adams Gallery at Washburn University from Oct. 14 to Oct. 25, 2019.

The exhibition is about the connection between nature and present-day society, to show the relationship between nature and industrialization. Erickson wants viewers to draw their own conclusions and see how the art affects them personally.

“I want the viewer to decide for themselves because I think there are positives to both sides. I tried to make some pieces that showed some more negative aspects and others that showed the beauty of incorporating nature,” said Erickson.

Having grown up in the country, Erickson loves nature and has done a lot of work with nature themes.

“I’ve done a lot with nature because it always makes me happy. If I’m feeling upset, I go to nature. But the more I did that, the more I realized that even though it seems like it’s actual nature, it’s manicured,” said Erickson. “Even though it feels wilder, it’s not really. I think everything’s kind of touched by industrialism.”

Benjamin Wills is Erickson’s mentor for her workshop class and was proud of Erickson.

“I think Jenna has done a great job at realizing how interchangeable different materials are and jumping back and forth between graphic design, sculpture and painting. Her ability to take what she learned in a graphic design class and apply it to more of a sculptural material and then make the new series of two dimensional shadow plexiglass works. I think it’s really great use of thinking power and problem solving.” said Wills.

Erickson started to do art at a young age.

“I guess art was kind of my escape. I think that’s how it is for a lot of people. There’s a lot of stress going on. Everything seems like it’s just going the wrong way. Then you do art and everything’s fun. You are doing something that you love,” said Erickson.

After graduating from Washburn, Erickson wants to teach ceramics in a high school. Her high school art teacher Margaret Ramberg saw her talent and ability and encouraged and convinced her to be an art teacher. She wants to teach high school and help students out when they’re going through a hard time.

Erickson plans to continue her art with the same theme of nature and industry and wants to explore it further and try new things. She wants to experiment and practice her technique.

Erickson had some advice for fellow students.

“Just hang in there. Things always get very stressful, and you’re going to have breakdowns, and it happens. Everyone goes through it. But if you just keep pushing, keep trying, do your best, and don’t stress too much, it will be okay,” said Erickson.

Edited by Jada Johnson, Adam White, Jason Morrison, Jackson Woods