Trio to Present Senior Thesis Art Exhibit in Harcum Gallery

April 25, 2019

Opening Reception Honoring Betty Caudill, Molly Howard and Madi Wellendorf Planned for Wednesday Evening

Three art students, Betty Caudill, Molly Howard and Madi Wellendorf, will present works in Wilmington College’s annual Senior Thesis Art Exhibition running from May 1 through 10.

An opening reception honoring the artists will be held Wednesday (May 1), from 5 to 7 p.m., while normal gallery hours are weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by special appointment arranged by curator Hal Shunk.

Caudill is a nontraditional student from Sabina who is retired from the U.S. Air Force. She says creating art frees her soul and releases all her inhibitions.

“When painting, I am absorbed, dancing in the mixture of yellow and green or red and purple creating colors never seen again,” she said, adding she seeks to emulate Rembrandt and Monet’s distinct use of color combinations.

She noted that the sensation of her hands soaked in clay while creating ceramics evokes childhood memories of growing up near a creek with clay walls. It was a halcyon time when she had “no thought” of the direction her life would take.

Howard, a senior from Xenia, looks to social issues and the “vibrancy and whimsicality” of vintage graphic design for inspiration as an artist. Also, her connection to nostalgia via childhood experiences serves to “inform my sense of creativity and artistic aesthetic.”

She challenges those viewing her art to interpret it in ways she might not have considered, as she feels a stronger connection to her creations when her audience draws inspiration from the images.

“Social issues as subjects in artwork, whether vague or obvious, make art something that everyone can relate to,” she said, noting that elements of her art address heavier themes like addiction and environmental destruction while other components consider lighter topics like childhood memories.

“These issues informed my creative process as I executed many of them, but I love the vagueness in art as well — whatever themes, objects or ideas you see in my artwork are totally valid.”

Wellendorf, senior from Akron, will exhibit a representative body of works that encompasses the ceramics, acrylic paintings, oil prints, drawings and watercolors she produced during her four years at WC. She enjoys drawing the most, as she considers it her “rawest” form of artistic expression, and a medium that can be used in the processes for creating every other form.

She said her love of art began when her grandmother taught her to draw and, from that, she branched out into other media and techniques.

“My artwork has a lot to do with my expression of emotions,” Wellendorf said, noting that, while many viewers might describe her works as portraying “a light or happy feeling” as a result of her frequent use of vibrant colors, many pieces actually portray deeper states of mind.

“For me, there is a wide variety of emotions incorporated into every piece,” she said, adding her life has been touched — and in turn her art, inspired — profoundly by the loss of family members. “My dad and sister passed away before I was ready to say goodbye. The emotions that these events give me are ones I naturally express through my artwork.”

Wellendorf’s post-graduation plans include serving as a camp instructor with Akron Artworks this summer, followed, this fall, with continuing her education in working toward a graduate degree in art administration.