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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Sensory (Art Show Review)

Sensory provided a thought-provoking experience for viewers
Thomas Buchanan
Art Wrecker displayed a number of pieces from an Exapnded Media class in a recent show, Sensory.

In conjunction with the focus on neurodiversity around the Emerson-Wier Symposium, Art Wrecker hosted Sensory, a show put together by the Expanded Media course taught by Jordan Vinyard, dean of the school of visual and performing arts and director of Art Wrecker, and Freddy Baeza, professor of art. This allowed students to display their projects in a professional space and create an interactive, thought-provoking experience for those who attended. 

The opening night of the exhibition took place Saturday, Feb. 24, and was open only that weekend. The pieces featured were created by students working in pairs or independently, and the majority of projects were very large in scale. Each piece was designed to leave its own independent impression on the viewer, and the show as a whole invoked a playful, child-like attitude. 

There were many highlights from the exhibition. One was an oversized grocery aisle, with a shopping cart for picking out the larger-than-normal items from the shelves. Another was a patch of ground meant to be walked across that had a soft, spongy texture. In the back of the room was a sprawling, brightly colored mural with the message “My Creativity Will Not Be Contained”. 

Hanging from the ceiling was a six-foot-tall knit sweater meant to be hugged, which gave off a warm, soothing smell of lavender and vanilla. 

One of the creators of the sweater installation was sophomore art major Aubrie Reed. She said the idea for the project came from an interactive piece that she had seen, which consisted of pods that you could sit on or sleep in. The idea behind it was to give those that came into contact with it a sense of comfort, which led to the idea of a commonly comforting piece of clothing, dramatically enlarged to invoke a childlike, nostalgic feeling. 

“The point we were trying to get across was to bring back the memories of hugging somebody when you needed to be comforted. I feel like grandparents did that a lot for me personally. We wanted for you to be able to hug it and be comforted not only by how soft the sweater was, but also the way the sweater smelled,” Reed said.  

The added dimension of the scent of the sweater played a large role in the sentimental nature of the project, which was present enough to smell when very close but faint enough to not be overpowering and took almost three weeks of tweaking to get just right. Reed said when designing the smell most people think of grandmas when they smell powdery, floral scents, and the team wanted to avoid that association. Instead, they went with a summery, warm-feeling fragrance.  

This show gave many students the opportunity to further their familiarity with their desired field. This type of project has a lot to with Reed’s career goals. She said she likes “oversized, campy, weird things” and she wants to go into the fashion side of art. She said she feels like her oversized sweater is a step into that world.  

Last year Art Wrecker hosted Unseen, a show that went with the Giles symposium last year, and Vinyard plans on hosting a corresponding show for each symposium. Art Wrecker was created as a space for USAO students, and Sensory was a good foray into installation art for those that are newer to it. 

“It was twofold; it was to generate through that research and work component the importance of empathy for students, to really think outside of themselves. Not to say that there aren’t some that deal with sensory issues, but I think it’s always important to think about others in the context of your artwork,” Vinyard said on what the show accomplished.  

Vinyard said the most successful moments were watching students talk with the viewers and explain what their pieces meant, as well as watching the viewers gain insights to the works.  

Sensory played a key part in the celebration of neurodiversity and what makes us distinct as individuals; those who went left with new conversations sparked by these important ideas. 

The students who participated were: Talor Alicea, Rhiannon Allen, Miles Benson, Gracie Butterfield, Abigail Dansereau, Mackenzie Dawson, CC Drye, Sophia Marsh, Elie Martinez, Kaiti McGuire, Syd Northern, Haley Robinson, Ruby Rubio, Jocie Shelton, Alex Spencer, Destin Travis, Danny Morales, Minnie Tallbear, Romeo Black, and Reed. 


Thomas Buchanan is a second-year art major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Thomas Buchanan
Thomas Buchanan, Contributing Artist & Writer
Thomas is a second-year art major  from Harrah. He is a euphonium player in the band. Thomas is an illustrator, comic strip artist, and member of the Art Club, UMA, and Ultimate Frisbee Club. His hobbies include working on his '79 Fiat X1/9 and trying to make time to actually draw.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Mar. 2023 - present Contributing Artist: Aug. 2022 - present