Senior Roth and Yutzy: Face to Face in the Art Gallery

Amanda Styer, Senior, examines Roth's portrayal of Ben Bailey.

Excitement flooded the Margaret Martin Gehman Gallery as the anxiously anticipated art show, Face to Face, premiered on Saturday afternoon. The Visual and Communication Arts (VACA) Senior Art Show featured the powerful and inspirational works of Justin Roth and Conrad Yutzy.

Justin Roth, Senior, is a Photography and Digital Media double major. The artist Chuck Close, as well as some of his previous photography, inspired the idea for his show.

“It’s also a sort of reflection of my college experience,” said Roth.

“Commit to your project. Put your time, effort, and mind into your work.  It will be a reflection of you,” Roth advised upcoming VACA students.

Roth captured the images of three students, Senior Ben Bailey, Senior Kayci Detweiler, and Junior Lucas Blosser.

“The human face is one of the most familiar forms we know,” stated Roth in his artist’s statement. “It’s the feature that best distinguishes a person from everyone else.”

Roth’s “digital photograph collage” beautifully reconstructed images of photographs of his subject’s hands and re-created their faces. He chose his models based on their reputable use of their hands, such as cooking, crafting, and working on bicycles.

“I’ve always thought there was something magical about expressing my creativity with my hands and passing in it along to others,” said Detweiler describing her art. “Designing things digitally is fun, but the personal touch that my hands give is why I love to craft.”

“Working with Justin on his show was pretty cool…I think [he’s done] some incredible work and I’m honored to be a part of the show,” Detweiler commented.

Alongside Roth, Conrad Yutzy’s project is also displayed.  Double majoring in Digital Media and Photography, Yutzy came up with the idea for his senior project last summer.

“Currently, there is debate in the Mennonite Church having to do with homosexuality. This issue really did not hit home for me until I was part of the film crew at the Mennonite Youth Convention in Pittsburgh. In my show I give voice to three homosexual friends, [Seniors Doran Stucky and Julia Johnson, and Junior Darian Harnish] who get caught in the issue not because they want to be an issue but because so many times they are treated as an issue rather than as a person,” said Yutzy.

Yutzy did a fantastic job of combining the ideas of spirituality, sexuality and what exactly it means to be human, not merely an “issue.”  Through countless hours of interviewing, Yutzy combined interview with photography, creating compelling images of text overlaid on top of his interviewees’ portraits. Also part of Yutzy’s show is a fascinating stained glass display. The three-sided display has the names of his three subjects next to each panel of stained glass.

“The three pieces of stained glass are made with shattered glass, which mirrors the pain caused by the issue and the beauty of the finished pieces speaks to the hope I have for reconciliation within the church,” said Yutzy in his artist’s statement.

When thinking of a Senior project, Yutzy encourages students to “[choose] something that you really feel passionate about.”

by Courtney Ryan


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