/Mors Vincit Omnia- a student curated exhibition
Graphic by Bell Jackson

Mors Vincit Omnia- a student curated exhibition

By Maeghan Jeremiah 

Montevallo student Grace Miller curated a show in Bloch Gallery. A total of 10 UM students had their work displayed in the exhibition. An opening reception was held on Sept. 29 and was open to view until Oct. 13. The students included were: Kelsi Wilson, Frida Gonzalez-Ruiz, Caroline Hatley, Bri Balasky, Sarah Jefferson, Sophie O’Riley, Ashton Storey, Elle Brown and Elle Ortlepp.  

The exhibition was named Mors Vincit Omnia, a Latin phrase meaning “death conquers all.” This show, as described by Miller, “is to emphasize how some may view death and one’s life leading up to it.”  

When explaining the theme of the gallery, Miller described the art as a whole to be, “about how some people fear death or others who face it head on.”  

Miller is a third year BFA student with a double concentration in photography and ceramics. She had a total of four works in the show. Her photography pieces included the shedded skin of her snake, Squiggs. Miller describes her work as, “a process of stripping something you no longer need in an abstract way.”  

Kelsi Wilson had three ceramic pieces displayed in the show which she described as, “exploring generational love through womanhood.” When describing their work, “Lift You up With Love” they said, “The bottom is those who came before, the bowl is like the grandmother, the pedestal for the top is like the mother and the topper is like the daughter.” Wilson explained how this represents women of past generations lifting the women of the present generations.  

Frida Gonzalez-Ruiz, a sophomore BA art major, had one pen and ink drawing, one graphite drawing and one charcoal drawing. When speaking on the artworks they said, “I think I pull a lot of inspiration subconsciously from softer more feminine subjects, and from myself. I always like to speak about the self and how you can do things with love and to focus on the beauty of things.”   

Caroline Hatley, a junior BFA drawing concentration, had one large scale oil painting. They said, “My piece is really just about the uncertainty of when death comes and how we never know how much time we have left.”  

Bri Balasky is a senior environmental studies major. They had two pen and ink drawings displayed in the gallery. When speaking on the work they said, “The pieces in the show were representative of the overlap between constant and fleeting thought. Most of them dealing with sickness and disaster. I never plan what I’m going to draw. I follow a stream of consciousness and let myself mourn and meditate simultaneously.” 

Sarah Jefferson, a sophomore BFA major with a concentration in drawing, had one ink drawing and one black vinyl piece. When explaining the work she said, “The black vinyl piece, ‘Infinite Similarities,’ was inspired by a black hole and the dreadful idea of infinity. It represents the kind of insanity I believe a person would experience if they thought too long and hard about the idea of infinity.”  

In her second piece she expressed how it held more meaning to her. Jefferson said, “The women clinging to the central figure do not represent any people in particular, but rather sinful spirits that had controlled me for years, such as anxiety, depression, doubt, and lust.” 

Sophie O’Riley, a senior BFA major with a painting concentration, had three artworks in the show. O’Riley spoke specifically on her oil painting, “Hold Loosely,” she said, “The lady in the painting is propagating plants and the idea was to capture this fragmentation of time. The plants started out as a cutting but now it has moved to a new space in its life where it can grow bigger but it’s also where this woman has had different chapters within her own life and is now giving new life to these plants.”  

Ashton Storey had two charcoal pieces in this gallery. One was named, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and the other, “Worm Food.”  

Elle Brown had two oil paintings showcased. One being named, “Creation of (Wo)man” and the other, “Loss of Fertility; Loss of Self.”  

Elle Ortlepp, a junior with a ceramics concentration, had one charcoal and graphite work on display. They explained the piece’s focus on religious trauma. They said, “My parents raised me to be constantly getting ready for the rapture and this piece reflects me sorting out my relationship with religion.”

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