Three years after graduating during COVID, alum returns for her B.F.A. thesis art exhibit

Gallery featuring Rice’s work Oct. 23-27; professor who helped arrange it is exhibiting art at Minnesota gallery
“Midnight Blooms” is one of Chloe Rice’s paintings.
​Jerry Poling | October 23, 2023

At Gallery 209 in the Applied Arts Building at UW-Stout, studio art majors have a place to exhibit their best work.

Typically, they have a senior thesis exhibit as they approach graduation. Chloe Rice was looking forward to that opportunity in spring 2020, but it wasn’t a typical year. Because of COVID, she had to move on in her life, including no in-person commencement ceremony, without the exhibit.

Three and one-half years later, the week of Oct. 23-27, Rice has returned to close that loop in her education. Now an alum, she has a belated Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis show at Gallery 209 featuring more than a dozen pieces of her art. Also exhibiting is Kaylee Stoker, a senior from Marshfield.

Chloe Rice, a 2020 graduate, sets up her senior thesis exhibit, delayed by COVID, in Gallery 209 for the week of Oct. 23-27 at UW-Stout.
Chloe Rice, a 2020 graduate, sets up her senior thesis exhibit, delayed by COVID, in Gallery 209 for the week of Oct. 23-27 at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout

COVID “made my graduation feel anti-climactic. I didn’t get to be on campus, which sort of isolated me (and I’m sure every student) from the Stout community. I’m really excited to showcase some of the work I’ve made since then. I’m proud to say that I’ve continued my practice and feel just as, if not more passionate, about growing in my art,” said Rice, whose studio art degree included a concentration in painting.

Rice, from Shoreview, Minn., stayed in touch with Professor Charles Matson Lume, who suggested that she return for her thesis exhibit and helped arrange it. Lume, coincidentally, has an exhibit through Friday, Nov. 10, at the Hutchinson Center for the Arts in Hutchinson, Minn., about an hour from where Rice lives.

Recently, Rice switched mediums from oil to watercolors. The exhibit will focus mainly on her new watercolor works. She is moving to Fort Wayne, Ind., with her fiancé, who has helped inspire her.

Chloe Rice, right, reviews some of her paintings while preparing her exhibit.
Chloe Rice, right, reviews some of her paintings while preparing her exhibit. / UW-Stout

“I made the conscious decision to master my craft. I believe this drive to create happened because two years ago I met my now-fiancé, who challenges me and is passionate about my art,” she said.

“Watercolors speak to the complexity and delicacy of the mind. Each thought and memory being interwoven into one blended soul. Invoking the spontaneity of life and the way we interact with the unexpected. The light is effortlessly otherworldly, and the colors are veils between mind and world. Crafting still lifes of self-portraits engulfed by symbols of nature. Showcasing the complex emotions one faces within a relationship and the gratitude one has to experience them.”

Painting has changed her self-perspective from someone who struggled with anxiety and lack of confidence to someone who is empowered. “To paint is to be confident, and confidence is not something I feel a majority of the time. But the confidence I do gain is from painting. My anxiety is forgotten, I trust my intuition and I feel as if I can do anything,” she said.

UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design has six B.F.A. programs, Bachelor of Science degrees in arts administration and entrepreneurship and video production and a Master of Fine Arts in design.

Chloe Rice, from Shoreview, Minn., graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with a concentration in painting. She has transitioned from using oil to watercolor in her work.
Chloe Rice, from Shoreview, Minn., graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with a concentration in painting. She has transitioned from using oil to watercolors. / Contributed photo

“This whole experience has made me the person I am today, and I feel so lucky that I got to go to a school that values the arts, taught me valuable knowledge and gave me lifetime fellow artist friends,” she said.

Rice’s thesis mentor was Lume, with whom she had several classes.

“Chloe was a remarkably gifted student who had a strong sense of determination and will. These elements are some of the reasons her paintings are successful. Painting is not for the faint of heart. Learning to paint is sometimes a long and complex apprenticeship,” Lume said.

“For me, it is easy to see why her paintings thrive and glimmer: they could only come from someone who has confidence in their capacities as an artist. I am sure that some of Chloe's best paintings are still in her and will be worth the wait, just like her belated B.F.A. thesis exhibition,” he said.

Professor Charles Matson Lume’s “as if the sun (for Cid Corman)” exhibit runs through Nov. 10 in Hutchinson, Minn.
Professor Charles Matson Lume’s exhibit “as if the sun (for Cid Corman)” runs through Nov. 10 in Hutchinson, Minn. / Contributed photo

Lume exhibit sheds light on poem, ordinary objects

Lume’s exhibit “as if the sun (for Cid Corman)” in Hutchinson, Minn., continues his exploration of light as a way to reflect the impact of poetry using our physical world.

Cid Corman’s writing was important to Lume when he was a young artist. “His short poems to me seemed fresh, clean and complex. They made the world sparkle like a jewel. Reading them 30 years later, they still shimmer,” Lume said.

Lume’s exhibits are installations using common materials that reflect the light in the room. In Hutchinson, he uses a chair facing a window, orange price tag stickers, hologram tape, acetate, proofing paper, fabric with sequins and reflective tape. 

The exhibit is an offshoot of another that Lume had this past summer, also using orange price tag stickers, as part of an international artist residency at the Bær Art Center in Hofsós, Iceland. The residency was during the midnight sun of the summer solstice on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

“In the ‘night,’ the sun did not dip below the horizon. The light was magical. The installation traced the pattern of daylight, made from the skylight, as it moved around my studio. The price tag stickers track eight hours of day,” Lume said.

In 2022, Lume won a worldwide Gottlieb Foundation of New York grant to further develop his light-based installations. Lume has worked directly with light as a material for 24 years and indirectly for 30 years. His work highlights the interplay and intersections of light and matter, allowing the matter — or objects that we encounter daily — to speak in a sense through their shadows and reflections.

In 2024, he will have a summer artist residency at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Wash. “I can't wait to discover the kind of light that is there,” he said. 

###


UW-Stout technology education instructor honored with statewide leadership award Featured Image

UW-Stout technology education instructor honored with statewide leadership award

The director of the Bachelor of Science program in technology education at UW-Stout has been honored by a statewide organization.
UW-Stout design students collaborate to combine couture, dance, video game Featured Image

UW-Stout design students collaborate to combine couture, dance, video game

Blue Devils dance team choreographs Boogie Beyond, featured at Stout Game Expo on May 2
Fashion design seniors bring collections to life at WEAR Fashion Show April 27 Featured Image

Fashion design seniors bring collections to life at WEAR Fashion Show April 27

From bridalwear to social awareness- and golf-inspired attire, designs will be displayed after runway show