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Senior Art Students Explore Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

Six Notre Dame College seniors are exploring the mind-body-spirit connection through a series of art works that are as diverse as their subjects. Through paintings and photographs, the students examine Cleveland’s neighborhoods, raise issues of body image and art, and discuss abstract themes such as memory and spirituality. Their senior exhibit “Mind*Body*Spirit” is currently on display in the Performing Arts Center.

Photographer Jessica Spuzzillo is fascinated by the way Cleveland’s neighborhoods are changing through the lives of their inhabitants. “I have walked the city streets and immersed myself within the customs of the neighborhood,” she says. “I am learning the culture, the history and the stories.” It is this community spirit that she represents in her photography.

Painter Cassie Wheelock uses color to create mood and movement in her abstract yet literal works, which explore how people’s memories are altered in unique ways. “These works represent the evolution of memories,” she says. “An image doesn’t always represent a memory accurately, which is why I didn’t want to use photography as my medium.”

For Mary Volk photography was the ideal medium to capture honest yet beautiful portraits of average people. Her investigation into the beauty of the human form transcends mere portraiture. She calls into question just what it is that we perceive as beautiful. “My black and white photos challenge the viewer to truly see the person, not for the small imperfection but rather as the beautiful whole,” she says.

In her work, photographer Aurelia Nuber uses the human body as a canvas but also investigates more traditional forms of body art. She examines society’s definitions of body art, which includes tattoos, piercings, scarification, branding, scalpelling, shaping and body painting. “These are all ways of altering your body whether permanently or temporary,” she says. “My series is about capturing unique perspectives of the human body while incorporating mediums atypical for creating body art.”

Lauryssa Rieger’s photographs give unique insights into the minds of her subjects. The images are personal and unique, as each individual commanded a different sensitivity from the artist. “Many people struggle with self-image. So I asked 10 people, including myself, to describe how they see themselves,” she explains. “I then depicted that description in a photograph and took another photo of how the world views that person. I used these two photos to create a triptych, the third photo being a double exposure of the two images.”

Painter Dominic Schiavoni emulates a Renaissance style in his large canvases, recalling an era of painting closely associated with the biblical narrative of his work. “I investigate landmarks throughout the spiritual journey of not only the Bible but of my own faith,” he says. “I have created a personal representation of timeless biblical scripture in a style seemingly forgotten in the modern art world.”

The senior art exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibit may be viewed until May 12, Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. The Performing Arts Center is located on the ground floor of the Administration Building. For further information or to schedule interviews, contact Rachel Morris, associate professor of fine arts, at 216.373.5320 or rmorris@ndc.edu.

Jessica Spuzillo

Cassie Wheelock

Jessica Spuzzillo Cassie Wheelock

Aurelia Nuber

Mary Volk

Aurelia Nuber Mary Volk

Lauryssa Rieger

Dominic Schiavoni

Lauryssa Rieger Dominic Schiavoni