Skip to Content

2015 Undergraduate Student Exhibition Award Winners

The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design’s 2015 Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, featuring the exceptional works of our undergraduate students in art and design, was celebrated on Friday, December 4, 2015 with a reception in Slusser Gallery.

The jurors for the exhibition – Sarah Lindley, ceramic artist and Kalamazoo College associate professor; Wesley Taylor, graphic designer, fine artist, musician, curator, and co-founder of Emergence Media; and Blake Ratcliffe, co-founder/co-owner of TMC Furniture, a local, sustainable furniture company – selected 38 of the 103 works submitted for inclusion in the exhibition. Of those 38, the jurors recognized eight works with awards. We asked the award-winning students to talk about the work that was selected and to let us know what they're currently working on.

Jurors’ Award

Nicholas Williams: Grimestone
Guy Palazzola Memorial Award


Grimestone is a three part music video I created while studying at the Burren College of Art, Ireland. The Burren is a very primordial landscape, and one can see and feel the breadth of human history there. I had been reading Camus and would often walk around with a mic and record myself singing like Tom Waits. I eventually came up with a loose narrative centering around youth, masculinity, and "the struggle to reach the heights," and made the film with my friends. For the installation I decided to have guests hold a 40lb limestone boulder to trigger the video as a further nod towards Sisyphus.

I am currently working on a thesis centering around my personal engagement with ideas of youth, masculinity, and imperialism in american society.

Awards of Excellence

Katie Mongoven: Untitled
Guy Palazzola Memorial Award


Made of 20,000 Q-tips, Untitled explores the understanding and perception of everyday objects and their transformations into biomorphic structures. The perception of one or even twenty Q-tips is associated with a tool of vanity or ear cleaning. However, when one multiplies twenty Q-tips to 20,000 Q-tips and arranges them outside of the drugstore box, the meaning and association changes. They lose their individuality and join together to create one anonymous structure.

Currently, I am working on creating a six foot tall replica of Piglet from Winnie the Pooh out of Chinese brocade fabric. By using traditional Chinese fabric to create a larger-than-life stuffed animal from my childhood, I explore the complicated relationship I hold with China, my comprehension of this relationship as a child, and a reflection of this relationship as a young adult.

​James Mackin: The Gargoyle Series
Guy Palazzola Memorial Award


The Gargoyle Covers are a culmination of work over the past 3 years. Each year since I’ve been a part of the Gargoyle (the humor magazine of the University of Michigan), I have illustrated covers satirizing current or recent popular culture. I am still on staff, and plan on continuing these covers as well as the illustrations I make in the magazine. I am also dabbling in character development as well as continuing to build my repertoire of digital art skills.

Kalli Kouf: Como
Irene Bychinsky Bendler Award in Design


In my work, I attempt to understand the spaces that surround me. Como deals with the mountain ranges that surround my family's home in Montana. Through line, color, bronze, and weaving I attempt to represent the edges and colors that surround me.

I will be studying abroad in Ireland this semester.

Honorable Mentions

Eryka Collick: The Color White
Guy Palazzola Memorial Award


The Color White is one of the largest pieces I have done, and the beginning of what it means to be an artist for myself and push my work to new levels. The piece is now being prepared to be hung in my family's home: they couldn’t part with it.

I am getting ready to finish building a model bridge and starting my path toward degrees in Art and Architecture. I am learning to push my artistic abilities and find what separates me from others in both areas.

Bianca Ng: 100 Days of Better Conversations
Guy Palazzola Memorial Award


I had 100 conversations: 50 with strangers, and 50 with people I know in 4 months between 7 different cities. I integrated my innate obsessions with design and conversations into a social and visual experiment. I wanted to explore every aspect about conversations and challenge my irrational fears of interacting with strangers. These 7 months were also part of my field research for my senior thesis, integrative project, which is what I am currently focused on. My senior thesis is about how visual design can help make difficult conversations less challenging and intimidating. Learn more about the project at Bianca's website.

Xiang Li: Reflection
Guy Palazzola Memorial Award


Reflection is a self-portrait illustrating the two contrasting sides of me: one being out-going and enthusiastic, the other one being more serious and calm. My different characteristics are shown through the different gesture and expression of the figures.

I'm currently working on exploring the various features of Photoshop and learning how to draw digitally.

Emma Bergman, Eliza Cadoux, Sophie Goldberg, and Mia Massimino: Shadow People
Robert D. Richards Memorial Award


Shadow People is a collaborative piece by Emma Bergman, Eliza Cadoux, Sophie Goldberg, and Mia Massimino. The piece is part of a larger show called Call Your Mom, and explores the roles we feel we must fill and the network we've built to support each other in those roles. We are now working towards another original show that will be performed in the Duderstadt Video Studio in March.

Exhibition opening images by Andrew Cohen. All other images courtesy of artists.