Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 22, 2019

nichol link gallery

Senior Nichol VonHolten stands by her oil-on-canvas series in Link Gallery. VonHolten and four other seniors will display their artwork through March 8.  

Photo by Chloe Arndt

MU Seniors Display Artwork in Link Gallery

Marcus Zwiebel


Manchester University showcased its own guild of student artists Saturday, February 16, in Link Gallery during the Art & Design Senior Show reception.

The five seniors have exhibited a wide variety of artwork in the Otho Winger Hall gallery since Feb. 8 and will continue the exhibition until March 8, with artwork viewable during the building’s hours. “It’s not unusual to have one or two students for a senior show, but this year—by featuring five—we have a full house in Link Gallery,” said Ejenobo Oke, an associate professor of art and department chair, at the artists’ reception Saturday. “They’re also a very diverse body of individuals, despite there only being five of them, with very different styles and methods of work, and that helped draw in a larger audience,” she continued. “We’re very impressed and thankful for that.”

The five artists—Hannah Althouse, A. J. Gonsiorowski, Bailey Harmon, Nathan Koch and Nichol VonHolten—created and promoted their artwork throughout their respective careers at Manchester with a growing understanding of the importance and honor of the Art & Design Senior Show. They completed bodies of work, selected the pieces for the senior show and assisted in creating the show, with consideration to how their contributions would assist Oke and the other artists exhibiting their works. Art major Hannah Althouse began her journey at Manchester with interests in English and education; however, her interest in art was rekindled as she spent more time in Winger’s studios, and her preferred types of arts grew to include ceramics and textiles. “My high school had no art classes to take, so the Manchester art department helped me in a multitude of ways, from developing and refining technical skills to simply knowing how to analyze and critique artworks—of others as well as my own,” Althouse said. “My professors have always made themselves available and have given me encouraging words along with constructive criticism to help me become a better artist.”

A. J. Gonsiorowski, an art and psychology double major and a peace studies minor, utilized the artistic knowledge she gained at Manchester to help her communicate and raise awareness about the body and dis-ease, which she believes are not always visible on the surface of individuals. Gonsiorowski’s works— photography, textiles and primarily oil paintings—frequently feature themes of illness or disability and focus on individuals who have provided a profound impact throughout her work experience.

Art major Bailey Harmon struggled with communication and school during her childhood, and found it easier to convey her thoughts to others through art. She also found that art became an outlet for her feelings and a tool for learning and exploring the world. Harmon loves making connections with others through art and has channeled this love for artistic connection by traveling abroad both in high school and college, as well as expanding an interest in photography. Much of Harmon’s work is graphic design and illustration since they cleanly and aesthetically communicate a concept to audiences.

Nathan Koch, an art and business management double major, is an artist drawn to studying complexity through the use of metal art. His initial interest in metal art developed when he was restoring a 1965 Mustang and noticed the vibrancy of bare metal after grinding away some rust on the vehicle. Although Koch does not generally try to promote any meaning in his artwork, he still maintains importance in his own style. “I would describe my style as abstract and highly influenced by the custom automotive painting industry,” Koch said. “I also was influenced to become an art major at Manchester because the professors were so interested and encouraging to see what kind of style I could develop.”

Nichol VonHolten, a senior art major and psychology minor, enjoys the challenge that comes from art, which is a skill present since her childhood. VonHolten also explores, with great appreciation, the brainstorming, research and methodology that occurs with the early process of each new piece. VonHolten’s body of work is primarily made up of ceramic pieces—a medium she was introduced to in high school—and textiles.

The student artists faced a variety of challenges throughout their art career as well as during the process of preparing for the show, including the burden of coursework, deadlines and general stress. And in return, the Art & Design Senior Show reception had a positive turnout from students, staff, faculty and members of the community. The future plans for the artists include traveling to other regions of the country, pursuing art careers outside of the country, becoming community art advocates, going into automotive design/marketing, continuing to polish their respective styles and expanding their collection of artworks.

“These five young artists make us, in the department and in the university very proud, and we look forward to the work that they’ll do in the future and the impact they’ll have on others,” Oke said.