Photographs of 3 Islanders Featured in 2 Student Exhibitions in Bell Library Through Feb. 19

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The thought-provoking photographic work of Islanders Travis Sedillo, Summir Hill and Caleigh Knipling is on display in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi through Feb. 19. A student in the Fall 2020  Studio Art course -Advanced Photography: Narrative Strategies, Sedillo’s images are featured in a juried solo exhibition that can be seen in the downstairs gallery; Hill’s and Knipling’s images are part of a juried two-person exhibition that has been mounted in the upstairs gallery featuring photographs selected from the Fall 2020 Studio Art course – Photography II: School and Methodologies.  

The exhibitions were juried by Blue Light Contemporary  which includes: Assistant Professor Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Associate Professor Dr. Laura Petican and Nathaniel Stein, Associate Curator of Photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum, who serves as a Curatorial Advisor for Blue Light. Sedillo, Hill and Knipling are all students of Jennifer Garza-Cuen, A&M-Corpus Christi Assistant Professor of Art and the creator of Blue Light Contemporary. The new initiative consists of a student showcase, which features works from beginning, advanced, Bachelor of Fine Art and Master of Fine Art level students; a collection of photographic prints housed in the Department of Art + Design’s photography area; and a speaker series.

“I am especially proud that both of these exhibitions feature student work created this past semester (during COVID-19) and speak to our students' resilience and ability to remain strong and creative during this health crisis,” Garza-Cuen said, who added that this is the first exhibition for all three students. 

The work of Knipling, a senior majoring in graphic design, reflects her training using a Düsseldorf School/New Objectivity and typology methodology, best exemplified in the work of Bernd and Hiller Becher. Students in Photography II study a variety of schools and methodologies in photography as they expand on the knowledge and experienced gained in the introductory course Photography I: Techniques before moving on to the final course in the digital photography track, Advanced Photography: Narrative Strategies.

A senior majoring in Fine Art, Hill’s work featured in the two-person exhibition explores ideas of womanhood and sexual harassment using the Yale School’s methodologies of narrative, staging, and allegory. The Yale School includes some of the biggest names in contemporary American photography, including: Tod Papageorge, Susan Lipper, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and Gregory Crewdson, to name a few.    

“My images are a representation of feminism and the effect it has on every age around you. I chose these because they spoke the strongest. These images embody the Yale School through the knowledge and practice of artistic discipline and active research,” Hill said.

Sedillo’s series focuses on the crisis of veteran suicide, an issue which he has had to contend with in the years after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 2012 after suffering a traumatic brain injury. His deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“In my sequence, there’s a few images with toy soldiers and how we perceive what war is as kids. Reflecting back as an adult, now you can see imagery on how that plays out. The rope is kind of a metaphor for life and the path that we take, so it kind of weaves in and out of the actual sequence. It ends on a very somber note that tries to bring awareness to veteran suicide, so it’s very personal for me,” Sedillo said.

Sedillo said he was initially leery of showcasing his work but said the opportunity to promote awareness of the devastating impact of veteran suicide and possibly help save someone who is struggling inspired him to accept the offer.

“If I can reach one person with my photography then that’s all that matters to me. If someone can make something out of the imagery that I’ve put together, hopefully I can save one life,” Sedillo said. “If I can reach one veteran who looks at it and thinks they’ve felt something similar, then maybe it will inspire them to get help.”