March 13, 2019 | Katherine Adams
For Nicole Bishop, photographing dancers is the most natural way for her to express herself as an artist. Bishop, a lifelong competitive and professional dancer, said that her career and training in dance is what has inspired her photography. Her work, along with 28 other artists, will be featured in the 2019 Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition to be held in University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Art Gallery April 11-May 6.
“I grew up dancing my whole life and after a semester at another college, I decided to go to New York, which is where I began a five-year dance career,” Bishop said. “That’s why I’m so comfortable photographing dancers. I realized that I have an eye for capturing dancers because I know what to look for. Technique is very specific. I know if the feet or knees are correctly placed, so I can tell dancers how to position themselves because I know the technical aspects. I understand both the photography and the dancing.”
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition is the culminating event for seniors in the Art and Design program at UH-Clear Lake. “BFA students work closely with faculty members as mentors to help them in the development of the work for the exhibition, then gain firsthand experience in proposing the work, preparing it, and hanging and installing the exhibition,” said Assistant Professor of Art and Design Clay Leonard. “The art and design faculty first jury the student’s proposed work and assist with the curating of the thesis exhibition.”
Leonard added that a total of 47 pieces were selected from among the 28 student artists.
Currently the dance company director at Amy Blake’s Academy of Dance in Friendswood, Bishop said it’s her aim to be both a photographer and a dance teacher. “During my time at UHCL, (Associate Professor of Graphic Design) Stuart Larson and (Adjunct Professor of Photography) Angela Larson were particularly helpful,” she said. “Angela made me realize I had an eye for this, and showed me that I could capture the technique as well as the passion.”
She added that Assistant Professor of Art and Design Lauren Kussro pushed her to become a better artist. “She is a professor of printmaking, but she helped me become a better photographer and overall artist,” Bishop said.
Bishop said that each photo represents 1/2000th of a second in time. “Part of my artist’s statement is that I capture these photos in less than a second, but I know the years that go into the training to dance. It takes decades,” she said. “They’re not posed photos; they’re improvising dance. Some of the people I have photographed have been working toward their goals all their lives. I understand how hard they’ve worked, and I am capturing their emotion as well as the technique.”
One photo shoot could take thousands of photos, Bishop said, to yield “the one.”
“The exhibition is a great way to celebrate and highlight the students’ achievements and the overall diversity of the program,” Leonard said. “It will feature work in various media including printmaking, painting, drawing, graphic design, traditional and digital photography, animation, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media.”
An opening reception for the 2019 BFA Exhibition will be held Thursday, April 11, 5-7 p.m., in the Art Gallery, located in the Bayou Building, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston. For more information, visit www.uhcl.edu/art-gallery/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions.