Christa Westbrook, a recent gradute, will present her senior exhibition “Controlled Chaos” at 7 p.m. Saturday in Gilson Memorial Gallery.
Westbook began glassblowing in high school and started taking classes at Emporia State in 2008. She works mainly with glassblowing and sculpting, but her emphasis is glass.
“I would have to say my Native American heritage is what influenced a lot of these works,” Westbrook said. “That’s something that has been embedded in me for such a long time, so it comes out in my art.”
The glass in the exhibit consists of spherical and vase-like works. Kaila Mock, senior glass major, helped Westbrook with one untitled set of three pinwheel-shaped twisted glass pieces on display near the back wall of the gallery.
“Her work is amazing,” Mock said. “We took glass together and we were usually partnered. After working with her for awhile, I found her work to be very inspirational.”
Two of the sculptures featured in the exhibit incorporate recycled items.
“The (untitled) sculpture along the back wall is made out of old books from the William Allen White Library that were about to be thrown out,” Westbrook said. “A lot of the books were older Religious Studies textbooks.”
The untitled sculpture near the entrance of the gallery was made from trash and broken items such as plastic and paper bags, bottle caps, wood, rubber hose, wire, plastic zip ties and a metal fan grill all covered in gray spray paint. Mock said she remembers watching Westbrook make the trash sculpture.
The sculpture-based work along the north wall, titled “Black & White,” is a set of cushion-like circular sculptures made of recycled leather and meticulously placed glass beads.
“The sculpture evolved from doing glass,” Westbrook said. “I got interested in mixed media through other art classes. I had a couple projects for sculpture classes that required we use recycled items and I really had a lot of fun with those projects.”
The alumni artist visits have also had a positive impact on new students.
“I’ve seen some of her work before and I really like it,” said Nic Dikin, freshman glass major. “I just started studying glassblowing here, so I’m excited to see what recent graduates have done during their time here.”
Westbrook’s exhibition will be on display through Sept. 14.