Art Beat: Only The Shallow Know Themselves

Feb 21, 2019

An aspect of the exhibit at WMU's Richmond Center
Credit Mary Whalen / WMU Richmond Center for Visual Arts

According to Oscar Wilde, “only the shallow know themselves.” An exhibition at Western Michigan University's Richmond Center for Visual Arts by that name features the work of three recent Gwen Frostic School of Art graduates.


Working in sculpture and ceramics, painting, and video installation respectively, Kaylon Khorsheed, Sophie Lane Dennis, and Audrey Mills investigate the search for self and how objects, images, and spaces merge, fall apart, or splinter unexpectedly.

“I studied printmaking in college,” Mills says. “However, I work in video. The piece I have right now in the Richmond Center is a video installation with sound and sculptural type of panels suspended throughout the room. I think of video as a lot like print, because print at its most basic level is a transfer of an image from one surface onto another surface.”

Mills’ work often revolves around blackness and the African diaspora, which she approaches through language, history, and social power structures. She is a 2018 WMU graduate. Mills is currently Post-Baccalaureate Artist-in-Residence at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. Her work has been featured in several group exhibitions, including Text(ure) at the Artlink gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana; ArtPrize 10 in Grand Rapids; and “do it” at the KIA. In 2016, Mills won the prestigious Presidential Scholar award and Best in Show during the Frostic School of Art’s Annual Student Exhibition.

Audrey Mills, Kaylon Khorsheed, and Sophie Lane Dennis
Credit Clara Peeters / WMU Richmond Center for Visual Arts

Kaylon Khorsheed says, “My art form is also interdisciplinary. I studied ceramics and many other things. It’s about searching. Mine is a site-specific installation where I use the space of the gallery and its atmosphere as part of the work. It’s also kind of a performance piece, the act of me making it. That was something I found out during the process, because I realized what’s really important to me is the act of doing it.”

While Khorsheed often works in clay and sculpture, she often adds elements of painting, found objects, and negative space in her creations. Khorsheed is a 2016 WMU graduate. Her honors and awards include the first-place juried prize in After the Pedestal at The Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2017, as well as the Walter F. Enz Award and the Kerr Award at WMU in 2015-2016. In 2016-17, Khorsheed was Post- Baccalaureate Artist-in-Residence at the KIA, and in 2018 she won the Shelton Gorlick Scholarship to attend the Penland School of Crafts Summer Workshop. She was president of the Ceramics Guild at the Frostic School of Art from 2014 to 2016. Khorsheed's work has been featured in many exhibitions in Michigan, including the Southwest Michigan Area Show at the KIA in 2018; the Michigan Ceramics Exhibition in Detroit in 2017; and ArtPrize 8 in Grand Rapids in 2016.

Sophie Lane Dennis, a 2018 Western graduate, now lives in North Carolina and works in an art gallery there. Her work as a painter incorporates organic particles to create ambiguous surfaces. Dennis won the Director’s Choice Award (2018) and the Art Star Award (2017) at the Frostic School of Art, and Great Promise Award from IHSSAE in Chicago in 2013. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in North Carolina, Michigan, and Illinois.

The exhibit, “Only the Shallow Know Themselves,” is curated by Indra Lācis, the director of exhibitions at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts. It continues through March 17.

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