Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts (DFPA) opens their 2013–2014 visual arts exhibition season on September 5 in the Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Annex with Test Sequence.

This exhibition features a collection of work produced by Loyola alumnus Thomas Schmidt over the last 10 years. Schmidt begins with an exploration of the material limits of ceramics and expands into a range of media and methods including line drawings of shattered tile, digital prints of crumpled and scanned paper, torn open cubes of clay, and panels of aluminum fused with porcelain shards.

Since his graduation in 2004, Schmidt has worked as an assistant to renowned artist Ruth Duckworth, received his MFA at The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, taught ceramic design at The China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and co-founded the design team Recycled China.

Schmidt explains that Test Sequence is an attestation of his increasing interest in incorporating more methods and materials over the years, as well as an exploration of how pieces of art can grow out of the results of previous experiments. It was this understanding that came to inspire the title of the showcase.

Though the exhibition encompasses a vast range of mediums, this artist never forgets his overwhelming passion for sculpture. “I think what drew me to sculpture was simply an interest in playing with texture,” as well as “how expansive and all-inclusive it is…nothing is off limits,” said Schmidt. His creative motivation with this medium derives from his extensive familiarity with the Canadian Rockies. He relishes in how sculpting allows him to replicate the physical makeup of natural environments. A sort of “personal geology,” as he calls it.

With the aid of his artwork, Schmidt hopes viewers can momentarily disregard the continuous white noise and increasing stimuli that consumes today’s society. “I want to make work which rewards those who look closely,” he explains. “We don’t necessarily need to know why we are drawn to natural phenomenon, but can appreciate our ability to experience wonder in the things around us.”

Test Sequence opens Thursday, September 5, and runs through Saturday, September 28. An opening reception will be held Thursday, September 5, at 5 p.m., in the Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Annex. Admission to the exhibition and reception is free.

The exhibition space is open to the general public on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., and members of the Loyola community from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with a valid Loyola ID.

The Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Annex is located at 1131 W. Sheridan Road, on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. Contact boxoffice@luc.edu or 773.508.8400 with questions or concerns, or visit blogs.LUC.edu/ArtsAlive.