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Clifford’s Senior Exhibit provides glimpse into her virtual reality

May 1, 2015
By cnp
Posted in Art

University of the Ozarks student Hope Clifford will present her Senior Art Exhibit, titled "Self Creation," from May 2-7 in the Stephens Gallery.

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Hope Clifford, a psychology and art major, draws inspiration for her art from her interest in gaming and virtual reality.

There will be a reception to meet the artist from 7-8 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

Clifford, a psychology and art major from Redwater, Texas, said much of her artwork in "Self Creation," is influenced by her interest in gaming and virtual reality.

"The physical world holds many limitations and those limitations shape our ‘self,’ " Clifford said. "We as humans cannot control our baseline physical appearance, so we attempt to express our self through the way we dress or how we style our hair because this is what others see. Yet in our minds, we create an ideal self without limitations; a self that we long for, but cannot obtain. Imagine the ability to create how you truly perceive yourself, and that limitations do not exist. A virtual environment enables a person to recreate the self in many forms that cannot exist in the physical world. These creations are not separate of who we are, rather they are the extensions of the self."

"I place parts of my characteristics into the world of gaming, and I express different versions of myself through the art of mixed media. I am ripping them from their original virtual environment and bringing them to the world of restrictions. My virtual selves may not actually represent my actual physical appearance. Each is an extension of me in a magnified fashion. My avatars share similarities, but there are differences in gender, clothing, hair, and how I interact in a game based on the avatar I choose. Yet all represent how I project myself in a virtual gaming world because these avatars can accomplish what I cannot. I will never be a male, go striding around in overly skimpy clothes, dress myself in armor for battle, or hold any type of mystical power. However, I can allow myself to be transformed into these creations in a virtual reality."

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Art work from Hope Clifford’s senior exhibit, "Self Creation."

Clifford said each of her artwork allows the viewer to see the "world that I have allowed myself to be consumed by."

"My ‘transformation’ pieces depict what happens when I enter a virtual world; I tear my physical self apart and rebuild in order to enter a new world with a new body and form," she said. "The piece is displayed in multiple panels documenting the step by step process I take to enter the world. I want others to grasp the idea of becoming a magnified extension of the self, a re-creation in the virtual field of gaming. At the same time, I extend my thoughts and experiences while in the game to show scenes and moments in time that help the audience look past the data and the hardware to witness the endless stories that unfold. I open an opportunity for others to see what I see, let the viewer experience this world for themselves."