Southern Oregon University students have created thought-provoking art exhibits for February addressing everything from nature to what people scrawl on bathroom walls

A new photography exhibit captures the semi-secret messages people scrawl on restroom walls, from obligatory jokes about bowel movements to a poetic quote in French.

Southern Oregon University students Jess Volk and Muuqi Maxwell are displaying photographs of their restroom discoveries through Feb. 26 in the Art Chairs Gallery of the Marion Ady Building, located on campus next to the Schneider Museum of Art.

One quote reads, "Je suis perdu a les rêves des autres" — or "I am lost in the dreams of others."

Tiny script penned on the grout between bathroom tiles says, "At least once in a man's life he must accept every moment as absurd."

While one restroom user makes fun of hand dryers that are replacing paper towels, others offer inspirational exhortations, including "Stop Being A Victim," "You're Still Beautiful" and "Imagine."

According to Volk and Maxwell, the primary aim of their photography project is to see what emerges when aspects of communication that were meant for display in semi-private spaces are made completely public.

In the Marion Ady Building's Boise Cascade Gallery, Emerging Media and Digital Art Student Audrey Kramm is showing large altered photographs focused on a variety of subjects.

One photograph depicts a person sitting on a boulder overlooking Crater Lake. A flipped image of the person hovers upside down in clouds floating past the iconic lake.

SOU Bachelor of Fine Arts student A.N. Quast is concluding her academic career at the university with a thesis installation of sculpture using found objects from nature. Quast's exhibit is in the Thorndike Gallery of the Art Building, also located near the Schneider Museum of Art.

In one sculpture, dried oak leaves tied by their stems to green embroidery floss descend from the ceiling into a pile on the floor. Some are left in their natural brown state, while others are painted shimmering gold — accenting the delicate veins of each leaf.

Visitors could easily miss a small rectangle of black sand on the floor. The sand is studded with whole sea shells that gradate into ever smaller shell fragments, showing how shells at the ocean disintegrate under the power of waves to help form new sand.

Quast has also created a rocky, gravely form shaped like a fossilized fish, then framed it in a rectangle of dark thread that also forms tangles around the fish. For another sculpture, she dripped wax off the points of deer antlers.

Graduate student Angie Wallace will have an installation that focuses on self-destructive behaviors and emotional well-being in the Retzlaff Gallery of the Art Building. She tackles themes in her sculpture that can be uncomfortable and deeply personal.

Admission to the exhibits is free.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.