Returning students will open “On the Path,” a display of sculpture and graphic art at Spiva Gallery on Feb. 25 through March 14.

For Missouri Southern graduates Jason Stamper and Trent Mosley, this show brings them back to their alma mater, displaying their most recent work before they head to graduate school.

“For me it’s a career path,” Stamper said. “Master of fine arts is the next step in the path I’d like to be on.”

Much of his display work will focus on printmaking, both intaglio and relief.

“I love to draw too,” Stamper said. “Drawing takes up, probably, one third of my portfolio. Most of my themes and subjects stem from personal experience.”

Stamper describes his style as subjective and realistic. He tries to highlight common themes of humanity through his work.

Pieces of wooden sculpture make up the bulk of Mosely’s display.

“The concept is self-destructive behavior, drug abuse,” Mosely said.

Before he crafts a sculpture, Mosely researches his subjects and comes up with a concept.

“Some of it’s personal experience because you know somebody who has done something to themselves,” Mosely said.

His former professor, Frank Pishkur, assistant professor of art, described the carving of the individual pieces and their assembly into large-scale sculpture.

“His work is really about eroding away from that pristine, classical idea of the figure into more of this stark reality caused by urban blight and social problems,” Pishkur said.

“I think both of them have developed a real strong body of work,” said Nick Kyle, art department chair. “Both of their work has matured, engaged new areas of thinking that I think are very important to graduate study.”

The department is working directly with the students and their schools of interest. Currently Southern does not have a bachelor of fine arts program, typically a requirement for entrance to the master’s program.

“We have plans to put a BFA in,” Kyle said. “We totally overhauled our curriculum this semester, fleshed it out and now, next year, we’ll submit a BFA. The BFA will be a very, very exciting proposition for all of our art students.”

Stamper and Mosely took extra classes to earn the equivalent hours.

“Were both looking at this as kind of our own solo exhibit after graduation,” Stamper said. “We’re both focused and we’re a little older, more settled in life and focused as artists and being an artist seriously.”

As part of his wider focus, Mosely said people should look outside themselves.

“I just think people should not take for granted where they’re at,” Mosely said. “It does not really matter where you are at. As long as you have something valid and important to say, people are going to listen.”

Stamper and Mosely will host an opening reception 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 25. The show will run Feb. 25 – March 14.