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Open Studio Night to showcase studio art majors’ work

Open Studio Night to showcase studio art majors’ work

By Julia Waldow

Elise Shattuck ’14 discovered her passion for drawing early on. As a three-year-old, she created a sketch of her and her sister that makes the two of them “kind of look like potatoes with eyes and smiley faces and feet, but no arms.” Although Shattuck has artistically come a long way since then, she enjoys looking at the early drawing as a sign of her long-held love for her craft.

“I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I have always loved it,” Shattuck said. “I like creating, and I like being able to spend time making something that [I] care about.”

Now a senior art major, Shattuck will display her work from this semester in her studio as part of the art department’s Open Studio Night event on Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Students, staff and faculty can roam the studios to view the students’ work prior to their art shows at the Gund Gallery in the spring.

“It’s cool because you get to see all of the work ナ in a relaxed setting,” Shattuck said. “If you go to the opening of the shows in the spring, it’s a very formal setting and you get to see the final product, but you don’t necessarily get to see how it’s made or where it’s made.”

In preparation for showing their work during Open Studio, the seniors participated in a “critique-a-thon” on Wednesday. Professors, gallery staff and artists visited the studios to give each student a five-minute assessment of his or her project.

“It helps you articulate what you want to say about your work and it gives you different opinions from different people,” Sydney Watnick ’14 said.

Watnick explained that while she appreciated hearing feedback from multiple sources, “it’s always hard to hear from so many people because everyone has a different perspective.”

“Ultimately, you have to make your own decisions about your work,” she said. “If someone says, ムYou should paint [this part] blue,’ you have to think about what it would mean to paint it blue and if someone asked you next week why you didn’t paint it blue, you would have to say why.”

The art majors are used to making difficult decisions about their work. Many of the students are in Advanced Studio Art, which is a mostly self-directed class that grants majors the freedom to express themselves however they choose.

“If you’re taking a painting or sculpture class, you have more specific assignments and obviously, you have to work within one medium. The cool and kind of stressful thing about advanced studio is that you get to do whatever you want,” Shattuck said. “That’s good and bad because when you can do anything, it’s kind of intimidating to figure out what’s important and what [you] want to focus on. So it’s been a challenge for me to figure out what direction I want my work to take.”

Taking advantage of his artistic freedom, Nicholas Anania ’14, illustrator for the Collegian, seized the opportunity to display his first installation art piece, describing it as “an attempt to put you in a very distinct and separate space.”

“When I first turned the installation on to see if it would work, it was three in the morning and I hadn’t slept in two days, but it just worked,” Anania said. “Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but it was very moving to me, and I was very excited.”

Although students have the ultimate say in terms of their art, professors are willing and ready to talk with students about the artistic process.

“Kenyon’s program is so special because it is so close-knit and the professors are able to give the students so much attention, and that’s really invaluable and priceless,” Watnick said. “I think there are such boundless opportunities that the program has to offer students. It’s very student-driven, based on what the students’ interests are and what they’re looking to do.”

Ultimately, the art majors look forward to showing their work to the Kenyon community.

“I [can’t wait] to share my work with my friends, who don’t really make it over to the studio often, because I’m here all the time and am always working on art,” Shattuck said. “It’ll be exciting to show off what I’m doing.”

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