Combining commentaries on human nature, loss, nostalgia and the impact of human industry on the environment, the annual Senior Art Exhibition opened in the Buchwald-Wright Gallery on Monday. The upper level of the Gund Gallery filled with a crowd of over 530 viewers, who turned out for the culmination of 15 senior studio art majors’ undergraduate careers. The exhibition is on view through May 21. NATALIE WARDLAW Darkly whimsical figures of a doll and deer sit atop wooden bookshelves while a stop-motion film plays on a giant flat screen. In Natalie Wardlaw’s Phantasmethe playful sensibilities of childhood toys mix with the darker tones of Victorian Gothic style. The video plays on a continuous loop and shows small figures and trinkets that Wardlaw has collected over the years against a background of dirt and leaves. “I was looking particularly at the Victorian Gothic and how that interconnected with Western modern spiritualism and with photography,” Wardlaw said. This collision led Wardlaw to choose stop-motion as her medium. “They’re both [Gothic style and stop-motion] about capturing things that aren’t real and creating illusions,” she said. DAKOTA CURRY Taking his interest in animation to the next level, Dakota Curry created three separate animated short stories focusing on nostalgia. Badminton, Rocks and Fetch feature Curry’s line drawing and voice as he recounts tales from his childhood. Mounted on the wall, the pieces play on a continuous loop. The headsets placed next to each piece allow the viewer to audibly immerse themselves in Curry’s world of sports, dogs and childhood whimsy. “The more I worked on it,” he said, “the more it became an exploration into how our memory develops and moves forward as we experience it, and how it fades back just as quickly.” BRIANNE PRESLEY The contrast between freedom and confinement is at the center of Brianne Presley’s artwork, a large white box viewers can look into to see video footage of a girl trying to escape. Her second video amplifies this ominous feeling by showing the same girl exploring open woods projected on the adjacent walls. “I wanted to really immerse viewers into the art,” Presley said. “I wanted it to feel like an environment rather than just a video.” The work certainly achieved this effect as viewers peered into the box, leaning on the structure to get a better look inside. CHRISTOPHER McCANN Christopher McCann’s translucent photos hung from a metallic structure in back-to-back pairs, reflecting onto one another as people walked through his piece. Inspired by the fluidity of memory, McCann said he wanted to emphasize the movement he sees in everyday life by recreating it in a studio. McCann chose New York models for the photos with whom he had worked previously. “This way,” McCann said, “people are just looking at the piece, not the person they sit next to in math class.” CHLOE FRIEDMAN nspired by the VH1 show Bad Girls Club, Chloe Friedman’s The Trouble with Boys Series is off the wall, literally. Composed of various wooden, larger-than-life cut-out portraits of her friends in fighting positions, the piece reflects the artificiality of fighting for the entertainment of others. To further achieve a sense of artificiality, Friedman painted exaggerated versions of posed photographs. “It kind of has a naìve style and goes well with the fact that it is meant to be artificial,” Friedman said. The final product gives a sense of exaggerated reality and whimsy to the violence depicted. ELIZABETH NORMAN After her first assignment of the year, The Artist’s Recipe, forced Elizabeth Norman to make an infomercial, she found inspiration for this distinctive project. Five screens portray different versions of reality television: infomercials, political ads, televangelists, competitions and an audition for a reality show. Intended to be slightly off-putting, Norman acted as the focal point for each work, moving against a green-screen background. In creating each piece, Norman conducted research, watching different genres of TV and listening to political campaign ads from failed presidential candidates. “I actually fell asleep listening to Carly Fiorina,” Norman said. GARRISON BLOCK Crisp photos of dilapidated buildings mix with snapshots from Garrison Block’s antique family photo album to create his [In] Sight Collection. Hung from transparent wire, the photos are arranged to encourage the viewer to peer closer at the faces of family members and windows of crumbling, long-abandoned barns. Block photographed buildings and cars around Knox County. For Block, the intersection between his life on campus and his family history shown through photos tells a story he feels his audience will be able to relate to. “I think just taking something from one context into another and framing it differently can change it a lot,” Block said. The first installment of “Art of Perception” (April 21) stated 60 people attended the opening reception for the Senior Studio Art Exhibition; this figure referred to the number of people in attendance during one portion of the opening. The reception attracted over 530 viewers overall.