As the spring semester comes to a close, seniors have found creative ways to present their final projects on online platforms. While the Department of Film uploaded the five senior films on Vimeo and hosted a Q&A on Zoom, the Department of Studio Art took a different approach.
On Thursday, May 7, an email was sent out to the student body announcing the opening of the 2020 Annual Senior Student Exhibition. Clicking on the attached email link transports one to a professionally curated website featuring the work of the 21 studio art majors.
Created by Miles Shebar ’20 with the help of Katrina Peterson ’20 and Jane Zisman ’20, the online exhibition includes pictures of the artists with samples of their artwork. Some artists have even uploaded 3D models of their exhibitions, which would normally be displayed in the Gund Gallery. The website garnered 17,000 views in the first seven hours of its opening, according to Sarah Townsend ’20.
The artists agreed that a Zoom presentation of the artwork would be more restrictive, and felt that a website could better mimic the feeling of a gallery. In regards to creating the online exhibition, Shebar, the head designer of the website, said in an email to the Collegian, “The department had initially presented us with a design for the website, but me and a few other seniors decided that we wanted to build it on our own in order to have a little more creative freedom over how our work was presented.” The work in the Senior Exhibition spans practically every medium.
Alex Beatty ’20 constructed a roly-poly out of plywood in a project called Armadillidiidae. The wooden structure emulates the folding of the bug, which fascinated Beatty as a child, as well as many children growing up. Beatty made this structure so that it could be “experienced by adults with the same degree of excitement and wonder experienced by my childhood self.”
In Memoryscapes, Alec Clothier ’20 confronts identity, using luan, poplar, enamel paint and paint markers to construct layers of brightly colored mountain ranges.
Each set represents “the everlasting nature of the emotional associations I’ve connected with my homes,” Clothier writes in his description.
In an email to the Collegian, Clothier described the difficulty of finishing the piece at home in his “small, poorly lit, poorly ventilated and extremely crowded garage space,” rather than the bright, spacious Horvitz Hall studio. “On nice days I could open the garage door to let fresh air in,” Clothier said, “but on bad days I just hoped that the fumes from my various paints wouldn’t suffocate me.”
Daniela Grande ’20, in a photo series entitled multiple trace, explores how the neuroscience theory of “multiple trace” can be documented through rhythm and color. Grande took photos through a car window of “vast spaces between cities as well as time” and digitally stitched separate moments from the drive into one picture. In an email to the Collegian, Grande said that she had initially planned on making a large-scale installation but submitted the work as photographs instead. Grande also runs the Senior Art Majors Instagram account, which will soon be hosting an upcoming live Q&A with the artists.
Lucy Irwin ’20 uses oil on canvas for the three portraits of My Favorite Strangers. According to Irwin’s project description, the images of the three Peirce Dining Hall workers depict “the complexity of these important yet largely overlooked relationships that many of us have throughout our lifetimes.”
Madeline Lockyer ’20 sewed together Goodwill children’s clothing and dyed fabrics for the elaborate installation entitled Cancerous Blooms. In an interview with the Collegian, Lockyer detailed the process, which included a lot of research. “Most people don’t equate art work with biology,” Lockyer wrote, “but my piece took a lot of biology research looking into cyanobacteria cells and what feeds them.” Lockyer hand-sewed the pieces of fabric into the shape of the western basin of Lake Erie. In the description on the website, Lockyer elaborates, “The tiny circles from the clothing have been sewn together to form the crawling cancers, growing outward on the wall.”
Katrina Peterson ’20 created hyper-realistic still life portraits using oil on canvas for her project Stilted Life. Peterson draws inspiration from 16th- 18th century Dutch still lifes, and instead of depicting fruits and wine on a delicately draped table, Peterson paints beers, a bong and Calvin Klein underwear. “Through placement of objects and style of rendering, I play with shock value and cultural understanding to construct a humorous interpretation of youthful lifestyles in the era of Postmodernity.”
Miles Shebar ’20 created an installation with sound effects that would have been presented in the Gund Gallery. The online version of Memory Cloud comes with a blueprint of the layout and a sample of the audio. Shebar uses speakers to play the recordings of every question he’s ever asked his Google Assistant over the past four years. In Shebar’s project description, he writes about how people’s relationship with technology has become personal, “They capture me at moments of quiet intimacy and boisterous energy.”
Making the final product at home in New York, Shebar came to terms with the limitations of construction. “Although I couldn’t physically realize the project at the scale I’d wanted, the structural elements were enough to fabricate a functioning prototype,” he explained in an email to the Collegian. Shebar also used money from his senior art fund to get the electronics that would’ve been accessible at Kenyon.
Sarah Townsend ’20 makes startling inkjet prints on pictorico film with the fitting title SCREAM. Each photo is a portrait of a woman mid-scream with a camera-shaking effect. The scream, Townsend explained, symbolizes catharsis for women living in a patriarchal society. Townsend initially planned for the series to be set up as a maze in the Gund Gallery so that the viewer confronts the frustration of being a woman in a patriarchal society, and provided the blueprint online of how this maze would have looked.
Although the artists would have preferred this exhibition to have been experienced in person, the website proved to be a very creative and engaging alternative. The website allows for viewers to browse with ease, as the artists have dedicated a year to their final projects. All 21 of the artists and their work can be found on the website: