A sizeable crowd gathered last week on Wednesday, April 11 for the unveiling of this year’s Senior Studio Art projects. Sixteen seniors displayed their work on the first and second floors of Little Hall, a slightly smaller group compared to last year’s 28, but no less impressive by any means. From a hilariously witty mockumentary on “big game huntin'” (which actually refers to a series of episodes on hunting vegetables) to the red, drape-like organic wax sculptures fixed along the windows of the second floor, the breadth of talent and genius is evident throughout all of the projects. A wide range of mediums are employed by the students: video, paint, markers or acrylics on transparent paper, photography, lithograph, crochet and fabric, among others. The students are at liberty to display their various pieces throughout the halls, utilizing the space in engaging and unique ways.
Each year in the fall, the students begin working on the projects, what some would call the capstone of their art concentration and career at Colgate. The students are given the guidance they need along the way, be it from professors or peers, but the projects are done independently, which, when one gazes at the final products, is clearly a considerable undertaking. The group of artists, despite a deep focus on their personal projects, becomes close during the year-long process. Of the dynamic among her fellow peer artists, senior art concentrator.
“As a group we’re…generally very close,” Jessica Costea stated. “There wasn’t a high level of competition because we all work in such different ways. Yet, there was a feeling of raising the bar — we all worked very hard and made our work the best we felt it could be. This encouraged us all…to raise the level of our own personal work. We also have had so much fun together, we are a group with a lot of strong personalities and the blend is really interesting (in a good way).”
Every project is accompanied by an artist’s statement, a verbal marker that acts as a conduit for the artist to articulate, in a condensed format, their inspiration, goals or sentiments about the piece. The statements are a good beacon for viewers looking for a window in to a piece, which may seem impenetrable or unlike something he or she has seen before. It’s interesting to view the pieces before reading the artist’s statement and compare what has gone through their mind about the piece, untainted by suggestion, and then juxtaposes this with the artist’s own motives for the piece. Rather than writing the statement off as a form of influence or a dictation of what one must think about a piece, it is, in a sense, a form of intellectual discourse between artist and viewer.
Thematically, many of the pieces deal heavily with perception, our way of observing and interpreting the world around us, space and time, violence in history and the present, identity, memory, image of the self and death, but these only touch the surface. In no way could this list of abstractions comprehensively categorize any of the pieces as “this” or “that,” but rather the above functions to signify general trends based on what many of the artists have to say in their statements accompanying the pieces, which above all, are complex and multi-layered.
At a school where art is often overlooked or thought to hold a dubious, weaker presence, the Senior Arts Show is a shining example to contradict such a conclusion. The amount of time, talent and dedication spent on the projects is apparent through the magnitude and precision of each piece.
“I feel satisfied, and almost sad,” Cozzetta shared. “It’s like watching your first child get on the school bus for the first time. My senior project literally has been like a child to me. This process has also been an amazing experience – it taught me so much about how art functions in a public realm and gave me the experience to work with an amazing group of people.”
The projects will be on display from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) in Little Hall, for the rest of the semester. Available for perusing as well are the theses of the Art History concentrators, intimidating, thickly bound manuscripts, but filled with stunning and interesting information. It’s a showcase not to be missed, a radiant testimony of the artistic talent and awareness of Colgate students. And if that doesn’t spark your interest, you might be interested to search for your Facebook picture painted along the wall of the first floor in one of the projects.