On Display: Senior Projects at Clifford Gallery

The Clifford Gallery resides in a spacious room through a passageway on the right from the front entrance of Little Hall. The department of art & art history uses the gallery to display art pieces from private collections as well as student projects from over the years. Particularly momentous are the annual Senior Exhibitions, which put on display the culmination of skill and knowledge from years of curriculum-driven experience channeled through a “concept that is explored in a selected drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpting, video and [or] digital technology,” according to the department. The Senior Art Exhibition of three studio projects and eight art history projects are on display from Dec. 7 to Feb. 8, Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The three art concentrators were Rebecca Sweigart, Yinuo (Helen) Lin and Charlotte Reaman. There were only a third as many art concentrators as art history concentrators in the exhibit, yet they still managed to fill three-quarters of the room, with each project stretching an entire wall. Sweigart and Reaman used oil paintings on panels and canvas, respectively, while Lin used graphite and charcoal on paper.  They used multiple illustrations, incorporating various personalized materials to depict what the artist describes in an adjacent museum caption. The projects do not represent a specific experience, incident or occasion, but rather emote abstract sentiment, feeling or question. Prominent themes explored by this year’s seniors include identity, discovery, beauty, longing, belonging and nature.

Maurine Fan, a senior and art minor, took notice of a specific studio project titled Somewhere that related the theme of “home” in the Wizard of Oz to the artist’s personal life as a transfer student from Beijing, China, who has struggled to find what home meant to her. This artwork resonated with Fan at a personal level and, coincidentally, was made by her friend, senior Yinou (Helen) Lin.

Fan explained, “I am struck by Helen Lin’s Somewhere, a piece I relate to on a personal level. Like [Lin] and many international students at Colgate who have moved across the continent at a young age, I often struggled to answer the question: ‘Where do you call home?’”

Fan elaborated that by conventional definition, “home” is where you were born or grew up, but the cookie-cutter definition of “home” should be revised. Fan was delighted that Helen re-invents the definition of “home” to mean a place from either our present or our past that gives us a sense of “familiarity or belonging”; home does not have to be “the same ‘home’ that exists in our memory [that likely no longer exists]. Home can be anywhere you have loved ones.”

Wendy Wu, a sophomore currently taking an art class with Fan, remarked, “The artists are aware of how people’s memories, impressions, feelings and perceptions of the world are constantly shattering and reshaping self.” She also was moved by Lin’s Somewhere and shared how she has “similar experiences remembering places [she] once loved that gradually give [her] more of a sense of loss than a sense of connection or rooting.”

The second group of projects was composed by eight art history majors: Audrey Chan, Chase Cleary, Hannah Ditto, Yiting (Eliza) Ge, Audrey Hong, Sophie Mack, Madison Motroni and Lucia Villanueva Alonso. There were pamphlets that researched and displayed other people’s art and constructed a narrative around the artist or art style to shed light on unique and obscured history or fact, build an argument, or explore a theory. Inside the pamphlets is an abstract (thesis) followed by a supporting image alongside a narrating description about the aforementioned artist(s), theme or style.

Sophomore Leila Bekaert, a film and media studies concentrator, was exceptionally keen to study art history projects. Bekaert expressed how she really appreciated them because “it’s not common to see artwork displayed alongside written works.” She felt that the addition gave a unique “interactive medium to the typical artwork and labels and that the combination of “visual art and written papers created a really creative space to display the seniors’ hard work.”

The students at the exhibit appeared to exemplify an uncommon intensity of interest and learning in the senior exhibition. Heed the indications evidenced by your passionate peers and give it a visit. The following is the complete list of titles and a link to a digital image gallery provided by Clifford Gallery: 


Studio Senior Projects


Rebecca Sweigart

Vantage Point

Oil on panel, Various sizes. 2022


Charlotte Reaman

Dusk. Twilight. Vibrance. Solitude.

Oil on canvas. 2022


Yinuo (Helen) Lin


Graphite and Charcoal on paper. 2022


Art History Senior Projects


Audrey Chan

Recognition & Reconciliation: Developing Indigenous Sovereignty in Contemporary American Art Museums


Chase Cleary

Dissection and Decolonization: Analyzing Hannah Höch and Grete Stern’s Disruption of the Male Gaze


Hannah Ditto

Election and Refinement of the Psyche: A Look at Two of Charles Moore’s “Houses of the Architect”


Yiting (Eliza) Ge

A Journey of Self-Exploration: Reframe He Chengyao’s Performance Art beyond Political Subversion


Audrey Hong

Decolonizing Museums with Aura and Authenticity: From the Universal Museum’s Greatest Defense in its Worst Enemy


Sophie Mack

The Endurance of Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood”


Madison Motroni

An Exploration of Modern Connoisseurship through the lens of the Rembrandt Research Project


Lucia Villanueva Alonso

Reframing Wooden Frames: The Double-Transculturation of Mudéjar Strapwork Wooden Ceilings


Clifford Gallery has its own website where you can effortlessly browse all the artwork, present or past, ever exhibited at the Gallery: https://www.cliffordgallery.org/exhibitions/