On Wednesday, April 16, Clifford Art Gallery in Little Hall was packed, and with good reason. The senior art and art history majors were there to attend the opening reception of the gallery, which included 11 studio art projects and 19 art history thesis papers.
Clifford Gallery, which is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will continue to play host to the senior projects for the rest of the academic year.
Everyone is welcome to stop by during open hours to take a casual look through – and the thesis papers and some of the projects are housed outside the Gallery proper, which means they can be viewed during Little Hall’s opening hours. Each work has a description written by its creator for the less interpretive viewers.
Pieces outside Clifford Gallery include the art history papers, which cover everything from Van Gogh to portrayals of Mao Zedong. One wall has a line of black-and-white paintings of the same sign throughout the year by Rebecca Geller titled “Bingo Thurs.” Another hosts Sean Bj?ornsson’s set of nine semi-abstract images of architecture around campus, spray-painted in grey on cherry veneer and plexiglass, like a puzzle to match to real life.
Behind the stairs lies an incredible series by Alanna Weissman called “The Reading Room.” Set up like a reader’s dream nook, enormous white pages on the walls display quotes from Weissman’s near-eidetic memory next to the original text, all pencil tracings.
Inside the gallery, color battles with texture. Moving around the room counterclockwise from the door, digital prints in color by Lindsay Young titled “Mentor” show the power people can have in impacting a life, while black-and-white pen-and-ink graphic art by Ellie Kantor shows “What Americans Do,” based on New York Times news articles.
The next wall begins with texture: Carolina Swift’s handmade paper titled “Tears of the Papermaker,” pops off the wall in enormous white squares, showing the “constant cycle of forming, reforming, patching and mending.” Then comes “Quonnie” by Hanna Atwood, a bright combination of sheets of rice paper hanging from wood. This continues to the third wall, where Sydney Weinberg’s “Tokens of a Life” digital prints display the precious memories of her elderly subjects.
In the corner are Emily Kress’s sculptural displays of her process of recognizing mental illness and her chosen medium to raise awareness of obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Two of her pieces, entitled “Ruminations I and II,” displayed nail polish on clear plexiglass and a line of text on clear backing, hanging from the ceiling and pooled on the floor.
The final part of the display holds two more artists. The first, Jessica Elena Aquino, painted three enormous self-portraits titled “La Mirada.”
“I chose specific angles of perception, ‘the gaze,’ as a way to raise questions: who holds the power in this encounter, who is the viewer, who is the subject on display?” Aquino wrote of the beautifully confrontational faces.
The second artist, Melissa G??mez-Herrera, created three digital print sets with bilingual titles.
“I am not here to educate you about what it is to be Latina, Hispanic, Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicana, Tejana, Mestiza, Ind?-gena or any other ethnic category, but to complicate it,” G??mez-Herrera wrote in her description. And complicating things – perceptions, comprehension, beauty, art – is exactly what all the 2014 seniors did.