Various Senior Art Projects Reviewed

Jackson Leeds

Last week the Art and Art History Department hosted its annual reception for seniors and their final projects. In addition to the theses that the students wrote, there was an exhibition of student art projects, ranging from photography to installation art to mixed media projects.

Thea Traff exhibited a series of photos displaying the world with visual harmony and serenity. Her photos are similar to artist Andreas Gursky’s in the way their simple compositions allow for a meditative experience. Most of her photos display a satisfying visual symmetry and force the viewer to see the world in a different way.

In Jacqueline O’Neill’s large, square oil paintings, there is a significant amount of attention paid to the surface of the painting and how brushstrokes and texture appear on the canvas. According to O’Neill, surface is one of the main considerations that shape our experience of the natural world. Her paintings eroticize the idea of texture and make us think differently about the potential of the canvas.

The rubber hands and feet by Savannah Brown are perhaps the single most terrifying objects on her entire canvas. Stacked in an eerie pile, the hands and feet are accumulated in the corner of the room. The way in which the fake body parts descend from the upper corner of the ceiling is creepy, but also visually interesting from a compositional standpoint. This piece is almost like a waterfall of brutal depictions of hands and feet, which are likely to overwhelm the viewer.

Sarah Basset’s work is similar to Brown’s in the sense that it is creepy and related to the body. The objects she creates and places in the corner of Clifford Gallery look like limbs, but up close can be seen to be stockings filled with sawdust. The other sculptures Bassett places above the “limbs” on the floor are more organic and simply beautiful, as opposed to disturbing.

Lizey Burkly showcased paintings that are abstract, colorful and dependent on patterns. The canvases are large, which allows one to see the details of each pattern she has created. The paintings have a tribal feel similar to the works of the late Keith Haring, but also are somewhat mathematical like those of Sol Lewitt.

There were also some interesting papers presented. In her thesis, Morgan Roth discussed the impact of the fashion industry on modern art and the popularity of the Alexander McQueen show at the Met. The paper was one of the few that dealt with contemporary art, while others focused on less recent issues.

The seniors should all feel extremely proud of their work, as the creation of studio art and authorship of art history theses such as theirs is not a feat to be taken lightly. Although the quality of their work is intimidating, it also serves as an inspiration for students at Colgate, even to those who do not love art.

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