Featured artwork from the 2010 Senior Art Theses Exhibition

Liz Sieng

Photo Credit : Bowman

Imagine having your senior thesis openly available on campus for anyone to view or critique. For studio art majors, this comes as no surprise.  In the Whitman Studio Art Department, spring semester ends with the Senior Art Theses Exhibition, a month-long event for senior art majors to show off their final projects as undergraduate students.

A crowd of students and professors gathered in Sheehan Gallery in Olin Hall last Friday evening, April 23, to witness the opening of the exhibition. This year the exhibition will show the work of 12 student artists. Here is glimpse into a few of the pieces this year:

“One Pair of Jeans” by Mia Huth

“It’s an examination and a critique of our interaction with the consumer goods in our society. In a capitalist society, consumerism is largely based on the exploitation of labor,” said Huth.

Her piece consists of a disassembled pair of jeans: a zipper, a button, copper rivets and an abundance of thread. Using the thread as the central focus of her piece, Huth constructs a pattern of crisscrossing lines woven around needles across a blank wall. However, the piece appears unfinished, as the viewer notices a spool of excess thread that remains connected to the pattern and open for use. In her artist’s statement, Huth invites viewers to join in the weaving process.

“I put so many hours into unraveling the jeans and then tying the thread together. It gave me a new understanding of what factory labor must be like,” said Huth. “I wanted to viewer share in that in some way. If someone did go into the gallery and spend a significant amount of time weaving, they would experience something similar.”

“A Future Built for Two” by Warren McDermott

During a three-day solo venture in the Blue Mountains, McDermott came to a realization that continues to inspire him.

“The experience I had was about realizing the connections I have with people around me and about growing as an individual person. I can’t really do [the latter] without people being a part of it,” said McDermott.

His piece consists of a pair of large and strikingly beautiful carved and polished wooden rocking chairs. Intertwined at the feet and joined at the armrests, the coupled rocking chairs invoke the notion of relationship held by time and intimacy. Each chair has its own unique shape and design as a result of free-form carving. As a student of sculpture, McDermott has focused on woodwork in his senior year.

“I didn’t have any plans or sketches. I just kind of made [the rocking chairs] by letting them take their own form,” said McDermott. “If you’re making furniture or something that has to fit together, that’s usually not the way you go about doing it. This gave room for each chair to have its own personality.”

“Self-Portrait” by Julia DaRosa

“My main goal would be to get people to interact with it,” said DaRosa, describing the function of her sculpture-painting.

Her piece consists of multiple oil paintings on mounted canvasses and a suspended layer of glass. Faces of people cover the canvas and glass paintings, which according to DaRosa, are faces of family, friends, strangers and other people who have impacted her life. At first glance, the paintings come off as a curious arrangement of monotonous blue textures and pictures of faces. In navigating inside and around the paintings, the viewer begins to notice an unavoidable relationship between his or her existence and a surrounding community.

“You can walk into it and see your reflection and your shadow cast on the walls and on the piece,” explained DaRosa. “This piece is about personal and collective identity.”

“The Life and Works of Gillian Barnes” by Iris Alden

“I came up with the idea of creating a fictional character a long time ago,” said Alden, explaining the underlying idea of her piece.

Combining her interests of writing, photography and creative thinking, Alden grounded her piece in the personality of “Gillian Barnes,” a deceased bookstore clerk who led a private and unknown life of artistic production. Presenting a wide arrangement of household furniture, artwork and personal belongings, Alden creates a living space that commands the entrance and exploration of viewers.

“I was interested in creating artifacts and exploring an alter-ego,” said Alden. “Every time I thought of a new thing to put in, it was a really exciting moment.”

The Senior Art Exhibition will run free and open to the public in Sheehan Gallery in Olin Hall until May 23.