Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Fouts joins Sheehan to accommodate record number of studio art thesis participants

Friday, April 22 marks the beginning of the studio art major thesis exhibition at Sheehan Art Galley and Fouts Center for Visual Arts, an event that allows Whitman College seniors to fulfill the “written” portion of their thesis.

“Instead of writing a formal dissertation, the students work over the course of the academic year to produce a body of work that supports a specific idea,” said Director of the Sheehan Gallery Dawn Forbes. “Then they present aspects of that body in the gallery.”

This year, the exhibition will feature more students than have ever participated in the past. A total of 17 studio art majors will display their work, with the work of 13 students at Sheehan Galley and four students at Fouts Center.

Installation by Jea Alford. Photo Credit: Julia Bowman

Forbes believes that this increased group of students can be attributed to the increase in studio art professors.

“The studio art faculty expanded from essentially what was a two-person faculty to an art studio faculty of nine,” said Forbes. “I think what you can see as a result of that expansion is increased diversity in the students’ work because they get to work with a variety of different faculty and in a variety of different mediums.”

Accordingly, there will be a wide range of artistic mediums on display at the exhibitions.

“We have everything from cartoonish wallpaper to ambient noise projections to ceramics,” said Exhibitions and Collections manager Kynde Kiefel. “Medium-wise, it is one of our most diverse shows.”

Students have invested a great deal of time into their respective art pieces, and the exhibition will show only a small portion of the work they created throughout the course of their senior year.

“Part of the process is [that] the students have to edit their work. It’s an evolution; just like writing a paper, there are drafts and redrafts, false starts and tangents,” said Forbes.

The exhibition also serves to include the public in the art process, serving as many students’ first experience with professional displays of their art.

“Ideally, the senior thesis exhibition is a means of opening a dialogue with the rest of the campus, a way to shake off the insularity,” said contributing senior studio art major Noah Greene.

In addition, students receive the benefit of advice from an experienced professional throughout the process of putting together their piece for the exhibition. Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, the curator for the Portland Art Museum, is this year’s resident expert and guest lecturer at the opening.

“[Working with a professional] is always a really valuable and rewarding experience,” said Kiefel.

The event will begin with the lecture at 5:30 p.m. in the Sheehan Gallery and will move to the Fouts Critique Space at 7:30 p.m. to allow the students, family members and other members of the community in attendance to view the rest of the theses. The works will be on display from April 22 to May 21.

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