Senior Art Thesis Exhibition 2019

Vlad Voinich, Staff Reporter

On Friday, Apr. 19th the Senior Art Thesis Exhibition debuted in the Sheehan Gallery. The exhibition includes a wide variety of artwork by senior art majors’ work. However, the common theme throughout was the use of art to express deep personal beliefs and emotions. Whether it was through the medium of painting or sculpture, the art majors reflected on what is important to them.

Codie Conching ’19 presented her piece “Ola: Our Sustenance,” a collection of postcards hung by fish lines from the ceiling. All the postcards are dedicated to the artist’s home island O’ahu, Hawaii. The work discusses the merging of Western capitalist world views with Hawaiian culture and values. The postcards reflect an idealized reality that is manufactured to attract tourists, a major industry in Hawaii.

The thesis project of Yuanhao ‘Eric’ Gu ’19 is called “Dead Poets’ Singing Contest: An Autobiography.” Gu’s work is a combination of different artistic ways of self-expression, for instance, sculpture, installations and painting. The piece is a self-portrait comprised of different objects, such as canvas, paintbrushes, paintings and a music stand. The hectic nature of the exhibit challenges viewer’s understanding of order, and showcases Gu’s navigation of his own identity in the process.  

“I really enjoyed Antonio’s magazine, there were many phrases in it that spoke to me, I could tell he put a lot of thought into the words he used. Also, Samantha Tong’s pictures that she had in the living room forced me to critically analyze the sayings that I use without thinking,” said Segun Sodipo ’19, an attendee of the opening party.

Antonio Tharp ’19 created a magazine named “Agony,” which revolves around words, images and concepts that matter to him. The magazine includes photography, poems, illustrations and more. This work is deeply personal and courageously demonstrates vulnerability of the artist behind it.

Samantha Tong ’19, the creator of “Cured and Manicured,” put together a bright room full of different objects typically found in a household: food shelves, framed images, an aquarium, a cage, a table. One of the pieces in the installation room is a table covered with turf instead of tablecloth, and tiny shovels as utensils. In addition, there was also an aquarium housing a mould of perfectly manicured hands. Influenced by Tong’s interest in the environment, a focal point of this work is the relationship between humans and animals.

“The entire point is that we are talking about the divide between the natural and human worlds. That is why mixing them and complicating it makes a tension rise,” said Tong.

An interesting combination of materials can be found in Prachi Patel’s ’19 work “Anavastha.” The artist created images on pieces of wood that were later attached to the wall where they are displayed now. This work explores a wide variety of topics relevant to the personal sentiments of the artist.

“I’ve been working with narrative construction. Building layers and revealing layers is one of the ways to look at how the narratives are constructed, especially cultural narratives,” said Patel.

Walking through the gallery space, there is no doubt that each artist has their own a unique style. Using materials like wood, yarn, plaster, paint and much more, the senior art majors have managed to fill an empty space with excitement and dynamism. The space will continue to be filled with this variety of artwork till the end of this semester.