On Wednesday, 19 graduating art majors hosted their fellow colleagues to an opening reception in Kittredge Gallery for this year’s Senior Art Show, exhibiting pieces that culminated their artistic careers at Puget Sound.
The reception included the announcements of various student awards and which piece was chosen for display in Collins next year. The artists showed their pieces via 2D and 3D mediums—five of them exhibited sculptures whereas the remaining 14 exhibited their work through print, paint, mixed media or digital media.
According to Jenny Katz, one of the show’s presenting artists, “It is the largest group of senior art majors that will graduate from Puget Sound in years—that means we had more pieces and less space to show them, so we had to be very creative with how we displayed everything.”
Typically, the number of graduating senior art majors is somewhere around 15 rather than almost 20, which prevented them from exhibiting as many pieces.
“Each work was able to hold a lot more weight,” Katz added.
Katz presented her piece via digital media so space wasn’t as much of a concern for her as it it was for sculptors or painters. Exhibiting potent conceptual satire, Katz’s piece depicted the tumor-like presence of smartphones, Facebook and other social media in our lives and how they affect the sincerity of our connections with each other.
“I’m especially fascinated with people who are now spending hours socializing online every day. It begs the question: shouldn’t we be connecting face-to-face, out in the real world rather than in a totally virtual space?” Katz mused.
However, other artists were more technical in their approach to their work, such as wood artist Zach Kotel. His pieces were comprised of self-portraits, which were imprinted onto wooden panels through the use of staining, burning, poplar and epoxy.
After studying abroad in Paris last year, Kotel returned to Puget Sound with refined skills to apply to his final presentation in order to “offer a glimpse into the thorough thought and research that led to these artistic developments,” he said.
Kotel added, “To me, it is important that a viewer responds personally in some way to my work. I hope that they find something that resonates with them in my pieces that is independent from my own personal intentions in creating the work.”
Some other intriguing pieces included Taylor Woodruff’s sculpture, which blurred the distinction between low culture items, such as comic book sketches or graffiti, and high culture items, such as the Kittredge gallery itself.
Allison Grimm’s sculpture depicted the fading glory of once prosperous, now dilapidated houses from her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
Skye Pascall and Emily Johnston had similar concepts for their pieces, which were small, bulbous sculptures, but accomplished them through different methods—Pascall utilized wax whereas Johnston employed resin.
As for the future of Puget Sound’s graduating artists, some plan to make a career out of their various crafts and will final projects as sturdy material for their portfolios.
Expanding on her experiences with digital media, Katz intends to pursue filmmaking, specifically documentaries. Kotel is likewise attempting to use the experiences from his final presentationto pursue a future career in graphic design. Grimm plans to attend graduate school to earn her master’s degree in art.
Pieces from the Senior Art Show will be on display and for sale until May 13, appropriately, the day of graduation.
To witness the impact these artists have left on campus, students, faculty and art enthusiasts alike could benefit from a visit to Kittredge while the expressions of their innermost thoughts remain exposed.