SSA showcases student art

6th Science, Society, and the Arts conference features student work across a range of disciplines

Sam Bramlett

Etchings of inner demons, abstract symbols, commentary on human sexuality, the art displayed in Wilson Hall for the Society, Science, and Art conference showcased the level of expressive ability as well as artistic skill Washington and Lee students are capable of.

The conference, which is held on campus every two years, took place last Friday. SSA allows students to share ideas and discuss topics important to them and their academic experience at W&L. Panels and discussions in a variety of disciplines were held across campus.

Amira Hegazy, ‘15, is an artist who specializes in portraiture. She was also a member of the committee which organized the event and helped to work on the many signs along the colonnade advertising SSA. She said the work she chose to display for the conference was a collection of etchings which she said represented the demons of everyday life.

“Usually portraits represent the most beautiful things in life, whereas demons represent some of my worst qualities,” Hegazy said. “It’s about self-actualization.”

Self-actualization may have also been on the mind of Nathaniel Purdy, ‘16, whose work, entitled, “Purdy’s Paintings,” laid bare the expectations one has for art as well as sexuality.

Purdy’s neo-expressionist works portrayed celebrities in the nude, highlighting their sex in a simplistic, almost childlike manner, perhaps suggesting the crude realities of everyday sexual attraction.

Bailey Russell, ‘16, also attempted to lend a different perspective to everyday life. Her photography series featured photos of her family all wearing masks.

“I’ve grown to like the mask because it isolates the eyes and the subjects’ body language,” Russell said. “You focus on their mannerisms instead of their face.”

Also on display was a set of monotype prints of abstract symbols by Ryan Johnson, ‘15. Johnson’s symbols dominate their respective canvases. He said his intention was to encourage the viewer to think about what each symbol means.

“My prints explore the relationship between text and power,” Johnson said. “I construct symbols and signs against a white background that exist in the intersection of language and icons. Each sign demands to be deciphered, referencing the power of text.”

This year marked the 6th SSA conference at Washington and Lee. The next conference will be held in 2017.