Studio art theses on display in Staniar

Studio art majors reveal semester-long works

Asha Campbell

Six studio art majors presented their senior theses at the Staniar Gallery in Wilson Hall on March 31. The event was accompanied with a reception to celebrate the artists. Their work will be on display until April 10.

In addition to creating their works, the students are required to submit artist statements, label information, work with deadlines, photograph their work for publicity, and work with the curators to figure out the best way to display their pieces.

“As Director of the Staniar Gallery, I guide the students through this process and oversee the installation,” Clover Archer said. “This year, the student Staniar Gallery interns worked closely with the seniors and were involved in selecting and sequencing the works.”

Ashley Little, ‘16, one of the three Staniar Gallery interns, worked with the senior studio art majors to curate their exhibits. Each intern was assigned two seniors and together they figured out how the work would be presented both as individual pieces and as a group in the Staniar Gallery.

Little said she looked forward to the reception.

“It gives the W&L community a chance to meet with the artists, ask questions, and discuss what they have been working on for the past two years,” she said.

Amira Hegazy, ‘15, created life-size self-portraits with limbs that can be manipulated into different contortions.

“A main element of my work is play, and allowing myself to let go of the preconceptions of art needing to have a meaning at every step of the process,” Hegazy said.

Alee Johnson, ‘15,  said she drew inspiration from the Transcendentalists’ transparent viewpoint to create unique landscapes. She created mixed media works by using a diluted paint mixed with sand onto the canvas.

“By exploring an artistic approach where happenstance and process generate the work, I choose to emphasize the transcendental experience of the natural world as I blur the distinctions between sky, water, and land,” Johnson said.

Hannah Paulk, ‘15, said her exhibit was influenced by large group portraits from the Dutch Golden Age. She said she had the opportunity to see a number of them at the Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands while she studied abroad.

Paulk served as her own model, playing multiple parts in a contemporary setting. Her photographs contrast the traditional Dutch portraits that feature wealthy and influential people by choosing to feature middle-class women carrying out everyday tasks.

“Through my photography, I wanted to create something that I have never explored before,” Paulk said. “I wanted to capture the complexity with a subtle sense of humor in each image I composed.”

Nicki Ross, ‘15, said she was inspired by the patterns in nature, particularly the veins in leaves. Her installation presents pieces strewn across the floor, in the hopes of getting the viewers to physically interact with the pieces. She said she wants people to actually pick up and hold the pieces for a greater sense of intimacy.

“I am enamored by earthen designs, and trying to capture their subtlety and celebrate their mystifying character is my hope,” Ross said.

Eileen Small, ‘15, created prints that reflect her childhood in the oil-rich area of West Texas, known as Permian Basin. As a child, Small said she saw similarities between the machines and oil refineries all around her and the fairy tales she read.

“In this body of work, graphic pop-ups and neon cutouts give presence and tangibility to the romantic industrial structures I have been re-imaging since my youth,” Small said.

Ryan Johnson, ‘15, produced non-representational prints that he said explore the boundary between our world and a world beyond ours.

“I was happy to see that so many people came to support the studio art students,” said Karen Santana-Garces, ’17. “I think we sometimes forget how big a presence art has on our campus and seeing the senior projects gave us a better look into the amazing works being produced in Wilson.”

For photographs from the exhibit, check out The Ring Tum Phi’s Facebook page.