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Spotlight on: Senior Studio Art Major Exhibition | The Gustavian Weekly

By Anh Tran - Staff Writer | May 10, 2019 | Variety

The Senior Studio Art Majors Exhibition launches in the last month of every academic year, showcasing the work by senior studio art majors at Gustavus Adolphus College. A part of the studio art curriculum, this annual juried exhibition serves as the platform for graduating studio art majors to share and celebrate the work they have culminated over their years at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The Senior Studio Art Majors Exhibition 2019 is titled Fruition features multi-media, multicultural, and multi-dimensional artworks by senior studio art Majors Nicholas Beck, Emily Dzieweczynski, Sarah Link, Gino Sahagun, Christopher Schneider, Prabhjot Singh, and Megan Weaver.

Senior Classics with Greek and Art Studio Double Major
Nicholas Beck has five pieces on display, through which he hopes to convey “an honest understanding of structural
elements in nature.” The collection consists of two graphic and ink sketchbooks, blue graphite, graphite, and red graphite on papers.

“These pieces come from a body of work dedicated to anatomical studies,” Beck said, and contain his observation of life.

“Each mark of my pencil reflects the movement of my eye as it bounces across form. My drawings range in time from quick impressions to long, controlled studies. Sketchbooks are particularly suited to allow drawing to be a process of research and discovery, rather than the creation of individual results or products. Larger surfaces provide space for the development of a time-intensive study with a singular focus,” Beck said.

While Beck elaborates through artworks his observatory study of the external world, Senior Psychological Science and Art Studio double major Emily Dzieweczynski communicates her curiosity for human empathy in her multi-media pieces.

“My portfolio moves between science, art, and technology in content and form. It questions the lengths and limitations of these fields when they intersect at the concept of empathy,” Dzieweczynski said.

Her works include three mixed media pieces, a watercolor on board, and an ECG paper.

Featuring furniture pieces, Being Close and Empathy Reading Room offer visitors interactive spaces to directly examine and communicate with the artworks themselves and their central concept—empathy.

Being Close consists of a bed, speakers, books, and sound generated from a DVD player. The Hillstrom Museum of Art instructs visitors to “lie down on the mattress, avoiding the speaker embedded in the center, and listen to the low-level audio playing through the speaker while paging through the accompanying books.”

“The work remains interdisciplinary as it explores these facets of empathy. It considers how interfaces—physical material, digital platforms, our own skin—can act as barriers to empathy, abstracting the body, or conversely how they can transcribe, transfer, and transport emotional remembrances and experiences, requiring intimacy and vulnerability,” Dzieweczynski said.

Similar to Dzieweczynski, Senior Management and Studio Art double major Sarah Link also explores an abstract concept throughout her artworks on display—transparency.

Her works in the exhibition include two oil on canvas pieces and a meticulously forged and arranged bronze. All three of them draw inspiration from a Gustavus yearbook.

“This year, my attention has been held by a Gustavus yearbook from 1971. After viewing the first couple pages of the book, I realized just how much the school and its level of transparency has changed since the 70s, and not necessarily for the
better,” Link said.

The senior chose images from the yearbook and reinterpreted them in her paintings, using yellow ochre and a 70s color palette, highlighting nostalgic imageries, such as “glasses, hairdos, or Adidas stripes on shoes,” Link said. “The photographs I used from the yearbook as inspiration were abstracted to obfuscate their original content and context. This process shines light on the superficial way photos are taken and shared today,” Link said.

“My work employs the human form, abstract figurative forms, and the layering of colors … as formal elements to support [her] expressive intent,” driven by her “experience as a woman of color and [her] reflection on solitude, relationships, and femininity,” Biology and Studio Art double major Prabhjot Singh said.

“The organic collage of acrylic paint and the texture of the oil on canvas adds a quality of rawness to the work. To deepen my connection to the acrylic works, the buildup is done directly with my fingers, allowing me to physically move the paint and place the imagery on the surface in an intimate way,” Singh said.

Last, Biology and Studio Art double major Megan Weaver explores “the portrayal and presence of women in the maledominated art world. Through my work, my inquiry spans a large frame of time, and a diversity of two-dimensional media.”

Her body of work featured in the exhibition includes an acrylic and embroidery floss on canvas, two oil on canvas, an embroidery floss on denim, and an acrylic on canvas pieces.

Her embroidery floss on denim piece—The Humility of Flowers I & II—won the Art and Art History Department Purchase Award. This piece portrays feminine figures, highlighting the association between women and flowers.

“My use of stereotypically feminine pinks stems from my fascination with color association and my desire to illuminate my identification as a female artist in a comically overdone manner,” Weaver said.

The exhibition will remain on display from May 4 to June 1 in the Hillstrom Museum of Art.

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