A tapestry made out of paper flowers, photos exploring the quirkiness of humans, a portrait made out of black masking tape and hanging hands are just some of the pieces of art that comprise the Art 500 final student show in the Gelb Gallery.
The exhibit was unveiled last Sunday and featured the Art 500 independent artistic projects, which students are required to complete as their final for the yearlong course. The course includes visits to regional art museums for research and a winter term audit of an art class.
Art 500 student artists include Christa Choy ’12, Alexandra Donovan ’13, Evan Eads ’12, Raquel Gordon ’12, Cameron Hastings ’12, Madeleine Kim ’12, Caroline von Klemperer ’12, Krissy Pelley ’13, Natalia Slattery ’13 and Kiki Somers ’12.
“It’s always so amazing to see how totally different everyone’s works are every year. There’s really no specification to the project; it has to do with the students inventing their own projects,” said Therese Zemlin, Instructor in Art and Instructor of Art 500.
Inspired by the works of American artist Sol LeWitt and her Printmaking Class, Choy depicted four interpretations of water movement through etchings on four Plexiglas panels in “The Water Project.”
“I decided to do [my project] because it creates texture through the transparency. It seems like it almost has depth even though it’s colorless and two-dimensional,” said Choy.
According to Choy, the most exciting part of her project was the end. She did not have a picture of what it would look like because up until installation, the Plexiglas was still covered with blue sheet to protect it from being scratched up.
Using a different artistic technique than Choy, Eads and Hastings collaborated to create a collection of thought-provoking photographs. Eads and Hastings were successful in conveying the message of human eccentricity and interaction with the audience through their artwork.
Two of pieces are “Acting out a Dream of Eating Naked in Commons” and “Surgically Implanting Grass into the Abdomen.”
“I think [Eads and Hastings] wanted [Acting out a Dream of Eating Naked in Commons] to be a representation of the acts of freedom that sometimes humans think of but have never dared to do,” said Harry Wright ’14.
On the wall next to Eads and Hastings’ photographs is Donovan’s “Conformity,” a tapestry made out of paper flowers, acetate paper and stringed toothpicks.
Donovan was inspired by the college process and through her tapestry conveyed her opinion of how people conform to fit a certain college profile. Parts of her piece did not seem to come together until the end, just as people cannot always fit these profiles.
“It’s a challenging piece because the process was really about getting to know each material by figuring out the constraints and how to manipulate them,” said Donovan.
Exploring human nature, Somers used a 35mm camera to capture the human tendency to notice superficial changes rather than substantial differences. Through her photographs, the majority of which are black and white, Somers explored the human “take-it-for-granted” attitude.
By using typical Andover scenes and having her friends volunteer as subjects, Somers made her artwork more relatable and eye opening for her audience.
Somers’ represented her own interpretation of the psychological gravitation of society and the human eye through her choice of tinting some of the photographs in her contact sheet.
Next to Somers’ piece is von Klemperer’s large-scaled panel of Plexiglas covered in 4,082 pieces of black masking tape. The tape forms the facial features of von Klemperer’s close friend, Aube Rey Lescure ’11.
Fascinated with the concept of the diversity of the human face, von Klemperer wanted to connect her subject’s exterior to her subject’s interior by merging realism with abstraction.
“I had never done an art piece that I’m emotionally attached to. I wanted to do something of my friend so I can have some kind of emotional investment in it,” said von Klemperer.
The next project, Pelley’s “Untitled, 2012,” displayed a set of hanging hands. The hands, made out of wax and wire wrapped in cheesecloth, are replicas of human hands and hang in the middle of the gallery.
Through the imperfect shapes of the hands, Pelley sends the message of the self-destruction that comes with people’s attempt to reach perfection.
Seho Young ’15, who provided his hand for a wax cast in Pelley’s project, said, “I like how [the hands are] all pointing towards one direction, reaching towards something I can’t see. [Pelley] told me that [the hand were] going to be [those of] zombies, and it looks great despite the change in plans.”
Also exploring the theme of perfection, Gordon used digital photography to challenge the Renaissance traditional idea of beauty, defined as pale and slender European women. Through a series of photographs featuring different models draped in velvet cloth, Gordon shows that every woman, no matter what her race or body type is, can be that “Renaissance” woman.
“I got the idea after looking at the subjects of Renaissance paintings that I studied while taking Art History last winter. It was hard to figure out how I wanted the girls to pose and be dressed; I really wanted every pose to send a message,” said Gordon in an e-mail to The Phillipian.
Aku Ahmah-Tagoe, Teaching Fellow in English, said, “After you read the wall quote, you are prompted to look for the different shapes, sizes and ethnicities that are represented in it. It’s a really interesting viewing experience.”
Kim meticulously drew more than a dozen scenes and corners of her home, illuminated with projections of unfocused shots of family pictures, for her project.
According to Kim, the effect that the blurry projections of the pictures have on her sketches represents the dim omnipresence of the memories that she holds of her home, embodied in drawings of her childhood bedroom and a close-up view of the stove controls.
“I wanted to do something about my home and my family, so I focused on the home as a location as well as what it means to me. I added the projection aspect later on to add that element of the meaning of home to me. It was a challenge deciding what to draw because I had to think with an outsider’s perspective,” said Kim.
The only paint-based artwork in the room, Slattery’s “Balances” expressed her fascination with scale and light.
In a two-part painting piece of artwork, Slattery expressed her fascination with scale and light in “Balances.” Slattery’s painting depicts a scene off of a patio overlooking mountainous scenery. The larger painting draws the audience into it, while the smaller painting is a zoomed out version and is more removed.
“I wanted to play with distance and views to explore what kind of effects a certain take of a scenery or size can have. In the beginning I was inspired by a painting where the light was coming through the clouds. I just wanted to take it to another level,” said Slattery.
Efua Peterson ’14 said, “I really like the larger painting. [Slattery] did a great job on the clouds and the way the light just comes through in between. It gives the larger painting an ‘in-the-moment’ feeling compared to the smaller one.”
Zemlin said, “A piece isn’t completely done until it’s put up on the wall for people to see. The ultimate function for a work of art is to interact with people.”
The Art 500 exhibit will be on display in the Gelb Gallery until the end of the Spring Term.