Graduate artists showcase thesis work

On Friday, the School of Art’s Green Hall was abuzz with activity as painting and printmaking majors celebrated the debut of their thesis work.

The show, which featured the work of 11 of the 23 painting and printmaking majors in the school’s 2013 graduating class, is the first of a series of thesis shows to go on view this semester. Students had been making the work for the show — ranging from 10-foot paintings of Benjamin Franklin to miniature pamphlets that visitors could take home with them — since mid-December. While the style and subject of the works varied from artist to artist, many were playful and reflected the artists’ personal stories.

“A lot of us have a constant dialogue with each other,” Kathyrn Gegenheimer ART ’13 said.

Sadie Wechsler ART ’13 said the exhibit seemed more playful than last year’s thesis show, noting the use of color and humor in several pieces. Meena Hasan ART ’13 said many members of her exhibit group created more image-based pieces than abstract or installation-based works — a trend she thinks is unique to her art school class. Hasan’s own work deals with skin and how people relate to surfaces. Her images project an endless state of potentiality — they all depict actions about to take place, from opening to separating to awakening.

She added that many pieces also deal with autobiographical narrative. Tammy Nguyen’s ART ’13 work addresses the problems many people have with relating to their ancestry. She said she thought about how people deal with stories passed down by family members through fantasy and imagination, and used those approaches in her work.

“Everyone in the school gets close to what’s internally urgent,” Nguyen said.

Thesis shows like these present the graduating class with their main chance to formally present the year’s work to the public, Mark Gibson ART ’13 explained. The shows also offer students the opportunity to see what their classmates have been working on and to exhibit with their entire class, he added.

Samuel Messer, associate dean of the School of Art, said thesis shows provide students with a chance to reflect. By scheduling the shows months before the end of the year, students get a chance to see the show “not as an ending but as a beginning,” he added.

“The whole point of being in school, with thesis shows or with anything else, is about clarifying your project, clarifying your work habit, clarifying what you’ve been doing,” Gibson said.

Part Two of the Thesis show, which features the work of the 12 other painting and printmaking majors, will run from Feb. 23 to 28.

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