On Tuesday night at 3 a.m., a time when most students — all right, perhaps three-quarters of students — are asleep, the senior art majors were still up in full force.

When asked for comment at this unusual hour, the graduating art majors had one thing in common: they were exhilarated, ecstatic, and utterly exhausted.

“I will write to you tomorrow,” Diego Rotalde ’05 wrote in an e-mail, “since I am very sleep deprived and must sleep now.”

Sleep, however, was probably a worthy sacrifice, as the seniors put up months (and sometimes years) of work for all to see in their senior art exhibit, which opened yesterday morning.

This exhibit is a chance for the seniors to differentiate themselves from their peers and explain all those absent nights from their dorms. This was a chance to justify countless orders of A1 Pizza, China King, innumerable cups of coffee and Red Bull.Above all, this was a chance for the artists to transcend their heartache and toil for the elation that comes only from the fruition of creativity.

The projects themselves are as diverse as their creators, from photos, to sculpture, to paintings.

Equally diverse are the sources of inspiration; Christine Ng ’05 found her inspiration in a fabric still life, leading her to paint highly original pieces.

“[They] fall between abstract and representation,” Ng said. Her art, like the mixture of cloths that she paints, is kinetic in its structure.

Some of the art projects take a more unusual form: Rotalde’s project, for example, is nowhere to be seen within the walls of the art gallery. It is a Web site detailing the work and the inspiration that went behind many of the pieces in the exhibit. The explanation of the art, then, becomes the art itself — the Web site becomes a visually poetic tribute to the efforts of his peers, and a window for the community at large to see.

And it is important to note that some of the work is still in progress. Smita Gopisetty ’05 noted that she has a long way to go before she considers her project finished.

“[I] will be doing the bulk of my work in the next month, so though I’m proud of the pieces I’ve up now, they are not fully representative of my thesis,” Gopisetty said.

Gopisetty is a former sports editor for the Yale Daily News.

Some seniors’ pieces evoke a sense of nostalgia and farewell, as perhaps they say a kind of aesthetic goodbye to Yale.

A set of pieces, by Dinah Dimalanta ’05, for example, captures images of her crew team. There is an immense joy in these pictures, as she lovingly frames her colleagues in raw, natural light; they are in the exact form in which she appreciates them. And yet, there is an immense sadness. The gauzy nature of the edges, the black and white, and the sunset light of the pictures seem to remind the viewer that the images are nothing more than memories.

That bittersweet sentiment, then, can categorize the entire exhibit. These pieces are representing the seniors’ legacy at Yale, to which they will soon become nothing more than memories.

But what a legacy they will leave.