Arts and Culture

“Working Title” showcases senior artwork

Last Thursday, April 23, Beard and Weil Galleries held a gallery opening and reception, displaying unique artworks created by senior Art majors. Seniors have been working hard all semester on these pieces as part of their Studio Art senior seminar. Their artwork represents their talent as artists and the techniques they have acquired as Art majors. The exhibition is called Working Title and displays artwork created by graduating seniors Brandt Berrie, Mikéla Boudette, Katie Burleson, Skyler Dunfey, Alei Foster, Tianxiao Fu, Lindsey Gillis, Zara Goldberg, Nichole Haar, Lucy Johnson, Abigail Matses, Julia Schirrmeister, Ned Uysal, Changue Wang, Shiya Wu, and Yifan Zhang.

The exhibition consists of digital photography, monotype prints, watercolor pieces, digital prints and more. Two large graphic prints are on display in the front of the gallery, created by Abigail Matses. Inspired by Andy Warhol and Pop Art, the prints question the normalization of elite fashion culture and art used in advertising.

“Muscle and Curve” by Katie Burleson, is a digital photography series that depicts the muscle structure of a female athlete. Burleson’s portraits represent the Wheaton athlete’s “strength, poise, and dedication” to what she does. Other digital photography series include photos taken by Zara Goldberg and Changyue Wang. Goldberg explores how people identify with food on a personal level, while Wang’s pictures examine “the film capital that generates hundreds of thousands of fantasies on a daily basis.”

Other students created large, captivating paintings and digitally edited prints on paper and canvas, which are on display towards the back of the gallery. Nicole Haar uses oil pastel to depict familial disputes in her series “Dirty Laundry.” Her paintings are highly representative and touch upon her personal experiences as a victim of substance-related household tragedy. Yifan Zhang’s series, “Intangibility,” is a bit more abstract, using distorted paintings of food to show how “what you want is not what you can have.”

Tianxiao Fu explores the interconnectivity among people as well as between communities in her mixed media paintings on canvas. Fu’s paintings are highly abstract and touch upon themes such as women’s role in the new generation and the connection between the social and physical. In a similar way, Mikela Boudette uses watercolor and laser cutting to show how a planned, architectural development disregards the strength of a community.

Julia Schirrmeister , Skyler Dunfey, and Alexandra Foster also touch upon natural themes in their artworks. In her intaglio printmaking series, Schirrmesiter examines how we shape the world and how the world shapes us. Alexandra Foster uses Intaglio printmaking in a similar way, referencing how we influence and are influenced by the natural and built environment. Dunfey’s prints trace to topographical maps that she used for hiking, portraying the journeys she has taken over her lifetime.

Shiya Wu and Lindsay Gillis used their series to explore human cognition and the “psychological cages” that we build. Gillis’ highly representative pencil drawings depict humans who are frozen by fear, expressing how our identities influence us on a conscious and subconscious level. Wu explores the intersection of interpretation and confusion. According to Wu, “we think we have freedom, but we might be in a cage…”

Brandt Berrie and Lucy Johnson made highly unique artworks that differed from other pieces in the gallery, in terms of the themes presented in their work and in their choice of medium. Berrie made a cartoon comic strip that examines the proper use of power and the responsibilities that come with acquiring it. Lucy Johnson, on the other hand, uses mixed media including yarn, paint, wood, glass and photos to create a self-portrait.

While most seniors created works on tangible mediums, senior Ned Uysal made a multi-media video instead, titled Let’s Get Lost. Uysal’s video is a fast-paced depiction of an anxious teenager who appears to be lost in virtual reality and who spends much of his time pondering the question “Are you happy?” According to Uysal, the video is about “getting lost on the Internet…introverted teenagers have a tendency to lose themselves in virtual reality. The video compares reality to image personas and speaks to a modern, young audience.” Uysal’s video is one of the first pieces you see when walking into the gallery.

“Working Title”, according to one senior observer at the gallery reception, “is one of the best art exhibits produced by Wheaton students” that she has seen. All the senior studio art majors made highly unique artwork that represents their growth as artists and as people during their time here at Wheaton. The Studio Art department congratulates the seniors on their hard work and dedication and wishes them the best of luck in their post-graduate endeavors.