Senior art theses showcased in vibrant ‘Put Together’ exhibition

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Put Together ExhibitionThis past Friday May 19, 2017 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the Feigenbaum Center of Visual Arts’s Cromwell and West Galleries, the Union College Department of Visual Arts held an opening reception for the  2017 Senior Thesis Art Exhibition, “Put Together.”
Many of the works in “Put Together” were composed of “found items” or everyday objects reworked into visual artwork. For instance, computer science and visual arts double major Frank Chiarulli Jr. ’17 created his thesis, titled “Query,” using a camera lens, an LCD screen and scrap steel and aluminum metals. “Query,” had to be viewed through a prism in order to see the entire image on the LCD screen. “Just by putting a different polarizing filter in front of the screen, it reveals the whole image,” Chiarulli explained.
A commentary on the overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips in the digital age, “Query” incorporated elements of technological, visual and installation art. “With the current state of technology today, it’s so easy to find information on anything, but there are so many sides of every story, there’s no way to grasp or consume it all. This installation aims to bring attention to just how little we are able to consume.”
Psychology and studio arts double major J’Kela Smith ’17 also showcased an installation entitled “Deadly 7 & I.” The installation represents the infamous Seven Deadly Sins and how each sin negatively impacts society. “I really wanted to incorporate my psychology knowledge into my art thesis, and I thought that by doing the Seven Deadly Sins, I could really connect with people and find out how other people represent all of these actions,” explained Smith. The installation was composed of multiple sculptures made from lighters, wine bottle corks, beer bottle caps, paint and wood. Smith mainly used materials commonly seen around the college’s campus in order make the piece more accessible and to emphasize the prevalence of the Seven Deadly Sins in everyday life. According to Smith, “Deadly 7 & I” is as much a commentative piece as it is a reflective one.
Some of the senior art projects sought to be immersive.  Kelly Xi ’17 based her installation, “The Pleasures Gain Intensity When Fewer and Far Between,” on this concept. The installation consisted of a multi-channel video projected all around the hall in front of the Cromwell and West Galleries as well as silicone sculptures and carpeting scattered throughout the installation’s area. “It’s a projection-mapped immersive installation, and I really wanted to put audiences inside of this space that they can’t look away from, where it’s almost consuming you. I really tried to channel my fear of the threat of consumer-grade fascism. This disorienting environment I’ve created is the result of those emotions,” explained Xi. Growing up in Brooklyn, Xi was influenced by the art shows in New York City.
Other senior artists showcased smaller-scale but detailed works, such as Amy Provost ’17. Provost’s project was a series of linoleum or “lino-cut” prints inspired by Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. “I picked the cliche, Disney-inspired tales that originally came from the Brothers Grimm, I wanted to re-embrace that darker side that our society has since glazed over,” said Provost. Provost’s lino-cut prints also illustrate the “underlying sexism and objectification” that characterizes many of these fairy tales in their original form. According to Provost’s artist’s statement, her work “was mainly inspired by the German Expressionists of the early 20th century.”
Mark Hilbert ’17 combined videography, 3D modelling, programming and music production to create an abstract video entitled “Spectrum.” The video was projected on a screen in an upstairs classroom above the Cromwell and West Galleries, playing on loop for the duration of the reception. For Hilbert, keeping the video on loop was a nod to his fascination with the concept of infinity.
In the words of Hilbert, “Spectrum” visually conceptualizes different stages of consciousness or lack thereof. After watching “Spectrum,” many viewers remarked that it felt like being in a dream-like state. “A lot of the images come from dreams or nightmares or hallucinations,” mentioned Hilbert. “Some are from daydreams or different extremes of these states of mind. It’s also a nod to being on the autism spectrum myself.”
Other artists included Paige Brown ’17, Virginia Goggins ’17, Rose Jia ’17, Kenny Paladines ’17, Yiting Paung ’17, Valerie Purcell ’17, Nate Singer ’17 and Max Zhu ’17. The exhibition will be on display from May 19th – June 11th, 2017.

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