Last Friday, 23 May 2014, was the opening of the exhibitions for the senior Art majors at Lawrence University. These majors take spaces in various places, among them the Wriston Art Gallery and the Seeley G. Mudd Library. Seniors presenting their work can have virtually anything, from sculptures, bookshelves full of filled sketchbooks, and video installations. Here is a smattering of stuff that I saw on opening night.
-A giant outline of a vagina made primarily of empty beer cans and bottles, inside which—where the clitoris would be, though the artists biography did not mention whether or not that was intentional—was a small LCD television that went through a slideshow of images of the alcohol that once inhabited these cans and bottles being consumed.
-A disturbing—and also disturbingly funny—set of illustrations of rhymes, which gave off a David Lynch-esque vibe when observed.
-A rather strange comic book about what appeared to be extra dimensional travel, printed in black and white and distributed for free among patrons.
-A giant chalkboard that had written on it the poem equivalent of a Mad Lib, where patrons were encouraged to fill in the gaps of the poem that were missing and “completing” the artwork. Thankfully, everyone kept it tasteful. Having arrived too late to add anything of my own to the poem, I instead drew a bunch of symbols on the margins and left it at that.
-As mentioned before, a bookcase filled with sketchbooks, not a single one of them blank—though I did find one that could not be opened, I concluded that was deliberate, if only to salvage my ego. The pages that constituted these notebooks had on them not just a college career, but a lifetime’s work of work, ranging from scenery to portraits to scenes that might have belonged in a comic book.
-Paintings that looked like the covers of black metal albums—all done by the same artist—which included a woman eating a swan, among other extremely awesome and extremely unnerving images.
The wide variety of created works shows off an impressive variety in the works of Lawrence’s art majors, as well as the virtues of the staff for allowing each of these artists to pursue a vision rather than have them conform to an ideology.
This is best demonstrated by my personal favorite of the works: it was, installed in the middle of the gallery, a small gazebo, with artificial grass inside it and two illuminated manuscript poems on either side. You walked in, though before going in you took off your shoes. There were books inside, like old fairytale collections. You could sit down inside the tiny gazebo and read.
Alone in there, even with the noise of everyone around you, it could be so peaceful. I could have stayed there forever.