The Senior Art Show will open at the Wriston Art Center Gallery on Friday, May 27 at 4:30 p.m. This year, the exhibit features 16 senior capstone projects from Lawrence’s graduating studio art majors.
Beth Zinsli, Assistant Professor of Art History, Curator of the Wriston Art Center Gallery and Museum Studies Interdisciplinary Area Program Director, has overseen the annual senior art show for the past nine years. She stated that the goal of the exhibit is to celebrate the students’ progress while also giving them hands-on experience in the process of staging studio art exhibitions.
The show will feature a variety of digital art, photography, ceramics, drawing and installation works. While each student crafts their own unique art for their senior capstone, Zinsli stated that the pieces often reflect similar central themes, blending into a harmonious exhibit despite their diverse mediums. This year, several of the exhibits are centered around the potential and limitations of the human body and creating alternate worlds through dreams, memories, and other narratives.
“Every year, it feels like students tend towards a specific media, art form or theme,” she said. “Sometimes a theme just emerges because these people have been working together for four years – thinking together, taking classes together.”
Zinsli loves showcasing the seniors’ work and honoring their success, but her favorite part of the art show is the process of installation. She and her graduating seniors began installing the pieces in Wriston over a week ago. Zinsli thinks that it’s important for seniors to install their own work because it teaches them how to make necessary adjustments.
“It’s fun because they get to see their work come alive in the gallery space,” she said. “It’s great to see them accomplish this culmination of their major while also learning to use hammers and drills.”
After touring the gallery, I spoke to graduating studio art majors Chapin E. Grumhaus and Clare Conteh-Morgan to learn more about their senior capstone exhibits. Grumhaus combined her passions for photography and animal welfare in a collage featuring over 800 photographs of dogs and cats, all taken by Grumhaus herself. Through her exhibit, she wants to advocate for the adoption of homeless animals while also demonstrating how pets can benefit one’s mental health.
Senior Clare Conteh-Morgan’s exhibit, “Mixed Up: A Reflection on Invisible Identity and Why I Will Never Choose to Pass,” is a graphic novel that explores her experiences as a white-presenting biracial woman and the social implications of her mixed identity.
Conteh-Morgan began outlining the novel last spring, developed the visual style using Procreate, and released it on Blurb, an online self-publishing platform. The novel’s visual style, a careful balance between realistic and cartoonish, was particularly crucial to her work because it brings her deeply personal experiences to life.
Following the grand opening, there will be a reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the gallery’s lobby to celebrate the seniors. All members of the Lawrence community can stop in for food and drink, then admire the graduating class’s masterpieces.
The senior capstone pieces will be on display from May 27 to June 26 during regular gallery hours (Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.). During Lawrence’s alumni reunion from June 16-19, alumni can tour the gallery and admire works from the latest generation of Lawrentians.