Senior Art Exhibition opens May 10

Colby Echo (Eliza Adams)

Courtesy of Colby College

On May 10, the art department will be hosting this year’s Senior Art Exhibition. The show, which will take place in the Davis Gallery of the Colby Art Museum, features pieces created by Colby seniors who have completed comprehensive work in their chosen media. A reception at 4:30 the William D. James Gallery will precede the event.

The Echo spoke with seniors who have pieces featured in the exhibition. The artists employed a wide range of techniques and styles in preparation for the event. Molly Wu ’18 said that her JanPlan course on Bookbinding inspired her to continue the hobby and create handmade journals, which she will be selling at the show. Rachel Bird ’18, who has been working towards her concentration in printmaking, submitted an eye-catching, large-scale physical installation for the show. She cited Colby’s large studio spaces as playing an integral role in pulling off her piece. Nathan Lee ’18 decided to take a reflective route and included paintings of those who have made a large impact during his Colby career. These seniors acknowledge that embracing the “trial and error” nature of creating pieces was crucial as they prepared for the exhibition.

Artists emphasized that the arduous process of creating art has certainly been taxing, yet rewarding. Bird said that the sheer time constraint of it all (she is also completing an honors thesis in her other major) can make it difficult to meet deadlines. Annie Pease ’18 added that the amount of time and effort that goes into a project can be draining. She noted that separating the exploration and execution process has been particularly challenging and said, “You have to really plan out your concept and execution thoughtfully, because it takes several weeks to complete the project. With all this time in between having an idea and finalizing a work, the mind tends to wander!” She said that staying consistent throughout a project with one method of working has posed the biggest challenge.

The exhibition will not only provide an opportunity for the Colby community to see what their peers have been working on, but it will also allow the artists themselves to reflect on how they’ve grown since freshman year. Lee said that his ability to see and create complex colors in his works has been an achievement since his days of relying on black and white pallets as a first year. Bird mentioned that not only has she grown as an artist, but the Colby art department has allowed her to develop professionally, as well. She commented on the art department’s networking trip to New York City this past fall saying, “We met with a variety of people working in the art world and saw the range of career paths available for someone with an art degree. Plus, exploring the museum scene in New York was incredible!”

Many of the artists at the show said that, as first-years, they never could have foreseen themselves taking art courses during their time at Colby. Bird and Pease both stumbled upon the department and declared a major as sophomores, and are grateful to have found captivating coursework that drew them in. Pease added that throughout her time in the department, she’s learned how to think more deeply and effectively before beginning a piece. She says that learning how to think past “that would be cool if…” and dive into a deeper concept has been crucial to the success of her work. Wu, who happened upon the department after taking a studio art course, said she has grown by expanding her repertoire as an artist. She added, “I’ve explored mediums such as photography and printmaking and bookbinding, all of which were really foreign concepts to my during my first year at Colby.”

Seniors cite art professors’ passion and accessibility as apart of what makes the department so special. Pease mentions that she appreciates how the professors encourage students to work across studio boundaries. She noted that she’s been able to bring her painting work into the sculpture studio and incorporate it into her art show pieces. Wu added that the professors bring a love for art that has been inspiring for young artists. She said, “Taking classes in the art department has been a really great motivational force for continuing and trying to create the best work that I can.”

Stop by the senior art exhibition on Friday, May 10 in the Davis Gallery and see for yourself how thoughtful and talented these artists really are.

The Senior Exhibition is open through the end of the year.