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After much hard work and effort, senior studio art and art history students invite the campus community to a reception for an exhibit of their honors thesis works from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday in the Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery at the Williams Visual Arts Building.

The exhibit opened at the gallery Saturday and continues until May 22. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The studio art show includes works from seniors Maya Freelon (Durham, N.C.), Alexandra Kososky (Yardley, Pa.), Stephanie Moss (Linwood, N.J.), Julie Phelan (Westfield, N.J.), also majoring in psychology, and Marquis Scholar Nicole Kozyra (Marlton, N.J.), also majoring in English.

“Overall, the work is diverse, ranging from painting and digital images to video and animation,” says Lew Minter, thesis adviser and director of the media lab at Williams Visual Arts Building.

The art history exhibit will include work from seniors Marly Hammer (Colts Neck, N.J.) and Lindsay DiBiase (Sudbury, Mass.), also majoring in government and law.

The students gave the following statements about their projects:

Maya Freelon, “Exploration of Hybrigitals”
“Advances in digital technology have fueled the desire of many artists to explore the benefits of incorporating new artistic media. By merging traditional art techniques with more recent emerging art forms, the result is a product greater than the two separate methods. This combination results in a new artistic dialogue waiting to be explored. Computer technology is developing quickly across many genres of art, and a definitive terminology that describes everything created using these new processes does not exist. By coining the name and defining the methodology behind Hybrigitals, artists will be encouraged to continue the exploration of process, meaning, and development rooted in this emerging technologically-advanced form of mixed media art.

“Developing the technique over three years of undergraduate research, I realized that I was striving to find the interconnectivity of traditional and digital media, while simultaneously incorporating personal content. Hybrigitals emerged while I was searching for my own personal identity. I investigated artistic techniques that best reflected an introspective vantage point.”

Alex Kososky, “Nanotechnology & Human Identity”
“The real technological revolution, the one that could change our destiny as a species, goes far beyond the manipulation of images. Hard core scientific technology involves the manipulation of physical reality – the manipulation of matter and energy.

“I have created images that contrast biological and mechanical forms. These companion pieces demonstrate the visual similarity of the forms. I took close-up photographs of circuit boards and combined them with copyright-free downloads of biological images.

“We are the first species capable of altering the course of our own evolution. In the short term, these same technologies are expected to liberate us from physical labor. Every day will be like a Sunday in the park. What will we do when we don’t have to work? Back in 1999, Eric Drexler, author of Engines of Creation, scientific visionary, suggested that we all might become artists.”

Stephanie Moss, “Illusions”
“As a child, I gazed in awe at Disney animated features. I won’t deny it, I still sprint to the theater the second a new animated film is released. But generally speaking, I am drawn to motion pictures. Unlike most people, my primary focus at most movies falls on the quality of its effects. I often desire to see the events that take place behind the scenes rather than view the finished product. Consequently, I think it’s fitting that my thesis reflects this history of curiosity in film and animation.

“I’ve often heard Walt Disney’s animation termed ‘the illusion of life.’ Animation tries to capture real-life movement but remains an illusion because the medium is not real. I include animation in my short film, but the illusion of the work lies beyond the mere presence of animation; the nature of most movies is an illusion in itself. My thesis explores some of the journeys we take in life – some in reality and others that only exist in the world we create for ourselves through imagination. In presenting this work I am revealing my personal sense of reality, essentially an illusion of life.”

Julie Phelan, “Systemic Abstraction”
“The unifying aspect of the body of work I have created for my thesis is the use of systems as a way of thinking about painted space. My initial foray into systemic painting led me to Paul Klee. Klee used systems in his paintings as a way of exploring the similarities between written and spoken language and artistic expression. After looking at his work and reading Crone and Koerner’s (1991) essays about his use of sign and symbol, I explored in my own paintings the interrelationship between symbols, between the symbol and the system, and how the underlying system within a painting could form an imaginary space.

“During this past year, I have looked at pieces by artists who employ some form of systemic painting in their works, such as Terry Winters, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, James Siena, Mark Tobey, Brice Marden, Cy Twombly, Loren Madsen, Edward Tufte, and of course Edward Kerns [Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art and director of the Williams Visual Arts Building]. Like these artists, by creating a hierarchy of systems and investigating color relationships, I explored ways to create a sense of depth that does not rely on conventional perspective techniques. By relying on intuitive choices regarding color, shape, and layering to create systems within the works, I have created a body of work that uses systems to create a non-Albertian space.”

Nicole Kozyra, “Unplugged”
“The body of work that I have created within the past year reflects my transition, as an artist, from academic to personal concerns. Emerging from the academic traditions of landscapes, still lifes, and portraiture, I began developing my own visual vocabulary with which to express the themes that interested me: conflict, oppression, repression, identity formation, and self-reflection. The resultant work reflects my personal narrative – my experiences as a female growing up from a child to an adult, and my evolving consciousness of how those experiences have impacted and continue to shape me today.

“It is my hope that, out of my personal narrative, a universal experience emerges – that my work represents an experience that all people can somehow relate to and understand.

“I consider the act of painting a metaphor for the accumulation of life experience upon a person. I am interested in how this accumulation ultimately shapes and defines a person, both negatively and positively. I am also interested in sifting through the layers of life experience, and rediscovering the original, unadulterated person, which the blank canvas represents.”

Marly Hammer, “The Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937 and Its Effect on the Art of Max Beckmann, George Grosz, and Emil Nolde: Three Biographical Studies”
“Because of this complex and inclusive attack on modern art, The Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) Exhibition was one of the most important events in the 20th century culture. I plan to study aspects of its influence as they relate to individual artists. The recent re-introduction of biography and psychoanalytic analysis in regard to studying art history and artists is very important to this thesis. I am applying these techniques to three case studies of artists involved in The Entartete Kunst Exhibition: Max Beckmann, George Grosz, and Emil Nolde, each of whom had several works included in the exhibition and all of whom were forced drastically to alter their lives as a result.”

“The Degenerate Art Exhibition is still clear in many people’s minds, especially those in the art world who still fear that their work can be confined by the rules and regulations of government. It is important that investigation of the exhibition persist today as a reminder that cultural and artistic freedom is a hallmark of a free society.”

Lindsay DiBiase, “Censorship in the Visual Arts: The Robert Mapplethorpe Controversy”
“The greatest artists of our time are those that have provoked the mind and affected the world in a way that lasts long after they have gone. An image that lingers in the mind, whether it is found beautiful, sorrowful, uplifting, or disturbing, is nonetheless an important image. In today’s world and perhaps for all time, art has been interpreted and re-interpreted, finding meaning and dismissing meaning in what are sometimes the darkest corners of creation. Meaning in art needs to be discussed in social and historical terms. It is this that allows us to understand the manners in which art functions in society. In this thesis, I will focus on one specific artist, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and a controversy that took place in 1990 concerning censorship of the visual arts. I will analyze this censorship in the legal world as well as the art world, and I will then analyze seven of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs displayed in a retrospective exhibition that traveled America.

“Mapplethorpe was once referred to as ‘the middle of a contradiction, part altar boy and part leather-bar.’ One author claims that ‘some of these photographs were shocking for their content but exquisite in their technical mastery.’ Mapplethorpe told ART News in late 1988, ‘I don’t like that particular word “shocking.” I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them.’”

Categorized in: Academic News