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ISSUE 117 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/30/2004

Showing their last colors: Senior art majors shine in final show

By Cate Grochala
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 30, 2004

Four years of hard work by St. Olaf senior art majors are on display this spring in the Senior Art show in the main floor galleries of Dittmann Center. The first show, featuring half of the students' work, ran through April 27.

Students were able to choose which mediums to work with, and as a result, a wide range of mediums are featured in the show, ranging from ceramics to sculpture to drawings to paintings.

Prior to the second semester of their senior year, most art majors at St. Olaf spend their time in classes designed to enhance their skills in a variety of mediums, including oil painting, photography and drawing.

During the second semester of their senior year, students spend part of their time in lecture and part of their time selecting what to make for the Senior Art Show. They must take the skills they have learned in their technique classes and decide which ones to use on their final projects.

Aaron Reiners '04 is one of the seniors whose drawings were displayed in the first show. Though drawing has always been Reiners primary focus, he came upon the medium for his presentation  graphite, gesso, white acrylic paint and colored pencils  by experimentation.

The inspiration for Reiners' drawings came from a conversation he had with an art professor regarding identity.

"These ideas about changing identity without completely losing something of yourself have been in my head for the past four years and the conversation we had really brought them out, Reiners said. While I don't have any specific hidden meaning in my work, I hope that others will consider these thoughts when they see my work."

While Reiners used his primary medium in the exhibit, Naura Anderson '04 chose a medium that is relatively new to her. She displayed photographs, even though she took her first photography class just last summer.

"I like the freedom that digital photographs give in the large number that can be taken and in the rich colors that inkjets can give," Anderson said.

Like Reiners, Anderson incorporated questions that she has been considering over the past few months into her work.

"I've had to make a lot of big decisions recently, Anderson said. That made me think of a place where I could both ponder them freely or choose to be away from them ... and that's why I used the forest in my photography.

In addition to the variety of mediums showcased in the exhibits, a wide range of paths led the seniors to become artists. Courtney Hanson '04 was not intending to be an art major when she first came to St. Olaf. "I just took a drawing class my first year for fun and the professor suggested that I should become one at the end of the semester," Hanson said.

The artists featured in the Senior Art Show are taking the show as a stepping-off point in many directions. Some, like Reiners, hope to continue at St. Olaf as part of the fifth year internship program, which allows graduates continued access to professors and facilities in order to create more shows and gain more experience.

Others, like Hanson, hope to contribute their artistic skills to another career.

Still others, like Anderson, would like to enjoy the freedom of creating art without the time constraints of classes.

Regardless of what their plans may be, the senior art majors have created a show as diverse as the artists who contributed to it.

On May 2, the gallery will open another exhibit, showcasing the work of the other half of the senior art majors.

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