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ISSUE 120 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/20/2007

Installation pieces refresh senior art show

By Andrea Horbinski
Staff Writer

Friday, April 20, 2007

On April 15, the St. Olaf Art Department hosted the first of two Senior Shows. Titled “Comrades in Art,” the exhibition showcased the senior projects of half the Art Department’'s graduating majors in the Flaten Museum in the Dittmann Center.

This first Senior Show differed from previous shows in several ways. It often seems that senior art majors’ works fall into one of three general categories: painting, sculpture or ceramics. While all three are excellent media, it was undeniably a pleasant change of pace to walk around a show that seemed to be made up mostly of installation art. Only two artists, Jill Brinig ’'07 and Meg Jensen '’07, chose to use ceramics, and both of them hung their pieces on walls as part of an installation exploring a larger theme. The only sculpture in the entire show was by Thomas Lubanovic '’07: His piece featured a hand-animated video with evolutionary themes being shown from inside a sculpted female torso.

Painting and drawing were not quite so underrepresented. Jenna Landson '’07 offered a collection of oil paintings depicting a single tree, while Britt Schwager ’'07 used acrylic paints to explore the “elements” of painting and Jennie Eukel '’07 worked in oil to examine color and pattern. Rebecca Rogers ’'07 contributed a collection of watercolors exploring the idea of place, while Ashley Utecht '’07 worked in mixed media to explore, in part, marriage.

Though all the seniors’ work was technically impeccable, it was undoubtedly the more non-traditional works that stole the show. Foremost among these, if only because it provided a soundtrack for the entire north gallery, was Chloe Cotherman’s ’'07 record store installation featuring a selection of LPs. Cotherman refigured herself, principally through paint, to recreate the experience of browsing in a record store.

Kristin DeLong ’'07 showed a series of T-shirts on mannequins in front of mirrors to explore the concepts of style and labeling. Joseph Christopherson ’'07 exhibited several monumental prints on handmade paper ruminating on “objects in the mind,” while Rebecca Gramdorf ’07 used tape, “broken” photos and projected images to convey the idea of erasure. Brian Kehoe ’07 installed two representations of the American flag to convey our country’s cultural topography, while Laurel Fritz ’'07 strung tablecloths on frames and strewed squares of fabric and photographs around to wrestle with the idea of home. Stephanie Rogers ’'07 combined meaningful textiles with digital photographs to create tactile collages.

The artists wrestled with ideas about origins or homes, or they explored components of our world or inner universes in their complexities. “I’m proud of my classmates,” said Carolyn Albert ’'07, whose works will be featured in the next show. All the show’s attendees seemed to agree. As Art Department Chair Mary Griep reminded the crowd during the opening reception, “Without good work you can’t have a good show,” and “Comrades in Art” is unquestionably a good show.

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