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The Carletonian

Carleton celebrates studio art majors at the senior art show

Perlman Staff
The opening event hosted lots of visitors.

On May 10, the Perlman Teaching Museum hosted the opening of the senior art show, filled with colorful and interactive artwork. Graduating studio art majors were able to show off their talent and creativity, while gaining experience showing work in a gallery.

Sara Cluggish, director of the Perlman Teaching Museum, explained that “this show was different from the past because it was a smaller show.”

“It’s nice to stand in one gallery and take in everyone’s work in one space,” she said. The seniors used this opportunity to spread out their work and to take advantage of the space. Many of the works were multimedia and had many different elements to them, from projectors to tables to entire rooms. “The work is new and fresh: it really is a snapshot of where each student’s artistic aesthetics are at a particular moment in time,” said Cluggish.

Brett Olson ’24 described her art, saying that “a lot of my work reflects on text and communication, and where text falls apart and fails.” Her project included aspects of text using the mediums of printmaking and charcoal. “I have a very minimal style. I only work in black, white and red. I am also interested in the idea of things falling apart in an image and losing their meaning,” she said.

Olson used text as a starting point for her charcoal drawings and prints. “My biggest piece in the show was a mural…with pictures from our family photo album…and bits and pieces from my texts with my mom,” said Olson. Many of the seniors had similar messages in their work. Olson explained, “we had this beautiful coincidental message that came across for all of us. A lot of us were reflecting on nostalgia and family.”

Seven Delgado ’24 described their work as a reflection on “the intergenerational cycles that Mexican American immigrant families face in the U.S.” Delgado incorporated sculpture and textile elements into a multimedia work. Delgado thought about creating an immersive art exhibit, saying “I wanted to curate a special environment for it that would really capture what I was thinking through during my process.” Delgado had family in mind throughout the installation, explaining “I wanted to make something that could resonate with my family when they come to see the show during commencement.”

Hannah “Gabs” Ward ’24 also incorporated family and nostalgia into her installation. “I think the overarching theme is an understanding of reflection and parenting. A lot of my work revolves around being content with who you are and where you are,” explained Ward. Ward’s project included framed quilts along with drawing, painting and sculpture in a [JUMP] complex multi-media installation. “I wanted to make my installation interactive so people could walk through and see a story,” said Ward.

Hsar Sar Lwin ’24 had a similarly interactive project,incorporating printmaking and shadow puppets. “I was inspired during a fellowship in Thailand,” Win said, “I visited a contemporary art museum in Bangkok, and there was a section full of shadow puppets.” 

The senior art show also reflects how the seniors have changed and developed their art over their four years at Carleton. Grace Hanson ’24 explained that “I came into Carleton really loving to paint. I liked portraits and painting on surfaces other than canvas, like glass. As I have gone through Carleton, I now mainly do printmaking, but I still like the ideas of using different materials and thinking about portraiture.” Her final project was mostly composed of prints. 

“I made a collection of full-body prints. And I also did a collection of riso[graph] prints with organs and birds on top of them. I was interested in the idea of being uncomfortable seeing things that shouldn’t be seen, like organs. But this theme was also mixed with the bright fun colors in order to make that seem more comfortable,” explained Hanson.

The show took careful planning and extensive setup. “We had weekly meetings all term to prepare for the show. The weekly meetings went from writing and editing our artist statements to delivering our work to the museum. We then had to figure out space arrangements and do our own installations,” explained Olson. “I loved the installation process. Theresa helped so much with the installation,” said Ward.

Studio art majors also participated in the junior art show, which is a show in Boliou where juniors can show the development of their work over their three years at Carleton. Hanson said, “The junior show is meant to be a comprehensive show about your journey as an artist, so it was very different from creating a show that had an overarching theme like I did for the senior show.”

“For the senior show we had a better idea of the process of putting a show together, the amount of time it would take, and how we had to communicate with each other to make sure our work bounced off each other in a good way,” said Hanson. The senior art show gave the majors another opportunity to show their work in a more cohesive way in a gallery space.

The art studio seniors were all grateful to the Boliou and Perlman Teaching Museum communities for helping them to put on the show. “It was a really great experience because the Boliou community plus the community around the Perlman is so tightly knit and supportive,” said Olson.

Lwin agreed, saying “I had a lot of support from people in the department. I like that you can ask people for help and get feedback. You have the freedom to branch out and experiment.” 

Museum director Sara Cluggish went to art school for photography and became interested in curating. While working in her own college’s student art museum, she was able to work with other student artists and plan their exhibitions. Now at Carleton, “I get to offer that kind of mentorship to Carleton students. and it is really meaningful and exciting,” said Cluggish. Cluggish now works to highlight student artwork in many exhibitions and enjoys seeing the work of each year’s studio art majors.

Looking ahead, the studio art majors are excited to continue to explore their creativity and artistic styles. “This experience convinced me that I want to show work again in a gallery and have that connection with people,” said Olson.

Similarly, Hanson explained, “My long-term goal is to start my own studio space with a metal studio and a riso printer.” 

Delgado described, “I am currently planning to go into graphic design for advertising. I also want to continue textile art.”

The show was retrospective on the seniors’ time at Carleton and was a way to wrap up their experience in the studio art department. “It is a moment when seniors are showing their work to the Carleton community and their parents,” explained Cluggish. The opening of the show was very well-attended, and the seniors enjoyed being able to show their work to everyone.

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