As the culmination of senior studio art majors’ timeat Carleton, the Senior Art Show is currently open to view in the Braucher Gallery of the Perlman Teaching Museum. This year, eight studio art majors’ work — of varying mediums, themes and inspirations — will be on display until June 10, 2022.
A product of the Studio Art COMPS, seniors worked throughout the year to create projects for display in the exhibition. Students themselves plan the placement of their art in the gallery space and install their pieces.
David Lefkowitz, Professor of Art, explained the process studio art seniors engage in to get to the Senior Art Show: “The work the students show comes out of the studio art COMPS process. Much of the work is created as COMPS, but can include additional work related to the themes they focus on then, but produced after the term students are registered for comps as a class.”
Some students also chose to include work from previous classes, like Maia Danks ’22, who displayed her final project from Advanced Ceramics. Danks said it was important to her to display this piece in the Senior Art Show because “it’s a large installation piece that I wouldn’t be able to install fully unless I put it in a full gallery space.”
Other seniors, like Jeep Maneenoi ’22 and Mattison Shreero ’22, incorporated their geology double majors into their work for the Senior Art Show. In the exhibition, Maneenoi has sculptures made of recycled waste, tree branches and fresh flowers on display.
“As a geology and studio art double major, I wanted to create artwork that explores the relationship between human activities and nature,”said Maneenoi. “I’m interested in studying the impact of human activities on the environment, such as microplastic contamination, climate change and waste pollution. I hope to express both of my interests together as a core framework of this installation to help me grow as an environmental artist.”
Shreero similarly invoked her interest with the natural world when creating her piece for the Senior Art Show. “When confronted with creating my art comps, I naturally looked towards the things in life I am the most passionate about and the themes that most frequently emerge in my artwork,”said Shreero. “As a geology major, art major and lifelong collector of bizarre natural objects, studying the natural world
and rendering it artistically has been a cornerstone of my experience at Carleton. So naturally, I wanted a project that did not limit me to one media, and that allowed me to combine all of these things and more – hence, the natural history museum concept.”
On display in the exhibition is Shreero’s piece titled “Museum of Cosmic Warning — ” an installation intended to emulate a natural history museum “through the incorporation of multiple media, various visually familiar museum motifs and a thematic focus on archaeology and the natural world,” according to Shreero. Accompanying each work of Shreero’s is a “museum” label that describes it as a remnant, art and artifact of an ancient society.
Professor David Lefkowitz and Sara Cluggish, Director and Curator of the Perlman Teaching Museum, and Teresa Lenzen, Technical Director of the Perlman Teaching Museum, were also involved in the project.
Lefkowitz was the instructor of this year’s Studio Senior Practicum, a three-credit course centered around the development and installation of the senior show. He commented that the seniors “put a lot of thought into the presentation that shows the work in the strongest light and considers the physical space of the Perlman’s gallery.”
In addition to working on their art, students wrote artist statements, signed loan agreements and wrote their own alternative text for images of their work.
“The Senior Practicum class functions as a professional development course, giving students a springboard for their artistic life after graduation,” said Cluggish. “It’s more than just an exhibition. Students fill out a form describing the work they’d like to present and the ideal site and format for display. Based on those proposals, Teresa and I drew up a map to try to balance the range of work to create an overall engaging and inviting space. We work with the students to install the work, sometimes rearranging and tweaking the original plan as we see how the art actually feels in the space.”
After assisting with the planning, Cluggish and Lenzen then helped with the installation. Cluggish emphasized that the students take the lead on installing their own artwork though she and Lenzen are there to support the students along the way. With the students, they explore different display strategies and what’s possible within the architecture of the gallery, including how the lighting system can be manipulated. Once those decisions have been made, Lanzen is ready to assist with installation.
“I had professional help from Teresa Lenzen and her team which allowed me to finish setting up the artwork by the time the show started,” said Maneenoi. “I’m very thankful for them.”
Shreero also raved about the installation process: “For me, the installation was the crux of the project. Installation for this project included hanging art and shelves, arranging (and rearranging) objects throughout the exhibit, printing museum labels, posters and stickers and even piling dirt on a pedestal with a fake skeleton half buried in it! I truly could not have done it without the unparalleled help of Teresa Lenzen — she is an installation wizard! She constructed fake walls for me, painted them in a green paint I got to choose, helped me hang all ten shelves and three hanging artworks and provided emotional support.”
The exhibition is currently open, and the seniors encourage everyone to attend and view the work and exhibition that has been in progress for the past three terms.
“Especially at a time when the pandemic has restricted access to the direct experience of art, I have come to appreciate the opportunity a space like the Perlman provides for these young artists even more,” said Lefkowitz.
Cluggish spoke about the variety of work that it represented at the exhibition: “Their subject matter is equally wide-ranging, exploring psychology, the inner psyche and mental health; literature, poetry and graphic novel formats; the environment and geological concept of the Anthropocene and the history of museology.” With such diverse themes and mediums represented, everyone is sure to see something they will enjoy.