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The Carletonian

Junior art show brings venturesome variety

<st Friday night, the Junior Art Show, “Untitled (Junior Art Show),” opened in Boliou. Upon entering the Show, it was difficult to move around, but in the best way possible—students sought out their Studio Art major friends while faculty and community members meandered around the art on the upper and lower levels of Boliou. The air was filled with happy chatter and exclamations as students pointed to the talent of the 2018 Studio Art majors.

The work of 16 students is on display until May 26, and their collections showcase a variety of mediums and styles.

Kelly Connole, ceramics professor and the professor directing this year’s practicum section of the junior seminar, highlighted the variety in the show. “Of any of the shows that we have in Boliou, this one gives a great taste of the many, many things we do in the art department,” said Connole.

Variety is certainly present in “Untitled (Junior Art Show),” with pieces from what seems like every conceivable art form. Ceramics, painting, embroidery, sculpture, jewelry, photography—the list continues. All of these pieces in the various mediums are truly lovely, engaging, and thought-provoking. Walking on the lower and upper levels of Boliou feels a bit like being transported to a hybrid museum of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker.

Such variety of style and medium made it clear that the artists thought about themselves and their growth as artists over their past three years of study in the department in choosing pieces for their collection. The Junior Art Show is meant to do just that—emphasize a student’s growth and exploration in the department, Connole said.

that faculty and the community get to see the best of what has been made so far,” said Connole. “It’s a very different dynamic in the junior show as opposed to the senior show, which will open in a few weeks, in that the senior show really focuses on the comps project and work that’s made in the senior year, where the junior show is more reflective of the many different classes that a student has taken so far in their major.”

Katie Williams ’18, one of the artists featured in the show, shared that the process of preparing for the Junior Art Show was an opportunity to reflect on her growth as an artist so far at Carleton.

“Sort of the purpose of [the show] is to show our learning process from different mediums and things that we’re learning in the program at Carleton. So it’s not usually people saying ‘I’m a painter, here are all my paintings’ it’s like, ‘Here’s the things that I’ve accumulated over the past couple of years’” said Williams. 

Each artist’s collection showcased the variety of courses offered by the Studio Art department, but still reflected each artist’s personal preferences.
Part of the Junior Art Show is also practicing the how-to of acting like an artist: curating a collection, creating a new piece to go with that collection, and presenting the collection both physically and with an artist’s written statement.

“Part of the exercise of the junior show is that students begin to self–edit their work,” said Connole, who saw herself as a facilitator-consultant in the process. Collaboration between the junior studio art majors was also key to their success in the show. “I had one-on-one consultations with a number of students, and I facilitated putting others into a dyad so they had another person that they could talk through their creative process.”

“What we try to do at the end of the junior year is engage students in a way that empowers them to start making some of those decisions themselves in preparation for the independent process in comps,” said Connole.

To create a collection, Williams thought about different elements of her art that she wanted to highlight.

“It just came down to thinking about how everything would act in a collective series. So I chose things with similar color palettes, different sizes—I wanted to mix it up a little bit, but I wanted it to be a cohesive feel in terms of subject and color.”

Williams appreciated the ability to work with her fellow students, asking them for advice in putting up the show. “I grab people all the time, even people I don’t know, and I’m like ‘Ok, does this seem like it fits right on the wall, am I missing something?’… It’s nice that we’re in such a collaborative environment right now.”

The process of the Junior Art Show also helps start the conversation for junior students about Comps.

“Definitely being in this environment…has made me think about my own personal style, my goals, what I want to focus on next year,” said Williams. “It’s definitely made me realize that I do want a mixed medium set of pieces to go together in a collection for comps. I still don’t know what that looks like, but definitely this class is a good launching point for that.”

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