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The Carletonian

Kelly Connole Discusses the Junior Art Show

<r Art Show, entitled 10,092 Hrs in the Studio and All We Got Was: The Junior Art Show, opened on Friday, April 27. The Carletonian sat down with Kelly Connole, Junior Practicum teacher and Junior Art Show coordinator, for an interview.

Sitting in the Boliou lounge, surrounded by the work of her students, Connole explained the title of the exhibit. “The title of the show is pretty significant. This year they settled on a title that represents the hours that they’ve spent in class time and then outside of class time in the studio. They wanted to think collectively about the eleven artists in the show, and what the sort of human work involved in making this work is. That number 10,092 isn’t representative of just the pieces in the show, but that’s the time that these eleven people have dedicated towards mastering their aesthetic and mastering skills in order to make their artwork.” Connole added that she loves that the number in the title, “is a number that’s not just pulled out of the air—that it actually is a real number.”

Connole explained how the Junior Practicum fosters a sense of community among studio art majors. As part of the Junior Practicum, juniors are given a small studio space in a large, open room. Connole said the space “provides us a really nice place to gather together and begin to get to know each other. That’s a big part of the Junior Practicum and the Junior Show experience, is that it’s the first time that all of the majors come together and are all in one class together with their cohort.”

According to Connole, the Junior Practicum is also “the first time, really, that all of the studio majors can have the same prompt.” The studio assignments for all majors in the Practicum are the same, but they can choose to “address that prompt in whatever medium makes sense to them,” said Connole.

The first assignment, explained Connole, “is to make a new piece of work that becomes part of the Junior Show. And the second assignment is to make work for what all of our juniors in the art department go through –– a pre-comps presentation in the late spring.” Connole said that while the two assignments have the same prompt for all students, “the students are able to pursue whatever medium they want, especially for the second assignment where they’re headed for their comps.”

For their first assignment, “we took a wonderful sort of behind-the-scene tour of the library to see collections in the library that we might not just happen upon easily, and they were to find two resources somewhere in the library that factored into the work that they were making.”

Connole also noted, “Most of the work that’s in the Junior Show comes out of assignments that were given in one, two and maybe three hundred level courses in the department. When you look at any one student’s work, you might see three or four different mediums represented in their work.”

When asked about how the artists chose their work, Connole responded, “It really is about the individual artists choosing the work that they feel like they want to share with their communities.”

Along with choosing which works to display, “The artists had some say in where their works go and how they want their work presented,” Connole said. “Each junior worked really hard to compose their own space, to put the work they wanted where they wanted it. One of the things I think is really exciting about the Junior Show is that, in order to get 10 or 12 pieces from each artist, we do hang them in this salon style [stacked]. And I think that’s actually one of the really exciting things, you know, that there’s just sort of an abundance of artwork in Boliou.”

Connole said she and her students laughed over “who requested this main space and who was happy being kind of tucked in other spaces. And I think honestly that has a little bit to do with people’s preferences if they want to be right here in the main Boliou gallery or if they find being downstairs, in a little bit more intimate spaces, more desirable. I think it somewhat depends on the artist.” There’s also the matter of practicality, and figuring out “where the work will show the best.”

The junior art show displays amazing work from some of our fellow students. Connole agreed that it is an “exciting time of year, for the art department and especially the juniors because it’s the first time that they show their work to the community. What we end up with is actually so exciting. It’s a nice show.” If you have not stopped by Boliou already to see the show, I highly recommend a visit. The works will be on display until May 25. 

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