Friday, April 24, 2009

Evil Villians and Non-Existant Burial Grounds

The widely anticipated fourth week of senior exhibitions held in the Wadleigh Gallery at Chester College of New England turned out to be a huge success. With perhaps one of the best turnouts of the semester, the opening was packed with students, alumni, faculty, and other guests taking in the artwork and asking questions. Each artist certainly had much to show and be proud about.

Jessica Alford's work consists of eight oil self-portraits created with different artistic styles. Presented in a non-linear progression, these images capture and record time according to moods and space. With influences of Cubism, Surrealism, and many other movements, Alford successfully illustrated her personality and how each person sees themselves differently over time.

Adjacent, Desirae Hudson's paintings, while similar in medium, nicely juxtaposed Alford's self-portraits. Hudson's portraits of her closest friends and family utilized the juxtaposition of bright colors and bland neutral tones to illustrate personality. Her goal to immortalize friends' personalities through the use of color and lack thereof also turned out to be exceptionally well executed.

To the right of Alford's work and across from Hudson, sat the physically present but non-existent work of Zack Shields. Multiple blocks of wood of all sizes were painted white and hung at various positions on the wall. A diagram nearby the artist statement revealed the titles of each wood block according to location. The titles match what the blocks used to picture: various painted images regarding burial grounds. Through layering and reconstructing former paintings until they once again become a clean slate, Shields proves that oftentimes art can be found within the absence of art.

While art does come in many forms, Ken Huntley dared to ask the question: When does the art or creation overpower the creator? Occupying his own alcove across from all the other exhibits, Huntley utilized the space with posters, action figures, and other memorabilia from the created comic Wraith. The wide expanse of objects and images of Wraith the super hero and David the super villain contribute to the idea that characters do indeed overpower the creator and continue to define their own identity.

As for the readings, Alyssa Marsh and Beth Ann Miller both gave amazing performances while reading for their senior projects. Alyssa Marsh presented a hilariously witty outlook on children and what it means to grow up and become an adult. Read with the perfect tone of sarcasm and truthfulness, her non-fiction piece kept the audience laughing while also reflecting on the seriousness of the thoughts and decisions presented in the piece.

Beth Ann Miller read as promised from her fictional piece Cashmere. The audience remained enraptured as together they witnessed the development of elemental characters as they ran into all of life's little quirks and problems. A master at crafting uncomfortably human scenes, Miller's story addressed the awkward truths of human interaction and those moments that remain embedded in the back of peoples' minds.

Needless to say, this round of senior exhibits certainly showcased a wide range of work and artist talent. The work remains up until Sunday, April 26th. Be sure to check it out while there is still time!

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