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Grand Finales: Senior Thesis Art Show Explores ‘Still Life’

By Genevieve Vogel

art piece with colorful paper strung on strings hanging from the ceiling

Photos by Tara Graves and Matthew McKern

In their senior year, Whitman College’s studio art majors conclude their studies with a final thesis exhibition. The theme of this year’s show, decided by the 11 graduating students, is “STILL LIFE: Senior Thesis 2021.”

Justin Lincoln, associate professor of art, sees the theme of still life as reminiscent of the renowned filmmaker Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision,” which explores what the world looks like to someone not yet trained by society to interpret it in a specific, predetermined manner. “How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of “green?” asks Brakhage. Art, or more specifically a still life, is an opportunity to “share what we truly value and to look at the world with new eyes,” says Lincoln.

The exhibition itself, located in Sheehan Gallery, was skillfully brought together through the hard work of faculty, staff, students and the Whitman community. Lincoln, along with Maria Lux, assistant professor of art, acted as advisors for the students, who wrote proposals for the installation of their works. Over three weeks in the spring, two students at a time were allowed to put up their sections of the exhibition within pandemic safety protocols.

The installations were coodinated with the assistance of Kynde Kiefel and Daniel Forbes, the gallery's co-directors, along with Sheehan Gallery Assistant Tara Graves.

“We carefully consider the nature of the student’s work, the mediums they are working in and how to break those up space to space, what you’ll see first from the hallway in Olin and what might catch your eye from the entryway, the relationships between the various projects, and the overall story it will tell about this particular group,” says Kiefel.

Enjoy a preview of the works in the exhibition, along with excerpts from these recent graduates’ artist statements. See more at the Sheehan Gallery’s virtual walk-through of the exhibition.

Published on May 25, 2021
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