Senior artists show an in-depth look into their lives and influences

The Senior Art Exhibition runs through May 20 at the Grossman Gallery (Photo by Mario Sanchez ’21)

The influence of childhood, self-reflection and observations through close-up lenses and womanhood are central themes of the final senior art exhibition.

The exhibition was open to all senior art majors and minors. Ten students chose to showcase their work, though some seniors chose not to. The exhibition will run through May 20, at the Grossman Gallery.

Among the many talented artists, Alex Murrell, Thomas L. Williams and Morgan O’Connell shared themes of innocence, youth and nostalgia in their pieces.

Murrell showcased three pieces in the exhibition: “Around the Wheel” (Woodblock print), “A Person’s Shirt” (embroidery on a shirt) and “Pick a Suit, Any Suit” (watercolor and ink cootie catcher).

The three pieces were the product of an independent study Murrell did with art professor Nestor Gil. The connection between the pieces consists of Murrell taking the concept of tarot decks and expanding it beyond the medium of cards. 

 “I tried to have each new medium for each card kind of speak to what the card means. And so with the pages, it’s like a choice of who you are, and so you do a cootie catcher like we did in elementary school.”

The embroidery shirt and the wheel of fortune (“Around the Wheel”) represents the way in which cards can be read differently.

“That was my dad’s shirt. He’s a really secluded person, and that’s a card about seclusion and internalizing your thoughts,” Murrell said. “Whereas the wheel of fortune card can be what goes up must come down. It can be read in any direction, so those four prints can face any direction.” 

Murrell expressed that the embroidered shirt is her favorite piece out of the three because “it has such a close tie to my childhood and my family. Plus, I’m gonna wear it. It’s a shirt.” 

Williams exhibited a “large-scale” LEGO block made out of silicone titled “Portrait of an Artist As A Young Engineer.

After realizing that he wasn’t happy as an engineering major, Williams found he was better suited as an art major.

For his Capstone project, Williams wanted to work with something that represented the things he loved to do as a child.

At the time Williams was thinking about his Capstone project, he got to talk with a visiting artist about “ways to still do something that incorporates that sort of childhood love of Lego, but takes it somewhere interesting…and weird and get thinking about what…Lego represents, not necessarily what you make out of it.”

“[The silicone lego] is me…childhood Thomas was a Lego kid. And so it’s a little fleshy Lego baby,” he added. 

Along with the lego, Williams placed four black books that were left blank, emulating the Lego instruction booklet style to give viewers room to write “instructions.”

“It was me asking for people to give me instructions on these [booklets],” he said. “They’d fill out my instruction booklet so that I can figure out how to do these aspects of my life that I don’t know how to do.”

“I introduce myself to certain people…as a recovering engineer, it’s what I like to say to people,” he added. 

O’Connell’s inclination for a realistic style of painting and deep love for the water comes through in the exhibition, which showcased three of her oil paintings: “Summer Glory,” “Submerged, 2017” and “Morgan O’Connell.”

“I grew up on….Massachusetts’ South Shore, so I love the water and I appreciate the water,” she said. “I’m humbled by the water and I think that’s why I have gravitated towards it….I like how it can change and…..abstract things around it.”

After graduation O’Connell plans to rent out a studio space where she “will be doing a few paintings for commission and then try to find a job in that kind of field.” 

The seniors also exhibiting their works are Julia Dinella, Katie Hannigan, Jake McCausland, Madeline Perlmutter, Samantha Pastron, Pablo Pollish and James Reilly.  

About Mario Sanchez

Mario Sanchez '21 is the Arts & Culture Editor for The Lafayette. He double majors in English and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

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