A Walk Through the Juried Exhibit

A Walk Through the Juried Exhibit

If you’re an artist at Skidmore, one of the most rewarding accomplishments is to get your work featured in the Juried Student Exhibit. Out of hundreds of entries, about 70 are chosen to be in the gallery. The works feature each student’s talent and come together to create a cohesive and impressive exhibit. Whether it be ceramics nestled on clean black tables, drawings hung up so they perfectly catch the light or sculptures that amaze the public as soon as they enter, this year’s show encapsulates the hard work students put in to everything they make.

At first glance, the exhibit may seem like a usual gallery display. However, upon closer look, it is so much more. There are works of different kinds hung up on every wall and in every corner, brightening up the room with different colors. When deciding which work will be present in the gallery, the jurors look at a wide range of techniques and mediums, which is evident by the final collection. Immediately to the right of the gallery is a small cubicle with drawings, paintings and photography—different yet cohesive.

On the far wall of this area is a set of six photographs depicting what appears to be a rural life setting. Artist Monica Hamilton ’19 traveled across the country through one of Skidmore’s SEE-Beyond Awards, which gives students funds to explore new techniques to real- world challenges, and was able to capture these images, which are only a small part of her project Singularity.“Singularity came out of a small feeling and idea based on the single nature of life and how certain landscapes stand out, evoke a feeling, are so perplexing you start to tell stories, that personally inspired me to photograph.”

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Hamilton wanted to showcase her work as best as possible, so she decided to print her photographs on matte paper in order to avoid glare behind glass while still keeping the deep colors. She explained how “photography is my concentration and it’s very close to my heart.” Hamilton’s work was also awarded the VanDewater Award for Photography by the Schick Gallery.

“I do believe Singularity is some of my best work and I am very proud of it and it is very validating for it to be shown in the gallery.”

In addition to the covered walls of the gallery, the exhibit features several tables with items like teapots and jewelry. One set in particular by artist Wesley Jansen ’19 showcases two sets of teapots and mugs, both similar but very complex in their own ways. His piece “Damn that’s frosty” displays smooth edges and contrasting colors, whereas “yes, it can hold tea” depicts much sharper edges and patterns.

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Jansen explains how the sets are “essentially the culmination of three years of work refining a variety of techniques including throwing, double wall forms, cut out patterns and slip casting.” Both sets reflect the tremendous amount of work that is put into each of the pieces in the gallery.

“I wanted to see how far I could push my technical ability and include as many different techniques as possible while still maintaining the integrity of the basic principles of craftsmanship and creativity.”

Another medium of work showcased depicts wood block prints by artist Hannah Parsons ’19. Hung up high, this work brings a sense of relief from the bustling walls of the gallery. The simplicity and balance of the prints is what makes this work unlike any others.

Parsons explains how “the prints are a semester long project I was working on for my independent study in printmaking.”

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The patterns in the print may seem jumbled to the average visitor but to Parsons, they’re so much more than that. She uses symbols and images close to her, with some inspirational help from American visual artist Nancy Spero.

For Parsons, “this piece feels like a step in the right direction towards developing a more mature body of work.”

Right below Parson’s work, viewers meet one piece made by Sophia Paulino ’22, who transports visitors to a tropical oasis. Paulino wanted to emulate a relaxed mindset with her mixed media drawing. She explains how she “illustrated some of [her] life within the piece”, which will be known to the viewers and [she’s] “excited to see that.”

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The varying aspects of the piece represent a feeling of serenity and enticement, locking the viewer into the piece. From natural aspects — the red fauna — to human ones — the recognizable hands — to plain confusing ones — the orange birdcage — the piece encompasses a tropical 1970s vacation we all imagine.

“This piece stands out from my other work because, as a whole, I think that the piece’s complexity and beauty represents me and my life.”

Two more distinct pieces showcased in the gallery are sculpture works pieced together with cloth and wire. Anna Fubini ’19 explains how her work “Skin Deep” is in response to a prompt to create a map: “I thought about mapping the body and looking at the things which alter our bodies over time.”

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The wire piece, titled “Letters Never Sent,” has a more personal connection to Fubini. She describes how most of the inspiration for the piece “came from the research and interviews with survivors I did as part of my gender studies thesis, which was about the long-term process of mental healing from sexual assault.” As a way to let go of her own trauma, Fubini wrote letters to the survivors and compiled them into the book.

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Fubini felt as though the pieces she submitted were stronger in their concept and execution than others she has created, which becomes apparent to the viewer when they take a closer look.

The different works scattered throughout the gallery express the tremendous hard work that students put into their passion. The pieces complement each other while all having different stories and using different techniques; something that cohesively creates an impressive exhibit, which just enhances the fact that the Juried Student exhibit gets better year after year.

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