Studio majors express themselves at annual exhibition

Pardo_Photo3982Each year, studio art majors present work in the senior art exhibition in the Beard and Weil Galleries as a culmination of their creative experience at Wheaton. This year’s show, “Introspection,” under advisor Professor Andrew Howard, showcased diverse work by 18 students.

The artists included in the exhibition, which ran from April 24 through May 17, were: Lauren Andres, Lindsay Burrows, Ava Cardinale, Lyndsay Cooke, Sedra Davis, India Dumont, Luisa Earle, Christina Ferragamo, Sophia Gipstein, Xiaoren Liu, Adrianne Madden, Marina Marcus, Soraya Matos, Mary Mulvehill, Jennifer Sands, Chandra Taylor, Sara Victor and Hillary Watson.

The students come up with the name of the exhibition each year. “‘Introspection’ is appropriate because it more or less defines the process of selecting a point of departure for the execution and building of a body of work that best represents the current artistic position of each student,” noted Howard. “Lots of reflection, trial and error, and then resolution.”

Artist statements and work


Branford, Connecticut

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionThe Freshman Fifteen is a cookbook that compiles fifteen recipes from fifteen people that I met during my freshmen year at Wheaton. In my last four years here, it has become evident to me that my experience has been shaped by those around me. The fifteen people that I chose for my cookbook were people who, without a doubt, have impacted my entire college experience.

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionI chose to portray my friendships through a cookbook because some of my favorite times and some of the best laughs I’ve had at Wheaton have been at meal times. The meals my friends and I have had together weren’t so much about the food, but the conversations and stories we shared with each other. I wanted to portray each friend through her favorite family recipe that I could put together in a book as a way of bringing these individuals together as a whole. Because each person’s contribution is from her own family, it was fun for me to see how each one reflected her personality in subtle ways through the way it was written and the personal notes that accompanied it.

Using the recipe that each friend chose, I organized the cookbook so that everyone shared one ingredient with the person on the pages before and after her own. Without that common ingredient that comes from the previous pages, no recipe would be complete. These ingredients on the pages work together to complete the dish, just as friends come together to each add to the growth and experience we share. For me, each page isn’t just a part of a cookbook, but a way to celebrate and remember my friendships that I have made over the last 4 years.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Cranston, Rhode Island

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionThe images in this body of work are a distillation of the essence of my family experience, and each print is derived from a specific memory or moment in time that has, in some way, shaped me into who I am. Centered on my grandparents, this series of monotype prints re-tells moments of family life and the love, sadness, and laughter that are a part of it.  In the past few years, I watched my grandparents age, become ill, and pass away. The events that transpired gave me a clear understanding of what a positive and loving influence they had on my whole family. In looking through old family photographs, I was inspired by the connections between the generations of my family in Rhode Island over the last eighty years. Through the painterly process of monotype printmaking, I was able to interpret these photographs in a more emotional and imaginative way, intending to convey both personal and universal sentiments of family.

The monotype is the most gestural technique of printmaking that allows for movement within the image and tonal depth. My own process is subtractive: I roll ink onto a plexi-glass plate and then remove it using Q-tips. By learning how to manipulate the subtractive method in different ways, I grew into my own style. Motivated by the anticipation of pulling each one-of-a-kind print off the press, I was able to remain focused and advance the process as I went along.

While printing, I simultaneously wrote several creative non-fiction essays that further illustrate the experiences that inspired me throughout this year.

This body of work is, simply, memories visualized.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Cutchogue, New York

The ArcherTwo of the most powerful and mysterious forces of the universe have influenced the way I have chosen to work. Like many people before me, the beauty of the stars and the constellations they form, as well as the ever-changing oceans, has always captivated me. The vastness and enormity of these two worlds remind me that I am just one fragment of the whole, which is life.

I have always been fascinated by astrology and theconnection people tend to share with their respective zodiac sun signs. Each sign seeks to predict the personality of the individual. However, people have their own set of characteristics; this is what makes them intriguing.

The second part of my inspiration comes from the unpredictable and always changing and moving ocean. Its fluidity and grace as well as its spontaneity has influenced the way I have chosen to compose my paintings. My life has always been intertwined with the sea. Thoughts of warm summer nights with a cool salty breeze invoke feelings of home and family, whichin turn, has also been an influence on my subject matter.

My family has always been my biggest inspiration and motivation. Using each person’s sun sign constellation, as well as their own uniqueness, I have produced an abstract depiction of how I see my family. Incorporating color, brush stroke, sand, and scallop shells, I have portrayed my relationship with each person.

For each painting I have a general idea of what the outcome will look like. However, much like life, the results are never quite the same as my anticipation. The nature of how I have chosen to paint allows for elements of surprise. Working in layers, I positioned scallop shells in place of the stars forming constellations, to connect the ideas of the cosmos and the oceans. After the paint dried, I removed all but a few shells, leaving one or two in significant places for each sign. Giving the effect that the tide had washed away some of the shore. These paintings reflect how I emotionally connect with my family, as well as my surroundings.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Bakersfield, California

“Tattoos have a power and magic all their own. They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.”        – Michelle Delio

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionI have always been fascinated by the artistic expression and personal message in the art form of tattoos. I chose to paint portraits because of the challenge involved in re-creating an infinitely complex person, perfection and imperfection combined together. I am drawn in by people’s experiences; how they shape them and shade them. Tattoos provided a new depth of understanding about my focus as an artist, and through their deliberateness, reveal my subjects anew.

I approach each painting with my own impressions of my subjects, enhanced by my familiarity with them. The purpose of my artwork is to incorporate a sense of the individual using color and form. The pose I chose for each piece was also re- flective of the person and the tattoo. The body positions are meant to expose their intimate and often hidden tattoo to the viewer. I incorporated hands into each of my paintings to further highlight the exposition of the tattoo. The background color is meant to emphasize and enhance the mood and the essence of each tattoo.

A tattoo represents a small piece of permanence in a temporary world. After getting my own tattoos, I understand the commitment to having an image marked on your body for the rest of your life – a constant reminder. In my portraits, the focus is on the connection between people and their tattoos, and how tattoos can reveal an unknown dimension of a person. Even the most personal and hidden tattoos are a form of self-expression.

My subjects are significant people in my life and I hope that my portraits will reveal a glimpse of their completeness. By learning the story and rationale behind the tattoos, I was left with an impression that inspired my paintings. The meaningful tattoos I painted prompted me to look closer at my subjects and focus on the details that reveal a hidden part of their identity.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Lexington, Massachusetts

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionI have recently been interested in human psychology and how people express themselves with emotions.  These are made of a range of micro to macro expressions.  Emotions are important to me because they are natural, are how a person non-verbally expresses their feelings, and are one of the simplest forms of communication.  They are immediate, powerful, and may have more of an impact on the viewer than words may have on a reader, depending on the person.  They also tell a lot about the person who is expressing them.

The background of each portrait is painted a color that matches the emotion being expressed.  It intensifies the look and makes it more dramatic.

The people in these paintings are some of my best friends, including my mother and sister.  Each of these people, in their uniqueness, has made a significant impact on my life in some way, shape or form.  Based on what I know about them, I chose to paint them in a way that somehow matches them.  They are a more intimate and insightful way of looking  at the person.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Plympton, Massachusetts

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionLittle more than a year ago, I was in Ireland. I spent eight months in a tiny village nestled between the hills and the sea, and being immersed in the isolation of that place was like finding a piece of myself that, until then, I didn’t even know I was missing. My time was divided between my art and the landscape itself, until I found that the two were rapidly becoming intertwined, and the work that has emerged from this has been more true to myself than anything I was doing up until that point.

These illustrations are inspired directly by pieces that I did while abroad. They speak of whimsy, childhood, things lost and forgotten, and the vague disquiet of the unknown. With a strange mingling of Irish landscapes and interior objects, I seek to create a dream-world that is neither welcoming nor hostile, but always watching.  In its own way, it is very much alive.

The characters moving through these spaces have no names, nor do they need them. Childlike in nature and doll-like in appearance, they are brought to life as much by this fantastical world as the world is formed by their presence, and their invitation to explore it is as much yours as theirs. Like you, they are strangers here, daring to seek the intangible. And although the pieces here are akin to a children’s storybook, I believe there is a subtlety and a conviction within them that can speak to anyone.  The series is both an invitation and a journey—through the real and the unreal, through light and dark, and through the unknown.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Mystic, Connecticut

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionSince I was very young I have been going to the Fort Trumbull Boat Yard in New London, Connecticut to work on the family Ensign. Every April, the boat yard begins to come alive; boat owners arrive to make annual preparations for another sailing season.

Standing on the bow of my boat I can see the owner Paul seated in the makeshift clubhouse, his face shielded behind his sunglasses and fading maroon hat. His golden retriever, Buddy, is either laying close by or roaming around the boat yard greeting everyone with a smile and a wagging tail. The gravel and dirt ground, old wooden and rusted boat cradles, as well as the characters whom help Paul run the place, are what make it so interesting. Centered around cigarettes and Budweiser, a new type of community has been formed.

Choosing Paul for my photographic essay, I was able to begin to learn about the man behind the sunglasses and hat and portray him in the environment in which we met. I chose to use traditional film rather than digital photography because I really love the physicality of the entire process, from pulling the negatives from the film tank to seeing the image begin to emerge in the developer tray inside the darkroom.

While Paul’s age was not my focus, I turned to Imogen Cunningham’s After Ninety as a reference for my work. Her series of photographs challenges public stereotypes towards the elderly and brings to life their youth and energy. Looking at her photographs I was able to both gain inspiration for compositions as well as see examples of black and white portraiture. Combining Cunningham’s style with my own, I was able to portray just a small piece of who Paul is.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Beijing, China

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionThrough the process of creating these paintings, the python has been my visual inspiration and has prompted me to think about life and nature in new and different ways. I was unexpectedly exposed to pythons last year, and I was immediately attracted to this creature. Their textures, their colors, their eyes, and their gestures…everything about them is so sophisticated. The python is the epitome of the natural world. Its variously protective colors, displaying vitality and luster, seem to recall their story in swamp, desert and tropical rainforest. They are representative of so many metaphors about the world. I have come to realize that we live our lives but somehow become trapped by modern society and forget the original beauty of the world. My painting does not literally picture the form of the python. It expresses my respect, my belief and my understanding of nature. From its reflective surface, I can see the sun as time passes. From its irregular speckle, I can see the trace that age left behind.

>> Back to Artist Statements list

Falmouth, Maine

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionThe Peony, as an icon, evokes many memories and feelings from my home, family, and past. It is a flower that has identified the ending, as well as the beginning, of many different chapters of my life. Through these paintings, along with simple rough sketches of other, personally familiar icons, I attempted to create compositions that suggest themselves as ‘studies’ of my thoughts.

Beyond the aesthetic outcome, I focused on the practice and process that my work required. The quiet calmness needed to create the delicate layers of petals took restraint and patience, while the decisive brushstroke and inherent qualities of the watercolor demanded confidence. In a year filled with ample work, stress, and anxieties, these pieces act as windows into moments of clarity. Everything around me this year was quickly moving forward—moving towards the end of yet another chapter of my life. Yet, through this process and series, I have been able to reflect on the work and time that I have put in to be able to be who, and where, I am today.

>> Back to Artist Statements list


Mason, New Hampshire

Senior Art Show 2014, IntrospectionThroughout history, Christianity has chosen to demonize, alienate and subordinate certain groups that challenge the church’s beliefs. There has been no attempt to understand these targeted groups, and instead they have become feared and persecuted. Prominently, factions that held a different view on sexuality, especially ones where women were on a more equal ground, or even revered, have been even more threatening to the Church. Christianity’s inclination is to place women into two categories, either the virgin or the whore. I wish to challenge that notion with my three saintly sinners.

I want to create a visual juxtaposition of Christianity along with the occult, as well as to create a commentary on the treatment of women within a religiously dominated society. My intent with the confrontational nature of the three women and the overt iconography is to spark a questioning approach amongst the viewers. They are saintly in form; however, their nature is a whole other matter.

They are the false idolaters, those who admire or worship someone or something that is not the omnipotent God that Christianity has deemed the one and only. The archaic belief that certain devout Christians have is that it is within the human image that impurity, passion, desires and covetousness appears. Any pagan worship, or that of a creature or human in place of God, is the worship of false idols.

Christians regard the esoteric nature of the occult as heresy. That knowledge and personal growth can occur outside of the Church and away from their God is unacceptable. The individualistic and more equalizing nature of these other religions threatens the hierarchy that has been created within the Christian foundation.

>> Back to Artist Statements list