Thursday at 10 a.m., Eide/Dalrymple Gallery’s gate was lifted to unveil “The Experience: Augustana Senior Art Show.”
The gallery displays the artwork of graduating seniors: sculptures, prints, paintings, drawings, digital photography and graphic design.
According to gallery director Lindsay Twa, “This show is four years in the making. It’s the product of the students developing as artists from the first day they walk in the door. Every piece they make leads to this moment.”
Senior Mandy Seeley agrees, and she sees the senior show as a time to share her best work with the Augustana community.
“The senior show is basically the equivalence of a thesis defense in any other major,” Seeley said. “It’s the culmination of my entire time at Augie.”
The amount of preparation that goes into the show is extensive. Students submitted their strongest works to juries, where the art department chose which pieces would be featured in the showcase.
“[Juries] is about picking pieces for the strongest show possible,” Twa said. “Some artists have many pieces, and some have fewer. It depends on what their focus was and the body of work they presented.”
Since students aren’t allowed to attend juries, Seeley wanted to make sure the selection committee knew the stories behind her pieces.
“A print of a bird to somebody is just a print of a bird until you know the whole story behind it,” Seeley said in reference to her resin engraving, “Warm Winter.”
“‘Warm Winter’ is about my grandfather,” Seeley said. “When I was young I would sit with him and watch the chickadees through this great big white window. He suffered from dementia the last three years of his life, and he passed away last January. It was a warm winter.
So I guess the piece is about memory—his struggle to remember himself, and my struggle to remember him.”
All great art tells a story. But for art majors, finding the medium that allows their passion to surface is a big part of the creative process. Fellow senior Sabrina Johnson finds herself drawn to painting, especially oils.
“There’s something about oil paint—it’s really luscious and fun to work with, and you can create such vibrant colors,” Johnson said.
Johnson had six paintings, two drawings and one sculpture chosen for the show, but her favorites are a pair of oil paintings entitled “I am Significant” and “Tu es Rien,” which means “you are nothing” in French.
Ultimately, Twa said the senior show should be a time of celebration.
“I see this both as the students’ victory lap, but also as a way to help raise the profile of studio arts on campus,” Twa said. “This is the students’ commencement. This is where their career as artists begins, not ends.”
Along with Johnson and Seeley, the other 11 artists showcased in the gallery are Kelsey Hansen, Megan Johnson, Ana Knyazeva, Sean Lares, Maxine Melber, Annie Nance, Laura Nerness, Stephanie Ohden, Mariya Pabst, Sarah Schoepf and Tessa VanRavenswaay.
An artist talk will be held today at noon, and the gallery’s reception is today from 5-7 p.m. For the duration of the semester, the gallery will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.