“Art is so public,” said art major Aliyana Gewirtzman PO ’12, sitting cross-legged on an artist’s stool in an empty upstairs studio. "If no one’s looking at it, you’re not doing anything.” Gewirtzman and seven other Pomona senior art majors will emerge from the silence of their studios and present their theses at Scatterfold, the Pomona College Senior Art Major Thesis Exhibition for the annual professionally mounted show and culmination of the art major May 2. Scatterfold will be held upstairs in Bridges Auditorium. The show will follow the Scripps senior art major exhibition, "Comparisons are Odious," which opens today at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.
“Art is generally pretty personal,” Gewirtzman said.
These seniors have each spent all semester, if not longer, pouring themselves into individual projects that they must now display to peers, professors and strangers. Beyond producing the art displayed, both the Pomona and Scripps art majors require students design the exhibition, install their pieces, articulate their projects in written artists’ statements and create publicity for the event.
For many of the artists, this final act of putting their work—in a way, themselves—on display will be the most challenging.
“Your work is very public and you can easily relapse into feeling like you’re in one of those ‘naked in front of the audience’ kind of dreams,” John Harewood PO ’12 said. “I am a proponent of doing things you don’t think you’re ready to do though. The challenge itself affords growth.”
Harewood’s thesis is an untitled experiment with animation as a medium for storytelling.
Though the thesis exhibition challenges majors to present to the public, they are all experienced with the process of sharing and reviewing each other's work.
“Every piece you do goes up on the wall and everybody talks about it,” Gewirtzman said. “I feel close to the art majors. You have a long standing relationship with their work.... We all sort of push each other.”
Gewirtzman’s thesis, which draws from her childhood memories of specific physical spaces, investigates the tension between internal and external worlds—how identity is related to physical environments and how environments are abstracted into psychological spaces.
She will be more than prepared to display her thesis, having worked in the Smith Campus Center gallery helping to install student shows.
“I like that side of thing," she said.
Some seniors already have clear plans for their art degrees. Alison Perry SC ’12 will be attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where she plans to earn her post-baccalaureate B.S. in entertainment design before pursuing a career in film and video game design. Her thesis, "Women and Video Games: Pigeonholing the Past," examines video games, feminist theory and female empowerment.
“Too many girls get discouraged from playing video games, not because they're inherently misogynistic, but because feminism tells them they're misogynistic. That’s not true at all,” Perry said.
Some, like Lauren Escobar SC ’12, anticipate careers in art administration and event planning. Escobar’s thesis, titled "Sex on Plates," investigates the long history that accompanies erotic art. Others, like Krista Sharpe SC ’12, look forward to working in galleries or museums. Sharpe’s thesis, "Awakening," is an animated video presented in a custom viewing spaces that incorporates charcoal drawing and mixed media to show the story of a girl being created.
All of the art majors value their experience studying and creating art, and intend to continue making art in some capacity after college.
“Reflecting and expressing my experiences of the world through art-making has become such a central part of my life, I can't imagine I would simply stop after I graduate,” Rose Comaduran PO ’12 said.
Comaduran’s thesis, "Diptychs," was inspired by “an overall feeling of chaos and tension in my life,” and “a series of very strange nightmares.”
For Lily Burgess SC ’12, an art and psychology double major, art acts as a form of therapy, a mechanism through which to explore her emotions and experiences.
“It is a way of processing for me," she said. "In the senior thesis work, I have been preparing to share something that has been a very personal exploration. I have to own that level of intimacy and accept my vulnerability as I display my work.”
Inspired by her semester abroad in Denmark, Burgess’s thesis, "Gratitude Intervention," has been both an artistic and a personal exploration.
Every artist can relate to this element of introspection. The revelation of the deeply personal will be a major theme on display at Scatterfold next week, and the artists will surely appreciate their peers’ support at the event, which will open at 7 p.m. May 2. In case this disclosure of creativity and emotion is not enough to entice you, refreshments and Saca’s Mediterranean food will also be served at the opening.
The artists featured at Scatterflold will be Rose Comadurán, Dan Falby, Aliyana Gewirtzman, John Harewood, Rachel Lee, Nicola Parisi, Jeff Penprase, and theory friction practice, all PO '12. Featured at "Comparisons are Odious" are Scripps artists Lily Burgess, Lauren Escobar, Vivian Haesloop, Katherine Hegarty, Asia Morris, Allison Perry, Michelle Plotkin, Lili Salzberg, Krista Sharpe and Tiffany Yau, all SC '12.
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