Some majors require a thesis to graduate, others require some sort of major project. Art majors have to put together a gallery exhibit to graduate. This year’s exhibit, called Overtones/ Undercurrents, features 28 pieces by senior art majors. Every senior takes a class that ends with the show, but many seniors spend a lot of time outside of class preparing, in addition to doing homework for the classes they are in currently.
“The hardest part was making everything work,” senior Damon Buck said. “These aren’t just class assignments. I want to have good intentions behind my work.”
The senior art show is the culmination of everything art majors have done over their time at Whitworth University. This year there is a variety of art, from newspaper and yearbook page layouts to oil paintings.
Art majors also put together a show during their junior year, to prepare for the senior art show.
“What the junior art show does is get their feet wet,” said Stephen Rue, gallery director and a lecturer for the art department. “They start thinking about the process of the show and they can look ahead to their senior year.”
Although the junior art show isn’t very different from the senior art show in terms of what the students do to get ready for it, there is an obvious difference in the art itself.
“The attention to detail is a thousand times better than last year,” Buck said. “Some people didn’t really know their focus, but everyone has developed their own style and the quality has gone up in the past year.”
One thing that is different about this show is that it will be showing at two locations. The first is in the Bryan Oliver Gallery on campus, and the second is at the Saranac Art Projects downtown. There was good timing at the Saranac, which is why the senior art show was able to have another gallery, Rue said.
Adjunct professor Garric Simonsen was the juror for the show, which meant he looked at all the work submitted and decided which pieces should be part of the show.
“I looked at the students’ ability to be innovative and original,” Simonsen said. “It was a process of looking at the work and asking those questions.”
For many students, this was the first time their work had been looked at by someone who they weren’t very familiar with.
“[Garric] was a little more critical, because there wasn’t a close relationship like there is with professors here,” Buck said. “They take our feelings to heart; they’re critical but we have a relationship with them.”
Even though the jury process was more severe than people had originally thought it would be, most people were happy with how it turned out.
“I’m pretty pleased with it,” Rue said. “Everyone found their own direction. The seniors have a good sense of who they are artistically.”
Simonsen was happy about the work that ended up in the show.
“A lot of the work was up to current contemporary standards,” Simonsen said. “The conceptual ideas were similar to the ideas of overarching institutional groups that are considered the art world. The work was pretty progressive and fairly cutting edge.”
The show at the Bryan Oliver Gallery will be open until May 14. The show at the Saranac Art Projects opens May 6 and closes May 29.