The College of the Holy Cross is presenting “Énouement,” an exhibition of the work of nine graduating senior art majors from the Concentration Seminar offered by the Department of Visual Arts, Studio Division. In conjunction with the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, the exhibition will be presented online following the closure of the campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students Xherd Aliko, Stephanie Browne, Claudia Davila, Luke Doughty, Annie Elbadawi, Murphy Grady, Thomas MacMullin, Morgan Sanders, and Emma Waligory will also give virtual presentations about their work through an online format.
Traditionally, after a year-long process of developing and creating art as participants in the Studio Concentration Seminar, the work of these students would have been installed in the Cantor Art Gallery in mid-April, they would have given artist’s talks in conjunction with the College’s Academic Conference in the gallery, and celebrated their culminating experience as young artists with an opening reception, also held in the gallery.
But, as the difficult decision was announced by Holy Cross President Fr. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J. to shut down campus in mid-March due to health and safety concerns generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this group of students was faced with the difficult task of returning to their homes, many of them unable to gather completed work and materials from studio spaces in the Millard Art Center. Thus, in the final weeks of their undergraduate career, these students were forced to pivot from the expectation of installing their artwork in the Cantor Art Gallery and experiencing this professional milestone, to reinventing the exhibition in a virtual format.
Associate Professor Matthew Gamber, who is the instructor for the spring semester of the Senior Concentration Seminar, has described this shift as daunting, but says, “I am proud of the way this group has handled the challenge and moved forward in ways that demonstrate the skills they’ve acquired as creative individuals.” Out of necessity, with the group dispersed to locations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, the remaining class sessions and planning moved to online platforms.
“Over the past month, the students have been faced with the enormous task of moving out of their campus studios, completing a finished body of work, photographing it, and reconceiving of their gallery exhibition in an online format,” said Meredith Fluke, Director of the Cantor Art Gallery. “And although we looked forward to working with the students in the gallery, we are extremely proud of their exhibition, and excited by the potential to present it to an even broader audience.”
As developing artists within a liberal arts program at Holy Cross, they have had the opportunity to experience an interdisciplinary approach to learning, one that values critical thinking, a broad approach to understanding societal issues and challenges, and an appreciation of the role that creative thinking plays in problem solving. The work highlighted in the online exhibition demonstrates these core values and the diverse academic interests of the artists, ranging from economics to psychology, math, English, and art history.
“Énouement,” the title chosen for the virtual exhibition by the students, embodies the emotional complexities of dealing with a global pandemic while being forced to reckon with an unknown future and a desire to know its outcome. Senior Emma Waligory explains, “When we were trying to think of a title for the show, we really struggled with what direction to go in because we ourselves couldn’t seem to find the words to explain our feelings, or the situation.” “Throughout our four years at the college, we have been looking forward to having our senior studios and our senior show in Cantor; one of which got cut short, and one that will never come to fruition… Life doesn’t seem to be real right now, and we’re all just making it up as we go along.”
“Énouement” can be viewed online here and features the following work:
Black and white analog photographs by Xherd Aliko; prints by Stephanie Browne reflecting her interest in maps and topography; playful narrative collages using found images, watercolor and thread by Claudia Davila; graffiti-like paintings by Luke Doughty that embrace line and color; landscape imagery created from cloth and embroidery techniques in homage to her home in upstate New York by Annie Elbadawi; paintings that embrace the deconstruction and reconstruction of denim material by Murphy Grady; poetic environmental photographs by Thomas MacMullin; mixed-media paintings of rock formations by Morgan Sanders — this year’s recipient of the John Paul Reardon Award & Medal from the Department of Visual Arts; and Emma Waligory’s playful and color-saturated paintings of endangered and farm animals.
Tuesday, May 12, 11:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Virtual Presentations by Senior Artists
Event registration: https://holycross.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrfuyppjIsGNzWLmMyzlT2cw_F_KfSftX7
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