We recommend viewing this exhibition from a computer
We recommend viewing this exhibition from a computer
Visual Arts Senior Thesis Exhibition 2021
The essence of this year’s Senior Exhibition title, “Capeesh? Kaposh.”, echoes our shared group understanding.
It is a call and response to one another and to you too. The simplicity of this dialogue reflects the group’s prerogative to make our expression absurd. Simultaneously, “Capeesh? Kaposh.” passionately explores themes of empathy, liminal space, political action, isolation, memory, loss, reflection, and more by diversely working in painting, drawing, design, sound, book arts, sculpture, performance, photography, video, and digital media artwork. This virtual exhibition explores our conceptual thinking and is a culmination of our four years of arts training at NMSA.
Some content is intended for mature audiences only.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Howard L. Franks Trust, the Hayes Foundation, and the Stranahan Foundation.
My paintings recreate the private and intimate spaces in which I am most comfortable. This work portrays elegant, pastel-colored subjects, like my clothing or bathtub, to communicate this sense of peacefulness to the viewer. These found still-lives connect the subject’s historical meanings and my harmonious associations. Similarly, each work is titled intuitively with found titles coming from books and fortunes cookies. These oil paintings depict places of security and celebrate my serene domestic space.
My work explores manipulation of perception and conscious thought through absurdity. Fascinations with what you can learn about a person by observing their living quarters have followed me since childhood. A house is a byproduct of oneself. It is interesting to me to notice the way in which someone’s belongings reflect and reveal how their identity abstracts, distorts, and evolves over time. I am able to expand on these more abstract ideas of development through creating atmospheric soundscapes like the one featured in the short film “Crumbled Adobe”. Prevalent influences from artists such as Tom Sachs’s slightly primitive, homemade aesthetic to the forms of Miina Akkijyrkka inform my work’s physical composition. It is important to me that my work reflects anti-sterile, anti-capitalist, and post-consumerist ideologies. I am able to accomplish this by focusing on using found objects that have significant meaning to me and my identity.
This collection of zines and artist books stem from my love of music and tactile objects that bring comfort when held. The artist books contain old sketches that explore my progression as an artist. Although just doodles, they share a sense of myself and my personal growth. These individual pieces are made stronger by being sewn and bound together; memories and ideas from years past are strung together and made easily transportable. Though I am a visual arts student, I am also passionate about music and I wanted to share that passion in this project. There is a sense of community that comes with music and that community is hard to find for young people in Santa Fe for a multitude of reasons, especially now due to the pandemic. I decided to interview three awesome bands that originated from Santa Fe and ask about their experiences making music here. This work is important to me because it provides a sort of community and exposure to our local musicians in Santa Fe.
Death is an inevitable human experience. “Transitions” is an interactive, immersive installation in which one could imagine what comes after death and discover the unknown. What happens after we die? Where do we go? I frequently experienced the loss of many close family members throughout my early childhood. As a child, I viewed the world very differently and did not have a fully developed capacity to comprehend death. Now that I am older, I am looking back and trying to process my distorted and fragmented past experiences surrounding loss. Each element in this installation is a representation of those faded memories made into tangible objects. Within the context of this body of work, I can confront my emotions and revisit suppressed feelings. This multi-chamber installation translates the abstract obscurity of life and death into a visual language. With wood, metal, fabric, paper, clay, space, and light, “Transitions” makes my thoughts and what I am confronting physical so that I might find understanding and acceptance.
My work explores the mysteries of nostalgia and memory. The soft sculpture paired pieces, made from found and altered stuffed animals, refer to the joys of being a kid, full of wonder and imagination, and simultaneously focuses on those feelings and events that we forget. It presents us with a reminder that our past is not always as it seems. I choose to manipulate toys to trigger this reevaluation of our memories. The extreme modifications in “Freaky Friday” reflect the dramatic changes that may happen to a person’s identity. By using toys that most people can relate to and an object associated with childhood, I am giving the audience the opportunity to share and inspect their memories with me.
My artwork exists in the intersection of painting, fiber, sound, and poetry to represent the fragility of human life as observed this past year in the failing health of my grandfather. Through making artwork I am able to reflect on his life and death while analyzing my emotional reactions to this difficult time. This portrait series centers on documenting the physical appearance of declining health; it displays my feelings and perspective through color choice and uses impasto layering to express the plasticity of flesh as a delicate and powerful reflection of our wellness. Fiber art is utilized to highlight the comfort and familiarity of my grandfather’s presence, reflected in the use of traditional rug making. Simultaneously, the deconstruction of the finished craft of rug making describes the messy, dark moments of recognition when I realized his illness was fatal. In combination, these techniques create a cathartic art-making experience.
My art explores themes of the liminal and obscure to create something that feels isolating and emulates a sense of displacement. Through this selection of zines and animations, I investigate my relationship to family, home, and self. The little houses zine is a set of drawings that explores how I view change; it is a representation of my sense of self through the variation in composition and context of a repeated figure (a self-portrait) and house icon. A collection of photography taken in my home town comprises the white lines zine and reflects on my relationship with home. The cicada zine is a related group of graphic images and comics that focuses on how I view and interact with my family. The animations included in this body of work, similar to the little houses zine, contemplate the notion of change using a representation of myself and house iconography.
There is never a moment in time in which art does not surround us. This project aims to capture and reflect that notion. Through a contemplative process of creating, installing, and painting still lives of ordinary and sentimental objects, I achieve insight into my own life. The work is an investigation of my disposition; it is a gentle conversation with myself performed through painting. Each object is intentionally arranged to convey a sentiment of warmth, stillness, and serenity. This work excites me because it allows the process to become my motivation and purpose. Creating clay pieces that I then document through painting slows down the investigation. These paintings aim to display comfort, curiosity, and to capture the beautiful in the mundane. This journey witnesses my sonder in ordinary occurrences.
“When you leave a piece of yourself, your soul, creativity, and love in what you do. To put a little bit of yourself into something.”
Senior Project Journal
“Today we are submitting all of our artwork from the past year. It is such a surreal feeling to gather a year’s worth of work to ‘hand over’. I figured, because of that, I am going to write a quick journal entry about each piece,
the objects depicted in it, and share each painting’s process”
I invite you to view documentation of each work’s development and journal entries that accompany each piece.
Many people have strange and bizarre dreams that make them wonder and overthink about themselves. Dreams manifest weird desires and strange feelings; some can be scary, fun, or even confusing. In my autobiographical drawings, I want to portray sensations of discomfort within a comforting image. This series bewilderingly explores lustful dreamscapes and flamboyant characters. I present different female characters with disoriented, nervous, flustered, and lecherous expressions to depict an eroticism and to reflect my own. They represent me and my conflicted experience in sharing my sexual identity as a lesbian. Through making this artwork I have grown more confident in my identity.
Getting older is scary for a lot of reasons. Coming of age means plenty of change is happening; childhood is almost over and the sudden transition to adulthood is beginning. “Shrine” combines a creepy outside and a tender inside to create a vulnerable relationship between myself and the viewer by sharing vignettes from my past. Inside the plaster body cavity, this human scale sculpture is filled with fabric innards to cushion various found objects from my childhood. They represent the tense and bittersweet melancholy of realizing that life cannot stay the same forever. Change is an inevitable and very important part of life. I want my work to communicate a sense of unease and distress through this deformed figure.
My work expresses what I simply cannot say with words. This series of photographs, “Iluminar”, and “Green Dot”, a short film, use high contrast in black and white to represent my strong emotions. Not only is there contrast in the work itself but also in the subject matter. “Iluminar” captures juxtapositions between industrial structures and organic material. By merging opposing elements I communicate a sense of harmony. Most of the work involves an intuitive process wherein compositions emerge as I explore different locations in New Mexico. The work documents the beauty found in everyday contrast and demonstrates the indecisive relationship I have with defining myself as an artist.
artemisio Romero y Carver
Please visit Arthur Graves website: https://graves2021.org/
“Arthur Graves” is a consolidation of America’s political imagery and language, packaged in my body and illustrated in a kind of drag costume. I observe neoliberal politicians using exaggerated symbols and rituals of patriotism, religion, and tolerance to communicate their marketable character. This messaging, especially in juxtaposition with the often violent and immoral reality of government policy, creates a gap between image and meaning. We have some of the least moral people in our country claiming authority on what is right and wrong. Enter Arthur. He adopts slightly exaggerated and ever more performative symbols, in his quest for power as a means of displaying the increasingly meaningless ritual of the political establishment. He costumes himself in the customary blue blazer, staged photos, and a labyrinthine website. Graves is a confident, loud, and shallowly authentic underdog, who as an individual thoughtform, is reduced to a profoundly lonely art object.
My art embodies memories and combines them into an abstracted story about the past and its influence. Growing up in the desert, I have always been infatuated with the nature that surrounds me, more specifically, how this land’s history informs family relations through generational trauma. I reflect on the delicacy of the interdependent relationship between one’s identity and body through a series of paintings centering on divergent emotions represented through distorted figures. Within my paintings, I focus on the unsettling reality of growing up in a turbulent household. I found myself upset at the lack of positive childhood memories. These gaps in my recollection reflect a loss of identity and manifest as a sense of disconnection between my conscience and my surroundings. I am homesick for something that never existed and recreate these tender sentiments in the form of protective shields that sit over my paintings, which each include an array of mixed media: watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, gel medium, acrylic, ink, and thread. They also incorporate delicate weavings that allow fragile views of what lies underneath.
In the film “Angel Wings; covered in c3ment” and series of extracted stills, I capture fragments of lived experience to memorialize something precious and at times grotesque. I work in still shots allowing me to build tension within scenes and create intrusive interruptions to alleviate tension. The contrast of verdant nature and the decay of life is a parallel to my physical work within the more vivid and striking medium of film. Through taking the time to recall and distort these sacred and peaceful moments, an indirect story is told at the same time. Snippets of something more sinister hide in the footage only when you think it is safe to continue watching. Juxtaposing serene images with something as striking as a decomposing rat conveys a message of repeated intrusion into daily life. Much like my series of 3’s, I face multiple topics and a range of emotions through abstractions of my past. When creating something so personal, the work embodies itself within its own narrative and my memories are released.
My artwork is a reflection of my personality. I have always been a very high energy person who is passionate about cars and my friendships. I tend to include people I care about in my artwork to show appreciation for them. In the future, I imagine owning a garage; these drawings are a hopeful first step toward this dream.