Mortar exhibition in CFAM features senior artists’ mixed media works

On April 15, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum opened its annual senior student exhibition. This year’s exhibition, entitled Mortar, features a variety of mixed media art from the four graduating studio art seniors.

The title Mortar unites all the pieces in this year’s senior exhibition, with each student’s art tying back to that title and central theme. “Each piece in the exhibition prompts my thoughts on different aspects of the world around me and kind of makes me think about those areas of life differently,” said Abbie Toshie ’17, a graduating senior with art in the exhibition.

“I think each piece fits into the show in its own way and expresses the term ‘mortar,’ the title of the show, uniquely, so there’s really something for all interests.”

Jose Gonzalez ’17, a graduating senior with art in the museum, explained how the class came to choose the title Mortar. “We chose mortar, as in the word referring to the material holding bricks together, since our works tended to focus on ideas that are not often talked about in the public sphere but still exist and help to build up the world we see around us in whatever way that may be,” he said.

Gonzalez’s work in the museum explores masculinity within the LGBT+ community. “I am a figurative painter, and painted several gay men within my piece on exhibition trying to present different forms of beauty and the ‘masculine,’” he said. “I juxtaposed this with printed photos from a gay dating app reflecting the very slim ‘ideal’ that is often times strived towards the male form.”

Elise Hickman ’17 explores the relationship between the body and the mind in her pieces in the senior exhibition. “It focuses on the formation of one’s image of their own body within their mind and how that affects one’s own personal identity,” she said.

After all their time at Rollins and the stress of their senior year, the students are excited to have their completed pieces in the museum. “It was a whirlwind of emotions and deadlines, very stressful but also very gratifying when the work is finally on display in the museum,” Gonzalez said. “This has been a build up for the past 3 years of my life, since I added the studio art major, and it is very cathartic to have the work hanging in the exhibition.”

Hickman also described the process of preparing for the exhibition. “There were a lot of nights spent in the studio by everyone in the senior class and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into everyone’s work,” she said.

She added, “I think I speak on the behalf of everyone in our studio when I say it’s frustrating, exhausting, challenging, but also rewarding. There is a lot of unknown research involved  with art. But overall, it’s a very complicated, messy process that challenges you but also rewards you in what you find you can create.”

The exhibition will be open until May 14, with a public celebration taking place on Friday, April 21 from 5:30-7:30pm at the CFAM.

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