From biblical feminism in paintings to identity and sexuality through video, four seniors prepared to complete their art major and move into the Cornell Fine Art Museum come spring.
The seniors presented the halfway versions of their final projects within their studio art course. Brianne Lint, Tara Gallagher, Mallory Griffith, and Emily Richards displayed their projects to the community. Each senior chose a unique medium to represent what they learned within the major and a personal connection to the composition.
Richards and Griffith chose on-canvas paintings, but the message behind their projects were quite different. “I started out as a painter when I first started doing art, so I naturally gravitated towards the medium,” said Richards.
Her project focused on connecting feminism to the Bible, looking to re-construct classic biblical references through a modern-day feminist lens.
“Although I am agnostic, I am really curious about biblical stories. I deliberately selected stories that focus on lesser-known female figures of the Bible that represent strength, control, and retribution in women.”
While some of her pieces appeared violent, Richards noted, “The subject matter, involving female figures slaying male characters is not meant to encourage the denigration of men, but to raise the level of women and assert their power as an equally strong, independent gender.”
Mallory Griffith also chose to do a modern interpretation of old art, using painting to notice how everything is influenced by a “techno-colored world.”
By referencing classic artwork such as the “Girl with the Pearl Earring,” a 1665 painting by Johannes Vermeer, Griffith aimed to modernize the “planned candid” by “building upon artistic traditions of painting to forge new ground in representation and artistic practice.”
Griffith used bright pinks, oranges, blues and greens to represent the common colors used in social media today. “My paintings are vibrant and detailed, almost like the computer or iPhone screens that allow us to create and share images of ourselves, using apps such as Instagram and Snapchat,” she explained.
Brianne Lint and Tara Gallagher each took a separate route, focusing on the digitized art form of video and photography.
Lint took the project as an opportunity to analyze the pressures around self-identity and conforming to society’s expectations.
Focusing on freedom of expression, Lint videoed four people who do not identify with the “societal norm,” specifically in sexuality. “It is important for these individuals to have their stories told truthfully and in their own words, as inaccurate accounts and misinterpretation have had a detrimental impact on how members of the LGBTQ+ community have been understood in mainstream culture,” said Lint.
By combining video, audio recording, and then freeze-framing still shots, Lint’s project showed that one angle is not an appropriate representation of someone’s identity.
“This work as a whole is meant to provide the viewer with truthful accounts that establish a starting point to think and understand how this notion of framing identities in society allows for such differences in experience for those existing outside of society’s ‘norm’ of expression.”
Tara Gallagher used photography to capture obscure yet everyday objects most people use, emphasizing that although these materials are easily forgotten, they largely contribute to habitual routine.
The photos of textbooks and course materials on a bed, body spray on a night stand, and CDs on a desk were accompanied with text from the philosophical book The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard.
“In my own life, I pay very close attention to the spaces these items occupy, and where and how I keep them. These materials are connected to memories, reflect my personality, and evoke a sense of poignancy that I seek to emphasize.” Gallagher said.
All four artists will take the senior seminar course in the spring, with the end-goal being a space within the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
From unique mediums to the deep, philosophical meanings incorporated within, Lint, Gallagher, Griffith, and Richards look forward to building off of these projects and showing the Rollins Community what the Art Department has to offer.