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Multimedia: Students synthesize diverse academic experiences in art exhibition

March 30, 2011

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    Image from Elizabeth Jaeger ’11, detail of “Platinum Musing,” 2011

Hoffman Gallery

As the capstone experience for graduating art majors, the Senior Art Exhibition represents more than just students’ studio art experiences. For students of the liberal arts, the exhibition is the culmination of diverse undergraduate careers, with work infused by lessons in philosophy, mathematics, music, and computer science.

“In many ways, art and making art is a nexus for all these things we learn,” said Jarré Lyman ’11. “We are inherently synesthetic beings. I don’t think our pursuit of knowledge should be any different.”

Bringing together artwork made by 13 graduating seniors in the Department of Art, the Senior Art Exhibition opens April 1 at the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark. Below, two art students offer a preview of their installations and discuss how their work has been influenced by their Lewis & Clark education.

 

Jarré Lyman | studio art major, computer science minor | hometown: Sandpoint, Idaho
What inspired your installation for the senior show?

I have a very active dream life, and I’m reflexively curious about the things that seem to be so apparently common or universally experienced, but about which we actually know close to nothing. Historically, photography has been used as a method to record: the camera is a device that has been perceived to capture the visual truth of a single moment. Rather than depict what we physically perceive, my photographs, via visual metaphors, depict what we might emotionally or subconsciously experience. This body of work engages themes regarding the human condition, such as existence, identity, consciousness, belief, and mortality; and the photographs provoke and explore the questions and ideas that arise from them.

What have you enjoyed about studying art in the liberal arts environment, rather than at an art school?

I am incredibly grateful to have received a liberal arts education; too much specialization in one subject, while arguably beneficial to a degree, locks thinking into an uncomfortably static space. A degree in the liberal arts allows for a much broader scope of experiencing the world. I’ve found it immensely important to have developed multiple points of view that I can dynamically reapply to anything else. Frequently I find myself cross-referencing concepts in calculus that I use in my art-making, computer science to writing, language to music. In many ways, art and making art is a nexus for all these things we learn. We are inherently synesthetic beings. I don’t think our pursuit of knowledge should be any different.

What’s next for you after graduation?

While I don’t have any immediate post-graduation plans, I have several avenues to take. I’ve been offered a yearlong internship at the school I attended in Greece during my semester abroad, but I’d also love to get an apprenticeship or internship with a working photographer so I can sooner dive into what I love doing most. Grad school might happen two or three years later; I want to live a little bit first! In the meantime, I’ll continue photographing, making art, possibly traveling, and perhaps most importantly, living well.

 

Elizabeth Jaeger | studio art major, philosophy minor | hometown: San Francisco, California
What inspired your installation for the senior show?

A lot of my work comes intuitively and from doodles I’ve made. I tend to realize the inspiration for the sculptures after they’re finished, encountering them as materializations of my own experience or feelings in the past year. Platinum Musing I think is loosely based off of my experiences modeling, and the strange confidence game one plays in portrait photography.

What have you enjoyed about studying art in the liberal arts environment, rather than at an art school?

After attending the Art Institute of Chicago for two years, I transferred to Lewis & Clark thinking I could pursue a different, more practical major. I considered majors in sociology, psychology, and French. While studying abroad in France, I opted out of the language classes to study philosophy. In many ways, I really miss art school, but the opportunity to study other majors has been crucial to solidifying my commitment to an arts practice. I think being so deeply immersed in one discipline, you can lose sight of its value in your life. Studying the liberal arts gives you the freedom to explore and then dedicate yourself truly to an interest.

What’s next for you after graduation?

New York! I’ll be starting two internships in May—one at a gallery and one at a magazine.

 

Exhibition details

The 2011 Senior Art Exhibition will feature the following students: Eleanor Baldwin, Kevin Edward Brown, Lydia Cardenas, Sandy Fujita, Katherine Groesbeck, Elizabeth Jaeger, Jarré Lyman, Sam Margevicius,  Claudia Ramirez Islas, Tyler C. Reese, Toni-Petri Ruotsalainen, Todd Slade, Shannon Wu.

The Hoffman Gallery will host an opening reception for the exhibition on April 1, from 5-7 p.m. The Senior Art Exhibition runs from April 1-May 8; gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, call 503-768-7687 or visit the Hoffman Gallery’s website.

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