2021 Senior Art Exhibition: Blissters
Most of the time, blisters are pretty unpleasant or annoying at best. Caused by friction, a thin skin layer forms a bubble often filled with some bodily fluid. Our intuition may encourage us to pop the irritation, let the liquid seep out, and wait for the post-bubble and new skin beneath to run their courses (though it should be noted that popping blisters is ill-advised). So what do blisters have to do with Blissters, and why is this word reinterpretation the title of the 2021 senior art exhibition? The allusion here is that saying Blissters may still evoke the sentiments expressed above. Yet, when reading the name and discovering the second intentional “s,” we may picture a sense of relief, are provided a moment of flawless joy, or take a pause from the precarity of the now while still feeling the exasperation of an exhausting year. In a physical form, the works exhibited in Blissters offer solace from this weird and challenging time.
For the eighteen senior studio art majors, Blissters reflects their final year in which the hands-on approach of art-learning and making was somewhat usurped by a global pandemic, national protests and activism, the 2020 election, and west coast fires. Yet, the students’ perseverance and dedication to their work and practice are celebrated in a tangible form, an exhibition as they imagined. Consisting of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, books, videos, sound art, ready-mades, and more, these remarkable projects, performances, stand-alone works, and installations invite our community to consider the importance of experiencing art in tough times.
Blissters was generously supported by the Dean’s office and wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement, support, and tireless work of many faculty, staff, and outside contractors. I especially want to thank Dru Donovan and Yaelle Amir for guiding and mentoring this year’s senior studio artists. I also want to thank my colleagues, Ahyoung Yoo, Benjamin David, Bethany Hays, Brenden Clenaghen, Brian House, Cara Tomlinson, Dawn Odell, Dylan Beck, Jess Perlitz, Jodie Cavalier, and Matthew Johnston, for teaching, guiding, and shaping this group. Thank you to Alison Walcott, Gabe Parque, and Tammy Jo Wilson for your continued support and considerable assistance in the realization of this exhibition. Thanks to Patrick Ryall, Justin Counts, and Mark Johnson for your technical prowess, project finalization, and installation expertise. Also, thank you, Jen Trail, for your excellent design of the Blissters brochure. And finally, to the students, THANK YOU for persevering through this challenging year, our virtual discussions, and making this show tangible—we all needed this. Congratulations, well done, and well wishes in your future endeavors.
Joel W. Fisher, Department of Art and Art History Chair, Associate Professor of Art