2022 Senior Art Exhibition: Don’t Blink
The eyelid evolved as a protective mechanism. Faced with some imminent danger, it automatically shuts off the eye from the world to prevent it from being damaged, from getting too close to the action, so to speak. Of course, the instinct to blink also serves another purpose—it cleans the eye, and gives the mind a short but necessary opportunity to rest.
These days, it seems like rest is in short supply. A world in flux demands our constant attention as we attempt to navigate through social upheaval, state violence, and ecological instability. We’re tasked with keeping ourselves whole even as we’re bombarded by countless images all day, every day. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it!
As coercive as this demand might be, it betrays something hopeful. Alone among the senses, vision is something over which we have agency. We can choose to keep our eyes open and take it all in, and we can decide when it is time to process our internal impressions. That’s not to say that either option is easy. But whether to blink is up to us.
Visual artists coming into their own today are tasked with being our guides. They’re uniquely positioned to show us what needs to be seen when it comes to our relationships with ourselves, with each other, with technology, and with the natural world. Identity, memory, and representation figure prominently in this exhibition—perennial themes more relevant than ever in groundless times. This work attends to each of these with an unflinching view. And while it reflects the transformative process that each student has gone through individually, it is also the result of their remarkable capacity to support each other. It is, after all, our shared vision that matters most.
Don’t Blink wouldn’t have been possible without generous support from the Dean’s office and the innumerable contributions from staff, faculty, and contractors. Special thanks goes to Yaelle Amir for mentoring this cohort of seniors, as well as to Benjamin David, Dru Donovan, Joel Fisher, Derek Franklin, Bethany Hays, Brenden Clenaghen, Cara Tomlinson, Dawn Odell, Dylan Beck, Jess Perlitz, and Matthew Johnston for their efforts cultivating the talent and drive of our studio art majors. Thank you to Rachel McKenna, Alison Walcott, and Tammy Jo Wilson for their untiring support of this department and in the realization of this exhibition. The technical prowess and installation expertise of Patrick Ryall, Justin Counts, and Mark Johnson has been essential, as has the design work of Jen Trail—thank you.
A final note of gratitude goes to the students, who have enabled us to see this moment. Thank you for that, and go with all our well wishes into the best of futures.
Brian House, Assistant Professor of Art