Solo Exhibitions Give Art Majors Real-World Experience
Waves of work from senior art majors fill Davidson's Smith Gallery. The individual senior shows, which are displayed through the spring semester, provide a visual representation of the techniques and visions the students have developed during their time at Davidson.
Elizabeth Harry '14 and Sam Echikson '14 were among the seniors who held exhibitions this spring. Harry works primarily with sculpture while Echikson creates digital art using various computer software programs. He said, "Digital art seemed like the perfect midpoint between art and the technical aspects of computers."
Art majors explore different media and techniques during their first two years by taking introductory courses in drawing, painting, digital art, printmaking and sculpture. During their junior year, they take the course Art 397, in which they create a body of work while receiving weekly critiques from professors. "They're beginning to develop their own idiosyncratic work and explore their own vision," said Professor of Art Cort Savage.
They enter senior year knowing that the final result will be their solo exhibition, a first for the majority of students. According to Savage, they spend the year "developing their artwork in the same way as before, but they're also entering into some of the pragmatic aspects of professional practice."
The students must not only create a cohesive body of work for the show, but also handle the logistics, such as installing and uninstalling the pieces, and advertising and hosting an opening.
"There's a lot of planning that goes into your show in your senior year, but it's all guided by your professors and you have specific classes that help you plan for it," said Harry. Her show, "Terrors and Salvations," was based on a quote she used in her thesis about the dichotomy of feeling. Echikson's show, "While White Write," combined digital information with his personal background as a way to integrate real life with technology and computer code.
He said, "It was a journey coming from junior year where I really knew very little about art and the practice of art. And now I feel like I can consider art with much more clarity than I did before, which is very satisfying to see."