Senior art students open two new exhibits
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Throughout the past week, people had the opportunity to walk through the art lab lobbies and see two new senior art exhibitions being held. On the top floor, one would find “The Street Style,” a collection of Isabel Sheehan’s art forms. Sheehan conceived the idea for this collection without the intention of putting it in the gallery. About seven months ago, she was driving through the roundabout where Montecito construction was being held and saw a pair of boots hanging from a wire, thinking to herself: “that is the street’s style.” Forming the idea as a simple summer project, she was excited to work with her friend, Westmont alumus Benjamin Zacaroli (the photographer for the work). She also credits her behind-the-scenes aids: Sophie Rivera, John Wright, Brian Mull, Julianna Denike, and her father. Sheehan says “I am so grateful for every one who helped me complete this little vision I had.”
Out of Sheehan’s vision came a collection of her work displayed in the art gallery. There are two black-and-white photographs that surround the biography of the showcase. When walking straight through the doors, there is a set of four articles of street clothing, including two pairs of construction pants, a yellow jacket, and a street-cone bag. Hanging on the parallel wall is a series of seven photographs (with the art major herself modeling the style) taken by Zacaroli. On the wall straight ahead are four more pictures of street-styled Sheehan walking the streets and posing around several street items, such as a construction truck and signs.
The second exhibit, “Trophy Hunt,” was orchestrated by Maddy Cowan (a senior art major), who decided to get in contact with alumus artist, Sahara Barrett. They are both painters, but have “completely different styles,” according to Cowan. They drew from their passions for female vulnerability and their experiences in that area. When discussing the artwork in the collection, Cowan says, “The imagery used represent endangered and prized “trophy-like” subjects.” One of the exhibit’s walls is hanging five of the pieces, the centerpiece being one of elaborate colors that depicts a fish. Surrounding that larger painting are very vivid paintings, one of a woman and one of the nature-dependent depictions of womanhood. On the outside of those are two separate paintings of hands, but with differing gestures. One hand is reaching out as if to hold or grab something, while the other hand seems to be reaching upwards. Along the other wall is a collections of four paintings: one involving hands, one depicting a tiger, and two of women looking toward the floor.
Cowan says, “When you visit a gallery, I think the general expectation is for the art to speak to you or find some enlightenment in the beauty of a piece - we cause death to the artist.” This idea becomes clear when seeing the commentary books inside the gallery. These books are ones in which people can write their opinions, some of which say things like “I loved your work, very original and fresh!” and “love your works, super inspiring!” With all of the hours of work in conjunction with being full-time students, the art exhibitions have clearly inspired people and show off the diverse, elaborate artworks from the Westmont art program.