Senior art students open spooky showcase

Wesley Stenzel, Staff Writer

Students seeking Halloween spooks should look no further than the bottom floor of Adams Center, which has been temporarily transformed into a creepy forest. Senior art students Lauren Koo and Maddie Godinez installed their latest project, a collaborative effort entitled “Shadow Man,” this past week. The piece incorporates a number of medium—sculpted white trees line the left wall, while charcoal drawings of a mysterious silhouette occupy the right. Meanwhile, an unsettling cloaked figure sits on the far wall, and dead autumn leaves hang throughout the middle of the room. A statement by the artists reads, “The shadow man represents how our mind wanders to the things unknown and plays tricks on us in the night.” The statement concludes with the apparent thesis of the project: “We wanted to bring to light our tendency to fear the unknown.”

The idea for Shadow Man was born out of necessity. The duo actually signed up for a showcase time before they thought of what their project would be. “We just needed to sign up for a show––Maddie’s graduating a semester early, and we decided we needed to do it together. She’s an art minor and I’m an art major, and we just wanted to have this last time together to make a show,” said Koo. “Then we realized it was going to be in October, right before Halloween, so we thought we should just take that Halloween theme and run with it.”

The exhibit combines the two artists’ distinct strengths and interests.  “Maddie loves working with sculpture, so that’s one of her areas. I realized I really love working with my hands. I love sewing things together, and hanging things is a major theme in my personal work,” said Koo.

Shadow Man’s creation was a lengthy process. Koo said that it took at least two weeks to formulate the idea, and another three to execute it.  Creating the thirteen trees took a substantial portion of that time. “Maddie was working around the clock on those,” explained Koo. “We initially bought 150 pages of cardstock and said ‘Let’s see how many of these we can make’ and we didn’t know how big it would become.”  The leaves were similarly spontaneous, as Koo said, “I don’t really structure what I’m going to do or plan ahead. I just kind of see if it feels right. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t too much or too little––kind of a Goldilocks balance.”

The layout of the room was also up in the air. “We knew we wanted the charcoal shadow drawings on the right and the hanging shadow man in the back,” said Koo of the exhibit’s floor plan, “but we didn’t know what we wanted to do with the trees or what we would do with the left wall.  Initially, we wanted all the trees to stand all around the room, but we realized it just wasn’t practical.”

Overall, the project is definitely worth seeing, and perfectly captures the spooky vibe that the artists intended.  “Shadow Man” runs until October 26th in Art Lab 1.

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