To close out the 2022–23 academic year, The Argus attempted to reach out to all of the senior studio art majors who had a thesis up in the Zilkha Gallery for comments on their art process and their general journey with their art. While we weren’t able to get many, we heard from a sample of the various artists whose theses went up in Zilkha this semester.
Artist: Alec Black ’23
Thesis: naturalization process
Tell us a bit about your thesis: “My thesis examines the prevailing ideas of ‘Asian culture’ in America and how Orientalism and pressures towards assimilation and Americanization flatten[s]/commodifies perceptions of East Asia. I utilize the visual language of signage, advertisement, and commercial objects by depicting figures using oil pastels, sumi-e ink, acrylic paint on top of ‘Asian inspired’ tapestries. I want to blend the traditions of ‘American portraiture’ with symbols of Orientalism to destabilize how we think of what is ‘fine art’ versus what is viewed as cheap, disposable, and ‘foreign.’”
Artist: Claire Femano ’23
Thesis: Fog Area
Tell us a bit about your thesis: “It is impossible to see the sun. What does it mean to photograph it? Fog Area seeks to challenge the limits of what is recordable with a camera — the subject of the photographs is that which is about to disappear. [My] silver gelatin prints harness light to call our attention to the source and physicality of photography itself. Observing the photograph becomes an act of discovery, not unlike the gradual emergence of an image as it develops in the darkroom or the act of seeing through the camera.”
Artist: Lex Bryan ’23
Tell us a bit about your thesis: “The thesis process has been fluid and strange and wonderful, and the turning point was me coming to terms with the fact that I am a landscape painter – something I have resisted for a while. Not to be gross, but I think that being in nature and making art are ultimately the only things that matter – they are rituals I personally love to engage in, and I feel very grateful that I could spend this year exploring them. A final note for future Studio thesis students: make the stuff you’ve always wanted to make! It will make your senior year so much more fun!”
Artist: Riya Ashby-Devi ’23
Thesis: venī; an unweaving
Tell us a bit about your thesis: “venī; an unweaving is an exploration of the multi-faceted nature of femininity and religion. Glass and cellophane arrangements dangled from the ceiling, oil paintings of the artist’s South Indian dance jewelry hung on the wall, and paper mache floor pieces covered in hair and comics about Hindu mythology emerged from the floor simulating a temple environment. The installation took 4 days and lots of help to hang and untangle.”
Nicole Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Lu can be reached at email@example.com.