May 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 83°F


Seniors capture art of human form

Mirroring the features and form of the human body, the art in this year’s senior show at the Handwerker Gallery is a captivating, diverse look at the human body and portraiture.

Audio Slideshow

Senior Joe Bagliere examines Nydia Williams’ photograph “In Bloom” at last Thursday’s opening for the 2011 Senior Student Show. The exhibit is on display now through May 22 at the Handwerker Gallery. Jake Lifschultz/The Ithacan

The show features artwork by seniors in cinema, photography and media arts and the art department. Senior art history major Tina Orlandini curated the exhibit, the “2011 Senior Student Show,” which opened last Thursday.

While a majority of the pieces deal with the human form, their main similarity is they all approach possibly mundane subjects and make them exquisite through different media — not the usual oil paint and canvas, but a mix of multimedia like projection, out-of-focus photographs and multilayered sculpture.

The first piece a visitor views surpasses simple definitions of color: Bekah Kopp’s worm-like structure made of papier–mâché, “Harvesting.” Air blows through the sculpture, and molded faces appliquéd on connect the segments.

Faces in strange places is one of the many applications of the human form explored in the exhibit. Past the worm sculpture, a painting by Matthew Sadownick with nearly an inch of oil paint suggests the chaos of trying to cross a Hong Kong street. The piece outlines two hands separated by the chaos of the world around them.

On the opposite wall, a pair of acrylic paintings by Jessica Guido depict hands by floating with faces through a mystical, bright interpretation of outer space. The thick and bold lines of the abstract images urge a visitor to wonder about their meaning but provide no answers.

Several sculptures depicting three-sided heads with sculpted faces stand freely through the Handwerker Gallery, including one by Sean Sackett made of chicken wire, concrete and found objects. The freestanding presence makes them seem almost real, while the conflicting nature of the three faces makes it completely intangible.

The next part of the gallery is filled with portraiture, mostly photographs. Most illustrate the unseen sides of individuals through mysterious profile views or far away shots, like in Taylor McIntrye’s series of three untitled prints. Some show only a random leaf or twig from around the Ithaca area.

A series of photos by Mary Kathryn Luff shows a little girl in cowboy boots. The first is blurry, with the girl holding her arms up in power. The second is clear, with her sitting on a bicycle, ready to fiercely drive away into the distance and past the camera’s view.

Near these explorations into the soul, the artwork wanders to another part of human anatomy. Below charcoal sketches of hands and arms sits a copper and wire sculpture. This work, Rebekah Shyloski’s “La fuerza,” has two arms pulling each other apart, as if the copper is skin and the wire is the dividing tendons. Like the acrylic arms in outer space, the sculpture is captivating but leaves more to be desired.

Chris Carlon’s work, two pieces projected onto simple cloth curtains hung over the gallery’s windows, is a different way to present traditional photographs. They feature two individuals outside, looking straight into the camera. While nothing exciting is happening with the subjects, the sepia tone of the images and the manner of projection makes them different and an interesting place to end a walk through the exhibit.

With materials ranging from acrylic to fabric and subjects from fingers to foreign cities, these visual artists prove their art can capture the human form and a range of available media.

The Handwerker Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

3 out of 4 stars