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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Seniors to display creative art at Handwerker Gallery

Molded ears dangling from the ceiling, latex hearts on a black sheet and bronze leaves hanging on a branch are just a few examples of what to expect at “Tell Us Where: 2016 Senior Show.” While some pieces may share similar concepts and ideas, each piece is distinct in the way the artists chose to portray their message.

To commemorate their four years at Ithaca College, 24 seniors from the art and cinema, photography, and media arts departments will celebrate and showcase their creativity and dedication to art in “Tell Us Where.” Any student who has taken two or more art classes at the college is eligible to participate in the show along with students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. The show will have its opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. April 28 at the Handwerker Gallery.

Senior Gabriella Jorio, a co-curator of the show, said the event’s title symbolizes how most seniors feel after graduation.

“We decided to go with ‘Tell Us Where’ because we thought it captured the wandering that most college students face after graduation,” Jorio said. “It’s a scary feeling to most, but ‘Tell Us Where’ embraces that wandering and also points to the courageousness of the creative mind to be able to feel a little lost sometimes but to find beauty in that experience.”

Dara Engler, assistant professor in the Department of Art, was involved in choosing pieces to be displayed in the show. Engler said the faculty members look for high-quality work from students who show promise in entering the professional art world.

“We look for work that shows a great deal of technical skill and work that shows conceptual content — that shows some drive other than just completing a class assignment,” Engler said.

Engler also worked with students in the BFA program and helped them with their yearlong senior thesis, as did other members of the faculty. These faculty members met with students regularly and helped them in many aspects of the process, including their artist statement and the piece itself. They advised students and helped them get through any obstacles they may have faced along the way.

Senior Eleanore Kohorn is also a co-curator along with Jorio. They were heavily involved in many aspects, such as meeting the artists, figuring out where to display each piece and writing the catalog.

The show will include sculptures, photographs, paintings and films. Jorio said the variety of the pieces will add to the diverse atmosphere of the gallery.

“There’s a lot of different mediums and a lot of different colors,” Jorio said. “When we do the layout and the design for the space, we want to make sure that there aren’t pieces that look really similar close together. We want there to be a flow. We want it to look very eclectic and different.”

Senior Isaac VanCuren will be showcasing a sculpture that began as a project for his Introduction to Sculpture class, which he took this semester. The sculpture is a 6-foot by 4-foot black sheet, bordered by red and black yarn that serves as a fringe. There are seven hearts made out of latex that are connected by the red yarn, which is meant to represent veins. VanCuren said the piece represents human relationships and self-reflection.

“To me, it really touches on relationships and connections and how we interact with the people in our lives,” VanCuren said. “In my piece, you can see the varied amount of yarn that connects the hearts. In some places, there’s a few — there’s like one string or four or three — and it’s really symbolizing the various relationships and bonds that we make with one another.”

VanCuren said he hopes viewers will reflect on their relationships, how they treat others and how connected everyone is.

Senior Samantha Guter’s two sculptures, titled “Interrupted” and “Are You Listening?” will be included in the exhibition. “Interrupted” took Guter approximately two months to complete, while “Are You Listening?” was a semesterlong project. Both sculptures were the result of class assignments and share the similar theme of repetition.

“Interrupted” is a collection of bronze leaves hanging from a branch, and “Are You Listening?” is an array of approximately 100 molded ears hanging from the ceiling of the Handwerker Gallery. For this piece, Guter cast people’s ears using Derma GeL and then waxed them using materials like beeswax and plaster. In addition to the hanging ears, Guter’s sculpture will also feature a sound element, which includes a recording of people telling their secrets.

Guter said she chose to use ears for her sculpture because they are interesting, undervalued and complex. In addition, she said, hanging the ears on the ceiling highlights their distinct qualities, such as their shapes and sizes.

“Listening is something that is really important for a lot of people, and it’s really undervalued in a lot of our interactions since some people really like to focus on themselves,” Guter said. “I like taking a private moment … and featuring it with these ears. It’s like, ‘Who’s listening?’ because they’re disconnected and they’re not quite attached to anything or anyone, but they’re kind of sending that energy into the universe.”

Engler said the art show will benefit the seniors in their future endeavors, especially if they plan on pursuing art as a career.

“It’s part of their step into the professional world,” Engler said. “It’s part of the experience of being an exhibiting, practicing artist. Especially for the BFA students — they’re installing their own work, and they’re working really closely with the gallery to do that — it’s part of their professional experience, and it’s a nice culmination of all the work they’ve put in.”