The University of Rochester’s Department of Art and Art History is pleased to present the 2021 Senior Thesis Portfolios. Fifteen graduating Studio Art majors will employ virtual exhibition platforms, a real-world group exhibition and a thesis catalogue to present their work. Complete portfolios will be on view through individual websites that go live on May 7th and coincide with a group exhibition of selected works in the AsIs Gallery in Sage Art Center on River Campus. A virtual reception on that date will include one-minute artist talks followed by a question-and-answer period. Virtual portfolios, thesis catalogue, and a virtual tour of the group show titled ‘Solos’ along with other details can be found here: https://www.sageart.center/seniors-2021
The fifteen majors work with vastly different approaches and tap a wide range of ideas and issues. Joshua Jenkins is interested in the intersection of art and storytelling. His digitally rendered work employs and investigates repeated patterns found in various mythologies. He is, in part, exploring alienation as a consequence of internal fear and anger –the way strong emotions can reduce the emotional weight of traumatic memory. Quilting, felting, and sewing frame Sydney Dlhopolsky’s juxtapositions of soft textiles aside of hard objects. She carefully mends, stitches, and patches the seemingly broken in an often futile and unnecessary attempt to add functionality. In the same group, Faraz Ghorbanpour uses looping stop-action videos to carefully consider the cyclical trappings of our various economies; his mixed-media sculptures do the same.
Yilin Luo’s paintings and drawings explore the individually designed "realities" within our collective one and her recent work attempts to shift perspectives in ways that reverse common human/animal relations. Luo brings the brutality of our factory livestock industry to the forefront in scenes wherein humans are the ones facing savage expiry. Jingyi Guo involves animals in her paintings as well, but for her they assist in the portrayal of loved ones she has missed during the pandemic –spirit animals likened to shengxiao accompany her subjects.
Several other Seniors also respond to the life adjustments demanded by the pandemic. Part of Haomin Hu’s thesis work offers an ode to our shared humanity in this stressful era. His motivation to photograph public spaces changed emphasis during the travel he found necessary during the early part of the pandemic. Previously innocuous details suddenly become revealing messages of instability and isolation. Yibo Hu’s multimedia approaches also address a breadth of Pandemic related topics –from discriminatory notions connected to the fact that he is from Wuhan to documentary-like representations of once crowded spaces now vacant.Alexis Robinson brings her crocheting and painting skillsets together to form absurdist comfort garments. Born of the need to find emotional security as well as bodily contentment, some of her oversized sweaters, which integrate canvas paintings, can cinch to form cocoon-like sanctuaries.
Stephanie Aviles enjoys multiple approaches to her production including fashion and installation. She dealswith concepts of migration and self-representation which stemfrom her family's history. She references her heritage with symbolic imagery, particularly thecoquí frog endemic to Puerto Rico. Her’s is an effort to discuss how others see us and how it can impact our self-worth.Other Seniors strive to relay an understanding of the intricate concept of self as well. While Abi Liebhart’s paintings attempt that, shealsotasks herself with the sometimes-painful act of honest self-recognition. Her works strive to reconcile her internal dialogue with the pressures of her outward-facing existence. Liza Pressman paints as well but her paintings focuson liminal spaces. While she immerses herself in a meditativepaintingprocess–she often represents the body afloat in the space where water meets air and where realism meets abstraction. Hannah Holquist constructs connections between the human body and notions of ‘home;’ her paper structures highlight the parallels between people and places -the material and the immaterial.
Zoey Liu engages cultural mythologiesand historical practices in herinstallation, paintings and object construction. One recent body of work stiches broken Chinese pottery shards together with soft red fiber liken to the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi. Cortney Pang uses a range of material approaches to render representations of privilege; she bases them on interviews solicited from a broad swath communities. Constructing cinematic moments from the ordinary, Harry Ma bends our understanding of photographic spatial representation by digitally constructing singular scenes from multiple images.
For further information contact: Allen C. Topolski, email@example.com