The Before, The After and In Between: Advanced Study in Drawing and Painting End of Year Exhibit

This exhibition, The Before, The After and In Between, lands in such an unexpected place.
Before, indeed, and now so very in between...

The Before

The Department of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Digital Media is always pleased to present the year-end exhibition of work by students enrolled in Advanced Study in Drawing and Painting. The exhibition is notable and special to our department for these students have been with us the longest. Having completed all the Fine Arts foundation courses, they remained at the college for an extra year to undertake this course.

These students -- with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working for the past year (really even longer) -- had been setting their sights on this thesis exhibition for a long time. This is the culmination of a challenging process of path-finding, trial and error, distillation.

What an uncharted place we now find ourselves in. An exhibition, a graduation -- these things are really minor when compared to the loss that permeates the world at this moment.

And the uncertainty.

But still acknowledgement is required. These minor losses throw off our footing, our expectation, our projection of the future. They can hobble our hope.

In Between

After the shutdown, as we regrouped remotely, I added a class reading -- Raphael Rubinstein’s Provisional Painting. While coming from a very different context, I thought that Rubinstein’s essay might create an opening for these young artists who suddenly found themselves making art in adverse conditions. The space of the studio, the camaraderie of their colleagues -- even ready access to materials -- have all faded away, reconfigured or become “provisional.”

Despite all this, these 12 students figured out ways to keep forging ahead. The challenges were real: where to work, a shifted context, maybe even the necessity of a complete pivot to a new format.

Maybe Rubinstein helped, maybe a mention of the impoverished materials of Arte Povera suggested options.

In any event they are a stalwart bunch.

Shifting from face-to-face close contact to remote Zoom meetings and, here, shifting from a long-awaited gallery exhibition to an online format can’t come without disappointment -- even a sense of loss. We should acknowledge that. No one wanted this. At the same time, the adaptability that such shifts demonstrate evidence the much needed skill, outlook, and optimism in demand at this moment.

The After

How do we move forward? How do we find the future? We keep on. We shape meaning in the world and project that meaning forward to the future -- this is hope. Even in adaptation -- in provisional solutions -- this hope is present. We make and shape and dream of what might be. Whether a painting or a life. (And are those so different really?)

In this strangest of semesters, please join me in recognizing these 12 young artists who, here, present the provisional findings of their year-long making. Here are 12 inter-related paths of inquiry that wind around one another while prodding and investigating their own particular territories. As viewers, we get to share in their findings, their questions, and the explorations of each of these journeys.

What can be seen as common to these 12 paths is the shared rigor, the commitment, and a striving to address this place, this time, in which they find themselves.

We did not imagine that this is where we would be, but the optimistic act of keeping on, of making -- in a bedroom, dining room, porch, etc. -- should be a beacon to us all.

The Before, The After and In Between -- chosen as a title before all of this. And so fitting now.

Thomas Lail
Professor of Fine Arts
Department of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts & Digital Media

The Advanced Study in Drawing and Painting class extends sincere thanks and acknowledgments to the Department of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Digital Media, Scott Hathaway, chair; The Teaching Gallery, Tara Fracalossi, director; the Graphics Department, John Heiser, director, as well as Information Technology Services and Halea Dickinson, lead web developer, for making this online exhibition possible amid an already intense workload.

My own thanks to all of those listed above and, of course, the members of this Advanced Study class for their efforts, hard work and commitment. It has been my pleasure and privilege to spend the past year(s) in the company of this group.

Marissa Booth Artwork

Marissa Booth

Caroline Callender Artwork

Caroline Callender

AJ Jones Artwork

AJ Jones

Kasey Joyce Artwork

Kasey Joyce

Destinée Lee Kearsing Artwork

Destinée Lee Kearsing

Jahniah Kum Artwork

Jahniah Kum

Angela Lohaus Artwork

Angela Lohaus

Derek Mercelino Artwork

Derek Mercelino

Jose Maria Renteria Artwork

Jose Maria Renteria

Maggie Schwind Artwork

Maggie Schwind

Brian Tran Artwork

Brian Tran

Faith M. Washington   Artwork

Faith M. Washington