ENNEAD: Works from the 2019 Visual Arts Concentration Seminar
April 25 - May 24, 2019
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross will open an exhibition of artwork by graduating visual arts studio majors in the exhibition “Ennead” on Thursday, April 25. The show’s title, of Greek origin, refers to a group or set of nine, representing the nine women artists showing their work as a collective. Student artists Katherine Badenhausen, Sarah Behrens, Margaret Goddard, Abigail Kostecki, Anna Lenney, Elisaveta Mavrodieva, Mae-Chu O'Connell, Sara Vo, and Alexandra Yoeckel will give presentations about their work in the gallery during the Academic Conference on Wednesday, April 24 beginning at noon through 1 p.m. The opening reception is scheduled for Thursday evening, April 25, 5:30–7 p.m.
Visual arts students who have participated in the year-long Studio Concentration Seminar earn their place in the gallery by developing a cohesive body of work over the fall and spring semesters. In this capstone experience for the visual arts studio major, each student is given individual studio space and are encouraged to experiment with ideas and mediums, while cultivating an independent studio practice.
Professors Cristi Rinklin and Michael Beatty of the Visual Arts Department were the instructors for this year’s seminar course. Rinklin teaches painting and Beatty is the instructor for 3-D design and sculpture. Both are long-term members of Holy Cross’ faculty and are artists with gallery representation in Boston and beyond.
Roger Hankins, director of the Cantor Art Gallery, also works with the students to help them conceptualize the display of their work within the setting of a professional gallery space. “It’s a big leap from a relatively small studio space, which is private, to the public arena of the gallery. I help them to think through what the work requires in order to be seen in its best light. It’s the last crucial step in the process of engaging an audience,” Hankins explains.
All of the artists are double majors, with areas of study including Architectural Studies, English, Political Science, Psychology, and Religious Studies, in addition to graduating with a degree in studio art. “As a four-year liberal arts college, Holy Cross offers students the opportunity to pursue majors in more than one discipline,” explains Professor Beatty. According to Professor Rinklin, this opportunity to experience an interdisciplinary approach to their work, “enables students to cross-pollinate their studio practice in significant and meaningful ways.”
Katherine Badenhausen, the recipient of the Visual Arts Department’s 2019 Reardon Award, uses mixed media to create her work, “My passion for architecture stems from a designer’s ability to visualize, to create, and to build a space for people to inhabit. I look to highlight the spatial experience of architecture, accentuating the impact of light, shadow and detail in these spaces.” Sarah Behrens, uses mixed media as well to express political ideas, “My work addresses the aesthetics of respectability. I often use elements of humor and satire to disarm the viewer and draw them further into my work. I use satirical reimagining of traditional imagery to push the boundary of respectability.” Margaret Goddard, a painter, uses family photographs as inspiration for exploring familial connections, “When I look at these photographs I wonder how the people in them relate in appearance or in personality to my identity. We share something by way of DNA but our connection is more or less lost. Their image is the only way of relating myself to them.”
Abigail Kostecki describes the process and materials she uses to delve into the sub-conscious mind, “As an artist, I am drawn to work with fiber because the act of working with the material is meditative in nature. Specifically, the techniques of crochet, weaving, and embroidery allow me to enter into a subconscious state forcing me to surrender control and yield to the material. My current installations and objects are inspired by reoccurring dreams and nightmares, experiences that can be extremely frightening.” Using recycled materials from thrift stores, Anna Lenney transforms them into spiritual pieces which, “attempt to make visible a subjective experience of the sacred dimension we seek within the mundane world around us… I attempt to visualize that which has a transformative effect on us.” Elisaveta Mavrodieva is a painter who seeks to align herself with, “a long historical tradition of women serving as allegories for the divine. Building on this history of visual representations of the female figure, but reworking it sans the hegemony of the male gaze, is central to my work both because I am a woman and because spirituality, mysticism and the abyss are attainable to every human being.”
Mae-Chu O’Connell uses installation, performative space, and video to examine the adaptability of her physical identity, “My creative work is a backlash against two contradictory sentiments: a desire to achieve traditional feminine beauty, and an urge to be a strong feminist who breaks with societal norms … I also wish to challenge certain tenets of masculinity through appropriation.” Sara Vo explores cultural identity through mixed media, “I see my artwork as a social lens, providing various perspectives of the Vietnamese-American Identity. While providing my own insight, I include the historical narrative of my family members to define the contrasting opinions between different generations.” Alexandra Yoeckel describes her attraction to the use of textiles in her work, “The textures of fabric influences the way I see patterns and the interweaving of materials. The combination of color and form has become a metaphor for me of the interweaving realities of individual’s experiences in life… Through the use of printmaking, collage and sewing I am exploring color relationships, texture in textile surface design and the power of layering images.”
“Ennead” will remain on view through graduation day, Friday, May 24.
Academic Conference presentation by senior Visual Arts Studio majors
Wednesday, April 24, noon–1 p.m.
Thursday, April 25, 5:30–7 p.m.
Ennead: Works form the 2019 Visual Arts Concentration Seminar
Detail of embroidery piece by Abigail Kostecki
Detail of print by Alexandra Yoeckel
Detail of installation by Anna Lenney
Detail of painting by Elisaveta Mavrodieva
Detail of installation by Mae-Chu O'Connell
Detail of painting by Margaret Goddard
Detail of piece by Sarah Behrens
Detail of piece by Sara Vo