The end of an event often calls for retrospection. An artist spends hours and hours creating a piece, pouring themselves into a tangible object and then displays it for the public. Or, a student at the very end of a semester, sits back and reflects on the highs and lows of fourteen weeks. The students in Studio Arts classes 299 and 301, are lucky enough to reflect on both, as they display their artwork from the Semester in the Lukacs Exhibition Gallery in the lower level of Loyola Hall from now until May 9.

You enter the gallery and are immediately met with Lauren ten Hoopen’s ‘19 mixed media pieces that feels deeply connected to nature. As I stand in front shattered glass across wood, or high quality, sharp, beautifully colored photos placed just above paintings depicting a swirling mess of replicated colors, we can’t help but feel one with the world around us.

Senior Kevin Fiallos continues this connection to nature, though focuses more on our slow destruction of it. His large scale abstract photographs that shine and shimmer like sheets of metal are created using trash Fiallos has collected from the environment. The viewers are completely submerged into the work; emphasizing the scale of this problem, and how easy it is to forget, and be tempted by the ease and almost beauty of these plastics.

Senior Christopher Murphy’s work feels unbelievably modern and current. A series of fourteen large prints depicting screenshots or other photos covered in inky swirling colors. The screenshots are funny, and again current. They’re photos many of us could find with a simple scroll through our camera roll. But, with the addition of the color splattering of blacks or scratching into the prints, the photos seem re-electrified. Far away from the photos we usually take with smartphones, Murphy is able to breath life back into an activity that has become mechanical.

That electricity continues on with Eleanor Sgaramella ‘20. The pure inky blacks against the snow white paper Sgaramella uses immediately draws the viewer in. As female characters stand with strong short phrases that connect with long passages just to the left. The viewer’s eyes meet a piece that says, “I’M NOT ASKING FOR IT,” and the paragraph to the right bleeds the words of clothes, bodies and faces not being invitations for the opportunity to break a human being.

Sophomore Emily Pappas’ work stands out among these as a seemingly more whimsical view of characters. Depicted are the heads of fun, brightly-colored characters with large ears and eyes, or a curled snake-like tongue or even the head of a beast. A play on the concept that all of us are indeed very different, but it’s up to us to look our fellow people right in the eyes and find similarities between us.

Junior Danielle Fierro continues this more whimsical look, as she, “reinterprets classical fairy tales through a feminist lens,” seen in the didactic placed next to her piece. Through full color sketches and black and white comic book-like scenes, Fierro re-draws our attention to stories from our youth. The stories we’re familiar with, “The Little Mermaid,” ”Peter Pan,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Beauty and the Beast” that though focus on female protagonists, remain far away from our modern perspective of a woman.

Junior Nicole Chrysler creates a giant web of her own story. Separate memories shared with those she cares most about connected with strings and stories and words. The maps and photos and magazine clippings overwhelm an entire wall of the gallery space, yet focuses us on the idea of truly knowing someone is, how long it would really take to hear someone’s entire life story.

Even looking at  Mariana Brandao’s ‘20 work, which depicts important objects to her through a digital media, we feel even closer to the artist. A print of her dog’s face acts as the border, printed again and again in a circular pattern, surrounding other important object to her. Regular objects to you and I, but this repetition points out the importance of these items to her, and tells us that it our relationship with the objects doesn’t matter.  

While leaving Loyola, the last collection you’re met with is that of Cierra Miller ‘19, who simply wished to share her relationship with color. It’s a very immersive digital piece that shows splashes and clashes of color through digital projectors. You enter the room and are completely absorbed into her piece, as the colors flash through your eyes at a rapid pace and you seem to become one with the piece. You become a part of something.

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