On Tuesday, April 22, the Heimbold Visual Arts Center played host to Kris Philipps’ First-Year Studies Printmaking class exhibition. On display were the results of a year’s training in everything from computer generated artwork to masterfully crafted concerts of color that appeared in a mixture that both pleasantly mystified and delighted the crowds that came.
The Atrium was packed with many an excitable onlooker, curious as to what the students were capable of. The results were nothing short of an acid dropper’s delight.
In an exhibition space beneath the building’s first floor lay the results of these creative energies (with many a chocolate-coated pretzel to nibble on). Audiences were treated to a feast of unrestrained excellence in the visual arts.
Far from merely reproducing a tired set of clichéd pop art works that reeked of laziness, Philipps’ students went the extra mile in adding unmistakable personal touches to their work that made them all the more appreciable. Isabella Schnee ’17 effortlessly blended intimate pictures of family holidays in Europe into her design scheme. Sasha Helinski ’17 played around with human bones and terrifically merged their shapes with hexagons and splashes of color in her quest to make the pieces stand out. They somehow seamlessly connected sixties-era pop art with the graffiti of Queens and the symmetrical precision and perfection of the Perso-Mughal architectural style. To the audience’s delight, the risk paid off. Sybone Tenenbaum ’17 derived inspiration from a realm she knows well, the kitchen, where her fascination with melted cheese, alongside minimalist constructions in the drawing space, found themselves manifested in her fascinating depiction of a melting human being. In the words of one onlooker, Tenenbaum’s work “tickled my fancy.”
The myriad influences didn’t end there. Many of the works on display were conspicuous in their depiction of urban landscapes as varied of those of Paris, Hong Kong, Toronto, and beyond. There was an array of titillating nudes, freewheeling in the playful expression of their curved bodily selves. In a telling reflection of the digital age we now live in, Philipps’ students incorporated a series of numbers and strings of code, normally commonplace on a software programmer’s screen, into their design schemes. Foxes, boarding passes, cacti, pyramids, arithmetic equations, puzzle pieces, QR codes, ice creams, and bubblegum-pink brains all jostled for space in the students’ weird and wonderful pieces. In between these diverse influences lay a bevy of textures and color-schemes, ranging from hand-drawn lines that moved as an artist’s hand does, to exacting strings of dot perfected to excruciating detail by way of the personal computer. A mixture of sans-serif and serif fonts, both archaic and modern, too found themselves entangled into the webs of creativity weaved by Phillips’ students. Quite the extravaganza.
What Phillips’ students brought to the table went beyond laudable exercises in creative expression. They brought a great deal of passion to their work—passion of the indelible kind that will always be embedded within their pieces.
by Harshavardan Raghunandhan