New art exhibit showcases apprentices

Through the St. Olaf Art Apprenticeship program, the five art apprentices for 2014-2015 have been working hard on creating their first exhibit, which opened on Jan. 9. The exhibit, entitled “Found Space,” features each artist’s unique perspective on space. The works vary on topics from religious space to home space, distinctly showing each artist’s personality in his or her works.

For Caroline Wood ’14, the experience has been a time of reflection. The exhibit allowed her to return to where she grew up and focus on the idea of home as a space. She visited her hometown of Oak Park, Illinois, and photographed the places that were meaningful to her.

“For me it was a really good time of reflection,” said Wood. “I don’t usually center my work around myself, so it was a good time for me to focus on something personal and special to me.”

Other apprentices, like Madeline Berger ’14, focused on a time in a new space. Berger’s piece, entitled “Me Are My Walls,” is a representation of living in a small apartment with a significant other for the first time. The piece by Madeleine Senko ’14 is a series of collages of deities or icons, where she recreated a reverent space. This represented a more emotional and spiritual space. It created a facet to think about the ways people explore spirituality through art. The piece by Isaac Burton ’14, “Black Hole Soliloquy,” is a series of complex graphic illustrations that incorporate outer space. Finally, “Substance” by Juan Yanqui Rivera ’14 is an interactive piece through which the viewers can use their phones to create 3D shapes that get projected onto a screen. Each artist used different media to explore the concept of space, but the end result worked well together.

The title “Found Space” was developed after all the artists had begun their pieces. In the process of designing the exhibit and forming a title, the artists decided to play a word game to see how their works were connected. After almost four hours of playing with words and ideas, one idea kept coming into focus and that was the idea of space. Whether it was space as a new physical location, or finding a new emotional space post-college, space was a central idea in each of their pieces.

“The title came about really organically,” Senko said. “And I think each of our pieces really work and play off of each other. The personalities and styles are really balanced which turned out cool.” The exhibit is not the only project each artist is working on. The St. Olaf Art Apprenticeship program participants often have many other pieces they are working on, and the time in the apprenticeship allows them not only to manage their time but also to gain critical experience. The two exhibits the artists put on allow them to see what it is like being independent from an academic art class. Teachers are used as resources rather than instructors, and the apprentices put together all aspects of the show.

Though the artists have just opened their first exhibit, they are already hard at work on their next exhibit, “Disposal.” This show will be different in that the title has already been decided, in contrast to the first show. That was just a consequence of time. However, some of the artists, like Senko, are excited to see how this will shift their work and change their creative process. “Disposal” is scheduled to open in March at the Northfield Arts Guild.