Week 3 of the Senior Art Exhibitions presents the works of Adrien Nugent-Head, Madeleine Chabot, Miles Wold-Cornwall, Isaac Pollan, Stephen MacNeille, and Serena Berry. Works this week explore themes of exploration, actuality, and deception, culminating in an incredibly rich gallery experience that strives to redefine our conceptions of reality.
Photographs by Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo '18
Isaac Pollan's 222
Reviewed by Elizabeth Cettina '18
“I wanted to revisit the first thing I learned freshman year,” Isaac Pollan says of his installation piece, “222,” “I pushed myself to activate the line.”
Pollan’s piece is composed entirely of straight lines—strings pulled taut. But the piece is intentionally deceiving. If a viewer looks quickly, the eye tricks viewers into seeing curves, dimensions, and patterns.
“Since the line is the building block of architecture,” Pollan says, “I wanted to use it to give the piece unexpected shapes, unexpected forms.”
Walking through and around the piece, viewers confuse depth and dimension; they catch and lose shapes. They perceive patterns that are reconfigured with every step. The piece requires active looking and participation, instead of a one dimensional viewing. It expects and anticipates critical sight, spurred by the illusory activity of the straight line.
Serena Berry's R u real?
Reviewed by Jacob Karlin '17
Serena Berry’s photographic series, R u real?, explores the spaces of sexual encounters mediated by online platforms such as Tinder, OkCupid, Model Mayhem, and FetLife (a website for the BDSM and fetish community). Berry used these dating sites to find her subjects. Photos vary in content, from a photo of a sexually aroused man to photos of domestic spaces to photos of nightclubs and pool halls. The voyeuristic nature of these photographs is immediately apparent: content, in the form of beds, carpet, caution tape, light, and ground, puts space between the subject and the camera lens. No plaque or sign explains how Berry found her subjects. She explained that because the people involved in these first encounter situations rarely bring up the platform in which they met, this information would not enrich these “performances of meeting”. These distances between photographer and subjects emphasize the surreal quality to these pictures.
Light dictates and accentuates the relationships Berry has with her subjects, and defines the dichotomy of the external, impersonal nature of online platforms and the personal, private spaces of sexual contact. These private encounters aren’t too pretty: through Berry’s eyes, we notice how she sees the imperfections and “dirtiness” of these sexual spaces, speaking to how starkly different a perfect OkCupid profile compares to its physical materialization in a stranger’s bedroom. Berry’s brilliance emerges in the colors of the photographs and the subtle, witty messages she conveys in each photograph. The series as a whole speaks to the realities of sexual encounters in this technological age. Berry has succeeded in stamping her critique and celebration of sexual encounters in this beautiful series. The name of the series, R u real?, highlights the curiosity fundamental to the success of these photographs.
Adrien Nugent-Head's Modern Kin
Reviewed by Lily Landau '18
Adrian Nugent-Head’s photography thesis, Modern Kin, allows viewers an intuitive look into the lives of people who are in the peripheral tendrils of Adrian’s life. The monochromatic portraits portray intimate perspectives of individuals in various stages of their lives, unified by a modern middle-class life and their connection to Adrian. His images capture motion in various stages, and some seem to intentionally shroud features in shadow. His work is process-based and serendipitous, as he prefers that his unprofessional models are willing to improvise and exercise autonomy in choosing their poses.
Adrian portrays the majority of his models in their own spaces, and enjoys the act of observing them as they themselves are engaged in acts of self-reflection. He finds it difficult to connect a meaning to his work, as it “is still ongoing; it doesn’t feel finished.” He encourages viewers to not concern themselves with the work’s metanarrative, but to rather focus on the “viscerality” of the images. Adrian urges viewers to construct their own meaning to apply to his work, as it is flexible and open to different interpretations.
Madeleine Chabot's Dress Codes
Reviewed by Isabel Barthomolew ’18
“Dress Codes,” from a distance, appears to be a set of paintings; come closer, and it’s a series of panels made from women’s clothing. Madeleine writes, “My work challenges aspects of femininity with regards to our sartorial decisions and self-presentation.” The piece plays with texture, color, and form. It is hard to resist coming close enough to touch the panels, whether they’re made from fur or from denim. “Dress Codes” calls into question aspects of our own self-presentation, and as Madeleine says, “Fashion is both deeply personal and political.”
Miles Wold-Cornwall's Grocery
Reviewed by Olivia Morris '18
“I like cooking. I like food. I like looking at food. Just take a second to look at how weird food is—the inconsistencies with food and food packaging.” Miles Cornwall creates a new type of grocery store: one with multi-sized starburst wrappers suspended in space, mason jars with whole chickens, an avocado, carrots, blue cheese, yogurt with fruit, sandwiches, and abstract pieces with vibrant colors and vivid lines. Mixing painting and printmaking, Cornwall molds an exciting room that begs the audience to look at food in a new way.
Stephen MacNeille's Summer Fun