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Senior Exhibition Produces a Diverse body of Work

Mills College Weekly

While you were away suntanning on the coast of Florida, at your beach home in southern California, or lazing around in your dorm room during Spring Break, the Art Museum was filled with senior artists installing work for their thesis show.Filled with diverse works from student artists, the show is entitled, Rhizomatic: Thesis Exhibition 2005. The show’s title is derived from the word “rhizome,” meaning “a horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.” It explains the show well, for the work seems to have originally sprouted from a central location, branching off in diverse directions. The works tend to share commonalities in theme, such as justice, self-searching, overcoming despair, familial interaction, and societal boundaries. The pieces are highly personal, original and thought-provoking.The 18 artists from the Arts 190 Senior Exhibition class have produced a diverse body of work. The show includes black-and-white portrait photography, murals, ceramic vessels, mixed media collages, landscape paintings, a bicycle wheel installation, small watercolor paintings, CD portraits, video pieces, a found object drum set piece, photographs to be viewed with 3D movie glasses, and even a bathtub installation. Each piece interacts complementarily with the space and surrounding pieces of work, making the artistic works hold together phenomenally as an entire group show. Also, the forms help create an element of surprise as the viewer moves along within the show. Stacie Daniels, assistant director of the Mills College Art Museum and overseer of the installation process, said, “It feels to me that this year’s show will have a real presence. I’m impressed how people have come to work together.” In the center of the museum, bicycle wheels linked together with lights decorating their rims, hang in suspension from the museum ceiling. This work, by Marin Camille Hood, is a culmination of her found object art projects from previous years. An earlier piece of hers, a bicycle with lights surrounding its wheels, hangs suspended from the ceiling of Suzie’s Lounge. “I like to use found materials — stuff people would consider junk — and reconstitute it and find the beauty in its existence…I believe in creation as opposed to destruction, so I like to make things out of old junk — sort of creating beauty out of the debris of daily, urban life,” said Hood, sitting underneath her spatially dynamic creation. Through her work, Hood hopes to express a sense of timelessness through her innovative decision to make use of wheels. About being an artist, Hood said, “Art will always be part of my life. Being an artist is just a part of who you are and you can’t help it.”On an opposing wall are six 23”x 18” black and white silver gelatin photographic prints made by Katie Rabon. They are portraits depicting subjects encumbered with all the clothing and accessories that they own. Rabon said that her photographs “have to do with issues of vanity…and the weight of social constraint…I am trying to bring the person out and express who they are through form.” Her pictures are a social commentary about image and gender. The photographs show that with all their clothing on, the image that her subjects try to convey through their fashion is no longer present. Additionally, with their clothing sculpted around their bodies, the subjects lose their ability to convey their gender identities.Jackie Im attempted to incorporate music with art, painting segments of a larger picture on individual CDs that unite to create a whole image when placed side by side. Her process of creating work is more a celebration of the unexpected. In the process of creating, she said, “I don’t know if the pieces will hold together to become one painting so it’s always a surprise.”Im is grateful for the support she has had in the art department, and said, “the painting classes here allow you to find your own voice.”Installation artist Kaelen Green commented on the uniqueness of being allowed to create her art within the museum space itself, instead of replicating her past art show experiences of bringing in work from her studio to install in the show space. “To do installation has been an opportunity I’ve never had before to work within the space,” said Green.Many of the artists exhibiting expressed gratitude about showing work together in the group show setting. “I really like the balance and variety and everyone here respects each other and I really feel comfortable being in this group,” said Aki Shinomiya.Hood echoed Shinomiya’s statement, saying, “We’ve put in a lot of work as a group. It’s not just a group show because our work is hanging up together, but because of the joint effort of organizing and designing the overall exhibition.”Exhibition dates: March 29- April 17. Opening Reception: April 2, 3-5 p.m.