Art Exhibits, Internships, Graduations and New Beginnings
With graduation approaching, I have been feeling a mix of anxiousness, excitement, and thirst for change. It has been an incredible 4 months interning at the Harrison Center, and I am amazed at how much I have learned during my time here, from my supervisors, colleagues, the art that surrounds me, and the artists behind the work. Over the past week, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of the Herron artists whose work is hanging in the Harrison Center, and who are also approaching this sense of finality in this chapter of our lives.
Kimber and Johnathan Photoshop Their Faces Together
Johnathan Baker and Kimber Shaw are quite the dynamic duo. Both are in their fourth year at Herron School of Art + Design at IUPUI and their senior thesis, titled Four Wide on the Backstretch, hangs in Gallery No. 2 until Friday, April 25. The exhibition celebrates collaboration by use of small gaps between the photographs in each piece, and explores artists’ concern with monetary gain through flashy colors, simple compositions, and the use of objects such as confetti and diamonds.
During a conversation at The Foundry with the two artists, I learned that what they want people to take away from their work is not the art on the wall, but rather the experience of collaboration. Shaw and Baker explained that working together reduces the physical work to half, but the mental work becomes double. There is more bouncing ideas off of one another and processing each other’s thoughts. It’s easy to see from Four Wide on the Backstretch that collaboration between the two comes naturally.
When I asked the two about their feelings concerning graduation and the future, I was pleased to hear familiarity in their responses. As with most graduating seniors, there are a few different scenarios that could take place. This work that Baker and Shaw have done is the canon, and there is a hope to end up at the same graduate school to further their collaboration. Shaw feels confident as graduation approaches, but has some decisions to make as well. His connections made through his commercial photography are important, but he also understands the sense of requirement when it comes to knowledge, and graduate school could give Shaw the opportunity to collaborate with a professor whose work flows with his.
Baker, on the other hand, seems to be more sold on the idea of graduate school. He explained to me that graduating is both exciting and scary. He has loved his experience at Herron and finds it beautiful to see how people have changed, but he is also ready to leave and move on to a different part of his college career. Baker feels that continuing his education in art is a social requirement and a requirement for entry in galleries. Shaw loves the rush of not knowing what he’s doing and moving on, but both he and Baker are confident that the two will keep in touch because, as they told me last week, they “click click!”
Crystal France, also a senior at Herron, has her senior thesis, Exhibition in Painting + Ceramics, hanging in Hank and Dolly’s Gallery at the Harrison Center. France’s work explores a theme that has always intrigued me, the relationship between the beautiful and the grotesque, with texture in her painting that is almost unpleasant, but still beautiful. Another theme in France’s work is a dissection of her relationship with her identical twin sister. The unique bond of identical twins having a shared identity, but forced separation can be seen in her portraits. The series is very personal to France, but also addresses a wider audience through the ideals of beauty.
On the subject of graduating, France shared similar feelings and potential scenarios as Baker and Shaw. To put it simply, “[she is] freaking out.” France’s plan is to go to graduate school, but take a year off for school visits and to understand and hopefully discover which school is the right fit for her. As with most of us, she is worried about finding a job she can live on, but she is currently applying for a residency in northern Indiana. Like Baker, France truly enjoyed her time at Herron and is excited for the future of her art career.
I think what I gathered most from my conversations with these artists and my time at the Harrison Center is that we are all so unbelievably interconnected. My thoughts and feelings about rounding out my undergraduate college career and jumping into something new have always seemed so personal and specific to me, but we all feel it. There’s this interest and passion for arts and culture that’s around every corner in Indianapolis. I am excited for this city and for the communities I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of because as the school year comes to an end and my life is about to be turned upside down, I know Indianapolis is a place for people to create and collaborate, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.