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To acquire wisdom, one must observe

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Mid-Year Exhibition showcases senior artwork

Droves of art patrons filed into the Dreitzer Gallery of the Spingold Theater Center to admire the works of Brandeis students displayed at the Senior Mid-Year Exhibition on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Attendees were offered hors d’oeuvres, wine and the good company of students, faculty and other community members as they browsed the art. Just upon entering Spingold, it was impossible not to feel the liveliness, excitement and happiness crowding the atmosphere.

The works on display allowed patrons to admire the works of talented Brandeis senior studio art majors and minors before they graduate. All of the pieces in the exhibition were produced within the span of the fall 2016 semester, which is incredible considering the time it must have taken for each piece to transform from a concept to a tangible work of art. Several artists even had multiple pieces of their work on display, all of which surely required tremendous effort and time to complete.

Sculptures, paintings, collages and drawings filled the gallery, ranging from huge oil paintings like Weini Chen’s untitled portrait of a woman in a field of towering sunflowers, to Sydney Westervelt’s 6.75 x 4.75 in. collage study. Size aside, all of the works presented at the exhibition were truly marvelous and provided a diverse spectrum of ideas and themes to ponder. Mike Jackson’s “My Mind #2” brought to mind both the physical and mental attributes we use to define ourselves, while Margot Field approached the subject of identity from a familial perspective in “Family Album II.”

The exhibition begins and ends with two captivating sculptures that inaugurate and complete the show beautifully. At the entrance of the gallery stands an inviting, large (10 x 4 x 4 ft.) piece created by Liz Washington out of wood, masonite, charcoal, graphite, ink and shards of mirror glass. It is a semi-interactive piece, allowing you to step inside and see both reflections of yourself alongside hand-drawn, iconic images like Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” and Kim Kardashian’s #BreakTheInternet Paper Mag cover.

At the opposite end of the gallery rests an intriguing sculpture by Jessica Goldstein, “In Bloom.” It is composed of flowers resting on and in-between jagged, splintered planks of wood pointing threateningly in all different directions. Nested in the middle of the sculpture is a record player with a vinyl, ready to be played. It is a piece that both invites and shoos away the viewer, an interesting and thoughtful choice to place at the end of the room.

Also noteworthy are Casey Kim’s “Red Vanity” and “Blue Vanity,” two massive oil paintings of a collection of vanity items like lipsticks, perfumes and lotions tinted in their respective title’s color. Kim harnessed the power of her medium to create a duality of both sharp lines and shapes, as well as eerily-dripping trickles of paint.

Select works included in the exhibition are not by seniors. Olivia Joy ’18, who is involved in independent studies, displayed her enormous oil paintings that engage with perceptions of female sexuality. Her 60 x 48 in. “Not Yours to Grab” is delightfully in-your-face, invoking a similar feel that a Georgia O’Keeffe flower would inspire.

What was so fabulous about the opening reception was that the artists who created the works were present alongside their works, available to discuss their art in more depth and offer their insights into their pieces as well as those of their classmates. It enhanced the experience of viewing art, making it more communal than just observing and trying to interpret the art alone. After all—when was the last time you went to a museum and all of the artists were there to talk with you about their art?

It was a lovely night that brought out more than just those involved in Brandeis’ fine arts program. Countless attendees came to the opening to support their peers and mingle with friends and faculty. Above all, people came to be in a community with one another, coming together to appreciate each other and the time that they have gotten to spend with the artists and their mentors. As the semester winds down and finals kick in, the Senior Mid-Year Exhibition Opening Reception reminds us that the time we spend together is more valuable than anything.

Unfortunately, words can only describe the grandeur of this exhibition to a certain extent. To receive the full experience and pleasure that these works have to offer, visit the Dreitzer Gallery from now until Jan. 16 to see these splendid works while they are still on display.

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