Senior Art Shows Display Creativity and Artistic Growth

by Jaime Garispe '11

From November 15-24, Caroline Craner and Molly Gardner, two senior art majors, hosted art exhibits composed of their own work in the Heritage and Duke Art Galleries. The exhibits, which are required of all graduating art majors, serve as a culmination of their undergraduate education and display the skills they have gained from their time at APU.

Director of Art Exhibitions James Daichendt, Ed.D. said, "Both Molly and Cara have demonstrated a standard of excellence in their curatorial skills and artistic production. Their work over the course of the last two years (including their senior shows) is evidence of a deep understanding of artistic issues related to design and education."

Craner's show, titled Traces, stemmed from the idea of memories. She created numerous portraits of individuals in watercolor. Some of the portraits were of individuals in her life, both in the past and present. However, the exhibit also includes portraits of individuals that are complete strangers to her— one woman she painted after their meeting on a plane.

"Part of the difficulty in creating watercolor portraits is the level of intimacy the artist must have with the person they are painting," said Craner. "As an artist, I wanted to portray the individuals how they actually appeared, not necessarily how they perceived themselves."

Gardner's exhibit, called Wilder/Still was sparked after her study abroad experience two years ago in New Zealand and was the result of a nine-month process. She began working with found wood and rusted objects to explore what it meant to be wild and whether humanity was wilder in the actual wilderness or in the city. The exhibit blends the concepts common to life in the city with elements typical to wilderness.

"Two elements I heavily focus on in my work are oxygen and water," said Gardner. "These life-giving substances are what keep us alive as human beings, but also destroy the things we create—such as metal—if left at the mercy of these natural forces. In my own journey, oxygen and water are metaphors for the Holy Spirit which keeps me spiritually alive and destroys the sin I create."

Gardner plans to display the body of work in an alternative space in Los Angeles later this year.