Keene State College (KSC) seniors earning their degree in studio art will be getting the chance to showcase their final work at the annual Emerging Art Exhibition.

The exhibition, which consists entirely of students’ art, opened at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery on April 15. However, the opening reception took place on Friday, April 21.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

The reception gave the numerous artists an opportunity to introduce the public to their work.

A requirement for students in the studio art program is to develop this final project over the span of the his or her senior year.

The final work is then shown as part of the annual Emerging Art Exhibition.

James Mayor IV is one of the 14 students whose work will be displayed as part of the exhibition for the remainder of the school year.

Mayor IV, who had three pieces of work as part of the exhibition, said all of his work is based around honoring a friend of his, Nicholas Scott Cook, who died in Afghanistan in 2010.

Mayor IV’s work on display consisted of two sets of drypoint pieces of work as well as four monotypes titled, ‘Sacrifice.’

“I’m here as an artist to bridge a gap for civilians so they can kind of feel empathy and see where soldiers are actually coming from,” Mayor IV said.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

“I’m trying to be a voice for Nick because he’s no longer with us.”

Another student whose work was on display was Marina Wootton.

Wootton had three sets of oil on canvas paintings, titled ‘Tiger,’ ‘Elephant,’ and ‘Rhino.’

“It has to do with endangered species, specifically some of the top ones that are used predominantly for their skins or their ivory,” Wootton said.

“I didn’t really want it to be too political, I wanted to leave it up to the viewer and just show beautiful animals and how I look at them and how they make me feel.”

Wootton said she has been working on the three pieces for one semester in total.

Regardless of how long it might have taken each artist to complete their work, both Mayor IV and Wootton agreed that this type of event was significantly rewarding and important.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

“It’s an opportunity to get your art out for the first time, this is your first big show before you graduate college,” Wootton said.

“A lot of the time, artists don’t get a second chance to do this, so just to even get the opportunity to have your own show is like one in a million for a lot of people.”

Mayor IV said the exhibition provided him with an opportunity to exchange stories with viewers, and that was rewarding in itself.

“It’s been positive for me in the way that viewers have been able to share their stories with me and that I’ve been able to share his [Cook’s] story with them. So if there wasn’t that transaction of stories and everything then I feel like this would be all for not and I would just be creating work for myself,” Mayor IV said.

Several of the viewers felt similarly regarding the opportunity to view the work of the emerging artists.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Mike Mohan, who was there in support of a couple of artists, said the work that he had seen was, “very impressive.”

Mohan was there with Karen Hall, who agreed that the art was impressive.

“It looks like a large, inner-city art gallery,” Hall said.

Brendan Campbell, who was in attendance to view the wide variety of art on display, said the event is an opportunity for viewers to think deeper about what goes into the work.

“Sometimes, especially in our culture, we see a picture and we like it, but we don’t understand what went into that,” Campbell said.

“I think sometimes people have this perception that art school isn’t what normal college is, like it’s a different entity or something, so I always find this stuff amazing.”

Another KSC student in attendance was Nolan Johnson, who acknowledged the hard work of the artists.

“It must feel good for the artists that have been working so hard on this, to showcase them and feel good about the general public and classmates coming in and seeing all of their work,” Johnson said.

The Emerging Art Exhibition will be at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery until May 6.

Crae Messer can be contacted at cmesser@kscequinox.com

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