Year’s worth of work emerges as seniors display art

Jake Williams

Equinox Staff


In the art world, the axiom “actions speak louder than words” is more than just a saying. An artist’s investment in his or her  work becomes the words, the vision, the message.

So although a written statement accompanies Keene State College’s graduating art majors’ works, the narrative really develops within these physical manifestations – these embodiments of the self.

The annual senior exhibit, “Emerging Art,” opened at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery on April 19. The exhibit runs until commencement day on May 11 and features the work of both BFA and BA graduating seniors.

In conjunction with the show, a People’s Choice Award will be given to the student who garners the most votes for their work. Paul McMullan, ceramics professor, said that these senior art shows began around 15 years ago.

Emily Fedorko / Photo Editor Art is displayed at the “Emerging Art” exhibit at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery on April 19. The Thorne displayed senior BFA and BA graduate students’ work.


From oil on canvas and pastels, to stoneware and sculpture, the exhibit features an array of the more familiar artistic mediums and methods. In addition, less familiar techniques are presented here. On the nameplate that describes the mediums used for a particular piece, the tagline “new media” shows up repeatedly on these descriptors.

“I think the diversity is really important. The range of kinds of things from ceramics, to origami, prints the sculptures,” Maureen Ahern, Thorne-Sagendorph director, said.

Andrew Kelsey’s work is an example of new media. Kelsey used Styrofoam to construct five anatomically sound adults and a two-yard-long fence for his piece “Paused State of Delirium.”

“If I had used plaster, like I wanted to, it would have weighed 800 pounds,” Kelsey said. Unfortunately for Kelsey, this title was a self-fulfilling prophecy as he described staying up for 38 hours the final night finishing the sculpture.

Along with use of non-traditional mediums, Kelsey’s art is an example of installation art—defined by as, “Art that is created, constructed, or installed on the site where it is exhibited, often incorporating materials or physical features on site.”

According to Seth Kaiser, senior and BFA candidate, these are two growing areas in today’s artistic climate.

The work of Michael Aucoin also demonstrates this site-specific art. Aucoin’s catalogue of painted work is inspired by the Mexican tradition “Day of the Dead.” His largest piece is his personalized take on an Ofrenda, the shrine constructed during the Latin tradition.

Aucoin takes this installation art idea a step further by engaging other sensory devices using candles, all the while retaining the authenticity of the shrine using pictures and other applicable items from his personal experience.

For Kaiser, his work is with one of the older mediums, clay. Kaiser said that over the years his experience with the stubborn art of ceramics has taught him to let the medium become its own thing. He described, “After a while, you [learn] that you don’t really have that much control over the clay.” This has left his pieces thrown on a potter’s wheel embodying an imperfect, human quality. He said four of his pieces, dubbed “Anxiety,”  “Resolute,”  “Imminence” and “Stress,” are meant to embody the human presence.

“That’s kind of how I worked on these,” Kaiser said. “Just ‘I’m going to throw these, I’m going to make them a little wacky [and] I’m going to let them do what they want to do’. I think it worked out well.’”

Along with these wheel-thrown pieces, Kaiser also displayed work with square terra-cotta slabs and circular clay slabs. This humanist influence is something fellow potter Dana Ward cited in his work.

Ward, a senior and BFA, said the female form shows itself in the elongated curvature of his large vases.

These works average about three feet high with varying diameters and are influenced mostly by Greek and Chinese ceramics, he said. Along with these large vases, Ward displayed three large bowls.

Although Ward has been throwing clay for ten years, with five of those years full-time, two of his best pieces were lost in the firing process, yet he remained optimistic.

“That’s what this job’s all about,” he said. Ward said during the exhibit he was approached about selling up to six of his pieces.

Onlooker Kyle Michaud was taken aback by the work of Kayleigh Corrigan, a senior BA. Corrigan’s piece is a large oil on canvas painting titled “Inspired by Bob Ross.”

Corrigan said she used every color on her pallet to recreate the look of tissue and muscle of the heart depicted in this large painting.  She said Bob Ross, the legendary host of “The Joy of Painting” on PBS, has a calming effect on her while painting.

“It just pops off the page. It’s one of those pieces where you see it and you can’t just walk right by it,” Michaud continued, “and pieces like that, they got ‘it’ whatever you want to call ‘it’.”

The People’s Choice Award for the show showcase will be announced during the first week of May.


Jake Williams can be contacted at

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