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Awkward Family Photos and Other Mysteries

Peter Stefanowicz ’16: Avenoir, 2016, aerosol enamel on wood board, 18 x 36 in.

Peter Stefanowicz: Avenoir, 2016, aerosol enamel on wood board, 18 x 36 in.

'Eidolon' plumbs mysteries, contradictions, memory

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

What lies beneath the surface of minds, societies, memories? Student artists look above and below in the senior studio-art majors exhibition at The Trout Gallery, which begins with an opening reception on Friday, April 29, and ends on May 21. 

Held each spring, the senior exhibition is the culminating event in a Dickinson studio-art major’s undergraduate career. The 2016 senior show’s title is “Eidolon,” meaning “unreal image,” “apparition” or “ideal.” As Professor of Art Ward Davenny notes, all three of these concepts are at play.

In Peter Stefanowicz’s hands, portraits become suggestions; he uses stencil layering and aerosol paint to create figures and faces with blurred features, obscuring a subject’s identity and evoking ambiguous and dreamlike emotional states.

Chrysanthe Maggidis '16: Figure Study: isolation, anger, depression (detail), 2016, charcoal on paper, 18 x 12 in.

Chrysanthe Maggidis: Figure Study: isolation, anger, depression (detail), 2016, charcoal on paper, 18 x 12 in.

The subjects in Kathryn Cargill’s and Chrysanthe Maggidis’ works also are anonymous. Cargill drapes the human form in heavy cloth—an act that obfuscates some features and highlights others—bringing to mind ancient burials and the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. Maggidis, also a charcoal artist, uncloaks the body in her works, but she conceals the face.

Libin Wang '16: Mountain Xiangshan, 2016, watercolor and ink on rice paper, 14 x 28 in.

Libin Wang: Mountain Xiangshan, 2016, watercolor and ink on rice paper, 14 x 28 in.

For Lucas Kang, Libin Wang and Jess Fleisch, it’s about the hidden struggles within. Kang investigates subtexts and emotional shifts threading through conversations, whether face-to-face, electronic or internal. Fleisch depicts the search for personal identity in the face of contradictory impulse, and Wang visualizes streams of consciousness and the moments they live in. 

Joelle Cicak ’16: I could not catch him, 2015, acrylic transfer, India ink and color pencil on paper.

Joelle Cicak: I could not catch him, 2015, acrylic transfer, India ink and color pencil on paper.

Joelle Cicak tells open-ended narratives, often tapping her passion for Greek mythology in drawings and sculptures of otherworldly figures and objects. High art meets fashion-world narratives in Micah Corso-Phinney's and Samantha Siegfried’s work. Corso-Phinney uses photography and digital techniques to create emotionally charged self-portraits. Siegfried’s digital collages use pattern and texture to comment on the fictions and realities of the fashion industry. 

Jana Ismail: Reverie (Had I Been Awake), 2016, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 in.

Jana Ismail: Reverie (Had I Been Awake), 2016, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 in.

Contradictions take three-dimensional form in Stephan Sieg’s works, a process-focused collection that combines paint, plaster, past projects and found objects. Jana Ismail draws on her biracial, bicultural background to celebrate contradictory influences at work, and Lizzie Wilford combs AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com, Google image searches and family photographs to celebrate eccentricity, and eccentrics, in paint. 

Wendy Lin ’16: Labor (detail 1), 2016, wood, paint, found objects with sound, 37 x 37 x 84 in.

Yuan "Wendy" Lin: Labor (detail 1), 2016, wood, paint, found objects with sound, 37 x 37 x 84 in.

Yuan “Wendy” Lin works in sound, video and three-dimensional objects. Beginning last summer, she began to record everyday sounds—first in her hometown, Shanghai, and then at Dickinson and in her travels in the U.S. and abroad—to document fragments of her daily life, using sound to represent space, time and memory. Her collection of 500 recordings includes a bus announcement in a Shanghai dialect, a whooshing bubble-tea machine from Chicago, a jet engine at the Toronto airport and a paint roller skittering across the Mathers Theatre floor. She immerses gallery visitors in those sounds via architecture-inspired structures.

Lin also uses video to convey a sense of lives simultaneously lived in different places of the world, a phenomenon that’s well-understood by international and study abroad students, as they keep in touch with life back home while living abroad. To represent the ebb and flow of feelings of assimilation and otherness, she created split-screen videos, which she projects onto a suitcase, walls, the ceiling and floor.

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Published April 27, 2016