by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Nine student artists will take a big leap forward Nov. 15. Their joint exhibition provides a peek at works these studio art majors are developing for the spring’s capstone show—works that symbolize all they’ve learned at Dickinson thus far.
The works-in-progress exhibition, held every fall at Goodyear Gallery, is a milestone event for every Dickinson studio art major. Occuring at the midway point of their yearlong senior seminar, the exhibition gives students a chance to practice essential skills they’ll need for their final exhibition, including collaborating with fellow creatives to identify themes, preparing works for display, designing and hanging an exhibition and talking about one’s work with members of the general public. The students are also working on an exhibition catalogue to accompany the capstone show.
After advancing through more than three years of Dickinson’s studio art program together, the class of '24’s Carson Arp, Jess Berghofer, Dom Dorian, Naim Ezekiel, Kai Lemis, Josh Manzo, Devin Rossi, Eden Sanville and Ian Spurrier are ready to show us what they’ve got.
Naim Ezekiel at work. Photo by Dan Loh.
Arp’s current work, executed in charcoal on paper, centers on the body and on abstraction. Ezekiel connects to the history and resourcefulness underlying many aspects of African American culture; explores, questions and celebrates the diversity of the Black community; and puts forth a dialogue between the self and the world. Both appreciate the opportunity to create as part of a close-knit community. The Goodyear Gallery, with its individual studios in comfortable proximity to one another, encourages frequent collaboration and feedback.
“Art is inherently social,” says Ezekiel. “Creating in a community allows us to bounce ideas off of each other and get feedback from each other.”
“We are all working with very vulnerable and personal subjects, so to have a group of trusted individuals that you can work through those themes and art with, and to feel their energy while you’re working, is extremely valuable,” says Arp.
Ian Spurrier at work. Photo by Dan Loh.
Still, as helpful as those studio critiques from peers—and faculty and visiting artists—may be, it’s also crucial to step out of that shared space and see one’s work in fresh context. As Ezekiel notes, “Once work leaves your studio, I think it takes on new meaning, for better or for worse.”
And so the students are prepared to see their own work anew as they encounter a variety of questions and perspectives at the opening. Arp can’t wait. “This seminar has been incredibly helpful in progressing my artistic practice,” he says, “and I am so excited for everyone to get to see our works in progress.”
Published November 8, 2023