Savannah Scott
palmettoreport@gmail.com

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Junior level fine arts students at Winthrop University participated in their first showcase, which encompassed all the major concentrations in an exhibition titled “One Year to Go.”

The exhibition, held in the Lewandowski Student Gallery in McLaurin Hall March 4-18, was a chance to prepare students before their senior exhibition next year.

This year was different from previous years, because students from the different concentrations in the fine arts major — including ceramics, jewelry and metals, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video — presented their work for this exhibition instead of each concentration hosting its own.

“I thought it would be interesting to switch things up and do it a little bit differently this year,” said Shaun Cassidy, a professor of fine arts who planned the exhibit.

“I wanted to try and create more crossover between (the different concentrations) to get those students working with each other, so that we become more connected. One thing COVID has done (is) made us less connected. I was hoping by having those students in the gallery, they would connect in interesting ways,” said Cassidy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some challenges for the students, faculty and staff who work to produce the art gallery events.

Karen Derksen, director of the Winthrop Galleries, said a lack of resources caused students and faculty to be responsible for setting up their own exhibitions, rather than having the help of gallery staff.

However, Derksen said she believes it was a positive change.

“It’s a good learning experience for the students, if they are able to do more,” Derksen said. “The more that they are able to actually have the hands-on practice of creating signage or installing the work themselves, it is a better exercise for them and better learning opportunity for them.”

Griffin Cordell, a junior sculpture major who participated in the exhibition, created an interactive sculpture and had an audio piece to listen to while viewing the display.

“This one was about disassociation and my relationship to that. It was representative of a car ride. When I am in the car with my father especially, we are so similar that we don’t talk a lot and it sort of creates this environment where I lose my train of thought,” Cordell said.

“I create artwork to try and answer questions I know can’t be answered. It’s my way of trying to find some unspoken truth. The sculpture is a metaphor for finding those questions.”

Griffin Cordell Sculpture
Griffin Cordell, a junior sculpture major, created this interactive sculpture for the “One Year to Go” exhibit, which included an audio piece to listen to while viewing the work (photo: Savannah Scott).

Cordell said he felt this exhibition was a great way to expand his creative outlet and he thought the lack of requirements helped his art become more personal.

“As the student moves through the program, the projects decline and the students’ own personal research takes over,” Cassidy said. “You want students’ work to be personal and based on their own interests. There are no guidelines. The exhibition is an outlet for that research and investigations.”

Jason Lindsay, a junior fine arts major, said he felt the exhibition was a way to utilize and perfect skills that he could potentially use for the senior show next year.

“I view a lot of what I am making this year is kind of an exploration of starting lines of inquiry that I could continue next year and continuing exploring with my senior show,” Lindsay said. “The concepts I used didn’t really relate to the theme of the show, but me exploring different techniques that I might continue next year with my senior exhibition.”

Lindsay had three components to his exhibit, including a sculpture, a carved wood block print and a two-block laser print. He said he tries to create visualizations of emotions through his work like he did in the “One Year to Go” exhibit.

“I was trying to kind of create visualizations of the feelings of doom that I think a lot of us are experiencing, because of the very dark world we are existing in right now. I kind of want people who (experience those feelings) to see that reflected,” Lindsay said. “I feel like we are not allowed to really feel those feelings a lot. We are just expected to continue on with our daily lives (and) pretend it’s okay.”

Cassidy said he doesn’t think he will continue this specific show or theme next year, in order to create more excitement and less predictability for the community.