DeAnn Conley & Kanisha Reed

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – Winthrop University is hosting its annual senior exhibition, which features the work of senior students who are completing their degree requirements in the Department of Fine Arts.

The exhibit entitled “Menagerie,” which opened April 4, will be on display until May 6 in the Rutledge Gallery and Lewandowski Student Gallery.

“Menagerie means a strange and diverse collection of things,” said Grayce Kellam, a Winthrop senior art major, whose work is on display in the collection.”

“When you look through the exhibition. I think a lot of the artworks are asking the audience questions and the first thing you do when you see a title like ‘Menagerie’ is (ask) ‘what does that mean exactly? Maybe I should look it up.’”

Kellam said the purpose of the exhibit is to pique the interest of the audience and encourage them to explore the meaning of the work and ask questions.

Kellam said this year’s theme differs from past exhibitions, because previous themes centered around graduation and leaving things behind.

However, this year, the seniors chose a theme that was inclusive and dove into their work as a whole.

“’Menagerie’ is pretty amazing; the breath of artwork that is actually in these galleries,” said Griffin Cordell, a senior art major, who has also contributed to the collection. “It’s this huge collection of totally different works that are all sort of coming together to create this homage to art and our experience as seniors and as artists.”

Cordell’s installation in the exhibit is called “Assertum,” which he described as a piece that was inspired by different discoveries from dreams, memories and spirituality.

“I am never trying to answer things, I am trying to find the right questions to ask,” he said. “I think that artwork and this idea of an idea of a higher creation to me are simultaneous things. That is how I honor the idea of creation.”

Kellam said her contribution is a piece called “Cryptograph,” which she described as “evidence for the audience to dissect.”

“To me, the intrinsic value of art lies in the process of creating, rather than the finished piece. When I am making art, is when I find true relief from everything around me. It is a vicious cycle of creating,” Kellam said.

She said her piece is multi-disciplinary, as she combines sculpture, performance, video, projection and audio to create a visual representation of her compartmentalizing her personal experiences.