After working through Open Studio during the past winter term, seniors Utsah Pandey and Julia Reynolds showcased their work in a presentation called “Looks Kinda Empty” which took place at the Whitcomb Art Center on Friday, April 13.
Reynolds spent her Open Studio workshop focusing on elements of dark and light through analog photography. Her series was inspired by and modelled after the desire to challenge perceptions of the human body. For Reynolds, she says photography has always been her thing at Knox.
“I had to take everything: ceramics, printmaking; but I think that the thing that stuck around with me the most is just being able to view your world through a lens — I think that’s what I always loved about photography,” Reynolds said. “I really just kind of evolved starting with my obsession with imperfections and then as I’ve gone and let everything be more morphed and spaced out and the dissolving self with my lighter pieces, so I think it’s more — not a coming of age but a coming of accepting to be who you are and to not let anything hold you back,” she said.
She started by photographing the entire human body — then portioning, fragmenting and zooming in on the portraits. She then began to explore photographing smaller portions of body, allowing herself to think ahead of time and visualize what she wanted before going into the dark room.
“It was like learning to experiment; the mystery of unknown is what you get out of it,” she said.
After graduating in June, Reynolds will work at the Philbrook Art Museum in Tulsa, OK.
Senior Utsah Pandey looks to her surroundings as inspiration for her art, which often deals with space and landscape. (Julia Volpe/TKS)
Drawing inspiration from her photography, Pandey’s mixed media art forms are based on her sense of spatial experience that she has developed working on her night photography, which is why it is all black.
“The ones hung in the show are about walking around Galesburg at night. There is this sense of an expansive, isolated space as you walk through the streets,” she said.
Coming from the urban, cramped city of Kathmandu, Nepal with narrow streets and landscapes, the widespread sense of space in Galesburg was strikingly different for her. With the concept of Galesburg being an industrial town and basing her other work on its city planning, she thought about making creating an urban space and showing how that process involves violence and destruction.
“I play with the idea of creation of grid and natural and manmade landscapes existing within that grid,” she said.
Her work has a variety of textures, from burn marks to bits of trash placed on it, which helps embody a destructive landscape, something that we may not see at first glance while looking Galesburg.
Pandey hopes to continue her exploration of spaces, and eventually make her way towards earning a Master of Fine Arts.
“I definitely want to use this technique on different spaces. Maybe a different color in a different city. Maybe even Kathmandu. I’ll definitely use red for that one,” she said hopefully.
As for the name, Pandey recounted that she and Reynolds noticed a running theme of emptiness coming up when discussing thematic elements of their work.
The senior art show is a requirement for art majors in order to graduate. They create work throughout the entire term and build up to this big reveal of art.
“It’s definitely awesome to showcase your work and to get used to it if you want to showcase art later in your careers,” said Reynolds.