An overview of Emilie Hoke’s senior exhibition. Image courtesy of Emily Hoke ‘21.

Alice Berndt ‘22 (she/ her) and Sarah Jackson ‘22 (she/ her)

For studio art majors, the senior exhibition is a culmination of four years of hard work, dedication, and self-discovery. Last spring, these exhibitions were cut short due to COVID-19, and this year the seniors have had to adapt to the virtual nature of the school year. 

The senior exhibitions kicked off on March 10th, 2021 in the Smith Gallery in the Visual Arts Center with Adrienne Lee ’21’s show entitled Ode to Self, followed by Emilie Hoke ’21’s show illume. While these two shows are no longer physically on display in the gallery, you can view them virtually and watch the artist talks on YouTube

Currently, the senior exhibition on display in the Smith Gallery is “Go on, Git” by Landin Eldridge ’21, which closes on March 31st, so make sure to stop by the gallery if you have not already seen it. The remainder of the semester will feature Im:mutable by Rebecca Cobo ’21 (April 3-6 and 9-11), Coalescing Realities by Adelle Patten ’21 (April 15-19), Laloland by Chloe Pitkoff ’21 (April 22-27), and a memorial show for Isaac Scharbach ’21 (April 29-May 5).

Each senior exhibition is on display in the Smith Gallery in the Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center, which is open to the Davidson College community from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

In a typical year, each studio art senior would hold an in-person reception in the VAC. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year each senior will give a virtual artist talk on their show’s opening day instead. For a Zoom link to these virtual receptions, please contact Lia Newman (linewman@davidson.edu) or register on the galleries’ website. The recordings will also be uploaded to YouTube.

In a year of isolation, art has acted as a method for expressing and sharing the multitude of complex feelings and emotions that we have all experienced in the past year. In spending time on the Davidson College cross country trails during the early months of COVID-19, Lee “saw the randomness of nature.” In thinking more deeply about connections to her coursework in neuroscience, she realized that “randomness exists in our own landscape of our own mind.” 

The persistence and dedication of the senior studio art majors and the art department as a whole have served as an example of the power of art in bringing people together despite limitations of the pandemic. Hoke said, “The senior shows have been a way to foster community within the arts, as well as across Davidson. Having an actual show that people [can] simply stumble upon walking through the VAC or schedule an individual tour [has been] an exciting way to engage with people across campus.”

COVID-19 has impacted all of us in ways both individual and collective, changing not only our lifestyles but our perspectives on the world. This year’s senior art exhibitions have shown more than ever how art can provide a space for artists to explore these changes and for viewers to then engage with those explorations. 

The creation and reception of art has always been a way to express and experience certain opinions and views on the world, and during times of uncertainty this becomes even more important. As Hoke says, “There is an excitement in the air at the VAC with the arts flourishing throughout the building.”

Alice Berndt ’22 (she/her/hers) is an English major and Art History minor from Maplewood, New Jersey and can be reached for comment at alberndt@davidson.edu.

Sarah Jackson ’22 (she/her/hers) is a Studio Art major and Economics minor from Johannesburg, South Africa and can be reached for comment at sajackson@davidson.edu.