4/22/2022 Peter Durantine

Critical and Creative, Seniors Reveal Art Capstones

Senior art major Darlene Zhang discusses her video piece, “The Net.”

“My project is a spatial design work that aims to explore the phenomenon of young people's increasing tendency to stay at home in today's society and some thoughts on the future shape of society. I designed each space as a net-like structure because I feel that people are now more inclined to do as much as possible at home, both because of technology and pressure, so I feel as if people are sealed by an invisible net.”

Zhang is one of 12 Franklin & Marshall seniors who presented their art works – a range of interactive media including sculpture, video, drawing, painting and photographic processes – at the Winter Visual Arts Center this spring.   

“The Capstone in Studio Art is a year-long interdisciplinary exploration centered on critical and creative thinking within the context of contemporary art and design,” Assistant Professor of Art Sandra Eula Lee says.  

For Zhang, whose graduate school offers include California College of the Arts and Glasgow School of Art, her project imagines architectural space to explore and question our “otaku” culture, or the social phenomenon shaped by an overreliance on technology, the professor says.  

“Through hands-on making processes, students learn the potential art offers as a vehicle for exploring their concerns and reimagining their conditions,” Lee says. “They can make visible what they imagine.”

This year's Capstone is the first class to create their projects in the studios of the exhibit in the new Winter Visual Arts Center for the full year. 

View the gallery:

  • “My hometown is a third-tier city, which is experiencing severe aging and low population mobility. Thus, the buildings under construction become merely a way for people to invest. If this phenomenon continues, eventually the housing supply will overcome the actual demand for housing used for living space, which makes me wonder what will happen in thirty years?,” says Valentine Xue of his photography piece, “Until the Building Collapsed.” “My hometown is a third-tier city, which is experiencing severe aging and low population mobility. Thus, the buildings under construction become merely a way for people to invest. If this phenomenon continues, eventually the housing supply will overcome the actual demand for housing used for living space, which makes me wonder what will happen in thirty years?,” says Valentine Xue of his photography piece, “Until the Building Collapsed.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Vina Co examines her work for the exhibit, “The Five Movements (Self-Portrait); After Saturn Devours; Colo-NO!-zation” Vina Co examines her work for the exhibit, “The Five Movements (Self-Portrait); After Saturn Devours; Colo-NO!-zation” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Studio manager Jason Thompson and Professor Lee help Co to prepare her pieces for exhibition. Studio manager Jason Thompson and Professor Lee help Co to prepare her pieces for exhibition. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Zhang installs her video with Lee’s assistance: “I really like this kind of narrative through space, so after I graduate, I will continue to study this area, such as curatorial and spatial design.” Zhang installs her video with Lee’s assistance: “I really like this kind of narrative through space, so after I graduate, I will continue to study this area, such as curatorial and spatial design.” Image Credit: Jason Thompson
  • Xiongchuan Tu paints the shelves upon which his work, “The Book of Education; Invisible Hand,” is displayed. Xiongchuan Tu paints the shelves upon which his work, “The Book of Education; Invisible Hand,” is displayed. Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • “I’m interested in how the gender of these sculptures are read, what kind of assumptions are made, what feelings are brought forth, and what resonates with the audience,” says Isabella Jansen of her work, “Q Train; 4 Train; 2 Train.” “My creative experience at F&M has been very adventurous. I constantly find myself exploring different materials that I haven’t worked with before or learning different techniques.” “I’m interested in how the gender of these sculptures are read, what kind of assumptions are made, what feelings are brought forth, and what resonates with the audience,” says Isabella Jansen of her work, “Q Train; 4 Train; 2 Train.” “My creative experience at F&M has been very adventurous. I constantly find myself exploring different materials that I haven’t worked with before or learning different techniques.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • Samir Williams gets some experienced help from Thompson and Lee … Samir Williams gets some experienced help from Thompson and Lee … Image Credit: Deb Grove
  • … to prepare his pieces, “X-perience,” for exhibition. Says Lee: “Learning how to present mounting and installing their Capstone works for public exhibition provides them with skills and a platform to discuss their work with wider audiences.” … to prepare his pieces, “X-perience,” for exhibition. Says Lee: “Learning how to present mounting and installing their Capstone works for public exhibition provides them with skills and a platform to discuss their work with wider audiences.” Image Credit: Deb Grove
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