2022 Senior art major exhibition “Recomposition”

“Recomposition” highlights the importance of being together and how we affect one another

The Art and Art History Department’s annual senior art major exhibition, titled “Recomposition,” opened on Thursday, April 21 in the Michael and Noémi Neidorff Art Gallery. Eight students — Jay Dunn, Maren Merwarth, Chryslyn Perkins, Ren Rader*, Juliet Sikorski, Lila Steffan, Denise Turati and Bygoe Zubiate — contributed 25 total pieces to the exhibition. The exhibition will run until May 21 during the Neidorff Gallery’s normal hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment.

Jon Lee, art professor and faculty advisor for “Recomposition,” helped organize the exhibition and ensured that the students were prepared.

“The students started [preparing] by building a portfolio by selecting their best, most consistent work from their previous work made during their 4 years at Trinity,” Lee said.

The students were also asked to submit an artist’s statement for their larger body of work, a practice Lee hopes prepared them for any professional future gallery shows.

“Our aim is to teach these young artists how to be professional artists should they choose to do this. These statements provide additional context for jurors and viewers. Working on a statement also helps artists to focus critically on their work, as it requires them to verbally summarize their work accurately,” Lee said.

Lee also mentioned that the students participated in a previous exhibit that helped them gain experience in putting together a show. This exhibit, the 17th Annual Collegiate Exhibition during Fall 2021, included studio art majors from different schools in San Antonio.

Neidorff Gallery manager and professor Benjamin McVey was less involved in preparing this exhibition than other gallery shows.

“There was more preparation for Jon Lee, the faculty member overseeing the senior artists than there was on my end. The show is really supposed to be about the seniors and so they had ownership of putting the exhibition together. On my end, I just started to work with them to narrow down their images so we could put together information about the show,” McVey said.

McVey also met with the seniors to discuss the physical layout of the exhibition, saying it was a simple process largely because all the works are hanging, so wall space was the only real need.

Senior art major Maren Merwarth has five pieces in the exhibition, most of which were created specifically for this exhibition.

“I had displayed one work in the Mini last semester, and another one I completed during the 2020 lockdown. The remaining works and frames were completed for the purposes of the show,” Merwarth said.

Merwarth’s pieces highlight cyclical shifts between artistic forms and utilize old materials to create new works.

“The themes of my work in this show have two different sources of inspiration,” Merwarth said. “Two of my pieces deal with classical portraiture revival, and the remaining three deal with recycling materials through the lens of contemporary themes.”

All Merwarth’s pieces are also for sale, along with ten other pieces from the gallery. “I decided to list them for sale because selling art gains additional gallery exposure and gives me an additional accomplishment to put on my resume,” Merwarth said.

Her piece “Illona” was bought by Trinity for the university’s permanent collection. “Illona” is also Merwarth’s first piece from a gallery setting to be purchased, and she said having her art seen outside of an academic classroom setting is exciting.

Both McVey and Merwarth mentioned the structure of the gallery’s walls when asked about preparing for the exhibition.

“What I really like about this show is the students chose to do a little different layout. Usually, people square up the walls or make some sort of space, but [the seniors] put them in [diagonal] slash marks in the middle of the gallery space. We messed around a little and moved the walls, and settled on this interesting, dynamic layout,” McVey said.

Lee, McVey and the seniors all met in the gallery space to discuss the layout, eventually landing on the diagonal walls.

From a student’s perspective, the gallery layout helps make all the pieces equal. “The whole class brainstormed the wall space and placement of [our] works. I thought the diagonal composition of the floating gallery walls would allow for more works to be visible as you enter the gallery, ensuring that no one’s art was featured more prominently than others,” Merwarth said.

The title of the show, “Recomposition,” was a collaborative effort among all the students.

Merwarth said, “We felt that recomposition was a word that defined the similarities between all of our work, even though we approach the subject matter through different styles, mediums and materials.”

The title even has hints of how individuals affect each other.

Discussing the title, Lee said, “These seniors have spent a good portion of their time separated by the pandemic. Once they had the opportunity to gather in person, they realized how much they influence and affect each other as they work, even insofar as re-composing each others’ ideas and work. So, the title of the show relates to their understanding of the importance of being together, thinking together, the power of each others’ influence, in a good way.”

*Ren Rader is an illustrator for the Trinitonian.