Elmhurst College provided a platform for senior art majors Nikki Smith, Vincent Lotesto, and Jon Glabus to display their artwork with the Fall 2015 Capstone Exhibition, which was held in the Accelerator Art Space on Dec. 5th. Nikki Smith’s collection consisted of 10 canvases designed to represent various definitions of art.
“My Capstone is all about addressing the question ‘what is art?’ because that’s something that has been asked to students in every art class but never really well defined. For me, art is different to each person,” she said.
Smith used “five holistic key terms [to] collectively explain what art is” to her. They are: auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, visual, and cognitive. Smith said it was the first time her work had been publicly displayed.
“It’s definitely strange seeing people looking at my work,” she said. “I’m not used to it, but it’s an interesting experience”.
Vincent Lotesto, who has contributed to The Leader, credits his fascination with Hinduism as the inspiration for his art. He described his work, a collection of 11 paintings that make up a series titled ‘Dashavatara Evolution’, as “an evolution series that melds concepts of evolution and the 10 incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu”.
"I noticed that the way Vishnu’s incarnations follow kind of mirror Darwin’s theory of evolution,” he said. “I tried to see if there were any meaningful depictions of that connection, and there weren’t, so I decided to make one.”
To supplement his paintings, Lotesto displayed his sketchbook, which consisted of notes and original sketches, as part of his work.
“It shows the progression of each piece and gives explanations as to what the avatars are and why they’re depicted in the way they are or what they mean in Hinduism,” he explained.
Jon Glabus’s ceramics collection, titled “Off the Wall”, was inspired by the idea of uniqueness.
“[This collection] is supposed to get you to slow down and feel the cup in your hand and notice that it’s something unique and that there’s no other cup out there like it,” he said.
The collection, which took Glabus all semester to create, consists of 63 pieces. However, Glabus made over 120 pieces throughout the semester.
“In ceramics, they say if you want to make two good pots, make ten. You get better with each one, and sometimes one pot will just be a little better than the next,” he said.
Glabus, who is represented by Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, said the exhibition was the largest one he had been a part of.
“I’ve entered into juried shows with different cups or plates or bourbon bottles, but I’ve never done anything with this big of a set up”.
Suellen Rocca, Curator and Director of exhibitions at Elmhurst College, described the process students undergo when preparing for the Capstone exhibition.
“They work with an advisor that they select, they do a proposal, and they create a consistent body of work with faculty reviews throughout the semester,” she said. “They also take a class called Capstone 491 in which they discuss the installation of the work, write an artist’s statement, learn how to document their work, and write a paper. It’s a really intensive process and I think it’s great in terms of developing as an artist”.
Rocca expressed her pride with the quality of the work shown at the exhibition.
“I feel extremely proud of the work that’s being shown tonight. To see students being able to create and show work at that level is very, very rewarding as a teacher, because that’s what we work for,” she said.
Peter Flockencier, an EC alum in attendance at the event, also spoke highly of the work that was shown at the exhibition but was unimpressed by the turnout.
“I’m really glad Elmhurst still has a great art program and I know that the students put a lot of hard work into it, but it’s a little smaller than most shows, which is kind of a shame,” he said.
Flockencier, who advocated for the continuation of the art program when it was rumored to be shut down last spring, wants the programs to grow larger.
“There are a lot of talented people at Elmhurst College that are interested in the arts, so I want the program to get bigger, because there are a lot of people who can do a lot more things”.