Senior Studio Art Majors Find Creative Solutions to Showcase Their Work

images from the art thesis publication

Due to the campus’ shift to remote learning, the annual Senior Thesis Exhibition in Clough-Hanson Gallery had to be cancelled. However, the work of the three senior studio art majors, Annie Grace Netterville, Ben Aquila, and Jamie Payne, won’t go unnoticed. Their works have appeared in a print publication, produced by Rhodes’ Department of Art and Art History, titled “Couple Things . . .”

Netterville, Aquila, and Payne configured their work just for this publication, which is categorized by artist and contains a variety of works made throughout their senior year. It also includes a forward by President Marjorie Hass and a brief introduction by Assistant Professor of Art Karl Erickson. “Ben, Annie Grace, and Jamie have created this publication in place of a physical gallery show,” states Erickson. “It serves as a collaborative exhibition, a limited-edition artwork, and a tribute to their camaraderie, resilience, and abilities.” 

The theme of Couple Things . . . is the human body, and the works pose questions about the body in regard to self-perception, the perception of others, and the functionality of the body itself. “While their work is, of course, unique,” Erickson writes, “they share a concern with how our physical forms move, touch, bloom, and fail.”

Although their work was in development prior to the advent of the pandemic, the print publication was made in direct response to the pandemic. “COVID-19 definitely changed how I convey content,” says Aquila. “Everything I have made since the virus has been more scaled down and more concerned with lines, colors, and photography.”

Finding new ways to share their work, even if not in the traditional gallery setting, was an adjustment for Netterville, Aquila, and Payne, but they have made the most of their situation. “It hurts not being able to physically celebrate this climactic experience with faculty, family, and friends,” says Aquila. “However, making the final book has been really fun, and I have learned a lot.”

A downloadable PDF of the exhibition is available online at Clough-Hanson Gallery and the print edition of Couple Things . . . will be available to the Rhodes community upon return to campus.

By Sam Brown ’21