By: Lila Miller
Dichotomy is defined as “a division or contrast between two things or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.”
In the latest senior art exhibition on campus, three different artists presented their senior showcase in the Fine Arts Hall from Oct. 22 – Nov. 2.
The exhibition featured work from students Eric Sanders, Darian Merritt and William Wright.
Each artist interpreted dichotomy differently, but the artwork between the three series’ flowed seamlessly within the gallery.
Eric Sanders’ series was named “Whimsy and War.” It featured paintings, traditional and digitally-manipulated photographs, as well as a charcoal drawing and an installation.
Sanders’ influences are drawn partly from his six years as a sergeant in the Army. He has also spent the last four years working with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Other influences that factored into Sanders’ work include his childhood, nature and pop culture seen in movies and television.
The most difficult piece he created depicted a fiddler crab playing a traditional fiddle, juxtaposed with litter because it involved utilizing a new industry standard program for digital assets called Zbrush.
His favorite piece of the exhibition is his charcoal drawing of a mandible, which is a jawbone found in mammals and fish, and a cat.
“There’s this idea that if we wear these face masks…they’re intimidating…there’s a person under there, just like everyone else. They’re capable of holding a kitten. I like to show what’s beyond all of the layers,” Sanders explained.
A particularly striking photo series Sanders did used several chronological photos depicting the idea that service members are tough and don’t need help, turn to self medication, and ultimately suicide.
Sanders wishes to show through his work that a creative outlet is possible for veterans to work through their traumas and emotions as a healthy coping mechanism.
Darian Merritt shifts perspective quite literally in her series titled “Lost and Found.” Her work included film double-exposure photographs of architecture in downtown Savannah and an installation piece.
Merritt found herself influenced by black and white film photographs and the constructivist movement of the 1920s led by Alexander Rodchenko. The movement’s main convention was that the people involved rejected ideas of what photography was and wanted to literally construct the image themselves.
Merritt’s work portrays downtown Savannah in a new light.
“I specifically wanted to use Savannah [in my work]. I thought about including other places but the conceptual idea shows through better [focusing on the city]. Savannah still feels kind of foreign to me even though I’ve been here four years. It was interesting going downtown and getting lost and found,” she expressed.
She has been shooting for a couple of years, but started doing multiple exposures a year ago. Working with film and exposing it twice has now become her favorite thing to explore.
In her singular installation piece, she created a model of film lights illuminating two physical film strips to show the difference between single and multiple exposures.
Merritt’s favorite piece is titled “Lost #5” because she loved that once enlarged, a man doing construction on the side of a building is visible.
She enjoys using natural lines in her work because when photographing architecture specifically, it’s hard to avoid the lines and it forces the viewer to look between the different images.
“One of my favorite things about multiple exposures is that everyone sees them differently. Who sees what first? [It serves as] a reminder that not everyone processes art the same way,” she concluded.
The last part of the exhibition features William Wright’s “Vices and Virtues.”
Much of the influences he was inspired by are Christianity and his upbringing. Wright felt like Christianity was less of a religion and more a tool for parenting and teaching right and wrong. He found that he often used Christianity as a moral compass.
In Wright’s work, he went against the normal convention of what people typically view of the seven deadly sins.
His favorite piece is titled “Gluttony and Avarice,” which is an installation of a wire man and archival luster prints of a multitude of apples cascading downward. He promotes a spin on social norms of what people think gluttony is.
“Gluttony is like the use of anything in excess. [The wire man is] a perfect figure with six pack abs, and an ideal physique to others, but is still excessive,” he explained.
Wright uses photography and one piece as an emphasis of different body parts compiling images into a single piece. He frequently uses layering in his installation work or incorporates sculptural elements as well.
Previously, Wright focused his studies on Chemical Engineering and Spanish for three years but has shifted to art for the last two years. He found that his last academic endeavor was “flat and boring that held no creative freedom. Art is problem solving and creativity. There’s also a lot of science in photography and the dark room.”
Most of Wright’s work focuses on diversity, race and gender equality, though “this series was about the past that I had and who I’m becoming now. I wanted to turn it on end. The works went with not fitting in and not disregarding how you were brought up,” he continued.
All proceeds from the exhibition went towards the non-profit Warrior Art. Warrior Art encourages veterans to pursue art and their creative passions.
The Senior III Exhibition will be held from Nov. 12-30 with a reception held in the Fine Arts Hall on Nov. 30 from 5:30-7 p.m.