A crowd gathered in the Margaret Martin Gehman Art Gallery, located in the University Commons next to Common Grounds, for the opening of two senior art shows. Seniors Katie Weaver and Laney Garcia displayed their photographic skills with pieces that were outside-of-the-box and yet beautiful at the same time.
Weaver’s show, “Photos Under the Macro Lens,” included several photographs composed of various pieces of metallic junk up-close.
These simple pieces of rusted scrap-metal—some objects barely more than a couple centimeters in length—became beautiful, abstract photographs of various colors and textures.
Taking the famous idiom “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to a new level, the subject matter was especially meaningful for Weaver as the show was dedicated to a personal crisis in her life only a year ago.
Weaver’s initial idea for the project was to photograph large pieces of abandoned machinery, but she was intrigued by the small pieces of junk commonly left behind and forgotten.
She noticed the simple details of these pieces and saw the story in each one.
She expressed her fascination with the way nature can take a simple piece of junk and transform it through weathering and rust into something beautiful.
Weaver adequately summed-up her show herself, explaining that she was concerned with three things: Abandonment, Weathering, and Re-examination.
Her show, then, encourages us to slow down and think about the little things in nature and in life. It is a close consideration of beauty in detail.
After this, Weaver plans to begin an internship in Washington, D.C. and hopes to become a studio photographer after she graduates.
Garcia also opened her senior show on Saturday afternoon, which consisted of underwater photography of clowns.
Initially, Garcia’s subject material might seem to be quite bizarre—because when we think of “underwater,” the last thing we thinks of is “clowns”—but for her, photographing clowns underwater is not as far out there as we might think.
When she was thinking about her project, she knew she wanted to use VACA’s new underwater equipment. Garcia has been around the beach all her life, so water serves as a comfort zone for her.
From there, the idea of using clowns was not far behind.
In her artist’s statement, Garcia explains how she was inspired by the work of American photographer Cindy Sherman in her series of clown portraits. She was intrigued by the transformation of becoming a clown: how someone’s appearance can be drastically altered with a wig and some paint.
Garcia herself has an irrational fear of clowns; by immersing herself into contact with clowns in an environment she was comfortable with, she hoped that this project would be a good way of confronting that fear.
She used friends as her subjects and photographed them gradually through the process of each becoming a clown. And looking back at her photographs, Garcia could tell that she was gradually becoming more and more comfortable with clowns as her project went on.
The photographs themselves are striking; Garcia utilizes high contrast and a selective use of color to capture the emotion in each image. But Garcia expressed that achieving this was not easy.
“The hardest part of the project was the lighting.” Garcia explained, “It was easy for the subjects to blow out [which means there is too much light in the image and it loses its detail].”
But eventually, she found the right formula to capture the beautiful photographs.
After graduation, Garcia plans to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree.