This past Saturday I went into Lancaster for two events – one of which was the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design’s Senior Exhibition. We went into the school and they handed out hand fans. These were given both due to the heat and because they listed which majors (and what food) was on each floor of the school. The front gallery had what looked like one piece by each artist, giving a nice overview of the graduating class. I decided to start on the fourth floor and work my way down.
The fine arts majors were on the top floor and the one group of paintings that stuck out for me were Ashleigh Leiter‘s. Her oil paintings were dark, each with a color highlighting her subjects – silverware. That’s right, there were fork, knives, and/or spoons that were pushing their way out of darkness, with some hidden by transparent veils. It was haunting and beautiful, and it was using utensils.
The main thrust of PCAD is design, so there was a ton of illustrators and graphic design majors. The commercial art was really tight, simple, and well done, but it’s just not my thing so I didn’t spend long here.
I was drawn into the illustrations, however. About 1/3 of these were done in a fantasy/Dungeons & Dragons theme, so I liked that just on principle. A couple really stuck out. Micah Henderson had a stunning depiction of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It was vibrant and freaky and the horses looked amazing up close. But my favorite artist in the entire exhibition was Lisandro Gonzalez. His illustrations were for Don Quixote. Instead of showing him tilting at windmills or wearing decrepit armor, he chose to depict how Quixote envisioned himself. His giant looked like an enormous minotaur with earrings in his horns and tattoos swirling on his body. The style was simple, graphic, and clean, very refreshing when compared to many fantasy novel illustrations.
I enjoyed the photographers also, but suprisingly not as much as the illustrators. Victor Rivera had interesting narratives in his photos that featured a dead girl, pit bull, and someone running in the forest. A little disturbing, but interesting. And Jennifer Blaisdell had nude photos that focused in on parts of the body (hard to decipher exactly what parts) and featured a larger model. They were beautiful and intriguing.
I highly recommend this exhibition if you’re in the Lancaster, PA area. It will be up through May 29th. It’s interesting to see an entire school’s worth of artwork, and you get a glimpse into what goes on inside that building on Price and Chestnut Streets.