CCS Senior Art Shows
In Spring quarter of their final year at CCS, each CCS artist creates a Senior Art Show – a solo exhibition in the CCS Art Gallery that is representative of their achievements as an undergraduate in the College. Due to the challenges posed by social distancing, this year the shows are being displayed in a virtual format and CCS artists have been hard at work creating this online experience. Please explore this page to see the variety of pieces produced by the CCS graduating art class of 2020.
We would like to thank everyone who supported the CCS Senior Art Shows through this year's UCSB GauchoBoost. It is because of your generosity that CCS students are propelled to become future scientists, thinkers, and creators who go on to make meaningful contributions in their fields and to society. Thank you!
In my practice, I am interested in meaning-making. The term, drawn from psychology, refers to the process of making sense out of lived experience, particularly in times of grief and loss. Meaning-making is a powerful function of art. Much of my formal and conceptual influence comes from the turn of the 20th century, during which artists were responding to a time of great bereavement. My practice is influenced by the figural work of Otto Dix, Stanley Spencer, and Balthus, three painters who memorialized the interwar period with startling, enchanting and unnerving pictures. There was a looking back and a looking forward; all three artists drew from the long history of European figure painting as a means to visualize a new era of disillusionment. This is what I hope to accomplish with my work: a looking back to the foundations of European painting, and a looking forward to a new period of subjectivity and fragility on a global scale.
My art is driven by an interest in perception and psychological responses to visual stimuli. I use paint to capture fleeting moments and ephemeral subject matters, such as light, water and smoke. Through color, rendering and composition I manipulate these images to emphasize visual phenomena, which often pushes the painting into surreal or dreamlike territory. Through my work I aim to provide an opportunity for self-reflection and a reminder that everything is worthy of a close look.
I am inspired by paintings, songs, and stories created to help us better understand ourselves and our world. This led to a series of paintings inspired by the many myths that link the forces of water with the feminine. Unspoken, Wistful, and Elation focus on the relationship between women and the ocean. The works of Catherine Murphy, Mary Pratt, and Gerhard Richter also inspire me. I relate to their impulse to record charged moments in a manner that moves the viewer. Jelly and Jam, Baking Tin and Puddle focus on reframing ordinary moments in a stimulating way. While creating these paintings, I am searching for the fine line between the beauty within reality and within the physicality of paint. For me, trying to find this point means making decisions when to leave areas loose, gestural or abstracted and when to render it close to how I see it in the world. I am interested in abstract elements that occur during the translation of an image. Both the physicality of the paint and the ability of the human hand change the representation into various levels of abstraction. I see this distortion as a metaphor for how our minds interpret and warp imagery.
I am also influenced by the work of other artists who explored the psyche, such as Remedios Varo, Agnes Pelton and Georgia O’Keefe. Their paintings function as windows to the subconscious, expressing what cannot be said in words. I look to them when I paint abstract subject matters, such as a specific quality of light or an emotional response. This can be seen in my works Effervescence, Euphotic Zone, and Eclipse. The result is a depiction of intangible subjects on a material surface.
What emerges from ourselves in the night, when people are at their most vulnerable? Is it strength in acceptance of the day, or raving and snarling retaliation? I want to answer and explore this question by making artwork with recurring themes of helplessness in the face of the unknown and uncontrollable. I often work with supernatural themes to work through these anxieties and emotions from an inhuman perspective. This often results in art with empathy, horror, and a mild sense of existentialism, ideally all at the same time.
As we all know, we're in shelter-in-place, making an actual reception difficult and my plans for my senior show have changed accordingly. For the reception, I planned to host a cat cafe. Rather than present a gallery with wall works and sculptures, I intended to create an immersive installation experience that expresses my appreciation for cats in a more direct way. Now that everything is all digital, I am still carrying forward with my cat cafe and my show is designed to mimic an actual cat cafe business.
I am captivated by all aspects of human existence: by the aesthetic beauty of everything I see; by people—how they think, and act; by my own person— my internal dialogue, my feelings, and my experiences. Even the mundane aspects of life intrigue me. I see the significance and the detail in so much of everything around me. This captivation is at the core of my body of work through image making and poetry in prints, artist’s books, and in paper objects. Focusing on ideas such as the human experience, expressed through layering of images and materials, my work is a visual manifestation of my perspective of the world.
Abby Phillips is a multimedia artist born in Misawa, Japan and is currently residing in Honolulu, Hawaii. Abby photographs and presents fragmented human features, insects, and flora as pictograms. She then dissociates and recombines her subjects based on semiotic associations they bear within advertisement and their natural environments.
Although known as an illustrator, Abby explored photography as a communicative medium and with it conducted colloquial “interviews” with her female peers throughout university. Upon review, her subjects struggled with the geometric imperfection of their photographed reflections and their broader personal realities. These images pictorially represent the modern digital girl’s frantic search for perfection within metonymic objects symbolizing beauty and herself.
I am an interdisciplinary artist who is curious about the structure and formation of patterns embedded in natural forms, such as the branching patters of arborescence as seen in corals, trees, or river deltas. I create sculptures as meditations on shape and form, and investigate the functional intentions of the organic system from a biological perspective. I use cast bronze to mimic these expanding patterns, to hold onto their intricate and ephemeral structures. I want to share the physical weight of the thing in hopes that the viewer will look closer at the details to create a new relationship with the phenomena. Recently I investigated coral morphology to reinterpret human connection to our oceans. I utilized 3D printers and high magnification microscopes to collect patterns and shapes, ultimately to create sculptural objects to be held in the palm of a hand. Through this multi-modal approach, I share the wonder and beauty intrinsic to natural systems.
My sculptures draw dormant and invented connections between language, migration, and food. An individual defines themselves with familiar, lived allegiances and solidarities in relation to these basics. As topics often discussed in isolation from each other, I am interested in bridging these ideas across the diverse spectrum of human endeavors in the sciences, social studies, and arts, and to invent truthful lies and to indulge in the space between facts. To fuse relevance between these areas of life it is not only necessary to highlight neglected connections, but to be actively creating new ones as well.
I am drawn to transparency and overlap both in concept and aesthetics. I gravitate towards yarns, fabrics, and other practices with elements of repetition and democracy in their usage. The satisfying effort in intricate cutting, stitching, and folding, and the close association between fabrics and bodies, draws me to these practices. In Six Months at Work I paint the basis of language as sound sequences strung together by the retelling of a daughter’s dream on hand-sewn nursing scrubs. In Pasiphae I consider cattle and bison through fluctuating landscapes of migration, belonging, and motherhood. I liken their wanderings on the American Plains to the Minotaur’s aimless footsteps in his labyrinth, and consider their roles in human food systems, as ecological tanks, and as siblings and rivals. I am interested in the dialect of diets--Esperanto re-imagined in gastroculture, and how one’s movement across time and space mutates these forever evolving languages.