This Thursday marked the start of “Authentifiction,” Pitzer College’s Senior Thesis Exhibition. The exhibition, which showcases the work of Pitzer’s graduating studio art majors, is on display at three locations: the Nichols Gallery in the Broad Center, the Lenzner Family Art Gallery in Atherton Hall, and the Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery at the Grove House.
Annie Brown PZ ’13, Lauren Cronk PZ ’13, Kayla Friedman-Barb PZ ’13, Taylor Kamsler PZ ’13, Alycia Lang PZ ’13, Max Macsai-Kaplan PZ ’13, Sky Martin PZ ’13, Charlotte Pradie PZ ’13, Janak Tull PZ ’13, Nick Williams PZ ’13, and Ilse Wogau PZ ’13 are all exhibiting their thesis projects.
Lang’s thesis is centered around portrait photography, and each installation is a series of three pictures of a friend in a bedroom. One photo is the original, while the other two include drawings and collages that she has added to the original.
“This series of large-scale digital prints and their altered counterparts deconstructs the perception of photography as an inherently truthful medium by adding another dimension to how identity is formed through photographic images,” wrote Lang in the event brochure.
One of the photographs, entitled “Mikal Sits in a Cabin with Some of his Favorite Things,” depicts Mikal sitting on his bed in front of a blank wall and empty bookshelves. In another photo, Lang drew in color on the walls and several books on the bookshelves, as well as scenery in the window, all with the use of colored pens.
“Her artist’s statement [is that] the photographic image is not necessarily the truth. She’s changing our perception of the photographic image,” Nichols Gallery coordinator Cheukwa Jones said.
Macsai-Kaplan’s project involved collecting wood in the areas surrounding Claremont and making furniture out of it as a way of “blurring the line between the sculptural and the functional,” according to his statement in the brochure.
“For him this is sculpture, not craft. It’s functional art,” Jones said.
“My approach to producing work is to create synapses between the material and the viewer’s normal interaction with it. My work aims to question the tradition of handcrafted furniture by introducing reclaimed wood into the production process,” Macsai-Kaplan wrote.
Friedman-Barb created her project around the oral history of her maternal grandmother who grew up in a Jewish household in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, before moving to Los Angeles after the Second World War, where she met her husband, a World War II veteran.
“Over the course of my project, I realized that over the years, my grandmother has been silenced, so it turned into a feminist critique as I realized that, even through the way I interacted with both my grandparents and the way that my mother interacts with my grandparents. It’s not that we choose to silence my grandmother, but we should work harder to share her view and understand her and listen to her stories. In the end I chose just to use my grandmother’s stories,” Friedman-Barb said.
“During one of the interviews, my grandmother told a story about Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and my grandfather said, ‘Oh, I never knew about this, you never told me anything about Oshkosh, Wisconsin,’ and she said, ‘That’s because you never asked.’ And it was almost as if my grandfather had never really tried to get to know my grandmother before they were married. It was like she had only become a real person after they got married. During the interviews, I realized that I was more eager to hear stories that my grandfather was telling because I just assumed they would be more interesting when, in fact, I had already heard all of his stories, and the stories that were more interesting to me were the stories I had never heard, which were my grandmother’s,” Friedman-Barb said.
Her installation is set up as a reconstruction of a living room, complete with old family photos of her parents and grandparents, a couch, and a television that plays home videos while her grandmother narrates stories from her past. There is even a coffee machine, something Friedman-Barb described as “decidedly masculine” in her family, since her grandfather was always the one who made coffee.
“I created a domestic space in which people can sit down and listen to the stories my grandmother is sharing as well as see the home videos displayed on the TV that connect memories from the past and present with the audio memories,” Friedman-Barb said.
The exhibit will run until May 25, and the galleries are open Tuesday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment.