By Makenzie Winter
Family and friends gathered together for the Catholic University of America Senior Art Exhibit on April 27, 2017. The work of five senior art majors was put on display in Salve Regina Hall. The exhibit included Angeline McCrory’s animated short film, Emily Del Valle’s paintings and needlework, Selina Mitchell Donaghue’s technology and man sculpture, Caileigh Nerney’s interactive statement on suicide and gun violence, and Susannah Ward’s photography. Each student presented their artwork to students, family, friends, and faculty, sharing the different trials and ideas that went into their creations.
Angeline McCrory’s animated short film, “Rookie,” was inspired by dystopian fiction, which mirrors ancient mythology’s concepts of a ’hero’s journey.’ The short film involves a hero named Mallory, who is placed into a hostile setting crawling with monsters, such as hellhounds, and she and the other children must face these monsters together. McCrory used Photoshop and After Effects to bring her idea to life. In addition to her animation skills, McCrory utilized narrative tools to bring together elements, such as plot and characters, into her project. In the future, McCrory would like to see her idea be a part of a larger narrative in a feature-length film. She noted that in the future she would like to study animation, but embrace both 2D and 3D forms of animation.
Emily Del Valle’s needlework involved the use of paintings and needlework, which she used to draw parallels between the work of embroidery and tattoo artists. Del Valle’s inspiration for her artwork came from her grandmother, who taught her to embroider and hand stitch at a young age.
“For my grandma, embroidering was a feminine nostalgic pastime and a kind of self expression,” said De Valle. “If you look at tattoos, you will find the same needle work and a similar form of self expression.”
In the future, Del Valle hopes to work to develop techniques between needle work and tattoos, but also to further study the concepts of self expression in society.
Selina Mitchell Donaghue’s sculpture, “Through a Mirror, Darkly,” was inspired by her reflections on the ongoing relationship between humanity and technology. She created her sculpture out of pieces of technology from her childhood, such as VHS tapes, to show how technology has developed as she has aged. Donaghue repurposed the old technology, allowing the objects to have a basis within human society once more. In the future, she hopes to investigate more deeply into outdated and current technology.
Calieigh Nerney’s interactive statement on suicide and gun violence, “91 of US,” included posters about gun violence and suicide in the United States, t-shirt designs, and an art installment on the national mall. Nerney’s project sought to inspire conversation on gun violence based on facts, such as ninety-one Americans die from gun violence everyday. From her art and her research, Nerney’s argues that in the United States there needs to be greater gun control laws in addition to better mental healthcare.
“Even if you are against gun control, you can still help mental healthcare institutions,” said Nerney. “But even with greater gun control laws, that won’t stop somebody from dying by suicide. That’s why it’s important to support mental healthcare centers.”
Nerney believes that she could see a possible future career path within the field of mental health or legislation policies on gun control.
Susannah Ward’s photography depicted a woman’s struggle with mental health. The viewer follows the woman’s story until they reach a physical mirror. Ward notes that the mirror represents a reflection of the individual person’s struggles with mental health, other disorders, or sufferings.
“As an art major at Catholic, I came into the art department knowing that it was really, really small, but all of us [fellow art majors] have grown really close,” said Ward. “I think we are very lucky to have a department that supports us so much and encourages us to grow as artists. We are all really proud of what we accomplished this year.”