Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Each year, the senior Studio Art majors engage in a two-semester workshop culminating in a formal exhibition in List Gallery. This spring’s senior thesis exhibitions begin Thursday with the work of Tasha Lewis ’12, an artist from Indianapolis, Indiana, and continue each weekend until May 20th.
Lewis’s cyanotype sculptures, some of which were displayed last week in Hobbs Coffee, will be exhibited this weekend. The reception is this Thursday, April 5th, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
The body of work consists of a series of handmade sculptures constructed from paper, tape, wood, wire, and recycled newspaper, which are then covered in cloth “skin.” The skin is made from a collage of cotton cloth cyanotypes — vivid cyan-blue photographic prints developed in sunlight. The cloth photographs are hand-stitched together and carefully molded to the form.
“The history of the [cyanotype] process was a perfect point for me to jump off from,” said Lewis, referring to how cyanotypes were used to record botanical specimens in the early 19th century. “[The show] is a curious reinterpretation of nature escaping human containment and categorization.”
The specimens’ “escape” includes mounted deer leaping out of the wall, an octopus poking out from a glass tank, and pinned cloth butterflies forming a chaotic, lifelike cloud. The blue forms — some of which are hanging from the ceiling, or elevated on shelves — bring a Wonderland-like feel to the gallery space.
The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular List Gallery hours. All are welcome at Thursday’s reception.
Full disclosure: The author is a senior Studio Art major.