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.
This weekend’s senior Studio Art exhibition features the work of Virginia Hottinger ’12 and Michelle Lin ’12. Their artwork will be displayed together in List Gallery from April 26th to the 29th. The opening reception is this Thursday the 26th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Hottinger, a photographer from Louisville, Kentucky, creates ziatype photographic prints on handmade paper.
“I wanted to use handmade paper to create these physical textured objects,” said Hottinger. “So that the photograph became more than just the thing it was depicting… a complete entity all on its own. Texture is really important to me, which you can probably tell when you look at my photos.”
Hottinger cites photographer Andre Kertesz and poet e.e. cummings as two of her main influences. In reference to the poetry involved in her process, the exhibition is titled Silent Conversations. She shoots with 2¼ film and a Rolleiflex camera that she loves despite the fact it is “old and sometimes doesn’t work quite right.”
“My subjects are usually quiet and unnoticed to most people. Overlooked. Unimportant,” said Hottinger. “I’m not trying to make the viewer feel a certain way… I’m just creating small spaces of quietness that allow conversations. Everyone is going to have a different conversation with my photos than I have with them. And I like that.”
Lin, a painter from Irvine, California, titled her exhibition Apolaustic is a Word (“apolaustic” means “devoted to enjoyment”).
“I want to propose an idea: it doesn’t matter what I paint; all that matters is the execution,” explained Lin. “I do not paint with the intention of capturing or selling an image, when it can be documented much easier with a camera. What I aim to convey is my own confidence with paint.”
Lin works from photographs she took while traveling in Beijing and Taiwan over the summer of 2011. Many of the paintings demonstrate what she refers to as “a distancing from the environment”: figures in ambiguous, wide open spaces. Although they vary in subject matter, their execution conveys themes of isolation, disconnection, and distortion.
“As a tourist, it was interesting to visit a country where I would not stand out as a minority because of my race and skin color,” said Lin. “I didn’t purposefully intend to paint only figures of Asian descent, but perhaps they explore the experience of disconnection with a foreign society that shares the same ethnicity as I do. Do people notice me less when I take photos of them because I too am of Asian heritage? Would people notice me more if I were not? My paintings pose disconnection as an experience that comes with traveling.”
Like Hottinger, Lin values the solitary process that goes into the creation of each of her pieces.
“Process is sculpting each figure, figuring the most economical strokes that would render a blouse or a tree,” said Lin. “For me, the process is also very enjoyable.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular List Gallery hours. All are welcome at Thursday’s reception.