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.
Elèna Ruyter ‘14, a studio art major with a minor in Islamic studies, considers herself an “artist-in-the-making” with interests in a variety of media. Her painting show, “The Art of Decay,” opens May 1st, where she will share the space with Jonathan Molloy ‘14. She says of her work, “On one level,[my work] is like a group therapy session for me […]. I paint these [pieces] with very particular feelings in mind, and I ascribe very particular feelings to them, and I put a certain language into them that on many levels only I can understand. But it’s always incredibly fascinating to see what other people bring to them, what other people pull out from them, what other people notice, because I think very much about the painting as a whole, but when I’m painting them, I’m thinking about what this means to me […]. I hope people see how much love I put into this work, and that these are figures and representations that have significance to me. But beyond that, I hope that whether people love them or hate them, I hope they tell me why.”
Molloy, whose show also opens May 1st, is focusing on architecture. The main crux of his project is a small cabin in the Crum on the periphery of campus; the exhibit will feature his models and drawings in addition to drawings of other architectural projects. The cabin measures 10×10 and is made out of recycled wood from the old squash courts. “[My] primary pursuit has been space and building, and it’s something that I find really powerful. [Something] just as simple as being moved by a building […]. That’s something that I’m exploring in this building: how this building can act as a gateway into the woods and to be able to produce repose for someone going into it, or a sense of solitude or quietude.”
“Observable Phenomena,” an exhibit by Naia Poyer ‘14, opens on May 8th. Here, fluidly rendered oil paintings explore aspects of intimacy and relationships among friends. “I’m trying to see if I can transfer intimacy that I feel towards someone to someone who’s never
met that person […]. All of my works are about bodies, but different aspects of bodies, and my show is going to be divided into three different sections, where one is going to be focusing on just the appearance of the body, the physicality; the next one’s focusing on actions and interactions between bodies; and the last one is focusing on a less physical form of intimacy, when you achieve a mental intimacy with someone […]. I’ve been trying to figure out how to create other worlds in just my pieces, and I also plan to create a world in the gallery […]. It’s going to be a house, […] a hypothetical place where [all my friends] live together.”
Hugh Troeger ‘14 says that his ink drawings and black and white oil paintings of his Senior Thesis Show, which opens May 15th, take their graceful forms of animals and landscapes from Japanese ink wash paintings. “I have always been primarily a drawer, and for this show I decided to try drawing with paint on canvas. A big theme in my work is mark and material – showing my process through the brush strokes and calling attention to aesthetic qualities of the medium. I have been focusing on sea creatures because I like how abstract their forms can be, and they allow for more liberties in their representation,” he said.
Also opening May 15th is a currently unnamed Senior Thesis Show by Sola Park ‘14. Her carefully, sweetly rendered oil paintings of seated human figures from behind capture solitude and introspection. She paints the works from life. “I aim to capture […] meditative moments of different figures in my paintings. They are aimed to be quiet and toned down […]. Painting the back view stayed interesting to me because I realized that when I look at someone’s back, that person is [completely] un-self-aware […]. I wish people would take time in looking at each of these paintings, because I intend them to be slow or quiet paintings, because they are trying to capture something internal that’s outside of actions and gestures. I want the interaction to be about the questions: the audience questioning what the figure might be feeling or thinking, the inquiry that drew the painting. That kind of conversation.”