Four wooden sculptures of larger-than-life human figures, woven from cherry branches, bamboo and hemp, pose in various evocative contortions in the floor and ceiling space of the Seattle Pacific Art Center. These figures are the work of Darryl Lapiguera, one of the four senior students of SPU’s studio art program.
Each year, graduating student artists combine their efforts to create an exhibit of their work revolving around a central theme.
This year, the exhibit is titled Corpus Lingua, which is Latin for “body language.” This is the second exhibit this academic year concerning the human body. This fall, the gallery displayed Hide & Seek: Photography and the Body.
Gallery Director and SPU art professor Katie Kresser called this repetition of theme “a happy coincidence,” as she was mostly uninvolved in the inception of Corpus Lingua.
“The students get to pick out their own theme,” Kresser said. “And they don’t really consult the gallery director about it. It’s wherever their imaginations take them.”
Their imaginations lead them to explore the power of the human body to convey emotion.
“We are subconsciously telling the world about ourselves in the way our body is positioned,” Lapiguera wrote in a statement for the exhibit.
His wooden sculptures are titled “Agony,” “Acceptance,” “The Act” and “The Fall.”
“In a sense, my sculptures are a 3-Dimensional gesture drawing,” Lapiguera wrote.
The primitive components of the sculptures, coupled with the lack of facial features, illustrate the communicative capabilities of posture.
The exhibit also features eight pieces by senior Julie Nivison, constituting a variety of mediums. Her three prints, on stained and rayed, un-stretched canvases, are nailed to the walls. Her work relies heavily on black with muted accents and also contains fierce brushstrokes, and frequent runs in the paint.
Nivison contributed another piece titled “Mask,” which consists of six plaster casts of the same face, all painted white. Wrinkled canvas, saturated in plaster, appears smoother in five of the six faces. Only one is unobscured, the face bearing a serene smile.
Senior Rachael Walker Troop contributed a single piece accompanied by a poem addressed to her mother, titled “Slow to Speak, Quick to Listen.” The painting depicts a woman standing in a wheat field, the grass reaching up to her waist. The sun is at her back as she gazes at a swirling, crimson thunderhead in the distance. Her wispy garment streams off her shoulder in the wind. Troop’s use of vivid primary colors gives the painting a violent, ominous tone. The uniform lines in the rows of wheat extending to the horizon add a dreamlike quality of surreal spaciousness. The image spans four stretched rectangular canvases hung two inches apart.
The final artist, Kristian Adnoff, uses the mixed media of black-and-white photography and powdered charcoal painting to create five images under the heading “Woman and her Nature.”
“She’s combined charcoal painting with blurred photography,” Kresser said. “I think it’s a beautiful combination.”
Adnoff herself is the subject of the photographs, appearing in portrait proximity, though her face is obscured by motion blur. In each image, she is surrounded by a variety of shadows and abstract shapes.
“My photography narrates the extraordinary and the mythical, interrupting the ordinary and mundane,” Adnoff said in a statement for the exhibit. “The figure is woven into a shifting fog of textures and brushstrokes creating a surreal landscape.”
The student artists will be hosting a public reception on April 10 5–7:30 p.m. at the SPAC.
“Students can see sculpture; they can see photography; they can see painting. If they want to come down and view the exhibit, they’ll see lots of different media,” Kresser said. “I think that makes this exhibit unique.”