Advanced Studio Art Exhibition: Final Reflections from Seniors

As spring term neared its end, the Advanced Open Studio Art class concluded their year of deep artistic exploration and creation with a display behind the Schoolhouse. The students attached their artwork to stands and windows to form their final exhibition: Identity, composed of various pieces made throughout the year. The five seniors of the group created art about a diverse array of themes such as adulthood, growth, connection, and pop culture, designing unique and meaningful finales to their Groton art careers. 

 “As my time at Groton is coming to an end, I have been reflecting deeply on the places and moments that have made the most impact on me…and that is what art is to me—the beauty of a feeling or a moment stuck in time,” wrote Andrew Huo ’21 in his artist statement. His three pieces consisting of The Forum, a pencil sketch of its namesake location, along with Bonifacio and The Gentleman, both drypoint etchings, symbolize different aspects of his coming-of-age inside and outside of Groton.  

Kaylie Keegan ’21 explored her own memories and life with prints and photography. Her pieces Shadows, Beyond, and Midsummers Stroll illustrate some of the most beautiful aspects of life; a boardwalk sunset in Midsummers Stroll, a portrait in Shadows and Beyond. Keegan wrote that “These photos are the gateways into my life…throughout the journey of the pieces in my collection, each print in my will demonstrate memories of sadness, glee, and even juvenility.” Thinking of her artistic progression throughout her time at Groton, Keegan said, “For once in my life, I did not have to compete against others and just got to explore my own memories and feelings. So my advice is get out of your comfort zone because there could be something much greater and beautiful than you ever imagined waiting for you.”

For Janice Zhai ’21, eye-catchingly colorful and distinctive designs were the highlights of her exhibit: BLOOM, COTTAGE-CORE, and THE SWAN, five full-clothing pieces centered around Taylor Swift’s “Tolerate It”, along with Colors of Quarantine, a series of four sketches each focused on a different color. Although her original intention was to experiment with different techniques, Zhai said, “My work looks at the relationship between pop culture within our generation as well as how various modern phenomena have slowly but surely changed our political and cultural DNA. I wanted to show people that pretty much anything can be beautiful and artistic (even something as annoying as old ACT practice tests [in THE SWAN]). I hope that my art can encourage people to look at the world and life through a different lens. I also hope that through my art, people can get to know me as an individual a little bit better. Sometimes I’m not really the best with words, so I tend to lean on creative outlets to express my emotions and thoughts, and hopefully that resonates with people.” 

In A Nation of Oversimplification, Lexie Steinert ’21 presents her creativity and growth. Her pieces display various mediums, ranging from gouache and charcoal in her self portrait Ashes to Dust to mosaic and stained glass in LifeLine. These myriad of techniques align with her purpose for the collection: to capture the “individuality and curiosity within one’s own self.” “With each piece I created, I aimed to challenge conventional art mediums to reflect upon the changes I have noticed in myself during my senior year at Groton School,” said Steinert. 

“Public self-expression is our main source of nonverbal communication when moving through the world.” In his collection (patterns v.1, grandma’s couch, frivolous, and personal ornamentation), Hollis Maxson ’21 represented his “universal journey towards adulthood” through his artwork. Each depicted a different world – grandma’s couch: a bearded face surrounded by elaborate patterns, or frivolous: the saturated, bold head and neck of a tanned, long-haired person. Maxson ’21 wrote, “We find safe places and ways to express ourselves. Ones that won’t feel scary or daring. This collection of pieces seeks to illustrate my journey through visual identity.” 

All photos courtesy of Brianna Zhang ’23