Revisiting POLARITY in light of the upcoming student thesis exhibition
Postcard art to promote "Polarity."

Revisiting POLARITY in light of the upcoming student thesis exhibition

The New College community anticipates the Art program’s thesis exhibition each academic year, this semester being no different. With the “Finding Vitality” thesis exhibition coming to the Isermann Gallery on the Caples campus from April 18 to May 10, the Catalyst offers a retroactive look into last fall’s thesis exhibition, “Polarity.”

“‘PO L  A   R    I      T       Y’ explores the dichotomy inherent in our world, and Remy and I are excited to share our perspectives through a diverse range of artworks, including sculpture, video, installations, and emerging technology,” thesis student Gleimi De Jesus said via email. “The exhibition delves into the intricate relationships we have with ourselves, others, and the world around us.

“[Thesis student] Remy [Katz] and I collectively decided on the idea of polarity when we were thinking about how we approached and executed our work,” De Jesus continued as she sat across a Catalyst reporter in her work studio. “Remy works more towards extremes, and I work in subtlety, so we thought those two ends of the spectrum were something that we could put into the meaning of the name of the show. That’s where polarity comes from.”

The System Reboot, 2023. LED TVs, hard drives and analog signal antennae. Photo courtesy of Remy Katz.

Q: What was the biggest hurdle you overcame when you were setting up the exhibition?

De Jesus: So part of setting up the exhibition was, not necessarily the physical setup, the physical setup was pretty simple. We organized the gallery space, and we placed our stuff. It was more so the bigger challenges of marketing and making a plan and executing that. Unfortunately we didn’t give ourselves enough time, given that the last show we had more time to advertise. But the turnout was still pretty good honestly. So it was more so making a plan and following through, executing. Collaborating was pretty easy, so that wasn’t the hard part. It was more so finding resources, and organizing everything was a bigger challenge because that’s separate from making the artwork and setting up. We were fortunate to get funding from the Student Allocation Committee (SAC) in a private donation. Also backed by the Humanities department where if we spend money, they refund us.

Q: Can you explain what a “zine” is to those who may not know?

De Jesus: So every exhibition has some form of documentation, based on my understanding of New College’s history. Because of that, we decided to make a zine. Zine-making is very playful, it could be pristine but it doesn’t have to be, so it allows a lot of flexibility. Remy and I collaborated in regards to incorporating the postcard we made for the show into the zine and just highlighting the work that we wanted to highlight, and just being able to show our gratitude to the community, so that was a really big part of making the zine. A zine is just a small booklet of some kind. A “booklet” is used very loosely, so it could be for just about anything.

Q: What were some of your biggest inspirations in art that might have impacted the way your exhibition turned out?

De Jesus: I focused on Rebecca Horn’s work. Franz West made objects that people could directly interact with in the gallery space. For the kinetic aspects of my work, Tim Hawkinson and Arthur Ganson made moving sculptures with motors and different gears and whatnot. Conceptually they are not directly connected to my work in a lot of respects, but in regards to their use of repetition and mechanics, that was something that was really cool and interesting to me, so I was able to incorporate the arduino

Listen, 2023. Photo courtesy of Gleimi De Jesus.

Q: Any advice for future artists? 

De Jesus: Be organized. Something I didn’t do was give myself room to experiment as much as I would like to. Also, the amount of work that you do and the quality of your work is reflected in the amount of time you spend in the studio. You don’t really get access to these kinds of facilities often, so it’s important to use them. Also, if you can do things early, do them early. Be smart. Plan it. Do research. Do what you have to do. But also, understand that at the end of the day it will happen. Work with people, don’t do things alone.

To view more of De Jesus’ artwork, visit this page. To view more of Katz’s artwork, visit this page.

Postcard art promoting “Finding Vitality.”

The work put in by art thesis students cannot be done justice by digital photos. The Catalyst implores the community to support student and local artists by visiting the upcoming thesis exhibition entitled, “Finding Vitality,” showcasing the work of thesis students Annie Dong, Lianna McDonald and Cindy Xin Zhang. The opening reception will be on April 18 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will be available to peruse till May 10, with doors open Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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