The St. Olaf College Fifth Year Emerging Artists will hold an exhibition at the Public Functionary Art Gallery from March 31 to April 8.
The artists — Jon Tiburzi, Madison Vang, Erika Terwilliger, and Marra Evans — all graduated from St. Olaf in 2016.
The objective of the Fifth Year Emerging Artist program, along with the new Emerging Curator position held by Taylor Davis, is to offer St. Olaf graduates an intensive art experience to better prepare them for graduate school or a professional career in the arts. The program is designed for gifted and self-motivated artists and curators who wish to make visual arts the core of their professional future.
The exhibition at the Public Functionary Art Gallery, titled 4 Fifths, will feature printmaking, ceramics, game design, illustration, and sculpture.
Terwilliger will display 472 ceramic tiles on a 20-foot long plywood table. These tiles are replicas of cross sections of plastic lumber from park benches that she found at the Mississippi Lock and Dam in Minneapolis.
Vang will display a series of small bronze sculptures encased in soap. Exhibition attendees will then be invited to wear the soap away by hand with water.
Tiburzi will show a video game that he has been working on designing in collaboration with London-based musician Terrane. The game will explore procedurally generated islands and ambient music, with the computer generating the game’s musical soundscapes and content almost randomly via algorithms.
Evans will use side-by-side drawings to illustrate that what we see in front of us — whether a person or a plant or another object — is actually composed of more complex matter. A drawing of a runner, for example, will be paired with a drawing of the runner’s skeletal system.
“We see the outer layer of everyone around us, but we are made up into other parts in order for us to function as a whole unit,” she says. “Showing what we can’t see with the naked eye is very beautiful in that its composition is important to how it functions.”
Tiburzi hopes his video game can convey a similar message. “I hope to share a sense of musical exploration with the players. In the larger picture, I wish to illustrate video game design as an art form, by presenting it in a space traditionally regarded as for the ‘fine arts,'” he says.
Furthermore, the artists hope that the audience can experience arts beyond the way they commonly experienced it.
“I enjoy creating interactive sculpture because it isn’t common for an audience to be able to be involved in art in such a tactile way, but it is an incredible way to experience art and to form more personal connections with a piece,” Vang says. “I hope viewers will come away from this show and my body of work with that personal connection and a deeper understanding or curiosity about sculpture.”