Still from “Ripple Street Sanctuary,” a video by Lucas Littlejohn, shown in Intimate Something along with an installation of sculptures

Still from “Ripple Street Sanctuary,” a video by Lucas Littlejohn, shown in Intimate Something along with an installation of sculptures. The work centers on the relationship between architecture, the body, and the construction of self. For his installation, he creates ecosystems of water and sculptures that are activated by the narrative of the video.

The Pomona senior art thesis exhibition, entitled “Intimate Something,” opens this Friday, April 28th. The show features works by all eleven graduating Studio Art majors, Araceli Garcia, Davis Menard, Estela Sanchez, Filip Skrzesinski, Katie BC (Birmingham Corbett), Lucas Littlejohn, Makaela Stephens, Narei Choi, Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia, Sarit Snyder, and Tim Kebr, whose work will be dispersed throughout all corners of the Pomona Studio Art Hall come Friday.
The works shown range widely in subject and medium and include painting, drawing, sculpture, video, books, performance, and interactive work. For the past year, the artists have been working both independently and collaboratively on projects dealing with a range of themes including personal identity, systems of power, intimacy, architecture and spaces, capitalism, the body, and much more. I had the opportunity to speak more in detail with a few of the artists about the work they will be showing and about the process of preparing for the exhibition.
Davis Menard spoke with me about his series called “Home Bodies,” an installation including drawings, video, and a handmade oversized bed. The work deals with concepts of belonging, intimacy, and queer subjectivity, and how those things are managed by different power relationships—with the state, with partners, with family, and with one’s self. He says, “I’ve been thinking about how the idea of a home can be leveraged to produce feelings of absence, unbelonging, lack, and shame under the desire to conform to normative national identity. And what kinds of intimacies develop within this paradigm or outside of it or despite it.” Davis also collaborated with fellow artists over the course of the semester to curate various performances to take place in his installation, and during the opening the installation will serve as a site of public interaction.
Collaboration is a recurring theme in the show, and while some artists chose to work entirely independently, many, like Davis, chose to work collectively with their peers as well. Araceli Garcia and Estela Sanchez, for example, are working together on a project called “Our Chonies,” selling used and handmade panties as an art product under their respective personas, Ara de Rosa and Coachilicue. Araceli explains, “a lot of underwear is made in women’s labor camps in prisons or abroad. We wanted to try and make our own underwear so we weren’t contributing to those things; trying to make it for our own bodies became a learning process about our own bodies and sewing machines.”
In addition to the Our Chonies project, both Araceli and Estela are showing individual work. Araceli is showing an installation including a peeling of paint and her own skin, vestige of a performance piece which she described as a process of personal healing from trauma and pain as it is expressed mentally and bodily. Estela’s work will center on her performance of the Coachilicue persona and will be interactive, inviting the public to participate in the construction of a network of memory by taking video and tagging the hashtag she started, #diosxrising.
The two artists see their individual work as complementing and informing the others’. On working with Estela, Araceli said “it was necessary for my own navigation of what the show meant; I was able to talk about my ideas and have support in a department that’s very small and mostly white.”
The spirit of collaboration and collectiveness is present even in the more individually focused work, as the artists have continually worked together to support each other and each other’s work. The exhibition is the result of months of collective critique and conversation between and among students and faculty.
“Most of the art majors have been working on this show for 6 months to a year or even longer. All the professors have been extremely helpful in the process, all giving their own unique critique and advice for each individual,” says Sarit Snyder. Sarit’s work will be exhibited inside the Chan Gallery and includes realist paintings dealing with food, consumption, and monstrosity, and an edible installation of homemade cupcakes.
According to Davis, “In addition to honoring individual work, the majors have been laboring collectively to make this a true group show. The spaces between each student’s work, both physically and conceptually, are a place to bind the show together, and to acknowledge the broader contemporary and historical context of why we make things, why we share things, and how to practice collective support.”
The opening this Friday is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with food and drink. The show will remain up for two weeks following the opening on the 28th.