What We Do in the House That Has No Walls

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This catalogue was printed on 80# semi-matte stock through Blurb. The fonts used are Avenir Black and Garamond.

Funding for this publication was provided by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

What WeDointheHouse That Has NoWalls

Thesis Art Exhibition2021 New College of Florida | Isermann Gallery | April 14 - May 12, 2021

Kaplan,OmolaraAyeola Rebel,ToRightIsIt 30”30”xPanel,MetalonPaintingDigital2021,

Faculty of the Art AOC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Faculty and Students of the Art History AOC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Graduating Thesis Students Freddie O’Brion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Margaux Albiez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Yajaira Urzua-Reyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 E . Barrett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Ayeola Omolara Kaplan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 First Semester Thesis Students Magdalena Van Thienen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Hannah Isabella Gatof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Table of Contents

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Each year, art students mark the culmination of their senior thesis with a capstone exhibition. The exhibition represents a year-long rigorous engagement with a body of artwork generated over the course of their thesis year. A cohort of thesis students generally meets each week for group critiques, research presentations, and exhibition planning aimed at challenging their ideas and methods, which is evident in the development of their work over the course of the year. This year, the somewhat circuitous path each of the 2021 seniors navigated as a result of COVID-19 could not have been anticipated when they first entered the doors of New College. Through a combination of hybrid and in-person meetings and tutorials, the thesis process required a new degree of creativity and problem-solving, and this group of students met the challenge with a renewed passion and sense of purpose. With works exploring traditional and virtual approaches to painting, questions of identity located in digitally modeled and anime-inspired worlds, this year’s thesis exhibition offers unique insights into the questions and challenges required of a year marked by extended lockdowns, quarantine, a national demand for social equity and justice, and economic uncertainty. The impact of a liberal arts education is often reflected within the work each student creates, and this year’s exhibition can be distinguished by a call to action reflected in their engagement with border politics, social justice, environmental action, and equitable representation in popular culture. In this exhibition there is a promise of hope and optimism, reflected in the unique visions of each student represented.

~Faculty of the Art AOC


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Seven student artists and five student art historians are represented in this year’s Senior Thesis Exhibition Catalogue. This catalogue is the third iteration of an annual, collaborative effort—following a hiatus in 2020—between the Art and Art History Areas of Concentration at New College of Florida. The project is designed to foster art and art history students’ skills in art criticism and publication while responding to the remarkable creative endeavors of their graduating art student peers. Four of the art history students were paired with art thesis students to write interpretative essays on their work. In collaboration with an art student, two of the art history students have focused on the design and presentation of the catalogue. Production has followed research, studio visits, interviews, and group feedback from both New College students and faculty. The catalogue has given students a better understanding of contemporary art criticism and its role in the exhibition process, promoted interdisciplinary collaboration, and highlights the range and depth of the visual arts on campus.

~Faculty & Students of the Art History AOC

exuberant viscera is an invitation for the viewer to misinterpret the artist. I interrogate the ways that individuals with non-normative identities are consistently misrecognized in daily life, with repercussions ranging from the uncomfortable to the debilitating. The objects with which we define ourselves (from a pair of scissors to personal identification documents) can be the vessels of these innacuracies. I examine the possibility of using these very objects to disguise or obscure identity—to aestheticize, depersonalize, and take control of the experience of Imisinterpretation.use3Dmodelling to recreate the intimate objects of my own life— mementos, detritus, and artifacts that bear the traces of my relationship to them— putting the symbols of my personhood into the hands of my audience. Viewers can interact with these candy-colored reproductions in a digital space, touching them on the screen of a smartphone or manipulating them with the cursor of a Yetmouse.the viewer’s access is complicated by the ways that I have distorted or obscured the narratives behind the objects. Placing them in a featureless void, caught in a motionless whirlwind of disarray, the imagery is disorienting. Despite having access to some truths of my identity, the viewer has no choice but to misunderstand them.

Freddie O’Brion

exuberant viscera

~Freddie O’Brion

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exuberant viscera

Freddie O’Brion presents a unique perspective on identity through their collection, exuberant viscera. The series challenges viewers by showing how everyday objects can be selected, rearranged, and purposefully obscured. This focus on objects emphasizes how individuality and identity are complex.

Freddie O’Brion

O’Brion exemplifies this idea throughout their artwork by setting and separating a group of objects in a continuous loop of motion. Found within candy abides, are lemon slices, a crucifix, a retainer, utensils (including a knife and a spoon), a glass vial, and headphones. The viewer is initially invited to construct meaning by connecting these random objects to each other. By setting these objects in motion, O’Brion complicates their meaning, disorientating the viewer and challenging our assumptions of familiar objects.

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O’Brion created exuberant viscera, using a 3D modeling program that allows the artist to select identity markers and set the objects in a repeated pattern of motion. The movement of the objects destabilizes their conventional meaning and invites the viewer to re-imagine identity as an ongoing process of change and Inspiredtransformation.by gender theorist Judith Butler, O’Brion notes Butler’s research on gender and sex. Butler emphasizes gender and identity as a matter of performance and repeated action, rather than a fixed state.

~Victoria Levya


Each object from O’Brion’s exuberant viscera suggests multiple personal connections. However, at the same time, there is little to no information for the viewer to go on. In sticky fingers, the retainer and bicycle evoke the idea of adolescence complemented by a background of a playful yellow. In contrast, O’Brion’s choice to set lied as well with a misty blue-grey background, coupled with the unmade bed and explosion of pillow feathers, elicits anxiety. In the final piece, diners again, O’Brion overwhelms the dark space with glass vials filled with miscellaneous items. All of them interlaced like pieces in a puzzle. The artist disorientates the viewer with the choice, arrangement, color, and decontextualization of these objects, giving the viewer the freedom to (mis)interpret them.

Echoing Felix González-Torres, O’Brion utilizes an array of different objects to emphasize a larger idea. Like González-Torres, O’Brion finds wonder and fantasy within objects. It is about feeling, not just looking. O’Brion’s inclusion of candy in diners again is comparable to González-Torres’s piled candy sculpture Untitled (Portrait of Ross) (1991). Both artists imply that candy doesn’t just represent a sugary treat. For GonzálezTorres, it is a dedication to his late partner, and for O’Brion, it is a reflection of self. Both artists offer a level of interaction between the artwork and the viewer. Untitled (Portrait of Ross) permits viewers to interact with the artwork by eating a piece of the candy that composes it. In O’Brion’s diners again, viewers are entranced by the loop of movement that begs for interpretation. Based on the work of González-Torres and O’Brion, it is evident that objects have the power to represent people, places, ideas, and feelings. Objects can allow us to see the so-called bigger O’Brionpicture.emphasizes the possibilities of how an individual can arrange (and rearrange) and (misre)present their uniqueness through objects: “when you choose your own misrecognition, you are choosing to tell your own story.” When we have the ability to create our own identity, we choose what the world is allowed to see. O’Brion’s exuberant viscera, breaks the boundaries of identity and demonstrates what it is or is not.

Let’s drive into the void together. Let’s take those unclear paths into the vast abyss known as the West. Living on the road, escaping society and all its burdens. That’s the dream, right? Humans have and will continue to romanticize a life that rejects current society. Inspired by a cross-country road trip, my landscape paintings analyze the relationship between humans and nature through historical narratives shaped by my experiences and by myths of the West. Cutting through the ideology of nineteenth-century American landscape painting, my paintings uproot the myth of a world polarized between pure wilderness and urban wasteland. Though it has shifted with time, this myth continues to influence our values and biases. It promises the existence of a distant paradise to which we can escape while obscuring the realities of environmental issues. By borrowing and subverting traditions from past landscape artists, I use levity to challenge this notion of division and explore the ways in which humans and nature interact. Situated within traditional landscape features, the human subjects of my paintings express an almost innate desire to test the limits of our ingenuity and resolve by going where nature does not welcome us. The moments I depict are anchored together by contradictions. Beauty clashes with humor, and anxiety is tempered by nostalgia. Unnatural hues push my landscapes past the bounds of reality and the quotidian to the realm of absurdity. I present a relationship between nature and humans that is not of opposition or division, but of complication, anxiety, affection, and humor.

~Margaux Albiez

Views from the Passenger Seat of a Chevy G20

Margaux Albiez Broke Down and Broke:


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The romanticization of the American wilderness has long shaped American culture and its fascination with the sublime “other” of nature, perceived as a divine escape rather than as an environment from which we are inseparable. To acknowledge our place within nature would be to acknowledge the footprints and unsightly relics we’ve left behind, traces that forever alter our imagined retreat from modern life. Margaux Albiez intertwines the competing reality and myth of the American landscape in her series of paintings that imaginatively document her first-hand exploration of the country. The series proposes that, even if the notion of a pristine wilderness has forever been a fantasy, there is still awe to be found in its polluted glory and discoveries to be made on the nostalgic cliché of the coming-of-age road trip, notably, the dissolution of the imagined boundary between us and nature.

Views from the Passenger Seat of a Chevy G20

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Albiez’s picturesque landscapes populated with kitschy Americana and implied car exhaust offer a refreshing look at American scenery with an opalescent palette of colors that enliven her landscapes with a quality that wavers between mystical and radioactive. The series is filled with flora and fauna that inhabit the same spaces as humans, machines, and cultural curiosities. In a nighttime scene of grizzly bears rummaging through dumpsters, a surreal green glow emanates from their silhouettes and draws attention to this bizarre, yet common intersection of worlds. This convergence of the natural and the man-made is more subdued in her paintings of

Margaux Albiez Broke Down and Broke:

Margerison 12

Many of Thomas Cole’s landscape paintings actively criticized the nation’s increasing exploitation and mistreatment of nature, warning that with its loss, the destruction of culture and societal order would soon follow. This critique was motivated by the romantic notion that a pristine wilderness could heal, elevate, and unite society. In looking at our contemporary world, architects and artists have suggested an alternative – that answers do not come from attempting to build a utopia or return to a mythic, idealized past, but from taking a non-judgmental look at the reality of our current situation and gathering lessons from what now exists. The relationship between society and nature, grand fantasies and the lackluster everyday, will always punctuate our life. But perhaps there is something especially rich in acknowledging the beauty within this disharmony and its place within our~Katielife.

prodigious hillsides, but their inverted colors, as if photographed with infrared film, conjure up a similarly uncanny atmosphere. Evocative of Thomas Cole’s historic “middle landscape” paintings, which depicted a moment of balance between nature and society, there is an unexpected harmony that emerges in Albiez’s series, in which serene beauty is littered with humorous references to tourist-traps and out-of-place signage. Albiez’s paintings, like the road trip that inspired them, begin with a drive from Florida through the Bible Belt, with billboards of Jesus erupting from the lonely prairies. As this puzzling clashing of worlds progresses out West, the surprise and awe of the experience shifts to a focus on the surreal and mundane leisures that, when looked at with an open mind, could be considered idyllic. Oddities such as inner-tubing in a river adjacent to a Coors factory or a museum dedicated to a fake mummy named “Jake the Snake” unexpectedly create Albiez’s most lasting impressions of the trip. While her series does not glorify these moments from her road trip by feeding into the myth of the American landscape, it does communicate another, alternative beauty, as well as the emotional impact of the experience, with an all-embracing spectrum of colors that more accurately expresses the fond memories of her journey.

Yajaira Urzua-Reyes

My series, Lo Que Quedó de Ti (What was Left of You), reflects the harsh reality undocumented migrants experience when they cross the Sonoran Desert. Over the years, the desert has become one of many graveyards around the world where migrants perish in the pursuit of a new life. I paint the Sonoran Desert as a burial ground filled with crosses and the border fence as a scar on the earth. As a Mexican immigrant and a Dreamer, I relate to the grief and trauma that the border represents for communities on both sides of the wall. Its presence has left both emotional and physical wounds in the lives of migrants and their families. While my work does not document their individual stories, it highlights the violence that is experienced by those who attempt to cross or who have successfully crossed the desert. In order to prevent further violence, it is important to humanize the experiences of migrants. My series of paintings serves as a place to grieve and reflect on the lives of those who have been consumed by the desert. My paintings embody border violence through the depiction of desert reliquaries constructed from human remains and personal mementos. I invite viewers to create their own narrative so that they may reflect on the complex circumstances behind each individual’s decision to cross the desert. Behind each cross is a story, a name, and a person.~Yajaira


Lo Que Quedó de Ti

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Having come to America herself at age 6, a year after her father, Urzua-Reyes struggled with the emotional toll of painting the recurring crosses that mark her landscapes, contemplating the possibility that they could represent her friends and family. But the painting’s rich colors invite viewers to engage with these poignant scenes rather than look away from their harrowing imagery. She hopes that her paintings can serve as places of personal or empathetic mourning; a way to remember and bring awareness to the individual lives lost at the border. In another of Urzua-Reyes’s paintings, a rosary lies in the sand. The rosary not only symbolizes the strong Catholic beliefs integral to modern Mexican culture, but a personal object of empowerment that allows its owner to directly connect to the

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A ghostly heat radiates from the saturated blues and yellows within the Sonoran Desert landscapes of Yajaira Urzua-Reyes’s paintings. This vast environment is a place of intolerance. The Sonoran Desert’s unforgiving terrain claims the lives of countless migrants each year on their journey into the United States, and the policies regarding the border that runs through this region do little to mitigate their suffering. Urzua-Reyes memorializes these migrant deaths and calls attention to the underrecognized tragedies of this border crossing by visualizing endless gravesites and the personal belongings that migrants have left behind. Inspired by the research and activism of anthropologist Jason De León, whose work acts to humanize the lives of migrants and highlight the immigration policy failures that contribute to their deaths, Urzua-Reyes’s paintings explore the hidden, yet all too common realities of the migrant experience.

Yajaira Urzua-Reyes Lo Que Quedó de Ti

mysteries and memories from beyond the physical world. The imagery of loss within Urzua-Reyes’s paintings is contrasted with their vivid dream-like character, making the stars that dot the night skies ambiguous as to whether they could represent hope or death. Similarly, the Sonoran Desert acts simultaneously as a place of promise and threat. Its harsh environment attempts to erase the traces of the migrants who cross it, but Urzua-Reyes offers an opposing force of remembrance and respect.

~Katie Margerison 16

The red borders within the paintings – sometimes physical, sometimes imagined – mark UrzuaReyes’s landscapes with an unsettling division: from neither here nor there. They reflect not only the physical boundaries of the border, but also the challenges stemming from the cultural and political complexities of being Mexican-American. Gloria Anzaldúa, a poet, activist, and scholar of Chicana cultural theory, wrote about the challenges and growth that arise from the state of nepantla, a word that roughly means “in-between’’ in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs. Anzaldúa uses the word as a metaphor for the migrant and multicultural experience, to describe a transitory state of displacement and uncertainty, in which different belief systems and identities conflict. Scholars have also proposed the Nahuatl word of malanilli (“twisting”) as an even more apt term to describe this liminal space and state, for its emphasis on transformation, the transgression of established boundaries, and the initiation of revolutionary change. As more individuals bring awareness to the tragedies at the border, as Urzua-Reyes does with her paintings, they are contributing to the momentum needed to transform the dangers of this liminal state and place, and bring this long-lasting crisis to an end. The movement of dust contours the horizon of the Sonoran Desert within Urzua-Reyes paintings in a warm haze. As night falls and the dust settles, the hillsides emit a calm glow in the distance, vivifying memories and offering hope for the future.



Japanese animation has become a popular global phenomenon. Despite this new, transnational popularity, anime typically has a very limited range of representation in terms of race, sexuality, and disabilities. To challenge this state of affairs, I have created a diverse cast of anime-inspired characters with a range of identities, appearances, and relationships. Inspired by queer feminist theory and my own experience, I have placed a particular emphasis on positive LGBTQA+ representation. These characters reflect people who, like myself, my friends, and my peers, consume animated media but are underrepresented in the genre. I aim to prove that it is possible to include a variety of different people while still maintaining defining cultural traits of the Japanese anime genre. This work brings attention to the lack of diversity within animation, both in terms of the characters and the people creating them, and reflects how Japanese animation can evolve as an art form while still staying true to its roots. Through the characters I create, I wish to tell my own personal story, as well as give my friends and other individuals a platform to tell theirs. To be as respectful and inclusive as possible, extensive research was conducted about identities beyond my immediate circle. This body of work aims to empower fans

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Artist E. Barrett’s series of digital images, SYMBIOSIS challenges this Eurocentric hegemony by presenting four fantasy characters who emulate the diversity of a real-life group of friends.

Japanese forms of media—particularly anime, manga, and video games—are staples of modern consumer culture. Anime in particular now extends far from its origin in the youth culture of Japan to a global audience ranging in gender, race, and ability. Despite this varied audience, anime has yet to break from a mold of homogenous character types. Anime characters tend to fit Eurocentric beauty standards filtered through a Japanese lens, being able-bodied, hetoronormative, and cisgender. Leading characters are defined by pale skin, straight hair, and angular body features. Derivations from this norm are relegated to villainous, monstrous, or comical roles that perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

Barrett’s series revolves around the portraits of four unique characters: Airemia, Ama, Hayato, and Kamiki. Each is depicted with unique costuming and adornments derived from the visual conventions of anime and manga, notably in the long and intricate hairstyling of Kamiki and Airemia. However, the characters’ individual identities directly confront Eurocentric anime standards. The characters of Air, Ama, and Kamiki are representative of a broader range of dark skin tones and mixed racial identities when juxtaposed against the lighter skin tone of Hayato. Certain characters also combat traditionally angular anime body forms; most notably, the curls in Kamiki’s hair and Ama’s locs


~Noah Cox

Barrett has also foregrounded queer relationships between characters in images such as Shizuka no Yoru (Quiet Night). The artwork conveys a sense of romantic intimacy between Airemia and Kamiki, as the two gently rest their hands together and quietly enjoy each other’s company. In fact, LGBTQIA+ identities are present amongst all the characters of SYMBIOSIS as they transcend formerly divisive lines of race, ability, and gender in their platonic and romantic relationships. Anime and manga have gradually adapted to a global fan base seeking to see themselves reflected in the media they consume, in part through queer representation. At the same time, a full range of diversity is yet to be represented. Barrett sees a specific need for characters who are as racially diverse and representative of a wide range of physical and mental abilities as the artist’s real-life peers. The characters Barret has created for this series are one step in filling this gap. They celebrate the underrepresented audiences of anime in the very media these audiences have come to enjoy.

adorned with beads, which incorporate a wider range of hair types and cultural practices. Though clear in their differences, these characters come together as a multipart unit, proving that diverse characters can fit seamlessly into the aesthetics of anime.


SYMBIOSIS, as a series, draws our attention to the need for diverse representation in global media, so that it can meet the needs and desires of those who consume it. Rapid globalization has given way to a culture of diverse fanbases dedicated to anime, turning a traditionally Japanese form of media into a global form of media. With this globalization of anime comes a unique set of problems: how will artists properly represent a heterogeneous global audience in the context of media historically geared towards a homogeneous culture? Barrett’s collection of digital artworks suggests that it might just require the input of those global audience members to properly account for representative diversity within the fanbase of anime.

In a society fearful of revolution, revolutionary artwork serves as a catalyst for a blissful awakening to the necessity and magic of collective paradigm shifts. Instead of shying away from the most challenging aspects of our society, revolutionary artists believe we should embrace them through dialogue and action. I believe we can be liberated from the complacency and discord that plagues our world when art is weaponized for self-defense. Through a depiction of empowering and electrifying imagery, I explore the intersections of identity, class, and spirituality. My paintings are meant to energize people as well as celebrate marginalized folks in positions of power. The pieces occupy the gallery as spiritual tools created with the intention to manifest a blissful collective future. Primarily, my artwork is a way for me to get closer to experiencing and expressing the most honest representation of myself. As a Black, Queer, and Jewish abolitionist, so many facets of my identity are politicized. In respect to this, I believe documenting and sharing my self-exploration is a radical act.

~ Ayeola Omolara Kaplan

Ayeola Omolara Kaplan The Art of Self Defense:

An Exploration of Art as a Spiritual and Political Means for Manifesting Black Power

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30”x30”Panel,MetalonPaintingDigital2021, 22

Ayeola Omolara Kaplan

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The Art of Self Defense:

In her thesis work, Ayeola Omolara Kaplan presents a collection of gouache, oil, and digital paintings. Her subject matter includes various active figures, many with non-human features, ranging from familiar people to goddess-like figures. Text also plays a prominent role in this collection, and often features political messages, slogans and calls to action. Kaplan is influenced by her interest in activism and her desire for fundamental change to the existing political systems, specifically in the United States. By including text, Kaplan’s work is a call for direct action and political involvement. In the painting Take Justice Know Peace, Kaplan reframes the slogan “no justice, no peace” by using more active language, encouraging the viewer to recognize their own ability to be politically engaged. Her collection makes clear the social and political issues in which she is invested, such as police brutality, racism, sexism, and the United States prison system.

Movements such as Pop-Surrealism, Surrealism, Pop art, and work done by the artist collective AfriCOBRA are some of Kaplan’s main sources of artistic inspiration. These influences are manifested visually through her inclusion of text,

An Exploration of Art as a Spiritual and Political Means for Manifesting Black Power

repetition of images, use of color, and depiction of the body. She incorporates text to reinforce the message she wants to convey with this collection, a visual trend which was also central to the AfriCOBRA aesthetic. Bright colors, stylized figures, and religious imagery clearly signal Kaplan’s interest in artistic trends of the 20th century, yet her political messages reflect concern with more current ongoing events and social phenomena. She has also drawn inspiration from contemporary films that examine similar social moments, such as Sorry to Bother You and Us.

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Kaplan’s concern with political activism is entwined with her experience with spirituality, which is reflected throughout her collection, specifically in the way she represents her subjects. Kaplan associates her figures with spiritual imagery and symbolism, drawn from Abrahamic and pagan practices, such as nimbuses, snakes, and horns. She often depicts the body in fragments: in some cases the head and arms are severed and the flesh inside the body is exposed in red, pink, and white rings, as seen in Portals and Take Justice Know Peace. Depicting the body in this way is a means of examining how the spiritual mind is separate from the physical, mortal body. The body serves as a temporary vessel while the spiritual self and the impact of activism are more long-lasting.

In conjunction with recognizing the mortality of the body, the figure is also used in this collection as a way of highlighting a sense of joy. Kaplan’s subjects are depicted smiling or in positions of excitement and ecstasy, finding satisfaction in their work and connection to their spiritual being. The labor of activism and spirituality are central themes in this collection, however, none of this work involves the continued suffering or re-traumatization of marginalized people. Rather, the figures in her work are simultaneously joyful and politically active, and find a sense of spiritual connection and pleasure through their role as activists. By linking activism with spiritual harmony, and joy, Kaplan’s collection invites the viewer to re-imagine the possibilities of being politically and socially engaged, and how this engagement can positively impact the self and the future of the world in which we live.

~Katie Thomas 24

First semester thesis student Magdalena Van Thienen is in the process of creating a tactile collection of still life paintings on canvas which she will sew onto t-shirts. Her subject matter includes products and dishes associated with Latin American and American culture in the United States. The food items she depicts in her work include homemade dishes and more mass-produced, brand-name food products like Jif peanut butter. By using food as her subject matter, Van Thienen emphasizes the centrality of food to identity, a connection that becomes especially crucial for people who are negotiating new identities as immigrants to the United States from Latin America.

Van Thienen has begun this series with a painting focused on a combination of American and Cuban references. The painting’s bright colors and contrasting patterns, particularly in a table cloth with red and blue stripes that evoke the Cuban flag, provide a striking backdrop to the food: a brand of Espresso (ready to be homebrewed, as signaled by the presence of the coffee pot), and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The dishes foregrounded in this painting subtly highlight distinctions between homemade food and brand name products by incorporating each as it comes packaged in conjunction with the way it is prepared. The central dish has a bite taken out of it, visually engaging the viewer and encouraging a more sensory experience of the work.

Rather than displaying her work on the walls of a gallery, Van Thienen sews each canvas onto the intimate, everyday surface of a t-shirt, re-examining conventions for the display of art. She subverts the environment of a formal gallery or museum by encouraging tactile interaction with her works. The depiction of food in conjunction with her repositioning of art as more than a visual experience invites the audience to reconsider what they think about consumer culture. As they contemplate the relationship between cultural identity and food, the viewer is also encouraged to ponder the role of consumption in the perception of identity.

Magdalena Van Thienen

~Katie Thomas

Thienen,VanMagdalena Life,StillCuban-American 14”x14”Canvas,onOil 26

First semester thesis student Hannah Isabella Gatof is in the beginning stages of her art thesis. She plans to explore the cultural and historical significance of poster-making in the Caribbean during the 20th century. Inspired by her combined areas of concentration in Art and Spanish Studies, Gatof is creating silk-screened posters grounded in designs and images from the artistic cultures of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, which she sees as having been modified by advertisers to appeal to an American audience. In the work on display, Gatof invites the viewer to re-examine their perceptions of the region by recontextualizing advertising imagery that was designed to sell the illusion of paradise. The use of bold colors is reminiscent of the stylistic elements of the Dominican Republic, but the dullness of the green beer bottle, sunken within the blue of the water, exemplifies the watering down of a beautiful country for advertising purposes.

By depicting a literal dilution of a Presidente beer bottle and its loss of cultural significance, the artist emphasizes how native Caribbean culture is “watered down” in order to be palatable to an American audience. In subsequent posters, Gatof hopes to highlight the history of poster-making in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean by retelling stories in a more authentic light. Her goal is to reach a broad audience with this message of cultural awareness by working in the accessible medium of the poster.

~Victoria Leyva

Hannah Isabella Gatof

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Robyn Elizabeth Davis

Noah Cox

Victoria Levya is a third-year student with an Area of Concentration in Humanities. Inspired by her amazing art teacher, after graduation she hopes to teach art - or anything related to the humanities - to high school students. She has a passion and appreciation for the arts, especially dance, and hopes to instill and develop this passion among others. Besides teaching others and the arts, Grey’s Anatomy and Italian food are two of her many passions. Victoria contributed essays on the work of student artists Freddie O’Brion and Hannah Isabella Gatof to this year’s catalogue.

Noah Cox is a fourth-year student with an Area of Concentration in Art History. He is completing a senior thesis entitled “The Singing Tower of Florida: Materializing the Progressive Era at Bok Tower Gardens.” He aspires to a career in curation and will be taking a year to intern in a museum setting before pursuing an M.A. in Art History. When he is not writing about art, he enjoys cooking, spending time with his friends, and expanding his ever growing collection of houseplants. Noah contributed creative design, illustration and an essay on the work of student artist E. Barrett to this year’s catalogue.

Victoria Levya

Robyn Elizabeth Davis is a third-year adult student with an Area of Concentration in Art History. She has begun researching a senior thesis on the work of feminist artist and graphic designer Shelia Levant de Bretteville. She works as a graphic designer. She holds an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science in Graphic Design Technology from State College of Florida. Some of her many interests beyond art and design, are politics, herding cats, and organic gardening - especially pineapples!. Robyn contributed graphic design and typography to this year’s catalogue.

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Katie Margerison is a third-year student with an Area of Concentration in Art History. After graduation, she hopes to study Spanish abroad and to pursue an M.A. in Art History with a focus on modern and contemporary art, theory, and curatorial studies. Before coming to New College, she spent many years studying sustainable agriculture and working as an organic vegetable farmer in her home state of California. In her free, time she enjoys hiking, creating video-art with vhs tapes and outdated analog mixers, taking ballet classes, and playing tennis. Katie contributed essays on the work of student artists Yajaira Urzua-Reyes and Margaux Albiez to this year’s catalogue.

Katie Thomas

Magdalena Van Thienen is a fourth year student with an Area of Concentration in Art. She is in the first semester of developing a thesis portraying still life paintings of food representing the Latinx identity in the United States. When she is not working on her art, she enjoys il piacere di non fare nulla - the pleasure of doing nothing. Magdalena contributed creative design and illustration to this year’s catalogue in addition to being a featured student artist.

Katie Margerison

Magdalena Van Thienen



Katie Thomas is a fourth year student with an Area of Concentration in Art History. They are currently finalizing a senior thesis entitled “From the Kitchen to the Dining Room: Food, the Body, and Domestic Labor in Feminist Installation Art.” They have a strong interest in feminist art and gender studies, and a passion for writing. They plan to pursue a career in journalism and art criticism after graduation. Aside from art and writing, they are enthusiastic about food forests, tarot cards, the phases of the moon, and crafting with recycled materials. Katie contributed essays on the work of student artists Ayeola Omolara Kaplan and Magdalena Van Thienen to this year’s catalogue.

New College of Florida

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