The art of social distancing: Transylvania senior exhibition goes digital

Four Transylvania University students had planned to give talks Monday on their works in the capstone senior thesis exhibition.

This year, of course, they won’t be able to stand in front of a group of gallery goers who’ve just admired their art in person. But these graduating seniors will still be able to publicly display and discuss their pieces through a virtual gallery with videos, photos and a Google Meet question-and-answer session.

“Our students made an outstanding exhibition, and we want to showcase their work as much as possible,” said Anthony Mead, director of Transylvania’s Morlan Gallery, which hosts the annual show. It was canceled this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the virtual gallery, which Mead hopes will go live on Morlan’s website April 10, he and the students will collaborate on making slides and audio recordings about things like their intention behind the works and challenges they faced. It will include broad shots of the gallery and close-ups of individual works, sometimes from multiple angles and as both photos or videos. Mead will record the Q-and-A and link to it from the website.

Called “SCAPE,” the exhibition features the works of Cabby Brown, Marissa Price, Meredith Moir and Zach Yacobozzi. The pieces are in a variety of media — from projection mapping to painting — and explore the concept of “-scape,” as in landscape, mindscape, digitalscape, etc. Through their works they explore themes like grief, reality, memory and meditation. The pieces often play off each other in a kind of dialogue.

While reflecting on and talking about their works are what students traditionally do for the exhibition, this time they’re going to broaden their approach.

“This year’s unique experience of operating inside the digital domain will give them new skills and experiences they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Mead said. For instance, they’ll have to record themselves, choose the right file format and upload content to the internet.

They tapped their creative sides in making the art, but they’ll have to be precise and structured with a lot of things they need to do to go digital. This is good experience for these studio art and digital arts and media majors, because they need these skills to submit works to galleries or apply for grants, Mead said.

“I think that they’re getting a different kind of experience that will still strongly suit them for the future they are entering into.”

“SCAPE” exhibition at Morlan Gallery