About Capstone

At the core of the education of an artist lies a contradiction. On one side, art making in contemporary culture is a practice that thrives without definition, without authoritative inclusion and exclusion, without fixed tools for its recognition, or its rejection. It propagates, without the limitations of utility or helpful clarity of purpose, within one of the rarest assets

of our society – an elastic space reserved for creation.

A university, on the other side and often against its best intentions, is an entity of structure

and precedent. The drive for recognized outcomes and assessable products colors the artist’s classroom, and categorization is reinforced through the sheer weight and complexity of the enterprise. The university is no anomaly, however, just an especially consistent specimen in

a culture that prizes purpose and leverage.

It’s within this contradictory state that artists here, both teachers and students, learn to find

the value and resource in both sides. Skills are passed on and their relevance challenged, problems are posed and their solutions examined, and exceptions are sought and the new ground explored. Through this exchange with peers and professors, the student-artist moves steadily away from the safety of assignment and structure toward framing their own questions and generating their own processes in the studio.

The capstone Senior Seminar course, whose final works are displayed here, is the culmination

of this experience. Freedom of space, access, and resources combines with the pressures of autonomy and self-direction – not to mention public exhibition. The students, most of them for the first time, are free to develop a studio project of their own design, without restriction

of form or format, that addresses questions defined through their preparatory research. They then engage in a process of production, revision, and critique in the pursuit of works that, at their best, are more than the sum of these pedagogical parts. The results of this process, the works in this exhibition, are as varied and sophisticated as the young artists who made them.

Andy Holtin
Associate Professor, Department of Art