Spotlight on the Arts: Senior Visual Arts Major, Sarah Kane

On Thursday April 28, senior visual arts majors presented their works in an exhibition that runs through May 27 at the Cantor Art Gallery. The exhibition, titled “Amalgam,” features the work of students Michael Allen, Liz Baker, Rebecca Blackwell, John Gallagher, Sarah Kane and Caroline O’Day.

In this Q&A reflection, Sarah Kane ’16 discusses her artistic inspiration and the creative process for two of her works: “Exploded Tutu” and “Stereotype.”

Sarah Kane '16 presents "Exploded Tutu"

                                                               Sarah Kane ’16 presents “Exploded Tutu”

How would you describe your works on exhibition?

“Through installation and sculpture, I’ve created simulated environments that place emphasis on embellishment to produce surreal and distorted landscapes. My work has shifted from the use of color in paint to the use of color in found materials. It has also transformed from replicas of miniature playgrounds and board games to installation-based works that more abstractly describe these same ideas of “play spaces.” These found objects have become my color palette, and they serve as a by-product of our material-obsessed society. In our contemporary world, the importance we place on materials and objects around us is climbing to the top of our societal hierarchy. We’re having more intimate relationships with these things than with each other. Advertisements and branding have brainwashed us into believing that we need things to be happy. My most recent work has been installation-based and large-scale with the intention to create a covetous environment that is overwhelming and strong, but also inviting with inherent beauty. My works contain a temporal quality that resembles the fleeting interests that people have in materialism and money-oriented things. Working large-scale has allowed me to prove the material’s authority and dominance, which have the power to conceal, shadow, and mesmerize space.”

What inspires your creative process?

“The inspiration of my work comes from artists such as Judy Pfaff and Jessica Stockholder, who also use found objects as their color palettes. They create installations and sculptures that are large-scale, where the viewer can walk around the piece. Their work is also very colorful and things jut out from the wall. They have strongly encouraged my creative mind, and have guided me along my journey as I’ve transformed from a two-dimensional artist to a three-dimensional artist.”

“I’m also inspired by my own personal interests, where at times I feel like I’m a hoarder, a collector, or a scrapper. I’m guilty in the sense that I often have a hard time throwing things away. In my cassette piece, I decided to use cassette tape because my father was a musician for about 20 years in Hawaii. Music has always been a big part of my life. I also feel that this piece is very different but in fact similar with “Exploded Tutu.” While “Exploded Tutu” is a simulated environment that discusses the overuse of materials in our money-obsessed society today, “Stereotype” creates this same immersive landscape, but the material used is something that might be unfamiliar to our generation today. It is a material that is so outdated that I found them at a thrift store being sold for 25 cents each. Ten cassette tapes later, and I finished the piece – meaning that it only cost me 2.50$ to make!”

What have you most enjoyed about being a visual arts major at Holy Cross?

“Honestly, in my entire four years at Holy Cross, the installation of the gallery has been my most enjoyable time in visual arts. The classes I’ve taken have encouraged my creative mind, especially Professor Remby’s “Mixed Media” course and Professor Rinklin’s “fundamentals of Color” course. However, I feel like my work slowly transformed and then reached its full potential when it was time to install. This experience was so enjoyable with the help of Cantor Art Gallery curators Roger and Tim, and also with assistance from Paula. They have all been awesome, and without their guidance, I don’t think either of my pieces would have been the same. When we presented our work for the first time on April 28, I truly felt like an artist, and that is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

– Sarah Kane ’16

The hours for the Cantor Art Gallery are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturdays noon–5 p.m. Located in O’Kane Hall, 1st Floor, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College Street, Worcester, Mass., 01610. Visitors needing assistance with handicap accessibility should contact Public Safety at 508-793-2011. Admission to the gallery is free.

For additional information please call 508-793-3356 or visit the Gallery’s website.

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