In the final days before Commencement, most Gordon College seniors are completing a final paper or presenting a thesis project. For senior art majors, the task is different. They are asked to produce a conclusive work on something they’d like to investigate further, or depict a poignant experience through a creative process—a daunting task to most, but for Claire Bennett ’12, the subject of experience was clear at the start.
Bennett, a senior art major with a sculpture concentration, said her conclusive work stemmed from reflections on her time abroad in Italy with Gordon IN Orvieto. Now back at Gordon, she spent her entire spring semester crafting this two part piece. She created a life-size figure entitled “Sacra Conversazione,” meaning “sacred conversation.” This piece portrays the connection and transformation that comes through a relationship with the Holy Spirit. The second piece is a wooden sculpture of a sitting woman with her back turned to the viewer entitled “Infanzia Andato,”—“childhood lost.”
“In Orvieto, we were encouraged to spend time alone,” Bennett said. “The concept wasn’t new to me, but it allowed me to contemplate this transition time. I’m leaving childhood behind, and embracing a new part of my life.”
She formed the human figure by making a duct tape cast of her body and covering it with plaster. Extending from the body is an intertwined wire contour reaching to the ceiling fashioned from home-made flaxseed and cotton paper that Bennett produced.
“I hope it’s an active process for the viewer to look at my work,” she said. “Looking at art should take work. I want to cause the audience to have their own experience or reflection, even though it comes from mine.”
Bennett will be taking some time off after graduation before pursuing her masters in studio art. “I’m anxiously awaiting what God is calling me to in my vocation,” she said. In the meantime, her senior capstone project that is now on display in Gordon’s Barrington Center for the Arts gallery until May 19, and will be featured at the Colgate Divinity School in 2013.
Story by Kate Goodale ’12, a Communication Arts major from Connecticut and student writer in the Office of College Communications.
Photo: Claire Bennett’s “Sacra Conversazione”