This week, justArts spoke with Samantha Shepherd ’18, who is a studio art major and is showing work in the Senior Midyear Exhibition at Dreitzer Gallery. 

justArts: Can you tell me a little bit about this showcase?

Samantha Shepherd: This showcase is a representation of the work of seniors taking senior studio majoring or minoring in Fine Arts. Each of the members of the class has a couple pieces representing the best of their body of work produced during the fall semester. 

JA: Are your paintings revolved around a particular theme? 

SS: I feel like my paintings act more as explorations at this point and consequently aren’t focused on a particular theme. There are common threads throughout my work, asking questions about layers, depth and time. But I find my thinking of it in such a way is more representative of my curiosities than of an intent for a theme.

JA: Which work are you most proud of?

SS: I’m most proud of my painting (“Half-double, Lily, Crochet, Rose”) inspired by John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.” I think the final product hanging in the gallery is not its best iteration, but I’m proud of the work I put into it, the techniques it led me to explore, and recognizing, retrospectively, where I should have stopped working on it.

JA: Which work was your favorite to make?

SS: Easily “Where is my Lovey.” It went through many stages and places. My mentality when working on it was regularly one of humor and playing where things should and should not be. It was the kind of work where I tried to keep myself from having any rules unless they were absolutely arbitrary. One time I put my pot of carnations on the stairs outside the studio and watered it until the water reached the bottom of the stairs, a little like a waterfall. The whole work was formed through processes like that.

JA: What message(s) do you hope show-goers take away from your art?

SS: I don’t know that any of my art in this show has a clear message for show goers to take away. I think instead they try to offer an experience of something being wrong or misplaced or a problem and ask people to question that.

JA: What do you hope to accomplish with your art during your last semester?

SS: I have two kind of mentalities and styles in the art I make. This semester I want to work towards separating those styles into distinct bodies of work. First by working outside of the tradition of painting and by creating layered paintings with sharp lines and uncomfortable transitions.

—Lizzie Grossman