Graduating Artists Leave Their Mark

Sixth Annual Stern Senior Art Show Opens at Yeshiva University Museum

Graduating studio art majors of Stern College for Women presented their work at the Sixth Annual Senior Art Show opening reception on Thursday, May 14. Titled Stop. Watch., the multimedia exhibition features selections from 12 artists and is on display at the Yeshiva University Museum.

“The title references time and also to stop and look at the artwork,” said Traci Tullius, director of the studio art program. “The students are at a time of transition as they graduate; it’s a time to stop and reflect.”

The guest curator of the exhibit, artist Rochelle Rubinstein, noted on the title wall that those words are “two significant steps in the creative process. I was struck by the students’ shared awareness of time passing, of essential stages and growing, contradictory obligations.” Rubinstein, Stern’s first art major, is a professional artist who came back to work with the students, said Tullius.

Most of the students submitted their senior thesis projects as their representative artwork, Tullius explained. “It is the capstone of their major. Many submit other works as well that they feel represents who they are as artists and designers.”

The works ranged from paintings, digital photographs, linoleum block prints, video installations, a drawing of a leg next to the shadow of a wire leg sculpture projected on paper, post-its printed with words—all various representations of ideas through art.

The number and focus of the studio arts graduates vary from year to year, with 22 graduating last year featuring sculpture and painting presentations and 11 this year displaying more photography and graphic design. “It’s a shaped major; every year it’s different,” said Tullius. Students of this class will be “working, interning or going on to graduate schools,” said Tullius. Some will be continuing studies geared for art therapy, some for architecture, graphic design, or studio or fine art. One is considering a culinary arts degree, another interior design, and another will attend law school.

“We provided the students with a work ethic and hope to give them the practical tools that they need for the job market and confidence in their own design capabilities and visual voice so they can go out after graduation and make themselves indispensable,” said Trullius. The art show “is an opportunity for students to get their efforts out of the studio classroom and into a public space. It changes the way you look at what you do.”

One of the artists, ST Schwartz, has two projects in the show: a series of collaged posters representing 16 categories of psychological assessment and another of six ironic posters with the medium reflecting the subject. “My message is generally to get people to think about things differently than they had before,” she said. “Stern’s art department is open minded and has opened my mind to a world I would not know otherwise. I’ve gained a lot as an art major that I wouldn’t have in any other area of study in terms of skills and an eye for design.”

One of Leora Veit’s submissions is a short film about a ballerina who dances without an audience. “It is a rumination on the connection between art and recognition,” said Veit. “Can art be created in a vacuum and still be satisfying? Is feedback necessary?” She said that the show and the art program are uniquely a Stern experience. “Every piece in the exhibition was created by women with an education in the liberal arts and Judaism. We are part of a rare breed that exists most prominently at Stern, and our ability to present our thoughts and ideas as trained artists makes us voices for educated Jewish women.”

“For Stern and YU, the Stern Senior Art Show represents in a public context and for a wide audience the high quality of its studio art program, the talent of its students and, most vitally, the remarkable and unique character of the institution,” said Dr. Jacob Wisse, director of the Yeshiva University Museum. “YU develops and nourishes students’ pursuit of artistic creativity and professional development within a strong Jewish learning environment. For the Museum, it highlights a key aspect of our mission: to serve as a resource for YU students and faculty, and to expand the public reach of the school’s talent, ideas and voice.”

Stop.Watch. is currently on display at the Yeshiva University Museum through August 2 in the Selz Foundation Gallery at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York City.