Senior Art Show presents an early expression of each artist

The September opening of the senior visual art show gave the Mayfield community a glimpse of the talent that the Class of 2020 has to offer. “The show is a beginning point, with a combination of work they have done at Mayfield that could be in their portfolio,” said AP Studio Art teacher Amy Green. “Starting things at the top of the year, they can see their history and are able to see—hopefully—at least one piece that has a spark for their investigations.”
Over the next month, the Hayden Student Commons will be adorned with original work curated by the students of Advanced Placement classes in Studio Art and Photography, and seniors in Advanced Visual Arts. The gallery show is the first opportunity for students to fine-tune the portfolio work they will spend the next nine months creating on canvas or through their viewfinder.

Ms. Green explained that some students came into this first show with a strong idea of the focus of their work. Others are still discovering what they want to investigate. The classes are rigorous, and portfolios submitted to the College Board are required to include works of art and design, process documentation, and written information.

For Advanced Placement courses, which can be worth a college credit, students are expected to create college-level work as well as focus deeper into personal connections to their topic. Throughout the year, they will also be researching and looking at contemporary art and mining art history to develop concepts.

This early in the year, students are feeling out the possibilities of discovery and, at times, following the lead of the medium itself.

“In watercolor, the paint decides where it wants to go and what it wants to do so you make the color paint itself, if that makes sense,” said Evy Favretto ’20, whose focus is leaning toward being based around nature.

“This is one where I started not knowing what I was doing and slowly but surely I figured it out. It represents the four seasons for me and a lifecycle of our world in fire, earth, water, and air,” Evy said.

Magnolia Katz ’20, who paints with acrylic, finds herself taking cues from a multi-panel project she painted last year. 

“The focus was the idea of decay and becoming part of nature,” said Magnolia, who is still working through ideas for her portfolio’s focus.

“There is this fear of aging in our culture, so I started this random woman showing freedom from gender expectations, or any expectations, and embracing them instead of fearing them and being disgusted by them,” she said.

Abigail Grohs ’20 showed a digital painting of a young woman’s face. Monochromatic with multi-color streams seeming to flow from her mouth and mind, Grohs says the figure represents the influences and pressures of society.

“My focus is doing a lot of portraiture and focusing on emotions—not just my emotions but emotions in relationships and people I care about,” Abigail said.  

“Personal expression is the main thing—that they find some kind of way of expressing themselves... they are all supremely unique human beings,” said Mr. Tzanetopoulos, AP Photography teacher. “The good thing is it always shows, and typically looks like everybody is themselves and have figured out a way of expressing that.”

Photographer Hayley Eaves ’20 is looking to use portraits that represent an individual’s message. 

“I plan on identifying how each person is unique, through their own interests, and through their fashion.” Hayley said her photos may represent where they came from, what they like to do or even what they want to change about the world. 

“It could be someone at a protest, or someone sad,” she said. “Maybe that’s how they identify in that time and space.”

In AP Photography, students demonstrate their competence in the medium through their sustained investigation. According to Mr. Tzanetopoulus, everything they’ve learned up to this point will need to be reflected in their portfolio.

Photography student Aja Carlisle ’20 is using digital practices to manipulate and draw out the essence of the subject. And Vienna Copado ’20 finds inspiration in the world she witnesses every day. 

“We don’t realize or take for granted the little actions,” Vienna said. She’s focusing her lens on Downtown Los Angeles.

“I live directly near downtown and take public transport and sometimes when you are waiting for the bus you tend to look at the buildings and how people interact while they are commuting,” she said. “Many don’t realize what type of life people have in downtown making a living for themselves.”

While compiling a body of work for their individual portfolios is daunting, Ms. Green commented that the art students make this year will be a true expression of the artist.  

“The senior show is kind of a reminder that the pieces they chose by default are emblematic of what sparked for them,” said Ms. Green. “The work started in childhood in some ways. They might not know that, but it started when they began making art, so there is always some thread of themselves there.”

Not all of the work displayed is for an AP Portfolio. Emily Wallace ’20, who is taking Advanced Visual Arts, is showing work that includes a charcoal drawing of a familiar location at Mayfield. 

“I like to do art for fun in the spirit of having fun while you’re doing it,” said Emily.
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Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 28 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.