By Laura Koenig | Echo
The work of four senior art education students will reach to the four corners of Metcalf Gallery and beyond this Saturday. As the seniors pieced together their displays, Taylor students noticed new art appearing beyond the gallery walls. Starting on Monday, small, four-inch square ceramic tiles painted with glaze dotted the halls and alcoves of multiple academic buildings. A small name plate accompanies each black and white square.
Senior Mariana VanDerMolen created 70 of these tiles for her display titled "I Spy: The Mediation of Looking." VanDerMolen came to Taylor with a love for drawing and painting on two-dimensional surfaces, but she is leaving with a newfound love for ceramics. Each tile combines her old and new appreciation for the different forms of art.
Leading up to the show's opening on Saturday, VanDerMolen placed 12 new tiles around campus each day. The wavy black and gray patterns may not catch students' attentions right away. Some students might pause as they recognize a name on the name plate paired with every tile.
Senior Beth Shrontz saw an unusually placed tile in a stairwell in Metcalf. She also noticed it was named "Beth."
"I looked at it a little closer, but I don't remember what it really looked like." Shrontz said. "I was more concerned as to why my name was under the tile and who put it there."
Even though the tile probably wasn't named after her, Shrontz was not the only student curious about the tiles. MAHE student Lauren Carter noticed a tile while filling her cup at a drinking fountain in Ayres. She wondered about the tile and the name, Laura, underneath.
VanDerMolen named all of her tiles after people who had an influence on her during her time at Taylor. Those experiences with those people portray something beautiful to her.
"One of the things I love most about art is just, like, looking for the hidden beauty in it," VanDerMolen said. "I think that's one of the ways that God connects with the human soul. Through any experience with art, there's a touch of that beauty, a touch of that eternal aspect. In these tiles, I want to get at the individual experience with that."
VanDerMolen hopes the tiles will spark mild curiosity to the many people who pass by. That mild curiosity has potential to grow into an awareness of surroundings and beauty.
Ten new tiles, combined with 20 tiles from around campus and a book of photographed tiles will form VanDerMolen's final display. She is one of four seniors working in the gallery this week.
Senior Kaitlyn Weaver voiced her excitement and fear concerning the show while hanging up shelves for her display.
"This feels like the culmination of four years at Taylor, so just allowing people to step in and see what I care about and the skill I've been practicing and building for four years," Weaver said. "There's also a ton of fear in that."
Weaver fears having her art come together and not meeting the way she envisioned the final product, but she is excited to show her family and friends all her hard work.
Seniors VanDerMolen, Weaver, Natalie Halleen and Vanessa Gramling will fill "Four Corners" of Metcalf Gallery tomorrow from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition will be open until March 31.