An Overview of the 15th Annual Studio Art Department Senior Showcase

By: Racheli Jian  |  June 3, 2024

By Racheli Jian, Senior Arts & Culture Editor and Layout Editor 

The 8th floor of 215 Lexington Avenue may just be the most magical place in Stern. Home to the art majors, captivating art pieces line the entirety of its halls, instantly intriguing all of those who enter. From intricately designed cardboard chairs to life-like portraits, this space reflects the hard work each student puts into their projects. On May 28, the night before graduation, the talents and efforts of the senior art major students were especially displayed.

Throughout the school year, students taking art classes complete many projects as part of their coursework. At the end of each academic year, the art department displays student work throughout the art floor in an end of the year exhibit, known as the SCW Studio Art Annual Salon Show. Projects created by students of all academic standings are hung on the walls and displayed throughout the art floor. 

Students majoring in studio art are required to complete a final yearlong senior project as an exit requirement for the major. At this end of the year exhibit, these senior projects are highlighted in the SCW Studio Art Department Annual Senior Showcase.   

This year’s 15th Annual Senior Showcase exhibited the seniors’ pieces all around the 8th floor. While all the pieces were detailed and beautiful, there were a few in particular that caught my attention. As soon as you walk out of the elevator, to your right is a mannequin decked in a magnificent wedding dress. What looks so cohesive and perfect is actually three different wedding dresses pieced together by Sophie Chervitz (SCW ‘24) for her senior project. “I just love the idea of incorporating past stories and histories into current work, especially when I can use materials that were made and used for other projects, but in the past, and [make] them current,” Chervitz commented. “I really connect to pieces and projects that have meaning to [them]. So I [knew] that I needed to incorporate some of my values and something that I find meaningful into this project and I think I really accomplished that.” It was evident that in her senior project, Chervitz was able to combine her appreciation for fashion with history, both of which were crucial considerations when designing and creating the wedding dress she made.  

As you move through the exhibit you’ll find another mannequin, however this one is draped with various colorful fabrics. Surrounding the piece are paintings depicting the movement and visuals of the materials. This piece is the work of Gaya Hyman (SCW ‘24) and her installation is unconventional in that it is not just intended to display one clothing item, but rather, investigate the concept of fabrics in general. Hyman explained that she wanted her piece to capture the beauty that different textures and movements of fabrics can portray. She explored this interest not only in the physical draped fabrics but also in her paintings of them. 

Another unique display was that of Shai Rahamim (SCW ‘24), who chose to use this art project as an opportunity to reflect on the recent October 7 attack and resulting turmoil in Israel. The main part of her installation was a stop-motion video portraying the hostages being held in Gaza. Depicted behind them, created with the use of colorful lighting changes, is a background timelapse that fades from a sunset to a sunrise. “My intention was to convey the idea that every passing moment is a moment they are still there,” Rahamim explained.  

Accompanying her poignant stop-motion video was a multimedia piece that seemingly criticized Israel’s government and politics. Rendered on three panels, each displaying an Israeli political leader, Rahamim portrayed the complex feelings that come with following Israeli politics. These pieces are made mostly of cutout pictures. One piece used LED lights and another was rendered with a crayon background, both of which contrast with the serious nature of the leader’s role. Altogether, the pieces create images of Israeli politicians in different settings, which I interpreted to be a commentary on the childish nature of the chaotic Israeli government. 

Multimedia wasn’t unique to Rahamim’s piece; Zoey Botnick (SCW ‘24) also used this novel approach in her installation. A corner of the art floor was dedicated to her senior project, where she hung umbrellas from the ceiling and gems on strings that represented rain. Botnick decorated the umbrellas with poems around the canopies. Each poem focused on the symbolism of rain and its different meanings. While rain might be joyful and a sign of growth for some, for others it is lonely and cold. She painted the wall in varying shades of blue to create the feeling of being caught in the rain. Indeed, as you stand in the middle of the installation, you feel as if you are in the middle of a storm.

There were so many gorgeous and breathtaking pieces at this art exhibit, but the most wonderful thing is that this opportunity is even possible in the first place. The chance for each student to display what they learned and the hard work they put into their projects not only to other art students, but also to others outside the major, is so special. “I think the project and the art show as a whole really allowed me to express myself creatively. I can take everything I learned in the past three years and put my own twist on it,” remarked Hyman. “I’m really proud of my project and the pieces I made. I’m so happy that I get to share it with my family, friends, and other students!” 

The appreciation for students’ work isn’t just a one-time thing for the art department. Botnick explained that the “Stern art program is… very unique in that it really gives its students special opportunities that are hands-on with help from professors on a one-on-one level.” After viewing this exhibit, it is extremely evident that both the art staff and the students pour an immense amount of effort into this department. So, next time you find yourself in 215 Lexington Avenue, be sure to take a stop on the 8th floor and check out the art – you never know what masterpiece you’ll find.