January 29, 2023

Started on March 24 and running through April 4, Wittenberg is holding an exhibition for three painting students in the Thompson Gallery in Koch Hall.
Juniors Caitlin Green, Ally Mersch, and Liz Harriman each have works from the semester up in the gallery for anyone to view. For Mersch and Harriman, it is their first time in a gallery, and has been a new but rewarding experience.
“It’s been very strange,” said Mersch. “I normally don’t sign things or put it out on display, but it’s also really cool.”
“Yeah, it’s a bit weird seeing people wander in and look at our stuff,” said Harriman. “I always wonder what they’re thinking.”
For Green, she’s no stranger to gallery work. Including her work from this semester, Green also has work from her semester abroad in Italy hung in the gallery.
“We had an exhibition in Italy, and I had some of my work hung,” said Green. “I can call myself an international artist now. That’s so cool to say.”
With the exception of Green’s work from abroad, the pieces in the gallery are assignments and studies from the current semester. However, the artists do have freedom as far as composition and style; professor Ed Charney provides the subject matter and lets the ladies go from there. With a diverse range of style, each woman draws upon personal inspiration to create their oil-based works of art.
“I try to find inspiration everywhere,” said Green. “If I see something I like, I’ll sketch it or photograph it, and then apply it to painting. I just try to take everything in.”
Mersch and Harriman have similar views as well, but have influence from other artists and techniques. Harriman channels one of her favorite artists, Andy Warhol, and experiments with color, while Mersch blends realism with movement of form and larger brush strokes.
Each student also met with the department this past week to discuss their senior theses. As of now, there will be four painting majors in the next graduating class of 2015, including these three ladies.  There were a few apprehensions, but overall the women are excited for what’s to come.
Part of the requirement of the senior thesis is to be featured in an exhibition outside of Wittenberg. While it puts a little pressure on each student, it does not determine whether they pass or fail the class.
“It’s showing us whether or not we can make it in the real world,” said Mersch.
“There are so many artists out there that never get shown in a gallery, and then you see their work and are amazed. Being an artist is tough, but it’s worth it,” said Harriman. “It’s kind of intimidating but exciting. It’s getting us ready for real-life experience as an artist.”
While they have the senior thesis to look forward to next school year, the ladies are enjoying their time in the gallery now, and are looking forward to their final project for the semester which will result in another show in Thompson.
“I’m very proud and surprised. This showing has turned out so well,” said Mersch. “It was a few last minute late nights, but it all worked out great.”
“Surprising yourself and others is very rewarding,” said Harriman.
The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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