Photo by Claudia Cisneros

Walking through the doors of the Non-Fiction gallery Friday Nov. 14 into “Forma,” two senior painting majors exhibition, meant walking through to a curated and carefully thought-out dichotomy.

On the right hand was Martha’s Vineyard native, Aoife Estes’ vibrant and carefully crafted mid-century, elementary-style approach to colors and shapes, displayed on laser cut wood.

And juxtaposing that on the left-hand side of the gallery was monochromatic, 50s abstract expressionism and Chinese calligraphy inspired paintings expressed through Chicago native, Kristin Edens’ rhythmic brush strokes and bold composition.

Where fourth-year painting major Estes explores the ability to play and approach things with curiosity and wonder, fourth-year painting major, Edens depicts the darker sides of adulthood, drawing inspiration from her struggles with mental illness and using the process painting as a form of catharsis.

“[We] really felt like each others energy and movement in the pieces really worked well together,” said Edens.

And it is in the different movements and energies of the pieces that there was a clear dichotomy. Although Edens’ technique included blindfolding herself and feeling her way through the first parts of the painting process–lot’s of child-like exploration and a relinquishing of control–her inspiration came from a much darker and more ‘adult’ place.

“This collection is very much inspired by my anxiety disorder,” said Edens.

“I’ve learned that my art practice is very therapeutic and it’s a way for me not only to work through the emotions but also document them,” she added.

For Edens, the process was a way of expressing emotions and experiences she can’t express through words.

“It’s both a balance of control with the art process but also in my mind,” said Edens.

Estes focuses on playing and having fun with her work, emphasizing the importance of all artists doing so in their work and how vital it is to do so.

“What I’m doing is I’m playing,” said Estes.

“And now that I’ve gotten to this point in my life and those things like insecurities and structures and all of these things that bring you down when you are growing up . . . it’s like finally in my young adulthood I’m able to play again with making these,” she added.

Despite the stress of curating an entire gallery show after the setbacks of a hurricane and changes in class schedules, come opening night the two were all smiles, happy to share with others the work they had spent weeks creating and curating.

“It’s awesome. Every bit of it is worth it,” said Estes. “At the end of the day, I’m showing everybody that I care about what I care to do with my time and that’s really special. And I think that all SCAD students and all artists should have that opportunity,” she added.

“I’ve been exhausted and running on empty for a few weeks but to be here at the opening and see it be so successful is probably the best thing that I have experienced at SCAD,” said Edens. “I’m really happy with it and I’m happy about how I’m ending my time in the painting department,” she added.

The two painters played with light and darkness, themes of innocence and despair, traditional and unconventional methods and presented a level of dichotomy that somehow fit the two collections together perfectly, with each one seamlessly complementing and highlighting the other.

To view more of their work, visit Edens’ and Estes’ websites.

Written by Asli Shebe.