As the 2020 Graduating Class of Visual Studies seniors began this academic year in August, 2019, they were looking forward to completing their various research projects, many involving human interaction, at the end of the Spring Semester. They also could imagine exhibiting their visual work in the first-floor gallery of Fisher Fine Arts Library. Now, the world has changed, and we can welcome you to their online exhibition. As is usual, the projects reflect the intellectual and creative diversity of the Visual Studies Program itself. Penn Visual Studies combines philosophy, psychology, history of art, fine arts, architecture, and other relevant perspectives. In pursuing the major, students complete course work in these various disciplines and choose an area of concentration within them. Each senior works with two faculty advisors from different areas; the VLST program greatly appreciates the work of these advisors, who come from across the University. The seniors themselves meet as a group throughout the year and provide criticism and feed back to one another. Their meetings are led by three co-instructors, this year, Matt Freedman, Gregory Vershbow (both artists), and Ian Verstegen (Associate Director), who also provide criticism and organize other aspects of the learning experience, such as the appearance of guest critics. Each project is distinctive and represents the interests of the student, whether in the form of a research question concerning the connection of vision with action, the psychology of visual media, the visual history of ecological, social, or political actions, or as works of art that are theorized in a distinctive manner from within the framework of Penn Visual Studies. This year they represent the added features of flexibility and adaptation to changed circumstances. Congratulations to our seniors. Enjoy their show.
Welcome from the Instructors
Matt Freedman, Gregory Vershbow and Ian Verstegen
The class of 2020’s thirteen seniors have prepared projects that span the ephemerality, addictiveness, beauty, transparency and augmented nature of the visual image. They investigate images that are unmoored, expressive, and have only the illusion of secularity. They make images that protest, recycle and perform. Our seniors have run experiments, designed books, even dropped 360 cameras into the Great Lakes! What you see today is each student’s comprehensive project comprising a written thesis and visual installation. Each student has found way to bring visual life to their ideas. We salute them and wish them well for the future!