This article was first published in BU Today on May 9, 2022. By John O’Rourke | Video by Pam DeBarros | Photos by Cydney Scott
There’s something thrilling about the School of Visual Arts BFA Thesis Show 2022. Featuring 133 works by the 39 graduating seniors majoring in painting, printmaking, sculpture, and graphic design, the show demonstrates the myriad ways students are experimenting with materials and developing their own unique aesthetics to tell visually compelling stories. The Thesis Show is on view at the CFA Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery through May 20.
Ashley Zhou (CFA’23) says she is constantly seeking out new techniques and applications in her painting that she’s never seen done before. She uses found materials like yarn, drywall, and scrap wood and works with a range of surfaces to create paintings that investigate her social and cultural identity. For her thesis project, she uses silk yarn suspended from planks of wood and painted with mahogany watercolor of varying opacity to illustrate moments from her parents’ childhood. Other than their stories of their childhood in China, Zhou says, she doesn’t feel a strong connection to her culture. The gaps between the strings in her work are aimed to reflect the distance she feels from her heritage.
“The sheer and transparent nature of the image is meant to convey a sense of looking through—me looking and reflecting on who I am as a result of social structures and cultural past,” Zhou says.
Graphic designer Kylie Carroll (CFA’22) started her thesis project hoping to educate the public about how consumer culture is damaging the environment. But the focus shifted, she says, “from a singular narrative of saving the world against environmental despair to a lighthearted and digestible way of exploring personal accountability and up-cycling.” Carroll began working with single use plastics she’d been saving in her apartment to explore ways to repurpose her trash. “I used these plastics to crochet, heat fuse, weave, and ultimately transform them into new and functional items”—including a basket, a reusable clutch, and a reusable tote, all on view in the show. Even her thesis book is made with repurposed paper from her design studio.
The BU School of Visual Arts BFA Thesis Show 2022: Connection Lines is on view at the Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave., through May 20. The show is free and open to the public. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm.