Pitzer College Art Galleries Presents 2022 Senior Thesis Exhibition: Shift + Ground


Claremont, Calif. (April 27, 2022)—Pitzer College Art Galleries presents the work of Pitzer seniors Jack Contreras ’22, Lily Fillwalk ’22, Claire Manning ’22, Olivia Meehan ’22, Max Otake ’22, Julia Duran Stewart ’22, and Zoe Storz ’22 in the 2022 Senior Thesis Exhibition: Shift + Ground. The exhibition will be in Pitzer College’s Nichols Gallery, Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Scott Hall, and the Academic Quad from April 28 to May 14. An in-person opening reception to celebrate the exhibition will take place on Thursday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m., at the Grove House.

From performance, to spoken word poetry, to photographic mapping, to sculptures, and more, the artists explore themes of humanity, identity, and the environment while constructing (or deconstructing) the world as they know it. Below, the artists describe, in their own words, the pieces showcased in Shift + Ground.

Jack Contreras, Let Me Let You Go

Let Me Let You Go is an altarpiece made from found artifacts serving as a personal and communal healing space. This sculpture depicts the grieving process on the body and cycles of discomfort, healing, and letting go. How can we unlearn the repressed and destructive coping mechanisms that we’ve inherited from our families?

Lily Fillwalk, Through the Eyes of the Crow

Using a multispecies approach, I embody the crow with photography and performance in Through the Eyes of the Crow, exploring how the species might perceive fear and loss. Crows are associated with death, and their diseased bodies hold important information about climate change. This work explores and questions the connections between fiction and science, as well as how mourning will be altered in a changing world.

Claire Manning, Untitled

This installation is the documentation of a meal I designed, cooked, and served, making or sourcing everything as directly as I could. I designed the ceramic dinnerware specifically for plating the seasonal menu. I sourced goods from farms and vendors who support access to healthy food and give back to local marginalized communities. This project reflects my values and life practice, which includes making ceramics, cooking, gardening, and reducing my reliance on long production chains.

Olivia Meehan, Picturing the Colonial Trace

I use photography, performance art, and installation to explore the interpersonal, environmental, and economic histories contained within familial heirlooms. My art centers on a sandalwood box, its perfumed oil, and a photograph from my family album. I reframe these objects in order to physically unlearn familial narratives of a benevolent British Empire. Through this exhibition, I work within the tensions and contradictions of my own relationship to constructions of whiteness and British imperialism that haunt my maternal lineage.

Max Otake, Where Creeks Go to Die

Where Creeks go to Die is a photographic mapping project, documenting the current state of the San Antonio Creek and Dam. Beginning where the creek dries up—about a mile before the dam—I follow the natural path where the water once ran in search of portals and clues into a forgotten past. Through a process of abstracting the landscape, the boundaries between the natural and built environment become blurred.

Julia Duran Stewart,Infestation: Shadows of The System

This public installation serves to make visible the omnipresent pressure to consume and conform. Through the use of QR codes, the viewer is led to re-educational websites that serve to disrupt the hegemony of digital media. Seeping out of our screens, the infestation of capitalist ideology surrounds us.

 Zoe Storz, the perilous body: an interruption

the perilous body: an interruption is an installation of spoken poetry and projected photographs. My use of the broken film camera is a way to render chance, imperfections, and errors as a photographic language with haptic potential. Through this language, I address the embodied experience of the feminine Asian American subject, and I particularly attend to alternatives to the functional camera’s (mis)perception of this figure.

Pitzer College Art Galleries is open for groups of up to six people for 1-hour visits. Appointments are offered Tuesday through Saturday on the half-hour from 1–4:30 p.m. Make a reservation to visit our current exhibitions and complete the online health check form on the day of your visit, prior to arriving. The exhibition will close on Saturday, May 14, at 2 p.m.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

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