More than 60 students, faculty, friends and relatives gathered in the Gilson Memorial Gallery Friday evening for the opening of the exhibition “Companionship.” The exhibition is the Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis for Austin Stern, senior glass major, and Ellen Weiss, senior printmaking major and opinion writer and designer for The Bulletin. The show features numerous pieces of hot sculpted and hand blown glass by Stern and paintings, drawings and prints by Weiss.
The two became artistic companions because of their similar tastes and themes in their respective work, Stern said, and each had ideas that worked well together.
But bringing everything together was also the most difficult aspect of the gallery experience, Stern said.
“The hardest part was getting everything polished and set up so that it didn’t clash with Ellen’s work,” Stern said.
Much of the inspiration for Stern’s work came from his experience at the seaside, he said. He has been around the ocean most of his life, growing up in the bay area, which can be seen in many of his pieces featuring various aquatic creatures rendered in detail.
Derek Wilkinson, associate professor of painting and life drawing, attended the event and said both Stern and Weiss were students of his. Of Stern, he said he admired especially a sculpted piece titled “Sperm Whale vs. Squid.”
“It’s large and intricate,” Wilkinson said, “and pulls all his skill together.”
Wilkinson also admired a drawn piece by Weiss called “Nibbles” for its composition.
“It has good form with minimal lines,” Wilkinson said. “It’s so strong on its own.”
Joe Sircoulomb, senior glass major, said he admired the texture and color application on “Squid,” a sculpture by Stern. Another piece by Weiss, called “Dancer,” was a favorite of Sircoulomb’s.
“It has dynamic composition,” he said, “and (having) no outline makes the figure more dream-like.”
Though a number of the sculptures on display are for sale, Stern said he is more interested in gallery work than the commercial aspect.
“The gallery route is where I really want to go,” he said.
Stern said he plans to follow that route to Seattle after graduation to take a position as a gallery assistant.
The Gilson Memorial Gallery is open between from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is located in King Hall. The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 31.