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Creating Community

Posted on 04.21.21 by Kathryn Canfield in

For many during the pandemic, art has been a consistent way to pass the time.

However, for these three Linfield University students, visual and sculptural art has been a part of their life for as long as they can remember.

Linfield seniors Caroline Hall ’21, Krysten Baryo ’21 and Stephanie Juanillo ’21 debuted their final art installations this past semester in the Linfield Art Gallery.

Caroline Hall's art installation Caroline Hall '21 portraitCaroline Hall always felt a niche for art but found her passion for it when she got older. It wasn't until she came to Linfield that she realized an art career was feasible.

The senior, who primarily works with paint, soon found herself quickly out of her comfort zone and divulged in the new medium of creating an installation.

“The installation that I created was a mixture of a whole bunch of different things like found objects, paintings and sculpture,” Hall said. “In an installation, the viewer becomes a part of the piece because they are interacting with it. I like to call it like a living painting because even though technically I am painting it's a different form.”

The three seniors all used their artistic skills within their installations to tell their personal stories.

Caroline's piece focuses on a fall from grace consisting of elements used to highlight the pain, trauma and grief from opposing authority. For Caroline, this authority represented a religious body or church.

“I went to Catholic school for many years,” Caroline said. “Even though I have other experiences with other denominations, that's where I focused. There is a lot of symbolism in Catholicism, and I feel like it's a part of me, even though I wouldn't call myself religious or Catholic. I wanted to focus on the pain from that separation; and it is overwhelming, almost like an open wound. Even though God might be better for you in the long run, a lot of my work goes into identity, loss of identity and finding identity.”

Krysten Baryo's art installation Krysten Baryo '21 portraitUnlike Caroline, in an unexpected path, Krysten Baryo '21 grew a strong passion for art in her late teens. She found herself in Linfield’s Miller Fine Arts Center after the Oregon College of Art and Craft closed its doors during the summer of 2019.

This spring, Krysten based her senior installation on personal grief, highlighting the issue of women's reproductive health. The piece, which took many weeks to construct, depicts an enlarged female reproductive organ with a forming child containing "imperfect" markings.

"This piece is an ode to recognizing that a lot more people have chronic reproductive issues than we think,” Kristen reflects. “More importantly, those issues can result in a lot of scary things when it comes to pregnancies and being able to carry a child at all. As someone with chronic reproductive issues, I knew I needed to bring attention to this because nobody talks about it. It's so expected that women are going to grow up and raise children, but there's like 10% of women who cannot carry a child at all, not to mention just ones that have complications."

Krysten hopes to encourage the audience to think about childbearing from a different perspective and destigmatize motherhood when viewing her piece.

"My goal was to make it an imperfect uterus, so that my piece would make people be like, oh, hey! This is kind of scary and it doesn't always work out sometimes,” Krysten said. “However, it also shouldn't discount your ability to be a woman because you can't conceive a child. It doesn't make you any less of a woman!"

Stephanie Juanillo's art installation Stephanie Juanillo '21 portraitStephanie Juanillo '21, initially came to Linfield wanting to pursue psychology, but instantly fell in love with the tight-knit community and affirmative atmosphere of the Linfield art department.

“Originally I came into Linfield wanting to get a major in psychology and minor in art because I wanted to do art therapy, during my first year. However, I found myself really wanting to spend more time with the professors and students,” Stephanie said. “The Linfield art professors are extremely supportive and the art department at Linfield never feels competitive. Everyone is a huge source of inspiration for me and I really enjoy the atmosphere.”

For Stephanie's mixed-media installation, she found inspiration from the artist Raúl de Nieves and his embellished sculptures. For her piece, she decided to create a piñata used for traditional Latinx celebrations and highlight the theme of grief and joy and how they can coexist with each other.

Most of Stephanie's artwork surrounds resiliency and identity as a first-generation immigrant and the adversity many immigrants face.

“I think sometimes we discuss trauma because it's easy to talk about,” Stephanie said. “I think that we shouldn't just associate trauma with immigrants and instead associate joy as well. It is so important to bring in a source of joy and celebration.”

Caroline, Krysten and Stephanie accredit Linfield for its unique opportunities and the supportive community as well as the art faculty who continue to push them to be the best they can be.

“Art is always around us. It's always going to thrive, no matter the circumstances,” Hall said. “When COVID-19 hit there was this uprooting of everything, but kind of deep down in the core of everything was creating and making art no matter what kind it is because it's something that humans all do. Talent isn't essential to make art, but passion is.”

To learn more about art here at Linfield and view more student installations, please visit the Linfield Art Gallery, next to Linfield's Nicholson Library.