Story by Barry McNamara / Photo by Kent Kriegshauser  |  Published April 04, 2024

‘The Eight’

Octet of senior art majors come together to create diverse exhibition, which will be on display in Everett Gallery April 8-May 8.

MOST OF 'THE EIGHT'; Pictured from left are Charlie Conkle, Z Kendall, Eli Douglass, Alivia Palicki, Grace Corneliu... MOST OF 'THE EIGHT'; Pictured from left are Charlie Conkle, Z Kendall, Eli Douglass, Alivia Palicki, Grace Cornelius, Michael Gonzalez and Emma Seybold. Not pictured is Joshua Hinkle. MONMOUTH, Ill. – For the past few years, ESPN has celebrated “The Ocho,” and now the Monmouth College art department will unveil “The Eight,” an exhibition by eight senior art majors that will, appropriately, open on April 8 in the Len G. Everett Gallery in Hewes Library and run through May 8, the final day of classes for the spring semester.

A gallery reception and talk will be held from 2-4 p.m. April 20. The exhibition, reception and talk are all free and open to the public.

“In the 28 years that I’ve been here, I don’t know that we’ve ever had this many students in one senior exhibition,” said Monmouth art professor Stacy Lotz. “Normally, when we have this many seniors, we would divide it up into two different shows, but they decided that they wanted to be in the same show. For someone who’s worked with this group for the last four years, that does my heart good to know that they want to be together and work together and do their final exhibition as a group.”

Already an opportunity to present “the best of the best they’ve done while they’re here,” Lotz said the exhibition will be even more so because of the necessary “editing” required for eight artists to display their work in the same space at the same time.

“For someone who’s worked with this group for the last four years, that does my heart good to know that they want to be together and work together and do their final exhibition as a group.” – Stacy Lotz

“They all work in very different mediums, they all have very different styles, but we’re going to make a great show,” said Lotz of what she said would be a “salon-style” exhibition. “When you come into the gallery to see this, this will be very different from what you’re used to seeing in this space, because of the eclectic nature of what’s going to be in there.”

Meet ‘The Eight’

Five of the artists with works in the exhibition are from the Chicago area: Charlie Conkle of Morton Grove, Grace Cornelius of Warrenville, Eli Douglass of Cary, Michael Gonzalez of Chicago and Emma Seybold of Naperville.

“Some of the pieces in my show revolve around recycled materials,” said Cornelius. “Repurposed, recycled repetition is the main focus. It talks about multiples, and it discusses pushing a material further than its intended use, like toilet paper, medication bottles and trash bags, and just exploring the flexibility of those materials in multiples.”

The other Chicago-area artists will display ceramic pieces, digital art, and works depicting lifeguarding and isolation/loneliness.

The rest of the octet includes Joshua Hinkle of Alexis, Illinois, Z Kendall of Rock Hall, Maryland, and Alivia Palicki of Geneseo, Illinois.

An Army veteran whose mixed media piece America’s Veteran received the Best of Show award at last fall’s Juried Student Art Exhibition, Hinkle will have a quilt in “The Eight” show.

“The Remembrance Quilt is a national initiative quilt,” said Hinkle. “We are gathering all the names of the veterans who have committed suicide. We’ve actually founded the non-profit Freeborn Initiative organization that is backing the national initiative, so we’re in a good place moving forward.”

The macabre and historic symbols of witchcraft are themes by the other two artists.

“If we had these guys for one more year, this work coming out of them would look completely different because they’re standing on the edge of what they’re really capable of doing.” – Stacy Lotz

After taking a gap year to work with the initiative, Hinkle plans to attend graduate school, perhaps in Amsterdam due to a strong social philosophy program there. Grad school is also on the minds of a few other students in the exhibition, while others will weigh their options after graduating next month. Gonzalez hopes to get right into becoming a full-time artist, while Kendall plans to head back to the East Coast and become a tattoo artist while creating art on the side.

“This isn’t the end of it,” said Lotz of the students’ creations. “This is just the beginning, and they’re just starting to scratch the surface. If we had these guys for one more year, this work coming out of them would look completely different because they’re standing on the edge of what they’re really capable of doing.”

Listen Up …

A preview of “The Eight” on the “Monmouth College Conversations” podcast.

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