Andee McEvoy and Jess Joy: ’nuff said.

On Monday, I went to “out of joint,” an exhibit in Fayerweather displaying senior honors art theses. When I got there I was blown away by the talent and creativity of our very own senior class. I could have (and would have) written about all of their work at length—because it’s all so superb, but I tried to apply some discipline. I had a conversation with two ladies whose work really stuck out (in the sense that their work is three-dimensional!!!) ANDEE MCEVOY and JESS JOY—First of all, they’re really BOMB ladies. Second their work simply amazed me–it was just fantastic. And third, their stories enriched my experience of their work. Although their sheer (and obvious) talent really floored me, I was even more dumbstruck by their stories because it was apparent that they really had the confidence to listen to their own artistic voices and develop their own journey through an art thesis. Through talking to them I learned that they were both brave enough to pose real questions for themselves and even seek answers. It’s just flat-out impressive. HERE ARE THEIR STORIES!!


detail showing Andee's many painting styles
Andee started her thesis convinced she wouldn’t do sculpture. Instead, she told me, she thought she would focus on painting. “But they looked flat,” she said. “I looked at them and I didn’t like them. Why don’t I like them? What can I do to fix it?” Afer talking to her, I felt it was Andee’s ability to do just this, pose and answer her own questions, that motivated and drove her work. Andee wanted to create a new way to paint. “I literally walked into Target and asked, ‘what can I find here that would work? Cool fabrics?’ I saw the pack of paper towels—a pack of six for like three bucks.” She went for it. “It was totally me just being experimental.” After glooping, globbing, molding and shaping, she had something “topographic” to work with. In the blurb accompanying her work she admitted to scraping off paint as often as she applied it. This allows the paint to sit directly on top of the papertowel (or whatever else she decided to put on the canvas). It creates variation and texture in the color, adding three-dimensionality to a flat surface. She sculpts and moulds with varying techniques of paint, at times using very flat strokes. It really dramatizes the tension between depth and flatness going on in her painting. All this! Plus the paper towel mountains? gauze-y sculptural beauty on a canvas!

Andee's first steel works
But Andee didn’t limit herself to painting as she had planned. “Within a couple months I had to get back in the welding studio…I just express myself better in three dimensions.” Andee told me she had been working on welding projects since sophomore year, but decided to paint instead mostly because the hours for the welding studio were so limited. “I didn’t want my theses to be limited by someone else’s hours.” I love Andee’s steel works because they are so viewer-friendly. They ask for someone to walk around, peer through the cracks and try to figure out exactly how they work. What layer is where? What color is that spot exactly? They were certainly fun to photograph because I got to choose which angle I wanted use. When you look at Andee’s first pieces (they’re the small ones, the first ones you see as you walk into the gallery and the first ones she made) It’s obvious that she had a plan. It’s a rectangle, like she’s building her own canvas, trying to find a sense of order among the many flakes.

First Big Steel Work
Her first big work (walk right) she is clearly beginning to let go of some of her planning and control. “It’s a lot of thinking as I make them and making decisions on the spot.” From talking to her, it really seems her process is reactive. “Yeah I hold the torch where I hold it—but what its gonna do to the metal? I don’t know that.” From talking to her, I sensed she has the ability to create chaos, then harness it, channel it, and redirect it into something entirely new. Andee used her willingness to experiment to her advantage. She burnt away holes to reveal layers in hopes of confusing her viewer. “I like it best when you get lost in the layers.” I think it’s the lost-ness, the willingness to embrace and find the beauty in chaos that makes Andee’s steel works so successful.

morning light on Andee's Steel work
Her willingness to explore is apparent in her collection. I felt like her first piece resembles the flat steel raw-materials she began with. As she developed more questions in her process she really was able to morph and manipulate the steel so it became entirely unrecognizable—they’re entirely the product of her own creation “I always go in with the mindset: these are the questions I want to answer and look into.” Andee told me one of the major questions she was explored was color. “The heat is what makes the color.” If you follow her collection you’ll see she developed the vibrant shifting rainbows through her own experimentation. The steel, which Andee found mono-tone and flat, now has color and shape. Hard steel, so man-made, now looks ilke it has the organic crust of a oyster and the sheen of a pearl. The very shapes themselves form shadows and colors, the holes are windows into new worlds, often revealing color burned onto a plate below. Honestly, it’s really inspiring (I wanna meld nowww), and the bold way Andee approached her work shows—it’s sooo cool she came up with that though her own tests and trials! I can’t even imagine shaping my own way of doing art. It shows a trust of your own thoughts and voice which is SO COOL.


Jess Joy’s process, too, led her into a new unexpected direction. I asked Jess when she started taking art classes, she told me it wasn’t until her second semester sophomore year. (!!!) This year, she began printmaking, but each final print needed “twenty or thirty proofs.” What the hell does this mean? When you make a print needs many layers (proofs), one layer/proof for a shadow, one layer/proof for an outline. Overall it creates one final image and a lot of excess paper. “I needed to figure out what to do with all the excess paper.” That’s when she started cutting up paper. Jess showed me the first one she cut up. Using a single blade she slices the paper with fine precision, takes the hanging segment of paper and reattaches it (this part is clear if you look at her work.) The shapes that she is able to create and the way she can play with texture and color is amazing. The best way to describe her paper sculptures is a feast for the eyes. The hand made paper has texture and depth of color that changes based on the shape of the paper itself. Like Andee, Jess layers and uses cutting to reveal different colors underneath. “For Aqua tints timing is so important because you’re working with powder…you can’t always get very exact.” But through experimentation and familiarity with the process “it’s not that up to chance.” Overall, Jess says, “My stuff tends to be controlled and precise,” and it shows in the straight lines and graceful shaping that Jess uses.

delicate mixture of sinuous and precise
While her lines might be straight and controlled, her process is not that of rigid planning. When I asked her about how she envisions her shapes before hand she answered, “it’s definitely improvised. I start with an impulse.” She explained to me how she might want to pair a set of color she might experiment with a particular line. “It just comes together, nothing is visualized.”

Except her representational pieces that is. When I look at Jess’ two-dimensional works, I can’t help but notice the funny little character that pervaded them all. He really looked primeval to me, like something out of a medieval painting. Jess told me though, that she had no particular influences for this figure. “I wanted to have a vehicle—a character, inanimate object, or person. I decided that people respond to people. I tried to draw a person, but it came out alien-esque and androgynous.” She decided to keep it anyway. Although she’s not settled on the title, she named this figure “the explorer” because he’s a vehicle for the psychological and imaginative work on the canvas. We relate to him, and try, like him, to imagine what’s going on the canvas.

Jess' "explorer"
“In my head all of these guys are the same one thing.” He gives us access to the world on the canvas because he, if he had a mental state, would be the conglomeration of all of out thought (or so Jess told me). Jess’ work is both thought provoking if you want to enter the gallery and have a conversation about just what atmosphere the explorer has discovered, and it is incredibly provocative for the individual who just wants to stare at the sheer talent Jess has in sculpting and creating. Her work achieves color, beauty, and thought, all at the level of a feeling, emotion, or intangible sense.

Both Andee’s and Jess’ collections work off of feeling—just go look at them, walk around, play with the shapes, see the colors and light shift over them as you move. Both sets of work are skillfully crafted and won’t disappoint. Not to mention there are even more seniors who have their work up there as well—all of which is SUPERB!

you can see them weekdays in the Eli Marsh Gallery in Fayerweather from 9 until 4 (NOT 5! I made that mistake!!)

Andee and her work
Jess and one of her more sculptural pieces