Selections from Writing Art Criticism: Senior Show 2019

As participants in Colby’s studio program developed their work for the Senior Art Exhibition this spring, students in my Writing Art Criticism class researched and wrote interpretive essays for the accompanying catalog. In this series of Lantern posts my students explore alternative ways of responding to and telling stories about their peers’ work in the digital realm. Taking advantage of the flexibility of The Lantern’s format, they experiment with video, sound, the art comic, and the photo essay, among other modes. As they do so, they show us some of the rich possibilities offered by digital publications at a time when the art world increasingly conducts its conversations online.

— Daniel Harkett, Associate Professor, Art Department

Keenan Boscoe on Ekaterina Nikiforova

In her work in the Senior Art Exhibition, The Magical Gift of Amazing Life: An Educational Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids of All Ages, Katia Nikiforova creates a space for us to reflect on everyday experience in a consumer culture. Here Keenan Boscoe asks Katia to judge whether aspects of our world, from wine tastings to free speech, are over- or underrated.


Jane MacKerron on Shanzhao Qiao 

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon around 3:00 p.m. in April I set out to take pictures of 121 Main Street in Waterville. I expected to find a scene very different from that represented in Shanzhao Qiao’s long-exposure photograph of the same street, taken one evening in winter, and now on display in the Senior Exhibition.

All photos by Jane MacKerron.

Yet as I approached Joe’s Smoke Shop I found that the quietness Shanzhao’s photograph suggests is still present.  There were few people besides myself on the street and only the cars whipping down Main Street revealed any evidence of life.


The gray clouds and lack of sunlight created an ambiguous sense of time and place, similar to the feeling in Shanzhao’s work. However, unlike the impression you get when you look at Shanzhao’s piece, I was aware that time was constantly moving as I walked. Lights changed for cars to go and crosswalk signs counted down even when there was nobody there to use them.

When I turned down the street past the corner of Joe’s Smoke Shop, I found a mural on the side of the building. Looking back, I had a view that reminded me of the mysterious street in Shanzhao’s photograph.

As I took mediocre pictures on my iPhone, my appreciation for the beauty Shanzhao had created with his photography grew. By carefully composing a nighttime image of shops and cars, Shanzhao brings out the brilliance of Main Street that is hidden in these midday photographs.

Caroline Webb on Keenan Boscoe


Images used: 

Rockwell Kent, Maine Coast, c. 1907. Oil on canvas. Farnsworth Art Museum, Bequest of Mrs. Elizabeth B. Noyce, 1997.3.25. 97.3.

Rockwell Kent, Untitled (Greenland), c. 1930s. Oil on canvas. Farnsworth Art Museum, Bequest of Irene von Horvath, 2009.2.2.

Pentecost, 1989 tempera and pencil on panel. The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection. © Andrew Wyeth / Artist Rights Society (ARS)

Keenan Boscoe, Self Portrait Series #01, 2018. Archival pigment print. © Keenan Boscoe