Dolphins at Dolphins Plus, Key Largo
As part of our daughter’s senior year thesis as an art major, she was required to do a series of paintings based on a particular theme, with a written paper that backed up the thesis. She knew she wanted her theme to involve dolphins, but floundered for months for a theme that spoke to her.
In January, she interned for a month at a dolphin research facility in Key Largo. Dolphins’ Plus has 13 captive dolphins and Megan came to know each of them well. During this month, she had a vivid dream about the fragmented ways in which people see each other and when she woke, realized she could use this fragmentation theme with dolphins.
Throughout the year, we had seen bits and pieces of Megan’s paintings. Back in February or March, we walked into her studio – a chaotic display of photos that had been sliced into precise strips, which she was using for her watercolors. I never understood how she kept these strips in any order and couldn’t imagine what the end result might be. But I delighted in watching her paint.
Earlier in the year, she showed us two of the paintings, which we posted here. We had a better grasp then of where she was headed with these paintings, but were still puzzled by what she was doing.
Megan, like the other art majors, had to create a statement for her thesis. Hers evolved over the months into its final form, a direct result of her dream:
“The art for my thesis represents dolphins in a manner that challenges the joyous, free image of dolphins in order to show the flaws in stereotypes. The dolphins are presented in a large scale format, with an anthropomorphic eye that inverts the gaze of the viewer. The negative space delineated from the fragmentation of the images creates the illusion of a grid system of bars or windows which persuades viewers to wonder: who is in captivity, the dolphin or the human? Through the use of these stylistic techniques, viewers are influenced to redefine their perspective of dolphins by looking past the stereotype to the real thing.”
The public opening of the exhibit is on May 19, in a gallery downtown. But on May 12, we were treated to the private exhibit, where her paintings were displayed on the walls of the art department and the exhibit was open to everyone on campus. It was astonishing to witness the evolution of that dream Megan had months ago to the final paintings, and to see them displayed in a place that begs for art work. We’ve posted just a selection of them here:
The process of creativity always astonishes me. Whether we’re trying to figure out the theme for an art thesis or the plot of a novel or how to live our lives in ways that are more emotionally and spiritually fulfilling, our creativity enables us to tap into the deeper reservoirs of our beings. If we can dream it, imagine it, feel it, believe in it, then we can manifest it.
Way to go, Megger!