Senior Thesis Exhibition

"Bren" by collage artist Megan Coyle

April 20 – April 30, 2008
Elon Arts West Gallery; Elon University, North Carolina

From the beginning of the school year, senior art students met with a committee of professors to develop their ideas for their senior thesis exhibition. Megan worked on six collage portraits where she went through a process of intense editing for each one. This was Megan’s first cohesive body of collage work.

The senior exhibition featured the work of eleven artists who worked in a variety of media, including photography, ceramics, collage, and installation. The artists didn’t limit themselves to the media they studied—for instance, Megan was a painting major and she exhibited collages (although her collages have a heavy painting influence).

Megan Coyle’s senior thesis artwork was on display in Elon Arts West Gallery. Her thesis included the following collage portraits: “Benjamin,” “Jean,” “Bill,” “Bren,” “Scott,” and “Ali.” The exhibition lasted two weeks before it was taken down to make room for the second senior art exhibition.

The following was Megan’s artist statement for the exhibition:

I associate the people I’m close to with scenes in my mind, with memories and places that illustrate their personalities.  By bringing together the human form, and the associations that illustrate these people, a conversation is created between the work and its viewers.  The narratives form a story that others can imagine in their minds.  Each setting was made specifically for each sitter, relating to what kind of person he or she is.  For each portrait, the setting, shadows, everyday objects, and sitter’s expression, represents each figure’s personality as I see it.  The variations in the developed surface have reminded me of the complexities of the different planes and areas of muscles on the human face.  Thus collage works well in communicating the variety of forms and values seen when looking at people.

Samantha Collage

Samantha by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Samantha.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″

I completed a collage of my roommate–I had to make a new one for an upcoming exhibition that a couple of students are holding in the library during our student research day. All I need to do now is get some better pictures of it, frame it, and then it’ll be ready to hang.

Senior Show Gallery Space

I went to check out the gallery space for the “All Senior Show,” which is located directly on campus in the Isabella Cannon Room. My senior thesis exhibition will be in the art department though, in a gallery that is a lot smaller than this one. Also, this week will involve a lot of intense matting for my senior thesis pieces. I’m officially graduating with an art degree, and now I just have to go through the hectic week before the opening reception. Here are a few pictures of the show:

All Senior Art Show

Figure in front of Window by collage artist Megan Coyle

April 11 – May 24, 2008
Isabella Cannon Room; Elon University, North Carolina

Megan Coyle’s “Figure in front of Window” collage was on display in Elon University’s Isabella Cannon Room for an all senior art show. She created this collage portrait specifically for the “All Senior Art Show.”

The art show gave senior art students a chance to showcase artwork that represented their entire body of work for that year. Megan created a series of six collage portraits for her senior thesis, where she went through an extensive process of editing each collage. For the “All Senior Art Show,” she wanted to display a piece of art that represented her collage process. “Figure in front of Window” does just that—the collage has a partially finished look which emphasizes the shape of the magazine cut-outs that have been glued down. The original paper that the magazine cut-outs are on shines through a bit, as well as parts of Megan’s underlying sketch that was done before she started collaging. The portrait shows the transition of moving from a rough sketch to a representational collage portrait.

All Senior Art Show

Figure in front of the Window by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Figure in front of the Window.” Collage on paper. 16″x12″
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This week one of my professors let all the seniors know that we have an “All Senior Art Show” coming up. We have to submit a work of art by next week. Also, the piece can’t be from our senior thesis…it can be an extension of our senior thesis or something else we’ve done this year. Unfortunately I took all my artwork back home a few weeks ago, so I had to decide whether or not to go home this weekend or make a new work of art. I decided to make a new work.

This is the finished collage that will be up–it’s supposed to be a self-portrait but it doesn’t look too much like me. I decided to do a “half-finished” piece, so that you can see a bit of the process involved with my collages. I’ll take pictures once it’s up in the gallery space.

Bill Collage

Bill by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Bill.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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…And I’m almost done with my series! The latest one is of my dad, and this will be my final piece for the series. His neck is a little funky at the moment, and there are areas on his face that I want to rework, but overall, I’m nearly finished. Then I’ll return to three other pieces, work on fixing them up, and then I’ll be done with my collage work during spring break. This senior thesis stuff has been a lot of work, but I’m proud of what I’ve created. These are, without a doubt, the strongest six pieces I’ve created thus far.

Artists at Work: The Smithsonian Community Art Show

Girl with Glasses by collage artist Megan Coyle

March 27 – July 27, 2008
Smithsonian’s Ripley Center; Washington, D.C.
Map and Gallery Info

In the summer of 2007, Megan interned at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). After spending a summer paging through several old art catalogues, Megan became more familiar with NPG’s previous exhibitions and she became more interested in portraiture—she found herself focusing more on figures in her artwork. Her internship also inspired the work she did for her senior art thesis exhibition.

During Megan’s internship, she entered the Smithsonian’s annual juried community art show. Her collage, “Girl with Glasses,” was acceptedand displayed in the 2008 exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. Megan chose this particular work for her submission because she felt it represented her experience at NPG the best and it reflected the type of work the museum has—portraiture.

The exhibition showcased the work of several members of the Smithsonian community, including employees, interns, and volunteers. The work ranged from illustration to pastel work to mixed media sculpture.

The following was the introduction to the exhibition:

This juried exhibition, the Smithsonian Community Committee’s third art show, underscores the often hidden talents within the Smithsonian community. While we received over a hundred and seventy entries, only seventy could be selected for display. The subjects of these works and the materials from which they are made are as diverse as the people who comprise the Smithsonian family and the collections of the Institution itself.

Side by side are images and forms inspired by the lure of distant lands and the love of the familiar.  These creations of paint, canvas, paper, charcoal, pastel, ink, fabric, metal, stone, clay and light speak of the artists’ fascination with the world around them—objects, ideas, and people often encountered through their work with the Smithsonian. They are evidence of the inspired, after-hours activities of our staff, research fellows, interns, contractors, and volunteers. Their reserves of energy, imagination, and skillfulness enhance all aspects of our everyday work.

Artists at Work: Smithsonian Community Juried Exhibition

This morning was the opening reception for the new exhibition that I have a piece in, “Artists at Work.” My collage, “Girl With Glasses,” is hanging at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. The exhibition will be open from March 27th to May 18th 2008. It features 70 works chosen out of about two-hundred submitted pieces. I took a few pictures of the exhibition, as well as where my collage is hanging (they’re a little blurry because of the dim lighting):

Jean Collage

Jean by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Jean.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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At the moment, my mom’s collage is finished. But by finished, I mean it has yet to be seen by my committee. I’ll most likely make more adjustments later.


Scott by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Scott.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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Here’s the completed collage for my senior thesis exhibition. This portrait was inspired by my cousin Scott, who passed away from cancer back when I was in high school. He was thirteen at the time, but now he lives on in our memories and the artwork made by my family (there are a lot of creatives in my family).