LIT is pleased to announce that the newest addition to the Student Art Collection, The Blossom Mandala, has been installed in Myrin Library. The Blossom Mandala is the work of student artist Kristen Cooney ’22 and comprises 10 digital photographs of plant specimens and flowers pressed against windowpanes. The framed photographs now reside on the second floor of Myrin Library, near the Founders’ Room.
The work was first presented in May 2020 during the Berman Museum’s Annual Student Exhibition, held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kristen’s work received The Richard Goldberg Award, endowed by the late Dr. Richard Goldberg ’58, and his family, friends, and colleagues and awarded to the student exhibiting a sensitive interpretation of an artistic vision in the Annual Student Exhibition.
Kristen describes her inspiration for creating The Blossom Mandala in the following words:
The Blossom Mandala is the artist’s response to the lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic and quarantine. The pandemic’s arrival also coincided with the shift in seasons, leaving a curious dialogue between the seasonal transition to spring—the season associated with new life—and the pandemic’s shift to that of stagnancy for those under stay at home orders. The fragility and beauty of a flower blossoming is a reflection of the themes this pandemic forces us to consider, that life is beautiful, finite, and usually full of motion. But many are now adjusting to new routines, where time and days merge with each other amongst the lack of motion, including the artist who has found solace in this period of waiting by being a daily silent observer of the motion of spring from the panes in her bedroom window.
Special Collections Librarian Charlie Jamison purchased this work for the student art collection prior to his retirement from the college in June. Charlie acquired pieces of art from the annual student exhibition for 18 consecutive years, beginning in 2003. The student art collection in Myrin Library now comprises 136 pieces of art from 68 student artists. For more information on The Blossom Mandala and the other works on permanent display in the library, visit the Student Art Collection section of Digital Commons. Additional information and photographs of Kristen’s work can be found on the Berman Museum website along with the rest of the works in the 2020 Annual Student Exhibition.