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Davis, California

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Basement Gallery Senior Shows exhibit graduating artists’ final pieces as students

Artists and visitors of “The Singular is Plural” Senior Show discuss the importance of the yearly tradition 


By SAVANNAH ANNO — arts@theaggie.org

Every Thursday, from May 2 to June 7, the UC Davis Basement Gallery is hosting its annual series of Senior Shows. Featuring the work of three different graduating fourth-years each week, the Basement Gallery gives students a final opportunity to exhibit all they have learned over the past four years. 

“I think it was enlightening being able to get it done and realizing how much we’ve learned since we first started,” Danielle Dizon, a fourth-year art studio major, said. “We’re so much more used to installing and showing works now compared to when we were freshmen. Our four years actually gave us skills to put towards what we were doing, and we were actually able to throw a show together.” 

Dizon, along with fourth-year art studio and sociology double major Madeline Dei Rossi and third-year art studio major Noel Bresson, were the artists of The Basement Gallery’s second Senior Show on May 9, titled “The Singular is Plural.” 

Each show is identified by a unique title chosen collectively by the three featured artists to reflect an overarching theme. 

“We noticed that all of our works individually are really self-referential and about self portraiture,” Dizon said. “But we were reading across the themes larger than that. Our work is not so much about ourselves but more about how we relate to the collective and how [we], as singular people, are bigger than ourselves.” 

Exhibiting 24 different works, “The Singular is Plural” includes photography, painting, sculpture, charcoal drawings and more. Each artist included a range of mediums and focuses in their pieces: the self, patriarchal social structures, the environment, depictions of truth and even insects. 

Despite varying artistic styles, the show was able to flow together and create a reflective, intimate space as visitors made their way through the room. Filled with close friends and fellow students, The Basement Gallery was alive with celebration as they studied and discussed the graduates’ final pieces as students. 

“Seeing Maddie [Dei Rossi] is really great, because I’ve always known that she’s really talented,” Chelsea Chhem, a fourth-year art history major, said. “It’s so nice to see all of her works in one space and really consolidate everything she’s been thinking of throughout the year.” 

“Showing your work is nerve-wracking, but in the best way,” Dei Rossi said. “I’m feeling deep gratitude.” 

Not only does The Basement Gallery function to congratulate the fourth-years, it also gives them a final opportunity to practice curation as well as gallery planning, providing hands-on experience for their future careers in the art world. 

Esther Jung, a fourth-year art studio major, discussed the importance of the gallery’s existence on campus, proudly identifying as “The Basement Gallery’s biggest fan.” 

“I love the student-centered nature of it all,” Jung said. “I think it’s really good at actually preparing art students for a future career. A big factor that college art curriculum lacks in general is practical application, actually getting involved in the art world, in the people, and actually setting up art in a gallery.” 

Solely student-led, The Basement Gallery is different from other UC student galleries, which often utilize outside curators. As a result, The Basement Gallery gives featured artists like Dizon, Dei Rossi and Bresson complete freedom in designing and preparing their shows. 

“There’s a lot of work that goes into this stuff,” Bresson said. “You don’t really know until you’re doing it.” 

“It’s mostly just a ton of doing and re-doing,” Dei Rossi said. “I think that’s the hardest part and what’s the most time consuming. Then, there’s leveling things out, considering how people will interact with the art and thinking about where each piece should go.” 

With the amount of time put into each show and the range of pieces exhibited by each artist, the Senior Shows serve as an intimate depiction of each graduate’s time and experience at UC Davis. While participating in the shows is optional, Mia Rassam, a fourth-year art studio major and co-lead director, explained that most fourth-years jump at the chance to be featured in the gallery and celebrate their final bodies of work. 

Hosting six different shows, The Basement Gallery will be featuring the work of 18 graduating seniors this year. Apart from “The Singular is Plural,” other past titles include “Still,” which featured the work of fourth-year art studio majors Rachel Li, Nelsy Perez and Evelyn Alvarez on May 2, as well as “Las Tres Chicas,” by fourth-year art studio majors Ary Calderón-Miramontes, Ji Ho Kim and Paola Vazquez on May 16. 

Their next Senior Show will open from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 23, showcasing the work of fourth-year art studio majors Mia Rossum, Cerina-Marie Smit and Mariam Tawfik. 

“Our show, ‘They’re Hysterical,’ is all about female-centric conversations, tension through material and healing,” Rossum said. “We’ve had such a great time organizing the show, and we’re honored to share it with the Davis community.” 

Exhibiting shows every Thursday up until June 7, you can find information on the following events through The Basement Gallery’s website or Instagram, @ucd_basement_gallery, and join the celebration, taking in the unique work and perspectives each artist has to offer. 

“It’s kind of overwhelming, especially when there’s a lot of people here, but it’s nice to feel like there’s an end point for all of this,” Bresson said. “This feels more like a graduation than anything else.”

Written by: Savannah Anno — arts@theaggie.org 


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