Senior Thesis Exhibition: Patricia Hurley’s Halcyon

By Tori Pappas

After years in the making has she been workintry simplifying them while keeping the gist. After years in the making and many long nights in the studio, Patricia Hurley has something to be proud of. Halcyon, her visual arts senior thesis, showcased her body of work, consisting of drawings, prints and sculptures. The week long exhibition was in display in USD’s Sacred Heart Gallery the week of Feb. 25.

By definition, halcyon is an adjective used to describe a time usually in the past that was idyllic and peaceful. It originates from a Greek myth explaining the calm waters that occur before and after the winter solstice, lasting 10 to 14 days. Hurley says that her exhibition is a place of serenity.

“It is calm, with delicate lines and soft curves on white walls,” Hurley said. “But there is a tension. Just like the Halcyon days described in the Greek myth, the winter storms could return at any day. The calm waters are soothing, yet the possibility of the future is dark. In my exhibition, there is a sense of uncertainty within the images as they disappear back and forth off the paper, and as the steel bars quiver, swaying back and forth. I love the juxtapositions that come with the images, both strong and frail, peaceful and tensional.”

There are six steel rectangular sculptures arranged on the gallery floor. This is one of Hurley’s favorite pieces in her show. She loves the way they mimic human proportions by swaying and reverberating for minutes after. To the left of the entrance there are two prints that are another one of Hurley’s preferences. One is a seated female and the other is a seashell.

“They have a transient quality and appear as ghost-like images,” Hurley said. “There is a fog that separates the viewer from gaining full access to the subject, and he or she is therefore left with questions. The ink moves vertically and puddles in areas to exploit the formation of the figure, such as the limbs, torso and head. The shell curves in the same direction that the figure is seated and engages with the other print in form and contrast.”

The 12-year old who started by painting portraits of her grandfather and making chairs out of foil from a leftover baked potato at dinner turned into quite the talented artist. Hurley had only one high school art class under her belt before enrolling at USD and declaring a double major in visual art and art history.

The next exhibition will be Virginia Da Rosa from Mar. 11 to Mar. 15.