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Annual Juried Student Exhibit: Gracie White ‘20

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePauw chapter.

Gracie White is a senior majoring in studio art and minoring in education. 


HerCampus:  Hi Gracie! I recently went to the opening of the juried student art exhibition at Peeler, and I saw you perform a piece! I heard it was the first ever performance piece done in this show. First off, would you give me a refresher on the title of this piece?

Gracie: My piece is titled PunchHitSmashStrikeBashSlam.


HC: That’s a very unique name with the string of verbs and the fact that you decided not to put spaces in it. Is there a particular reason you decided to title your piece this?

Gracie: I wanted to portray the constant aggressive battering that I do to this piece. The title is long and repetitive which lines up with my actions done in this performance.


HC: I obviously watched you perform this piece, but for those who did not, would you care to briefly describe how you performed this piece?

Gracie: This performance started with a cube of raw clay that was about 15×15 inches. It was smoothed on all sides and gave off the appearance that it was a perfect cube. I went up and kneeled next to the cube and began to punch it. I continued punching until I didn’t feel like I could punch anymore, flattening down the clay. 


HC: What Is your inspiration behind this work?

Gracie: The art that I have been working on for seminar has had an underlying concept/theme of questioning my role in society and the stereotypes that come along with that. This piece in particular was meant to push back on the societal norm of the weak and innocent women. I have been told throughout my life that I should express myself through emotion rather than physical action. Because I am I woman I am expected to use my words, but words do not always express the anger you feel. 


HC: Considering how personal your concept is, how did it feel performing your most recent piece in front of an audience?

Gracie: This was the first time I have ever performed in front of live audience. It was definitely nerve racking before I started. As soon as I started punching the clay, a whole new set of emotions raced through me. I felt strong and powerful but by the end I was physically exhausted. This was the most vulnerable I have felt through a creation of my work. I have created other pieces similar to this in my studio with the only viewer being a video camera. Doing this in front of a live audience made me feel emotions that I had not experienced in the studio alone— this made the piece more powerful in the end. 


HC: I am so glad you performed Gracie, and I loved hearing about your concepts. Thank you for giving me some wonderful insights into your work! 

If you would like to watch Gracie perform her piece, you can find it on the Richard E. Peeler Art Center Facebook page or on the @depauwart Instagram page.

Grace Lang

DePauw '22

DePauw 2022
Hi, I'm Rose Overbey! I'm a senior at DePauw University, majoring in English writing. I'm a passionate non-fiction writer with interests in upcycling, crafts, fashion, and the environment.