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Featured Student Work

Lily Rand 2024

Lily Rand, 2024 Library Senior Art Award Winner and her artwork

Lily Rand, 2024 Library Senior Art Award Winner


For over a decade, the Collins Memorial Library has sponsored an award for an outstanding graduating Art major. Each year a Library panel convenes to preview the senior show and after much discussion selects the winning artwork. The artist is awarded $250 and the honor of displaying their artwork prominently in the library for one year.

Collins Library is pleased to bestow the 2024 Senior Art Award to Lily Rand!

The selection committee was compelled by the unique style of Lily’s work, which flips the relationship between digital and analog, combined with the technical acumen required to render the degraded digital images in oil and acrylic paint. While we often attempt to capture a “real world” moment in digital form, in this series we see modern digital life fixed in a classic, more durable medium. Muted in palette, the paintings nonetheless draw the eye. The blurred faces and nearly pixelated images intrigue the viewer – as if the individual paintings and the series as a whole tells a story that is just out of reach.  The jurors felt themselves stepping in for a closer look, and invite you to do so as well.

Artist Statement

"My work investigates our historical moment as it takes place through online communities and digital spaces. Often temporal and vulnerable to censorship and erasure, my work memorializes online phenomena by transforming them into artifacts, through the tradition of painting. My project is concerned with mimesis, conspiracy, and history, as they unfold online, and how they might be reified in the ever-changing “real world."

Digital images and artifacts feel like precious and venerable clues, an ode to the mystery. They contain meaning, but to fit into a narrative or story they must be further investigated and oriented through writing. They begin as a phenomena, then are translated into artifacts/objects which contain meaning. But what is the next step? The meaning has to be utilized, their power has to be put to use. I hope to unite disparate images and ideas by giving them a story, through the art of painting, using historical techniques and methods, and style which is referential to some of the most renowned, and recognizable painters.

Deeply informed by the philosophy of Walter Benjamin, using digital, cultural, and online content to interrogate Benjamin’s idea of aura, or the soul contained by art. Research and engagement with online communities and content yields my source materialism; images which reflect cultural and societal conditions. Working in oils and occasionally acrylics, my project memorializes degraded images into paintings, attempting to imbue them with aura. It is this transformation that revives an image’s energy, its purpose to derive feeling from the viewer.”

Collins Library is looking forward to displaying Lily’s work in Collins Library for the coming year. Congratulations, Lily!

Library Jurors:
Jane Connelly, Archivist & Special Collections Librarian
Megan Smithling, Arts & Humanities Librarian
Jamie Spaine, Administrative and Special Projects Coordinator