Students enrolled in the B.A. and B.S. in Visual Arts capstone course are displaying their work in the Fine Arts Building on the first and second floors of the northern entrance from Dec. 1-7. Guests got a first peek at the opening reception on Friday, Dec. 1. The exhibition, entitled, “The Final Boss: Thesis Edition,” serves as a final celebration of the senior art students’ pieces and let anyone get a chance to walk in and appreciate their hard work. Even if you missed it or can’t make it over in the waning days of the show, this series of stories will inform you about the artists and their work. The exhibiting artists in the show include: Rae Spiegl, Stephanie Chetner, Andrea Diaz, Andrea Andalis, Jeanne’ Charlene, Kaya Keller, Myah Perino, Osny Polanco, Lily Davidson, Abigail Lewis, Christina Shala, Ileah Pacheco, and Kimesha Staton.
Andrea Diaz Combines Two Mediums For Her Art
By Lauren Berardi
Andrea Diaz is a senior at SUNY New Paltz and is originally from Fishkill, N.Y. Some of Diazs’ works include a 3D-printed lamp that changes color to show the hue of the first light of the day, called “Sunrise Simulation”; Her other works include three oil paintings. A painting of her partner that makes good use of negative space called “4 a.m. Muse”; painting of a classical sculpture with a bull’s head and two middle fingers called “Peaches For You To Eat.” For this piece she used Photoshop to help create the subject matter and used it as a reference for the painting.
Diaz said that she’s very into graphic design, but says “I just so happened to be in the visual arts program,” because she also has an interest in the fine arts.
“I like to combine more traditional art with graphic design,” Diaz said.
With her “Sunrise Simulation” piece, she combined nature and modern technology by creating a lamp with color-changing LED lights that play a four-minute simulation of a sunrise “all from scratch.”
“It’s kind of like bridging technology and nature,” Diaz said. “It’s nature because it’s a sunrise simulation, and technology because it was 3-D printed, which is very modern.”
Jeanne’ Charlene: Resilience through Art
By Madison Shann
“I really like to use bright and obnoxious colors because it catches people’s attention.”
Jeanne’ Charlene is a fourth-year visual arts major at SUNY New Paltz. Originally from Hamptonburgh, N.Y. she aspires to be an art teacher or work in the disaster relief field after graduating from college.
Even though she’s been making art since childhood, Charlene only started to take it seriously during her senior year in high school. She creates a lot of sculptural paintings that contain fabric and louder hues to portray joy and her love for texture. “I really like to use bright and obnoxious colors because it catches people’s attention,” said Charlene.
She describes her art pieces as being distressed, to show resilience and the journey getting through trials in life. “A lot of my art is based on my personal experiences and emotions that I’ve felt throughout my life of going through hardships with health issues,” Charlene said, “I was sick a lot growing up so that was like one of the things I could do that didn’t take a lot of energy. It was like drawing and stuff so that was therapeutic in that sense.”
Charlene’s main art inspirations are Sam Gilliam and Lynda Benglis. She admires Gilliam’s work for his use of draping fabric and Bengli’s work for her creation of sculptures that are usually dripping and have organic shapes, which she enjoys.
Charlene’s main goal for producing art is mostly about expression. Occasionally, she enters herself in shows for galleries.
Kaya Keller: Bringing Joy and Social Connection
By Erin Carlson
“Maybe the energy you have between people is not destroyed. Even when it’s gone.”
Kaya Keller is concluding her senior year at SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelor of Science degree in visual arts. With roots in Kingston, New York, Keller has previous experience in the art realm as she worked with the Department of Regional Art Workers (D.R.A.W.), a community arts organization based in Kingston.
After college, Keller aspires to work in set design. Her contribution to the exhibit emulates that with the handcrafted shed portraying a scene to be interpreted by the viewer. She uses a wide variety of objects for her art, ranging from fibers, found items, glitter and candle wax. Even with all of these different tools, Keller is still able to portray a common theme of joy and social connection. The artist brings the law of conservation of energy into her work. That is, the scientific principle that energy can neither be created or destroyed, but only transferred. She believes this applies to the intangible as well, which is portrayed in her playful art style.
Taking Sculpture Thesis allowed Keller the opportunity to work independently on her own project. She explained how it has been a huge learning experience for her as she knows how to improve her work in future endeavors now. “I think this definitely could be better,” Keller said slightly dismissively of her effort. “And probably next time, I’ll have a better grasp on how to do that.”
Abigail Lewis: Where Art Speaks More Than Words
By Abbey Nettle
“I have this need to get it all out and create.”
Abigail Lewis is a fourth-year (or “senior senior” as she calls it, i.e., she’s been here a long time). She’s from Goshen, N.Y. and is finishing up her Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts degree at SUNY New Paltz. Many of her pieces, mainly composed from drawing and painting, are on display at the BFA Thesis Exhibition. At a glance, it is evident that much of her work revolves around the human form and bright contrasting colors, which she goes into detail about within the exhibition’s signage.
Lewis plays between the fine lines of realism and surrealism in pieces such as “Coquette,” which details a stunning young woman in turmoil. Nearby is “Nymph,” with its glowing blue-green hues of a fairy-like being. One of her strong suits is exploring the range of humanness through a medium that isn’t blatant text. “I feel like it’s helpful for me as a person to illustrate people with very clear emotions on their faces. I find myself in spaces often where I can’t form the words for what I’m experiencing so I paint it instead.”
Her piece entitled “Attention Disorder,” is possibly her most complex, where she explores the many faces of ADHD as understood from her own personal experience. “I have this need to get it all out and create,” Lewis noted. “It’s the only way I can deal with it.”