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The 2015 Plattsburgh State B.F.A. Senior Exhibition, a requirement for those within the Bachelor of Fine Arts Studio Art program at the college, will take place from April 11 to May 16.
A total of 17 students are required to participate. There will be a lecture planned on the opening day of the exhibition in the Hartman Theatre, located in Myers Fine Arts, at 3 p.m. There, students will give speeches about their crafts and processes. A reception is scheduled for 4 p.m afterward.
PSUC Art Professor Karen Blough, one of two art historians on campus, said that while she has little involvement with the exhibition, the historians’ opinions are sometimes sought regarding the academic performance of each student.
“We do a review of the student work, the entire faculty does,” Blough said, “and that includes the two art historians.”
Blough said several hundred are expected to attend the exhibtion, though that number varies from year to year.
The PSUC fine arts program requires students to have a concentration in a particular artistic medium along with a complement. This is similar to a major and a minor, but a concentration and a complement are within the studio art major.
As a result, students’ work varies not only by artistic style, but also the medium in which they work. The acceptable media in the exhibition, Blough said, are painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, graphic design, printmaking and ceramics.
PSUC Director of Art Galleries Cecilia Esposito teaches the class that prepares students for the annual exhibition, in addition to her directorial duties. Esposito also acts as the coordinator for the museum studies program, a minor on campus that “allows students to gain first-hand experience working in an art, history or natural history museum,” according to the PSUC website.
Esposito said it is interesting to see the work that comes out from October to March, when students are preparing his or her pieces for the exhibition. She said some of the best work happens during that short period of time.
“Technically, for everyone, the process is a little bit different, depending on what exactly your choice of photographs are,” said Jessica Karszen, an exhibition participant with a concentration in photography. “A lot of people specialize in portraiture.
For some people, it’s landscape photography. For me, I’m night photography, so I go out with a tripod, and I do long exposures.”
Karszen doesn’t use flash when shooting at night, so she keeps her shutter speed low enough — about 15 seconds — to allow in the optimal amount of light.
Karszen said she also does sports photography, and practicing both can be a beneficial mix.
“You have a different way of approaching it,” she said. “When you’re working with people, you generally have to be more social, talk to them. That way, they get more comfortable with the position they’re in. You’re taking a photo of them. It gets to a personal level, whether you want it to or not.”
Karszen said her favorite part of the process is going out and taking pictures. Her favorite part of night photography is the light that she gets from certain angles or methods.
Tiffany Kelley, another exhibition participant with a concentration in photography, said her work is personal, and she aligns her work to how she is feeling at the time.
Kelley said her love of art came in 10th grade, when she took an art class. She also began painting that year and started photography in 11th grade.
Kelley said she puts a lot of time and effort into her work, but she “can’t put a number on it.”
Kelley said she would like to see more art on campus besides the Museum Without Walls.
“I think the arts are important because they give you skills to think outside the box, to plan your next move,” Kelley said. “There’s a lot of things you could apply art to.”
Adam Thung, a junior in the B.F.A. Studio Art program, will participate in the exhibition next year and said he is excited to have the opportunity.
“I get to see the seniors of this year, so I can prepare for what I’m going to do next year,” Thung said. “It shows your growth from when you started as a freshman, to when you graduate. I’m excited to see this B.F.A. show coming up in April.”
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