Saturday, May 18, 2024

Purple Reflections: Alex Finkey’s artistic journey

Ego (I)


By Cinara Marquis

Art has always been a love for Alexander Finkey. From theater to music to visual art, he was always doing something throughout his education.

When it was time to pick a major for college, Finkey knew it would be in the art department. Not entirely certain of what kind of art he wanted to pursue, he contemplated.

“So, I boiled down to either music or (visual) art, and I decided that I thought art would be better for me personally just because I thought I had more passion for it,” Finkey said.

Finkey distinguishes music from his passion for visual art by classifying it as a love — instead, this helped him decide what he wanted to do with his college career.

“I didn’t really have any other major interests in other things than art,” Finkey said. “I thought about it as like, I could do this, but it’s not really something that I want to do.”

He came to SUNY Plattsburgh as a art major, unsure whether he could handle the rigors of SUNY Plattsburgh’s bachelor of fine arts program.

“I was going to be here for four years anyway, so I kind of realized, well, if I just keep taking classes, eventually I’m going to get to that level anyway. Then I started seeing the thesis show and everything on top of that, and I said, well, that’s what I want to do.”

Finkey applied for the bachelor of fine arts program in 2022. The process includes a portfolio review  from the main arts faculty and then the subsequent acceptance or rejection from the program.

Finkey was accepted, and that is where he has studied since.

“I had to work the courage up to get me to that point,” Finkey said.

Now that Finkey is graduating, it’s all mixed feelings, but he is excited for what the future holds.

“I want to do something else — I want to grow in different ways,” Finkey said. “I enjoy the school system; I enjoy learning, but right now I kind of just want to try something different.”

Finkey’s struggles with mental illness affected his motivation, and he never felt a constant drive to create art.

“I was a kid, a really young kid, when I started drawing, and it’s interesting because I talked to other people, and they’re like, ‘I started when I was a kid and I never stopped and I kept doing, but for me, I could never really get myself to keep doing it over and over again,” Finkey said.

Finkey experiences short bursts of energy where he can really delve into his work and enjoy the process. Once he made the decision to be an art major, it changed and his persistent passion was reignited once more, stronger than before.

This passion led him to create his thesis for the BFA show, where graduating fine arts majors showcase their final art projects.

At first, Finkey worked on a photography project for the thesis, where he sandwiched two color filters next to one another to create unique images. These images could be seen using 3D glasses, but he decided to change gears as the photos were somewhat monotonous.

So he began his work on “Purple Reflection.”

“I wanted to do the series as a way to appreciate the people in my life, and it slowly became something that I realized that we never really think about: how we touch each other with personalities,” Finkey said. “One person says something to you or becomes good friends with you in a way, and you never thought about that position before — how they live their lives, what they do in their lives and how much respect you have for those people.”

Finkey also says that the series is about what individuals can take away from people and implement into their own lives to become a better person and enjoy life to the fullest extent.

“First and foremost, people are really important to me, and they’re very important to my work, especially for the BFA show,” Finkey said. “People are one of the biggest parts of the work, kind of thinking about who I am and what has gotten me to this place.”

Provided by Alexander Finkey
Amare (Love)

“Purple Reflection” is a series of double exposure photos, in cobalt blues and hot magenta hues. The photos consist of intimate portraits and landscapes important to Finkey.

“These people have gotten me to the place I am today, and I find that a lot of people are so important to who we are, how we grow up and how we learn and understand each other, so I wanted to do the series,” Finkey said.

Finkey refers to the series as a cloud, not only because of its shape and size on the wall of the Burke Gallery in the Plattsburgh State Art Museum, but also because it can be viewed from any direction. No matter where the viewer looks, Finkey said, they could still enjoy the series.

“The series allowed me to bring landscapes and things like that, too, which I think are another really important part of the whole series because those are important places to me,” Finkey said. “It’s places like my home road, or it’s the benches outside at Saranac.”

Provided by Alexander Finkey

Procul (Away)

Colors also played a heavy role in the series, as they always have in Finkey’s work.

“I wanted to show two sides of a person, whether it was the passionate side that I see or it’s the calm side or maybe the sadder side of that person, or in some ways, the colors take on a ton of different meanings,” Finkey said. “It’s those two sides of those people that I couldn’t have one without the other in that person.”

He related the series’ physical arrangement to investigation walls, emphasizing connections.

“It kind of has that floating of crime TV shows or something like that where there’s strings that are hitting into tons of different places,” Finkey said. “I wanted it to feel like the connections that I have. I was in the center with my girlfriend, and then we’d spread out, and all of these people are important to all of us in different places, in different meanings.”


Provided by Alexander Finkey
(From left) McKenna Brazie, Abigail Duquette, Alexander Finkey and Kayla LaPier.


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