Exhibition Information

SUNY Design Invitational
April - May

Designers and instructors from across the State University of New York system will exhibit their recent work in a wide survey of contemporary design and related projects. Participating artists include Mitchell Christensen, The College at Brockport; Stephanie Dinkins, SUNY Stony Brook; Gerkhan Ersan, Binghamton University; Anne Galperin, SUNY New Paltz; Szilvia Kadas, SUNY Cortland; Warren Lehrer, SUNY Purchase, and Judy Livingston, NYSCC Alfred University.

Applying individual aesthetic approaches, works in the exhibition follows the hierarchy of techniques, typography, and images to communicate a message to the end-user in an efficient and optimized style. Timothy Massey, Director of the Tower Fine Arts Gallery at SUNY Brockport, and co-curator of the show states, “From utilitarian salt shakers on a cafeteria table to the most luxe logos and letterheads, the design is prevalent in our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not. And, as always, artists and designers receive their inspiration from any number of sources, both likely and unlikely.”      

Screenshot of virtual tour entry Visit the interactive tour of the exhibit

About Artists:

Mitchell Christensen's work in the show titled Compeer Rochester 2018 Annual Report, Life in Living Color is the theme for the 2018 annual report for Compeer Rochester, which is an internationally recognized wellness model, and nonprofit organization. The theme speaks to how they nurture relationships that empower individuals to show their inner colors.

Blind embossing figures are taken from Compeer's logo onto the report's white cover along with die-cutting the heads to provide a peek at the color concealed on the following inside page combine to symbolize "the hidden self." The act of opening the report to reveal a full vibrant abstraction of the logo-figures becomes a metaphor for how Compeer helps clients open up to express their inner beauty. 

Clients and staff were photographed using high-key lighting to help evoke the sense of openness that grows between clients and their peer mentors, as well as to reflect the joyful attitudes of staff members. Repeating circle motifs echo the logo with a celebratory, balloon-like element that brings color to the spreads. The cover's columned texture adds structure to the piece and a tactile element that engages readers.

From 2009–2016, Christensen worked as a lead designer as part of the in-house creative team for the University of Rochester Medical Center. His work supported branding and identity initiatives, grant requests, fundraising campaigns, and corporate communications to the public, staff, and donors. From 1993–1999, Christensen was a staff designer for the ViaHealth health system and Rochester General Hospital.

From 2011–2015, as staff to the co-director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Christensen art directed and designed the council's annual Progress Report & Recommended Priority Projects Plan funding request to the Office of the Governor of New York State. In 2012 and 2014, the reports were designated by the state as "Best Plan Awardee," helping to secure millions of dollars in additional funding for the region those years. In 2015 he designed the council's winning Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan "Finger Lakes Forward," a special one-time competition for an additional $500 million in funding for local economic development projects. 

Over the years, his professional work has won numerous Public Relations Society of America PRISM awards and Educational Advertising Awards. Recently, his scholarly professional practice m-print won international and national recognition at the IDA Awards in Los Angeles, the Indigo Awards in the Netherlands, and the Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA). 

Mitch Christensen, Assistant Professor of Art at The College at Brockport's Department of Art, received his MFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, in 2004. Since 2016, he has been appointed to teach and coordinate the Graphic Design concentration at the College at Brockport.

Stephanie Dinkins takes a multipronged approach to advocating for values-driven artificially intelligent ecosystems that are equitable and transparent. Her practice weaves art production & exhibition, community-based workshops, and public speaking to encourage action toward making artificial intelligence inclusive, accessible, and transparent. Employing emerging technologies, lens-based practices, and community engagement, she confronts questions of equity in AI and data sovereignty. She is a changemaker and emissary, dedicated to helping the general population better understand why deeply rooted topics are relevant to day-to-day lives. Dinkins reminds us that many AI systems we are embedding into the structure of civil society homogenize rather than celebrate the diversity of humankind. 

Dinkins' work examines the opportunities and perils of nascent technologies, exploring what possibilities exist to create social, legal, and institutional systems that are more just and equitable. Her research explores the accountability and ethical issues raised by the AI scaffold we are inserting into government systems, products, and applications without in-depth examinations of potential societal impacts or long term implications for consumers. Think high-end self-driving cars that prioritize the wellbeing of the car's owners over others rendering anyone who can not afford the luxury vehicle expendable because the vehicle will protect its owners over nuns or children on the street. Not to mention, many cameras used in AI systems do not recognize people with darker skin and, therefore, making us more vulnerable to accidents and misidentification.

As society becomes more reliant on artificial intelligence, many voices are left out of the creation of these systems that make both frivolous and consequential decisions about the way we live, work, love, and remember. Artificially intelligent systems — the algorithms they are built on and the data that inform them — are becoming unseen arbiters of the networks that administer our private lives, civil relationships, and future histories. As these technologies expand and grow, people of color (P.O.C.), people with disabilities, LGBTQIA, and other underutilized communities must participate in the creation, training, and testing of the algorithmic matrices. She says, "Those of us who fall outside the hegemonic norm stand to be left behind (at best), or actively vilified by these systems that are becoming the automatic, invisible arbiters of life, making consequential decisions about an unfathomably broad number of fields including personal and institutional finance, medicine, the adjudication of law, as well as our social interactions."

Associate Professor Stephanie Dinkins is a transdisciplinary artist who creates platforms for dialog about artificial intelligence as it intersects race, gender, and humanity's future histories. Her art employs lens-based practices, the manipulation of space, and technology to grapple with notions of consciousness, agency, perception, and social equity. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to develop AI literacy and co-create more inclusive, equitable artificial intelligence. Dinkins' artwork is exhibited internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private, and institutional venues – by design. These include International Center of Photography, NY, Bitforms Gallery, NY, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Institute of Contemporary Art Dunaujvaros, Herning Kunstmuseum, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Wave Hill, the 'Studio Museum in Harlem, Spedition Bremen, and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Through Project al Khwarizmi (PAK), Dinkins helps local communities conceptually understand what algorithms and artificially intelligent systems are as well as how and where these systems impact their lives.

Dinkins earned an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1997 and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Studies Program. She exhibits and publicly advocates for inclusive AI internationally at a broad spectrum of community, private, and institutional venues – by design. Dinkins is currently a 2018/2019 Soros Equality Fellow, Data & Society Research Institute Fellow and Artist in residence at Nokia Bell Labs. Past residencies include Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab, Pioneer Works Tech Lab, NEW INC, Blue Mountain Center; The Laundromat Project; Santa Fe Art Institute, and Art/Omi.

The New York Times recently featured Dinkins in its pages as an AI influencer. Apple Inc recognized Dinkins' research and community-centered efforts by featuring her as a local hero in their "Behind the Mac" ad campaign (Brooklyn, NY edition). Wired, Art In America, Artsy, Art21, Hyperallergic, the B.B.C., Wilson Quarterly, and a host of popular podcasts have recently highlighted Dinkins' art and ideas.

Gökhan Ersan is a design practitioner, educator, and historian located in New York State. Ersan's academic and creative work explores relationships between technology and design in shaping material culture.

Gökhan Ersan is a design practitioner, educator, and historian located in New York State. He holds a Ph.D. in art and design history from U.I.C., Chicago. Ersan's academic and creative work explores relationships between technology and design in shaping material culture. His artists' books are in the special collections of the Getty Institute, MET, MoMA, Ryerson, Newberry Library, and more. He is engaged in grant-funded collaborations to develop information design that bridges humanities natural sciences and engineering research. He joined SUNY Binghamton as an assistant professor in 2015 after fourteen years of teaching at the SAIC, Chicago.

Anne Galperin's current scholarship is pretty eclectic and has radically diverged from the more conventional print design practice she was engaged in earlier in her career.

Work underway includes an oral history of Betti Broadwater Haft, a Tennessee-born, New York City-bred Modernist-era graphic designer. A concurrent research project maps the development of functional wearables and includes interviews with designers making these garments and accessories. The two pieces in this exhibit are works in progress exploring handcrafted textiles, digital data, and proactive social messaging.

Earlier in her career, she focused on print design. More recently, She has begun to design wearables, artifacts worn on the body that are electronically or digitally activated. Her client list includes the American Composers Forum, Chronicle Books, Cranbrook Academy of Art, D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers), Four Walls Eight Windows, New York University Press, O/R Books, Princeton Architectural Press, Princeton University Press, SPIN Magazine/Three Rivers Press, Time-Life Books/Williams Sonoma, and the Walker Art Center. Galperin is a recipient of two merit awards from Bookbuilders West and a Print Magazine Regional Design Award.

Semi-recent writing includes an essay in Image–Music–Text: Discovering Album Aesthetics, Museum Tusculanum Press, Norway, 2011. She is currently developing a proposal for a book about wearable technologies and working on an oral history project with women designers who began their careers in the mid-20th century.

She chaired the Art Department at the State University of New York at New Paltz from Fall 2011 through May 2016.

Galperin earned a BSc. in Human Development and Social Policy with Honors from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and an MFA in 2D design from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design and teaches courses including design foundations, typography, theory and criticism, history, and research methods. 

Szilvia Kadas' research deals with the Anthropocene and reexamines conventional values of art and design. Kadas believes design has social, cultural, and environmental responsibilities beyond its commercial value; therefore, her work explores the concept of sustainability and the ethical ramifications of design. In her recent work, she strives to build a new visual narrative of ecological preservation. She adds, "Form, color, and text serve as catalysts to expose the fragility of our ecosystem. I started exploring sustainable practices and materials in graphic design during my MFA training in 2008, where the focus of my work was to mitigate the negative impact of my designs on society and the environment. In my professional practice, I strive to cultivate sustainable processes and turn my attention to social issues and community outreach design. I employ a wide range of digital and traditional media and techniques, such as video, digital prints, and hand-made printmaking techniques, while exploring sustainable materials, such as recycled papers and organic colors. My body of work includes illustrations, advertisements, infographics, posters, logos, and identity designs."

Kadas is an assistant professor of Graphic Design and Digital Media at SUNY Cortland. Kadas received MFA in graphic design and printmaking from the University of Arkansas. Additionally, Kadas earned a Ph.D. in human and community development with a concentration on sustainability and design ethics from West Virginia University and an MA in Art History. 

Warren Lehrer is a writer and artist/designer known internationally as a pioneer in the fields of visual literature and design authorship. His work explores the vagaries and luminescence of character, the relationships between social structures and the individual, and the pathos and absurdity of life.

Lehrer's multimedia project on display, A LIFE IN BOOKS: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley (2013) is an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it, all written by Lehrer's protagonist, who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and career. Nearly a year after the controversial author is thrown into a federal prison for refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source, he decides to break his silence. But it's not as simple as giving up a name to the grand jury. Over the course of one long night, in the darkness of his prison cell, he whispers his life story into a microcassette recorder, tracing his journey from the public housing project of his youth, to a career as a journalist, then experimental novelist, college professor, husband, father, accidental bestselling author, pop-culture pundit, and unindicted prisoner. The book has received nine awards, including the International Book Award for Best New Fiction, the IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Award, and a Print Magazine Design Award.

Five Oceans in a Teaspoon is a book and multimedia project written by muckraking journalist/poet Dennis J Bernstein, visualized by Warren Lehrer. An extensive collection of short visual poems, Five Oceans in a Teaspoon consists of a book (Paper Crown Press), animations, an exhibition, and reading/performances by the author and artist. In 1979, Bernstein and Lehrer began working on a book of short poems, originally titled Stretch Marks. Instead of completing that book, Dennis and Warren leaped into writing their first play together, and over the intervening years, they collaborated on three books, including French Fries (now considered a classic in experimental literature and expressive typography). A few years ago, they began collaborating again on poems. Dennis's writing. Warren's visualizations. Now, on the 40th anniversary of their original effort, they have completed the book of poems. Comprised of 225 poems (including a dozen or so from the original effort), Five Oceans in a Teaspoon reflects Bernstein's life experiences and the artistry of Bernstein and Lehrer at the height of their creative powers.

Warren Lehrer has received many awards for his books and projects, including the Brendan Gill Prize, the Innovative Use of Archives Award, the IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year Award, The International Book Award for Best New Fiction, a Media That Matters Award, three American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) Book awards, two Type Director's Club (TDC) awards, The International Book Design Award, a Best of the Best Award from the New York Book Show, a National Indie Book Award, a Next Generation Indie Book Award, an STA (Society of Typographic Arts) Special Recognition Award, and a Prix Arts Electronica Award. His work is in numerous collections, including MoMA, the Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, and Tate Gallery.

Over the last few years, Lehrer has been setting stories and text into animation, video, and interactive media. Animations include Globalization: Preventing the Sameness of the World and panoramic projections for 1001 Voices: a Symphony for a New America, with a libretto by Judith Sloan, and music by Frank London. Lehrer is a professor of Art & Design at the School of Art & Design, SUNY Purchase. 

Judy Livingston's latest research includes working on a guidebook for adaptive bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies entitled Start with YES: Creating Inclusive B'nai Mitzvah Ceremonies. A "bar mitzvah (for boys)" or "bat mitzvah" (for girls) is a significant religious ceremony recognizing the transition of a Jewish child into adulthood. "B'nai mitzvah" is plural. The project has evolved from the design of the page layout to the design of a system for inclusion, challenging social norms, raising awareness, and advocating for dignity and respect for all levels of ability. The goal is to make it possible for every child, no matter their level of physical and intellectual capacity, or social class, to participate fully in Jewish ritual and community life. 

The Start with YES: Creating Inclusive B'nai Mitzvah Ceremonies guidebook features inspirational quotes from Jewish liturgy. These typographic illustrations are laser engraved on Arnhem paper.

Livingston is dedicated to design as a catalyst for ideation, exploration, critical thinking, visual literacy, innovation, and craft. She believes that design is the synthesis of intuitive and rational processes, balancing creativity with intellect, and experimentation with intent.

Her research focuses on creative collaborations for positive societal change. She brings to every classroom the vast experience, management, and leadership skills gained in working with commercial enterprises, cultural institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Judy's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) in Rochester, NY, Gallery IANG in Seoul, South Korea, and the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, Italy.

She received her MFA degree summa cum laude from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI). Her education includes graduate study abroad at Kyoto Seiko University (Kyoto, Japan), workshops at the Basel School of Design (Basel, Switzerland) and at the Vignelli Center for Design Studies (Rochester, NY), and continuing, non-degree studies at the College for Creative Studies (Detroit, MI).

Livingston is a member of AIGA, the professional association of design, R.A.F., Rochester Advertising Federation, UCDA, University and College Designers Association, and Friend of ico-D, International Council of Design.

Office Information

Dowd Fine Arts Center, 106 Graham Avenue and Prospect Terrace Cortland, NY 13045

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