For each Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate, the collection of artworks, writing, and oral presentations fulfill the year-long thesis requirement in the program. The Opening Reception and Artist’s Talks will be held on Thursday, April 11 at the Dowd Gallery from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Kelly Brown, a BA candidate with a ceramics concentration, presents a series of abstracted ceramic vessels in a collection titled Disquiet. Objects in the exhibition are inspired by experiences gained through the practice of yoga asana (physical poses). The simplicity of form and texture combined with linear surface treatment is working with the tension between sensory experience and memory. Brown says, “The practice of yoga has been eye-opening. It led me to experience momentary discomfort, which was emotionally revealing, purging, and sometimes scary. The practice showed me a way to communicate unity that has evolved slowly and gradually as my body moved through various poses, creating a form of release.”
Brown will be graduating in May after a 10-year journey through higher education. Over the years she has attended Buffalo State College, SUNY Geneseo, Onondaga Community College, and SUNY Cortland. Being readmitted to SUNY Cortland has given her connections that have opened up opportunities like attending a national ceramics conference (NCECA) in 2018, traveling abroad to Belize and Cuba in 2019 and attending a workshop at Pocosin Arts Center. She has also earned a place on the President's list and Dean's list for two semesters and earned third place in the Student Select in 2018 for two series of porcelain drinking vessels.
McEvoy, a BFA candidate, has majored in studio art with a specialization in ceramics. She exhibits a collection of non-functional ceramics objects inspired by the natural world as well as traditional vessel forms titled Echoes of Nature. McEvoy comments, “I was influenced by natural forces and environmental transformations which occur over time, including textures and surfaces of plant-based materials. These visual observations informed my approach toward surface manipulation. Clay is an ideal medium to explore the natural world because the physical process in clay mimics changes and progressions in nature. The Echoes of Nature series reflects natural occurrences (decay, erosion, growth, etc.) without necessarily replicating them. I enjoy maintaining a sense of ambiguity behind my work and its meaning because it allows the viewer to interpret the work on their own and engage in a personal narrative."
Jillian McEvoy's works have been exhibited in the Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition 2018 in Albany, N.Y. Her works have also been exhibited in SUNY Cortland’s Student Select Exhibition in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Jillian McEvoy received the Jo Schaffer Award in Art History, and in 2019 she received the Gerald N. DiGiusto Award in Studio Art. In 2017, she was chosen to create a painting of the campus’ Old Main building for the 2017 SUNY Cortland Holiday Message.
Erin Schiano showcases the culmination of her visual research, Documents of Interest, as part of her BFA Thesis exhibition. Her large-scale installation, comprised of a series of sculptural forms accompanied by a collection of black and white photographs set in the center gallery, was conceived using materials associated with the agricultural forestry industry and an industrial foundry. Schiano seeks to address an urgent environmental conversation of the 21st century between humans and the world they inhabit. Manipulation and enhancement of natural environments have been regarded as a requirement of human survival since the very beginning of human civilization. With the consistent development of new technologies, the path of positive production is becoming one of destruction. Pressing issues such as global climate change, overpopulation, and world hunger require a shift in the conversation to include how scientific developments can be used to better living conditions for the masses.
Documents of Interest casts a gaze upon two examples of human uses of natural resources, the Oneida Communities Stirpicultural program and modern agricultural technology. The stirpiculture experiments of the Oneida Community resulted in the planned conception and raising of fifty-eight children bred from members of the community selected for religious and intellectual superiority. Spurred by her own interest in the agricultural world, she employs the visual and material language associated with two disparate instances of human manipulation of natural materials. Schiano has participated in several art exhibitions including Liquid Earth, a group show of international artists at the University of Scranton in conjunction with the 2018 International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. She was chosen as best of Student Select at SUNY Cortland’s Dowd Gallery in 2017 and received Gallerists Choice in the 2018 Student Select exhibition. Schiano was chosen as a finalist at the 2018 SUNY Best of Student Art exhibition in Albany, NY.
In 2017 she was selected as an Undergraduate Summer Research Fellow where she traveled to Jingdezhen, China to research cottage industry iron casting technologies. The research conducted was presented at the 2018 Transformations Conference of Student Research. Schiano will present a defense of her thesis, Documents of Interest, at the 2019 Transformations Conference of Student Research on April 12th, 2019.