On the evening of April 26, the Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts Gallery in Downtown Binghamton opened its doors to showcase the work of seven graduating Binghamton University seniors in the BFA Exhibition “Put It on the Fridge.” The gallery opening, hosted by the Brunelli Gallery and the BU art and design department, displayed the curated work of students who are part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in the department.
While the rain poured down on State Street, the gallery’s doors were open to a warm and lively atmosphere. Guests were welcomed with snacks and refreshments. The gallery featured a wide variety of art forms from students, such as interactive computer exhibitions, traditional canvas paintings, prints and illustrations.
Rachel Ceparski, a senior majoring in biology, said she was excited by the diversity of artistic expression within the exhibition.
“I love the diversity,” Ceparski said. “Every piece of work you look at is different within itself. It’s so cool that they’re each almost a different medium, and you can see so many different types of art. Art itself offers so many different ways to be good.”
The gallery featured a diverse crowd of people, including students, faculty and community members. The room had a social atmosphere, as guests mingled and observed the artwork. The artists discussed their work and answered questions while celebrating their four years of hard work. Many students came in support and recognition of their friends and classmates, including Ceparski.
“I have two friends whose art is in the show right now, and they invited me here,” Ceparski said. “I think it’s really awesome. I know the work that went into doing my friends’ own pieces. It’s cool to see their final products and also everyone else’s. I know how much work they put into it, and I think they look awesome.”
Guests also had the opportunity to view the artwork of other BU students they may not have previously known. Haley Han, a junior majoring in art and design, said she was excited to see the work of her peers.
“Some of these artists, I’ve never seen their work before,” Han said. “The talent here is really impressive. I’m really interested in the artwork here that students have to present, because I’m an art student myself.”
The works featured included illustrations inspired by Coin Laundry in Binghamton, cartoons about the struggles of adulthood and an interactive projected display of plans for Nuthatch Hollow, a BU living building project. Lily Newland, a senior majoring in art and design, presented her work at the exhibition. Her curated artwork featured three portraits — one of her grandfather, one of her mother and a self-portrait.
“I wanted my work to be anecdotal and have a very personal theme, but also have this ephemeral, dramatic narrative in a way that even though it’s very personal, most people can also relate to and get an emotional and psychological sense of what is depicted in the imagery,” Newland said.
Newland used a variety of intricate techniques in creating her work.
“I really tried to expand my use of different mediums,” she said. “I used charcoal, pastel, an airbrush with ink in it and stencil work.”
Newland also reflected on her time as an art and design major with a drawing concentration at BU.
“It’s been a wild ride and definitely a lot of fun,” she said. “A lot of people in the art department are graphic designers, so being a drawing major sets you apart, and you have to find your own way, but a lot of the staff have been really supportive.”
For John Brunelli, gallery director, “Put It on the Fridge” connects BU with the local community and art scene while displaying the hard work of graduating art students.
“It’s a great opportunity for a gallery that’s based in the community, owned by my brother and I, who are alumni of Binghamton University,” Brunelli said. “It creates a conversation between the community and the University, and I think it’s important to build that bridge.”
For many of the seniors, the exhibition was their first time presenting their work to a larger audience outside of a studio. However, the event aimed to provide a valuable experience for guests and students alike.
“It’s really awesome to see my work in a really beautiful setting,” Newland said. “It’s out there in the world and not just existing within a studio space. I think sometimes the problem with your own work is that you’re so close to it that you don’t really know how people are going to receive it, so when it’s out there in the world, it really gives you a chance to take in how people react to it, and I think that’s the most exciting part of it.”