Artistic mastery, hard work and a passion for everything creative — these qualities characterize 11 seniors whose work is featured in Binghamton University’s 2023 BFA thesis exhibition.
Located in the Elsie B. Rosefsky Memorial Art Gallery, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” showcases the work of 11 seniors graduating with a bachelor’s of fine arts (BFA). With works ranging from oil on canvas to a digital projection, the multimedia exhibition illustrates the diversity of experiences and interests among the seniors.
After its reveal on April 13, the exhibition has been open for visitors to experience the culmination of four years of undergraduate study and practice. Visitors are greeted with a booklet at the entrance containing artist statements from each senior, explaining their thought processes behind their work and their relationship with art.
The art pieces themselves occupy their own unique spaces in the gallery, each telling their own story — oil paintings display landscapes and abstract imagery, while more three-dimensional works include a modified bookshelf, a pair of painted teal sneakers and a circular pool lit by a digital projection, among other pieces.
Evan Lau, a senior majoring in graphic design, described the intent of “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” and what it means to them as an artist.
“The senior BFA show is a culmination of BFA students’ progress,” Lau wrote in an email. “It’s a celebration of the work we make and our capabilities as artists. For me, it represents the next step in our careers as artists and creatives, whether it be going into visual arts, marketing or other creative outlets.”
Sophie Cassetta-Unrath, a senior majoring in painting, wrote about the experience of having her work showcased at the end of her undergraduate career.
“It was a bittersweet experience but with all the preparation that went into it, we were all very glad to finally be able to experience the product of our hard work,” Cassetta-Unrath wrote in an email. “It was incredibly rewarding to see the support of our fellow students and teachers at the opening, and it really opened my eyes to what I want my future as an artist to be.”
In addition to representing the students’ undergraduate successes and future artistic careers, the pieces convey each artist’s individual thinking and method of creating art.
Cassetta-Unrath described her thinking behind her paintings titled “Flowers for Yulia,” “Stop Looking At Me” and “Le Cygne.”
“After focusing on realism for most of my painting experience, I decided to venture into abstract art in an effort to let go of my perfectionism and tendency to over-plan,” Cassetta-Unrath wrote. “I found a sense of freedom and peace as a result and have been experimenting with abstraction, impressionism and texture since.”
Kayla Cartier, a senior majoring in graphic design, discussed her experience behind creating “Stargirl,” one of her personal favorite paintings that allowed her to experiment beyond her typical medium of graphic design.
“It taught me a lot about the practice, but also taught me how to explore multimedia and use it to my advantage,” Cartier wrote in an email.
For Miriam Suissa, a senior double-majoring in graphic design and art history, creating art for “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” allowed her to call upon feelings of nostalgia and explore a diversity of artistic styles.
“One of the works included in the exhibition was my needlepoint, which was my most personal and experimental project,” Suissa wrote in an email. “This one was a needlepoint representation of a photo of my grandmother coming to Israel from Morocco. This meant a lot to me to make since I grew up watching her needlepoint and crochet, so I wanted to commemorate her and create works that included textiles and a medium that she was utilizing all the time.”
“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” captures the artistic experience of 11 multi-talented seniors at BU, encapsulating their journeys from their first encounters with art to their education at the University and beyond. Their passion for art shines through from their thought-provoking work and the artist statements that accompany the pieces.
“I love to learn new things, and the beauty of art to me is that you never need to stop learning,” Cartier wrote. “Art is like a warm bed I can come to after an unforgivingly cold day. It has always been there for me since I was born, and I do believe it will always be there for me for the rest of my future because my love for it is endless.”
“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” will remain on display in the Elsie B. Rosefsky Memorial Art Gallery until Friday, April 28 at 4 p.m.
Editor’s note (4/28): A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Sophie Cassetta-Unrath‘s major as graphic design. Cassetta-Unrath’s major is painting. The article has been updated with the correct information.