Several Binghamton University seniors debuted artwork in the Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts Gallery on April 26. The featured students are part of BU’s bachelor’s in fine arts (BFA) program in the art and design department, a degree that was reinstated at the University last spring.
The Downtown Binghamton gallery has assembled an exhibition that showcases six current BFA students’ final projects after a semester of research and artistic production. The works include digital paintings, drawings, prints and 3D pieces.
The BFA program was brought back last year as an option for students seeking a more challenging degree in the arts. The BFA curriculum at BU is a comprehensive study of visual arts, requiring 74 credits to complete the major, compared to the 40-credit Bachelor of Arts.
John Brunelli, ‘97, who graduated with a BFA, currently directs the Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts Gallery. Brunelli worked with the students over the course of the past semester to prepare for the exhibition. Brunelli taught the senior exhibition seminar for the program this semester, a two-credit capstone course that consists of classes covering exhibition preparation, publicity, portfolio presentations, current exhibition opportunities, the candidate’s exhibition and critique. The class is required for all BFA candidates.
“It’s been not only a semesterlong project of putting this exhibition together, but it really culminates all of their undergraduate years leading up to their graduation with a BFA degree,” Brunelli said. “It is a representation of what they’ve been working on for the past four or five years.”
Caitlin Ironside, one of the featured students and a senior double-majoring in graphic design and psychology, reflected Brunelli’s statement, noting that the extended coursework lived up to the challenging reputation the BFA maintains.
“It’s been a long and arduous process, but it’s all been worth it in the end,” Ironside said.
The exhibition features a variety of styles of artwork, emphasizing the individuality of each artist while connecting them to each other. The installation is divided by medium, with half of the space focusing on digital work and the other half displaying drawings, paintings and prints. Brunelli stated that installing the diversity of mediums within the exhibition proved to be both difficult and rewarding.
“One of the challenges, but also one of the beautiful aspects of the exhibition, is that all of the artists that are shown here in the BFA show are coming from different disciplines within the art department,” Brunelli said.
Kayla Madden, a senior majoring in graphic design, created the 3D piece titled “Acing the Apocalypse,” which was displayed in the center of the gallery. The diorama-like work features blood-spattered, ripped pages from a zombie apocalypse survival guide arranged on a bed of grass. Madden said she drew the inspiration for the piece from a project she had done earlier in her artistic career at BU.
“It was spawned during a project I did my sophomore year and I kind of took it and evolved it from there,” Madden said. “I feel like I’ve definitely grown in leaps and strides at [BU] — when I first came I was a computer science major. The fact that [BU] offered a graphic design major was a bridge between working with computers and working as an artist.”
The work of Ironside, Jorden James and Bethany Gordon, ‘17, are all computer-based. James, a senior majoring in art and design, said that since digital art rarely materializes in a physical form, it’s a shock to interact with his work in a gallery setting.
“I work digitally, so it is rare that I actually get to see my work physically,” James said. “I do so much, but it is expensive to print stuff, especially high-quality prints like you see here. It’s like seeing your name up in lights — seeing the reality and the physicality of your artwork, it’s wonderful.”
The exhibition will be open through April 30 at the Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts Gallery at 186 State St. There will be a closing reception with artist talks on Monday, April 30, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.