Rochelle Nuqui, an interdepartmental visual arts and theater major from Fontana, Calif., works in a mixture of mediums, including digital art, painting and life drawing. Across all, she finds inspiration from her background as a first-generation Filipina American.
For her senior thesis, she created a short animated film and a performance of the Philippine folktale, “Ang Kuwento ng Araw at Buwan”: The Story of the Sun and Moon.”
“Ever since coming to Union, I made the decision to push myself to learn about my culture and its traditions through art about Philippine folklore,” Nuqui said. “This creative journey has taken me through many highs and lows, from the technical animation processes to artistic roadblocks and frustrations. My hope is to be able to engage with the Union community to showcase what it means for myself to be Filipina American.”
Nuqui is one of 15 visual arts majors from the Class of 2022 taking part in “phosphene,” the art exhibition in the Crowell and West galleries at the Feigenbaum Center for the Visual Arts.
It opens May 20, with a reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
“The intention of this show is to stimulate the audience’s psyche with what has driven our studies at Union and what has inspired us over the past four years,” said Mallory Nelson ’22 of Wilsonville, Ore. “During our time at Union, we have honed skills in sculpture, photography, painting, digital and other mediums despite the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
A phosphene is an impression of light that occurs without light entering the eye and is usually caused by stimulation of the retina.
“Like phosphenes, the artists explored new mediums and continued their practices in unconventional ways and in unconventional places,” said Nelson. Her own art combines digital and painting techniques to bring to life extraterrestrial landscapes inspired by goddesses from ancient Greece and Rome.
In addition to Nelson and Nuqui, the show features work by Gabby Basil, Gavin Bibbins, Maggie Biondi, Trey Everett, Aram Festekjian, Ashley Harding, Cole Kammler, Samantha Kelley, Jessie Kirker, Dhea Kothari, Anh Le, Melissa Lucano and Michelle Moina.
Many have paired their visual arts with other majors and minors, from Asian Studies to mathematics, and some have created artworks that draw upon their multiple fields of study.
For instance, Basil, who is also studying biology, strives to bridge the gap between her two disciplines by creating scientific illustrations that depict the natural world. Kelley, with a double major in studio fine arts and psychology, has used 3D computer modeling to create scenes and animations based on the psychological impact the last two years have had on many people.
“My works are also meant to have a psychological impact on viewers through the use of surreal imagery,” Kelley said. “Historically, surrealism and psychology were built off each other.”
Others have been affected by their work in different ways. “My project involves taking photos of the surrounding area around Union to demonstrate the wealth gap between Union and Schenectady,” said Everett, who, as a result of his image-making, encourages the College to engage more with the local community.
The senior exhibit is funded by the Visual Arts Department and Student Research Grants and runs through June 12. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.