Works by 10 senior studio fine arts majors and minors will be on view in the Crowell and West galleries at the Feigenbaum Center for the Visual Arts in an exhibition, “Spaces Between Us.”
It opens May 19, with a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
The featured artists are Maymunah Ahmed, Shriya Balaji, Natalie Berg-Pappert, Talia Coker, Rayna Katzman, Athanasia Kytoudi, Saliha Nazir, Sherlandy Pardieu, Leah Piscitelli and Emily Zucco.
In a collective email, they said their exhibition “showcases the people and places that inspire us, and encourages viewers to explore and reflect on what they experience. During our time at Union, not only did we hone our artistic skills, but we built strong connections with faculty, mentors and peers.”
Because part of their college years coincided with the pandemic, the students formed an art community both on and off campus.
“Whether we were miles apart sharing each other’s work over Zoom, or in the same studio bouncing ideas off of each other, we have pushed one another to grow artistically. We are grateful for the invaluable lessons and guidance we have received over the years and are excited to share the culmination of our endeavors,” they said.
Many have paired their visual arts with other majors and minors, with some creating works that draw upon their multiple fields of study.
Katzman, for instance, is majoring in sociology and minoring in visual arts with a focus on photography and graphic design.
“I’ve been able to expand my horizons from film photography to product design and explore my creativity,” she said.
She has been working on a photography independent study that has allowed her to explore Schenectady and visually represent “the place I’ve called home for four years.” The project ties into her sociology thesis on Unequal Neighborhoods, in which she uses Schenectady and nearby Niskayuna as case studies.
Saliha Nazir, a double major in visual arts and environmental science, has experimented with printmaking, sculpture, drawing and painting. After graduation, she will be working at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve before pursuing a master’s degree in an environmental related area. She hopes to continue painting en plein air while pursuing field research.
Pardieu is a studio fine arts major with a minor in economics whose senior thesis is a portrait series created using industry-standard software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. After graduation, he hopes to use his digital art studies to work in finance, marketing and sales.
“I believe my unique combination of skills can bring a fresh perspective to these industries and help in generating innovative and effective marketing strategies for a company’s success,” he said.
Others have been affected by their work in different ways.
Kytoudi, of Trikala, Imathia, Greece, attributes her artistic instincts to her grandmother, a painter, who motivated her to take painting classes from a very young age. She has been making art ever since and would like to pursue a master’s degree in digital media. And while her concentrations for her studio fine arts major are sculpture and digital art, spending time in the Union woodworking shop has become a favorite activity.
“Through my art, I aim to inspire viewers to embrace their cultural heritage and to recognize the value of their traditions.” Kytoudi said. “Art can serve as a powerful tool for preserving the cultural identity of small communities like that of my village, and it can play a vital role in bringing people together and promoting a sense of belonging.”
The senior exhibit is funded by the Visual Arts Department and Student Research Grants and runs through June 11. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.