Visual arts

WestConn MFA Graduates Exhibit Art at Chelsea Gallery in NYC

The artwork of WestConn’s four recent visual arts graduates varies widely in style and theme, from botanical illustrations and seascapes reminiscent of 19th century impressionism to large geometric patterns and abstract paintings. There is a common denominator in their thesis work, however, in how the program challenged artists to really dig deep when creating art.

The results will be on display at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York’s Chelsea arts district from June 21 to July 9 with an opening reception on Thursday, June 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. The MFA thesis exhibition concludes an intensive two-year program in this degree that most artists obtain to begin as visual arts professionals. Degrees are available in painting, illustration, and interdisciplinary visual art.

Janelle Chandler at work.

Courtesy of WCSU

One of the artists featured is New Haven County-based illustrator Janelle Chandler, who has completed her Masters in Visual Arts and Illustration and is currently participating in the Society of Botanical Artists’ Distance Learning Diploma Program in the UK. United.

“This MFA program has been instrumental in developing my abilities and my vision for my own work. beyond,” she said. In her first exhibition in New York, she will show art from two bodies of work: one focused on realism and the other more abstract.

Long Island native Kelsey Gilmore earned her Masters in Fine Arts, Painting. Her artistic practice includes paintings, works on paper and prints. She credits the WestConn program with helping her grow as an artist and as a person. Spending a lot of time in nature, her recent work is very memory-based.

Kelsey Gilmore in the studio.

Kelsey Gilmore in the studio.

Courtesy of WCSU

“I’ve worked a lot this year diving into memory and looking for colors in memory, especially scenes in nature,” she said. “I take things from nature and use them as a color palette.”

Don Houston grew up in Florida but has lived in New Haven County since 2011 and earned his MFA in Fine Arts, Painting. Excited about his first gallery show, he said the MFA program instructors “really pushed us to dig deeper into ourselves and try to find the art that we wanted to do, what interested us and inspired us. really driven to look within.”

Houston’s work features seascapes with men heavily influenced by 19th century impressionism, but with a homoerotic bent.

Robert Charles Hudson of Bristol completed his Masters in Visual Arts, Painting. In this exhibition, he will continue his exploration of the coded symbols of the Underground Railroad that guided slaves to freedom. His work here features geometric shapes that are painted over from earlier works where he nicked symbols that were later incorporated into paintings.

“I’m primarily a sculptor, but I’ve painted over the years,” he said. “The MFA program really taught me how to paint because there’s chemistry involved…and the reviews were fantastic because you have to show your best every two weeks.”

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