WCSU to present spring semester M.F.A. lecture series
Illustrator Edel Rodriguez featured Jan. 31 in first of six artist talks through April

DANBURY, CONN. — Nationally renowned painters, illustrators and multi-media artists whose works have drawn inspiration from diverse sources spanning the globe from France and Italy to Havana and Brooklyn will discuss their artistic vision and creative process during the Western Connecticut State University spring semester Master of Fine Arts lecture series continuing from Jan. 31 through April 17, 2017.

All lectures, sponsored by the WCSU Department of Art M.F.A. in Visual Arts program, will be at 11 a.m. in Room 144 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited.

The series will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 31, with a lecture by illustrator Edel Rodriguez, a Havana-born immigrant who fled Cuba at the age of 9 with his family in the 1980 Mariel boatlift. Recipient of an M.F.A. from Hunter College, Rodriguez is a regular contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker and has designed covers for magazines including Time, Newsweek, Business Week, Village Voice and The Nation. He also has written and illustrated children’s books and created book covers for works published by Simon and Schuster and Penguin Random House.

Rodriguez was named last year by Ad Age magazine as one of the “Fifty Most Creative People of 2016.” He has received numerous awards from the Art Directors Club and the Society of Illustrators in New York, and his works are held in many private and public collections including that of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Other presentations featured in the spring 2017 M.FA. artist lecture series will include:

  • Monday, Feb. 13: Painter Nina Buxenbaum has drawn from her Brooklyn upbringing in a multi-racial and politically active family to find creative expression for themes of race and identity, notably in her series of “Topsy-Turvy” doll paintings. Recipient of an M.F.A. in painting from the Maryland Institute of Art, Buxenbaum maintains studios in Brooklyn and Bethel, and serves as an associate professor and co-coordinator of fine arts at York College of the City University of New York. Her paintings, drawings and mixed-media works have been shown in nine solo exhibitions and more than 40 group shows across the United States. “As an African-American woman of mixed heritage,” Buxenbaum said, “I approach my work as an opportunity to position women of color in the Western art canon where we have been conspicuously absent.” She is featured in the “Women’s Work” exhibition from Jan. 26 through March 12 at the Art Gallery of the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center.
  • Monday, March 6:  Sharon Louden, who received her M.F.A. from Yale University, has pursued a multi-faceted career as a teacher, editor of two books and artist who works in diverse media including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and animation. She published “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists” in 2013, and her second book, “The Artist as Culture Producer,” is scheduled for release in March. Her artistic work has appeared in exhibitions at numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Weisman Art Museum, the Birmingham Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Current projects include a major art installation opening this month in Houston and an animation created for an abstract film screening premiering in May at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Her works are held in major collections including the National Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Yale Art Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
  •  Wednesday, March 22: Painter and printmaker Sabrina Marques, assistant professor of art foundation and faculty critic for the M.F.A. program at WCSU, has taught widely at colleges and arts schools across Connecticut and received the Golden Educator award from the National Art Education Association for her teaching and artistic work. Her development as an artist included studies at Columbia University, the International School of Art in Italy and an apprenticeship with theatre and movie director Julie Taymor, followed by completion of an M.F.A. in painting and printmaking in 2003 at the Yale School of Art. Her works have been exhibited at Artspace in New Haven and the Wallspace and Morgan Lehman galleries in New York, and her 2007 solo exhibition at Real Art Ways in Hartford explored her heritage as the daughter of a Cuban exile. Honors have included a Vermont Studio School fellowship, Radius Program selection at the Aldrich Museum, and an artist residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
  •  Monday, April 3:  Eric Aho, an internationally acclaimed artist residing in Vermont who is best known for his paintings created through the process of gestural abstraction and evoking natural forms, has presented 45 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 60 group exhibitions worldwide during the past three decades. Aho received his B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and pursued advanced studies in England, Finland and Cuba, where he participated in a groundbreaking scholarly exchange in 1989. He is represented by the D.C. Moore Gallery in New York, where he has staged four shows since 2009. During 2016 he staged the solo exhibitions “Ice Cuts” at the Hood Museum of Art in New Hampshire and “An Unfinished Point in a Vast Surrounding” at the New Britain Museum of American Art, inspired by French landscapes from his father’s experiences in World War II. His works are held in more than 25 public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the National Academy Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, as well as in Scandinavia, Ireland, Cuba and South Africa. He serves as a visiting artist at many colleges including WCSU and has received numerous residencies and honors including the John Koch Award for Painting, Julius Hallgarten Prize and National Academician election from the National Academy.
  •  Monday, April 17:  Bill Schmidt, director of the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Fine Art at the LeRoy Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), has shown his abstract paintings, drawings and sculptures extensively at galleries across the eastern United States. Recipient of an M.F.A. in painting from MICA, Schmidt recently staged solo exhibitions at the Hiller Art Space in Washington, the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and participated in group shows at the Drawing Center in New York, Long Island University and the Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He also has played traditional American music on fiddle, banjo and guitar in recordings and performances spanning four decades in the United States, Canada and Europe.

For more information, contact the WCSU Department of Art at (203) 837-8403.



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