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2015 Master of Fine Arts students to stage exhibition of works

DANBURY, CONN. — Eight Western Connecticut State University graduate student candidates for the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree will present their works in an exhibition running from April 2 through 13, 2015, in the Art Gallery at the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

A reception to celebrate the opening of the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, at the gallery. Admission will be free to the reception and the exhibition, and the public is invited to attend. The gallery will be open for viewing from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The WCSU Department of Art organizes the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition each spring as a capstone experience demonstrating expression through the works of participating M.F.A. students of their personal direction and artistic mastery. The following M.F.A. candidates will be showing their works in this year’s exhibition:

• Kerri Gaudelli, a Danbury native who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) at the University of Connecticut, has exhibited her work in Italy, at several U.S. galleries and at the Katonah Museum of Art in Westchester County, New York. Her works are often layered and executed in a reduced palette on paper, using the scientific method of two-point perspective to explore human perceptions of space and humanity’s place in the universe.

• Kanika Khurana completed her undergraduate education in her native India before embarking on graduate studies in 2013 at Western and the School of Visual Art in New York. Her mixed-media works in illustration use traditional drawing materials complemented by digital design techniques. Khurana’s continuing series of works titled “Metta” (“Loving-Kindness”) portrays acts of generosity that she has experienced during her transition to life in America, accompanied by descriptions of the persons documented in these paintings. “Since beauty arouses joy, art can bring spiritual enchantment,” she said.

• Stacey Kolbig, of New Fairfield, earned her bachelor’s degree at Western and has exhibited at several Connecticut galleries as well as the Katonah Museum of Art. Her recent works are site-specific installations with projected drawings. She has transformed two-dimensional works on paper into three-dimensional organic forms using means such as rectangular metal projections from wall space and strings turned into drawing tools to create linear tension. Kolbig said she seeks through her work to “repurpose the terms of painting through sculptural form.”

• Colleen McGuire, a native of Canada who now resides in Sharon, received her B.F.A. at SUNY Purchase and has exhibited her works at galleries in New York and Connecticut. Her paintings draw from her careful observation of commonplace settings such as domestic interiors to capture a unique sense of time and place. Gallery notes for the exhibition observed that McGuire’s paintings “possess an atmosphere that is palpable and emotionally felt, without being overly sentimental. Through the exploration of color and light, she infuses her work with a familiarity and quietude that implies a human element, reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s interiors.”

• Jill Harrington Nichols, of Shelton, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and has exhibited at numerous juried shows including an exhibition at the Westport Art Center. Her works are inspired by lifelong experience and appreciation of the natural world, and cover the gamut from small seascapes to large constructed paintings. Her works seek to reveal the transitory nature of life and the familiar wonders found in ordinary daily encounters.

• Peri Pfenninger, of Stratford, earned her B.F.A. at the New York Institute of Technology and has exhibited widely in New York and California, where she previously resided. Pfenninger’s artistic work in California included a substantial number of commissioned public murals. Her “Willow Tree” series of works, inspired by the experience of her mother’s recent illness and death, includes oil paintings, monotypes and charcoal drawings of trees and the natural world, many of which were created on site at the Westside campus.

• Abbie Rabinowitz, of Bethany, received her B.F.A. from SUNY Purchase and returned recently to her native Connecticut after residing for more than three decades and participating in numerous art shows in northern California. The works featured in the M.F.A. exhibition draw from her experience in caring for her elderly parents, employing figurative painting to express the human connection and tenderness of her parents’ relationship with each other.

• Corinne Speidel, of Newtown, recently exhibited in a juried show at Blue Mountain Gallery in New York. Her works include paintings in oil, charcoal and sand on canvas as well as creations from handmade paper, composed of plant fibers, that have been inspired by rock patterns, cracks, crevices and other features observed in the natural landscape. Speidel’s artistic vision has been influenced by a close connection with nature rooted in her experience as an educator in wilderness regions of Australia, Alaska and Montana.

For more information, contact M.F.A. Coordinator Darby Cardonsky at (203) 837-8881 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


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