Lens-based specialized seniors curate exhibitions

By Melissa Natividade
Staff Writer

Showcasing plenty of talent and personality, the artists behind this semester’s second Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Professional Practice Exhibition that opened on Wednesday, Sept. 30, curated a little something for everyone, whether it was gay culture, punk rock or Japanese beauty that even provided sushi for the exhibit’s visitors.

About 60 people attended the opening reception, which featured exhibitions from three senior visual art majors with a lens-based specialization: Joe Arnold, Rachel Perrotta and Sarah Ratner. They were the second group of students to be displayed in this semester’s biweekly rotation.

“It’s basically learning how to be an artist in the real world,” Ratner said. “It’s really great because we all have an idea of what we want to do at this point. Now we’re learning to, you know, survive as artists in the real world.”

Beyond the professional exposure, the student exhibitions also allow the artists to see their work in ways they had never had a chance to see before.

“This is not only my first time setting up a gallery show, but my first time seeing a lot of my photos printed this size, too,” Perrotta said. “Everything about this experience is super fulfilling.”

Perrotta’s “Live” series revolved around punk rock performance shots, the same subject that had inspired her to become a photographer in the first place.

“Seeing the type of image I could make with an $80 camera at a concert seven years ago got me really interested in what I could do if I dedicated myself to it,” Perrotta said. “Music and the people behind it inspired my photography, and the photos here are a mix of the shots I’ve been taking over the past seven years.”

Mirroring Perrotta’s work on the opposite side of Gallery 111, Ratner’s work provided a glimpse of her “quiet introspective” experience when she studied abroad in Hirakata, Japan, through what she called a “visual diary of life abroad.”

“I really like the yin and yang between these two series,” said Jayne Reinhard, a professor of art history. “I love the dark and light juxtaposition.”

Meanwhile, across the AIMM courtyard, with Gallery 119 all to himself, Arnold brought his series “My Lover Is Gone” to the mix to explore high value contrast and gay culture.

“This exhibition is catered to each individual and allows us to work in a way that is special to us,” Arnold said. “I always try to make my work relate to myself. I obviously explore a lot of gay culture because I want my art to be representative both personally and publicly, which is why I like to include aspects from my personal life.”

To add to this was the beaming fine arts professor Liselot van der Heijden, who teaches the professional practice course.

“What we want is for all of the students to have their own solo show with at least half a gallery, so we work with everybody’s needs and try to arrange combinations to address professional practice issues, learning about them and preparing for after school,” van der Heijden said. “I think they all deserve the attention and it would be so nice to bring more students on campus to come here.”

If one common thread could lace the three artists together, it would be the eagerness to share their art with their peers.

“We definitely all want students to come out and see our work,” Arnold said. “We like to have people, even people who don’t have a lot of experience with art, to experience our art. It offers another level of feedback that I definitely appreciate.”

The next installment of the Fall 2016 BFA Professional Practice Exhibitions will be on display until Wednesday, Oct. 12, and will feature work from seniors Meredith Carro, Danielle Costello and Piper Torsilieri.