A trio of seniors are presenting their final art projects – a closer look at their personal journeys – in an exhibit on display April 29-May 24 at Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery.
The Senior Art Show showcases the talents of Erik Holmes of Penn Yan, Courtney French (Massena), and Erica Ruscio (Middlesex). An artists’ reception will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the gallery in Lightner Library. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through May 24.The gallery is open during Lightner Library hours, whichcan be found online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu.
According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and adviser to the student artists, each one had to prepare an artist’s statement, along with a “thesis” of sorts, representing the culmination of work produced over their time as a student. Throughout this semester, they met weekly for senior art seminar, she said, and from those talks, a group consensus emerged: everybody’s grown.
This group has some of the strongest raw talent of students Newcomb has mentored during her four years at Keuka, she said.
According to Ruscio, the trio named the exhibit “EXPEERIENCE” because it’s “all about our experiences and we hope that people can see that by peering a little closer.”
“There are also a lot of eyes and faces, so we just thought it was a catchy title,” Ruscio added.
For example, Holmes’s collection of work is titled “Face Yourself.” Although Holmes has studied graphic design, drawing and painting, his forte is photography and he is exhibiting digital images. He has conducted several internships—where he learned skills in studio lighting, posing, off-camera flash lighting, and other photography techniques— in Alaska with Melissa Laggis, a professional wedding and portrait photographer; in Chestertown, N.Y,. at [Curtiss] Austin Image Photography; and with Keuka Sports Information Director John Boccacino. Some of Holmes’s images have appeared in Keuka magazine.
“That [experience], with years and years of independent practice since I picked up a camera at age eight, has jump-started turning this passionate hobby of mine into a career I can be proud of,” said Holmes, who hopes to own his own photography studio in the future.
French, who initiated her own major in fine arts and advertising, is showcasing work in mixed media and photography. Her “Warrior” image, a black and white self-portrait of her eyes peering out from behind lacrosse goggles, is “a twist off the saying ‘actions speak louder than words,’” she said.
“I believe that you speak louder/more with your eyes than you do your words,” said French, a four-year defender on the lacrosse team. “The eyes never lie what is going on in the mind.”
According to French, art is therapeutic for her and she tries to get her emotions out and into the work itself. She describes her style as more masculine, bold and sharp, often with hard edges and high contrast. While a majority of the work is airbrush, she personally favors charcoal and acrylic mixed media.
French hopes to work for a design firm some day, perhaps creating labels and logos for skateboards and snowboards. Until then, she wants to stay active and work outdoors with people, perhaps in an organization with an educational component much like Keuka’s Teamworks! Adventure course, where she has worked as a facilitator.
Ruscio is completing a double major in visual and verbal art, and English, with a minor in communication. She is primarily interested in using her degree to write and illustrate children’s and young adult books. In fall 2012, she studied abroad through the Semester at Sea program, where she sailed around the Atlantic rim and visited four continents – (keeping an online journal at ericaatsea12.blogspot.com. )
Her collection, known as “Ubuntu,” features mixed-media painting, digital photography and graphite works, and focuses primarily on discoveries made during her semester at sea. While at Keuka,Ruscio has been involved with Drama Club, numerous Red Barn Theatre productions, Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates, and the Yates County Arts Center. She works as a writing tutor, a library assistant, a TeamWorks! facilitator, and a campus lifeguard. She is also a member of several academic honor societies.
In the fall, Ruscio will attend Kansas State University to pursue a master’s degree in children’s literature. She has been awarded a graduate teaching assistantship and will be teaching freshmen composition classes in addition to her own studies.