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Strength, Beauty, History Themes Within Senior Art Show

One senior is fascinated with her family history. Another is focused on finding beauty in any body. And yet another is fixated on beads and jewelry. This trio of artists will showcase signature works during “Mixed Media Minds,” the senior art show at Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery.

Friendship resident Emma Wolf has crafted mixed media collages of her great-grandmother’s family using a typewritten essay, old photos recreated on tracing paper, and a wash of coffee grounds and water to create a vintage look. From collage renderings of parts of the bodies of many women, Kaye Field of Torrington, Conn. has fashioned one body, with a mirror in place of the head. Meanwhile, Ayuko Sakurai of Yokohama, Japan, south of Tokyo, has crafted multiple works with colored beads, jewelry and fabrics.

Wolf's mixed media portraits of family

Each young woman is a visual and verbal art major, and all three will be on hand to greet the public at an artists reception, Thursday, April 24 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library, where light refreshments will be served. The show continues through May 16.

According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, this exhibit features not just three unique styles, but three creative approaches to communicating an idea, emotion or experience, with each artist incorporating pieces of her life experiences

Portion of Kaye Field's "Beautiful Reflections" mixed media

According to Field, body image and the concept of beauty remains an intrinsic struggle for women everywhere and became the subject of her work, “Beautiful Reflections.” She chose to use a variety of media “to depict how no woman and no person is the same. We are all created differently and all of these differences are what make us all beautiful,” she said.

Field said the women who participated in her project came from all over the world and showed their courage and bravery by sending her photos to use as inspiration for the work.

“The mirror is a big part of this piece. Everyone should look in the mirror and be able to smile at their reflection,” Field said.

Wolf, too, could cite courage and bravery of strong women in her family history, such as her great-grandmother, Lula May, and other relatives who survived in regions of Florida where wild, untamed shores and marshes made daily life a struggle. Scattered for display below her mixed media works of Lula May as a child, and later, an aging woman, are knickknacks and small treasures: old-fashioned pocket watches, arrowheads, a large seashell, and an heirloom quilt. A 1938 sepia tint photo shows Lula May as a young mother, standing on a windblown beach, with a child at her feet. Other family members also appear in Wolf’s creations.

“I became avidly interested in their struggle for survival and how they were able to push through and move on to better things, when times got tough for them,” Wolf said. “I wasn’t quite sure what to focus my project on, but writing the essay helped me figure that out.”

Wolf with her "Family Tree" sculpture

Another prominent piece within Wolf’s “Strong Roots” exhibit is a sculpture of a tree rising out of the pages of a book. The work, “Family Tree,” serves as a visual metaphor, she said.

For Sakurai, the intricate work of beading or sculpting jewelry echoes the same multiple dimensions, colors and facets of her personal history, studying abroad beginning at age 15 and traveling to more than 10 countries. One work she will display is a handmade dress designed from egg shells and other unique materials. According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, Sakurai has been working on the dress for over a year.

Sakurai's eggshell dress creation

“As I see something, I often find a connection between it and something I remembered [from my travel or study], which gives me a new layer of knowledge,” Sakurai said. “Different objects or ideas are connected through my interpretation. This makes my world muti-colored and multi-faceted, like a well-polished crystal and also stimulates me in combining both traditional and contemporary styles and concepts of art.”

During her January Field Period™ with a jewelry designer, Sakurai handcrafted her own unique gold necklace, and that experience ultimately led her to the Metal and Jewelry graduate program at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she will begin taking courses this fall.

Just this year, Keuka College began offering a new Art and Design program, providing more studio courses to give students opportunities to learn skills in a greater number of mediums. The increased diversity helps students build a portfolio with greater breadth, as well as develop strengths in a particular area, Newcomb said.

“In this case we have three seniors displaying work in multiple mixed mediums, which shows a range of experiences not only in their skills and abilities,” Newcomb said. “It also becomes a very personal but rewarding way to share their story, whether it relates to the past, present or future.”

On Fashion, Foreign Travel and Fine Arts

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award.

Mia Barnello is eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps. In January, that path will take the junior organizational communication major to the Florence University of the Arts in Italy.

During her spring semester of study, Barnello, a Syracuse resident, will also travel throughout the country to explore the culture in cities such as Sicily, Rome and Venice. She received a $2,200 Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award to help with expenses. The scholarship assists students pursuing culturally oriented Field Periods and is named for the late Brown, a member of the Class of 1963 who spent her junior year as a Norton Scholar in Switzerland.

“I’m definitely interested in finding the little, not-so-touristy attractions, hidden treasures, the food, the boutiques, and so on,” Barnello said of the tucked-away spots she hopes to discover.

According to Barnello, her mother spent almost a full year in Italy as a college student herself “and almost didn’t come back.

“She studied art in a small town called Urbino. She’s talked about it for my entire life,” Barnello said. “I’m definitely hoping to bring back experiences and memories we can kind of bond over, things we both [experienced] while in Italy.”

The trip will be Barnello’s first trip overseas, indeed, her first time traveling outside the U.S. She is eager to see the work of different artists and architects that she studied in an online art history class taught by Assistant Professor of Art Melissa Newcomb last summer. After visiting museums and churches, seeing sculptures and other famous works, Barnello said she plans to e-mail Newcomb about the experience.

“I want to bring back pictures and things that are exciting to share and encourage more people to [study abroad],” she said.

While Barnello’s mother studied fine arts, Barnello is hoping to focus more on design and the fashion industry, which is a special interest of hers. Last year, Barnello and fellow Keuka communication major Ashley Larimore teamed up on a special class project to create a draft of a fashion magazine for Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication and English Bob Berkman’s media writing class.  At Keuka, she is completing classes for a minor in art.

Barnello said she plans to spend at least one day of her overseas trip visiting the headquarters of the Italian edition of Vogue magazine. Ideally, she’d like to get in touch with photographers or writers to get a flavor for the working environment, and see what a “day in the life” is like there.

“In the future, I really want to be involved in fashion. Being in Italy and learning the background, I think will help me decide if I want to focus on fashion through design and publications [or another way],” Barnello said.  “Since my hope was to do graphic design and that’s not really offered [in Florence], I’m kind of designing my own [course of study.]’

While in Florence, Barnello will take classes in jewelry design and Italian fashion, as well as a beginner’s course in the Italian language.

“As of right now, I don’t know anything of the language, which is terrifying, but hopefully, that [course] will help. My mom actually didn’t take any language courses when she was there – she just picked it up. I’m a little scared, but … We’ll see what happens. “