By Mitchel Leet ’16
For many creators, art becomes more than a hobby—it becomes a deeply personal form of expression.
Case in point: All In Your Head, the senior art show headlined by three art and design majors. Opening Monday, April 25 in Lightner Library’s Lightner Gallery and featuring the creative work of classmates Nicole Miller, Marina Kilpatrick, and Mitchel Leet.
An artists’ reception, free and open to the public, is slated for Thursday, April 28 from 4:30-6 p.m. in Lightner Gallery. The show concludes Friday, May 20.
Miller photographed an intimate series of painted portraits reflecting the thoughts of individuals on their own body image. Titled Uncovered, she will present her final images in a large format.
She discovered her passion for photography while attending Keuka College, and has a special appreciation for black and white images, as demonstrated by her exhibit. Having studied both digital and darkroom photography during her academic career, she chose portraits because “there’s more meaning, more emotion, and there’s so much beauty in people. I like giving my models a sense of how beautiful they are.”
Miller’s models, all friends and fellow students, have opened up and shared themselves with her through this work.
“I asked each model to give me one word they would use to describe how they felt about their body, and then I used that word as a guide to paint an expressive design on them,” she said.
The results are intense, bold prints that demand viewers’ attention.
Expression is also a critical part of Kilpatrick’s work. A dual major in English, she believes strongly in the power of symbolism. Her individual display, titled Disconnected, consists of three string and mixed media installations that exemplify emotions familiar to both artist and audience.
Using the medium of string to create her work, she encourages her audience to interact with each piece and reflect on when they’ve felt things such as depression, anger, and brokenness.
“These works embody how connected we are to our feelings, and hope to answer the questions of what is left behind when we feel something,” she said.
Her choice to develop 3D forms came from a desire to “do something unique, break away from paper, and explore how restraining it can be. I wanted to be able to work with my hands, and wrap it, and feel my work, while letting other people get involved as well. A lot of what I do is flat—books and words. This pops. This comes to life.”
Leet engages audiences with glimpses into his childhood as a whimsical series of recreations through Reimagined. Grade school art projects in numerous different mediums have resurfaced as his inspiration for bright, exciting work.
“I wanted to analyze just what it was that inspired me before there were barriers in my head, and also revisit the things I imagined when I was taking art simply because I had to.”
His work is also heavily symbolic and highly interactive. Greeted by a wall of original pieces that are numbered, the audience is encouraged to walk through Leet’s work more than once to match them up with his new creations.
He describes his work as “diverse in its creation and presentation, while all maintaining a degree of fun.”
In addition, Leet will display a series of hand built ceramic pieces he designed and created under the guidance of Faith Benedict, a local potter and adjunct professor of art.
Said Leet: “I enjoyed having the chance to work with both 2D and 3D art through this exhibition, but it definitely forced me to work harder.”
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the fourth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Erica Ruscio ’13 graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and visual and verbal art. The Middlesex resident will be pursuing a master’s degree in English with a concentration in children’s literature at Kansas State University this fall. Ruscio landed a graduate teaching assistantship where she said she will “earn her keep” by teaching one section of expository prose, similar to Keuka’s freshman composition course, in the fall and two sections in the spring.
Ruscio said she believed the Field Period experience she could include in her admission application, particularly one Field Period working with the children’s librarian at the Penn Yan Public Library, helped showcase her as a desirable candidate. Keuka’s Field Period is a 140-hour annual internship or exploratory study required each year for undergraduates.
During her time at Keuka, Ruscio participated in the annual Red Jacket Literary journal, the Arion Players theatrical presentations, wrote a College blog for incoming freshman, and showcased several paintings, mixed media and photos in the senior art show. She said Keuka provided her the ability to explore what she really wanted to do with her life through its internships, small class sizes, and “awesome professors and advisers.”
“If it hadn’t been for Keuka, the Field Period [program], and my first advisor, Ms. Harris, I may have been stuck writing press releases instead of studying literature, making art, and doing what I really want to do,” Ruscio said.