Natural landscapes are Kat Andonucci’s favorite subject to photograph, her homing beacon. Heading outside to take nature photos remains a comfort, she said.
When she bought her first camera, Andonucci liked “nothing better than capturing a perfect photo, on a perfect day. My goal is always to preserve that moment in time as realistically as possible, sometimes it’s as simple as just taking the photo, while other times it can be much more complex.”
Each work in Andonucci’s senior exhibit, My Nature, which runs through Dec. 13 in Lightner Gallery inside Lightner Library, has some sort of connection to nature, she explained. From Adirondack Park landscapes, to places near Andonucci’s hometown of Chestertown, near Lake George, to locales visited, mountains hiked or even the nature of a human body, the works all carry the theme of nature.
In her first photography class at Keuka, when she was originally a biology major, she walked into class with a new digital camera only to discover the course was in black and white film photography. Thankfully, her mother’s old Konica film camera sufficed and Andonucci fell in love with the entire process of taking images from film to print.
The exhibit features numerous black and white film photos, sometimes contrasted with digital ones.
“There is just such a dramatic change between the two, even though the photos are the same,” she described. “Not everything has to be bright and colorful. I enjoy finding the beauty in the odd things, things that people might often overlook or not necessarily consider to be beautiful.” (more…)
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.
If members of Keuka’s Class of 2013 are looking for inspiration as they enter the job market, they should check out Stephanie Lange, who was in their shoes just a year ago.
In her time at Keuka, Lange ’12 of Apalachin made quite a mark. While completing a double major in visual and verbal art and organizational communication, Lange helped found and lead an intellectual exploration group known as Tabula Rasa, worked as the graphic designer for the student newspaper, and completed a bronze sculpture installation of a red-tailed hawk as her senior art project.
Now she’s venturing into new ground in the arts, and landed what she calls her “dream job.”
In late January, Lange started work as the program coordinator for the Schweinfurth Arts Center in Auburn. She is now directing a two-week annual conference, “Quilting by the Lake,” for the non-profit in addition to helping promote the Arts Center’s five annual exhibits, communicating with corporate sponsors, and producing and designing the center’s newsletters and other marketing materials.
The annual quilt show convention, held each July on the campus of Onondaga Community College near Syracuse, features more than 30 quilting-related classes and lectures, a quilt show and specialty vendors. According to Lange, while traditional quilting styles and methods are featured, there is a focus on modern quilting techniques involving painting on the fabric and elements of geometry, all of which creates an artistic quality.
“It’s not like something my grandma does,” Lange said. “The precision required for quilting is difficult to master.”
Like others, Lange had been forewarned to expect great challenge finding a salaried, full-time position in the arts field and said that awareness had her raving to her family that this opportunity was amazing. Not only does she help stage exhibits – some in the same measurements she learned as a student assisting with shows in Keuka’s Lightner Gallery – but she can participate in art classes hosted by the Center, as well as meet artists and local residents through Schweinfurth’s special events. (more…)
Start with a science lab. Add one chemistry professor with self-described “wacky interests.” Introduce a visual and verbal art major once obsessed with rocks, especially the minerals that glow under ultraviolet light. Mix up a variety of chemistry experiments under special lights and have the student capture them on camera. What do you get?
The Art of Chemistry, a year-long discovery in pictures of the beauty and form caused –and sometimes concocted – with a variety of chemical compounds. The art exhibit runs through Sept. 28 in Lightner Gallery inside Lightner Library at Keuka College, where an artist reception will be held from 4:30 – 6 p.m. Thursday, September 20. The gallery is open daily; hours can be found on the main page at: http://lightner.keuka.edu
Student photographer Kat Andonucci, a junior from Chestertown, near the Lake George region, did a year-long independent study under the guidance of Andy Robak, associate professor of chemistry. With Robak casting the vision and directing her in each experiment, Andonucci crafted the composition, often using a tripod, a remote shutter and a long exposure to create the images. For example, one image of Robak pouring a luminol solution into a narrow-mouth beaker required the shutter remain open for 15 seconds or more to showcase the intense blues and greens of the liquid.
“Everything we did had to be something visually appealing,” explained Andonucci, describing how the independent study served as her chemistry class for the year.
“I’ve owned my camera since ninth grade, and as a side hobby, I did landscapes and outdoor pictures,” Andonucci said, explaining how she entered college as a biology major, thinking she would pursue a career in forensic pathology. But a film photography course in her first semester got her thinking her high school hobby might turn out to be more than just something to do on the side. So she switched her major to visual and verbal art.
Enter Robak, who contacted Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art, last year in search of a student who could help illustrate experiments that would show “the fun side of chemistry.”
“I’ve always been interested in chemistry as art or science as art. You can see from the pictures that a lot of stuff I work with is really cool,” said Robak, who holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He rattled off a variety of compounds, from mercury, with its shiny metallic texture that is “really fun to play with,” to flourescein, which turns neon-green when in contact with water, to glycerol, which refracts light in a way that seems to make objects submersed in it disappear. Images of each of those chemicals appear in the exhibit.
“We wanted to treat as a course, the chemistry of things that are neat to look at, to have a clue what they were,” Robak said, pointing out how many science textbooks use photography to illustrate experiments. The two received a $500 grant from Keuka’s Division of Academic Affairs to help cover costs of printing and framing the images.
For her part, Andonucci said she was “excited and nervous” because shooting under such unusual conditions was outside of her comfort zone with natural, outdoor lighting. Indeed, lighting was the biggest challenge as she would sometimes use a window, a lamp, black lights, or would incorporate the light generated from a chemical itself in different images.
A secondary challenge was the blink-and-miss-it nature of some of the experiments, such as a shot of flames from methane gas bubbles leaping upward from the hand of Erik Holmes, a senior visual and verbal art major.
Andonucci had to be sure to take several shots of each experiment, capturing several on camera by conducting experiments several times in a row. For another image, Robak directed her to bring glycerol, a liquid, into contact with purple potassium permanganate, a solid, which bursts into purple flames and smoke without any introduction of heat, he said.
“Kat worked on that one for a long time. She tried about 20 times and probably took 150 photographs of the same thing in order to get it right,” Robak said. It’s a good thing she shot in digital, because she kept filling up the camera’s memory card every time, he added.
“More than anything, I think she had a really good eye for these sorts of things. She takes a great picture, but out of many, many pictures that she got, she was great at picking out the right ones,” Robak said.
After a year of translating her chemistry class into images, Andonucci said she would be willing to work with Robak again on similar projects. She is considering posting her images online to see if she could market them to companies for commercial use.
“There’s so much you can do with forensic photography,” she said, adding that she’s “pretty open to anything [with photography], as long as it’s not taking pictures of people.”
Robak managed to convince Holmes to paint a graffiti mural on a concrete wall last year. The mural illustrated the chemical structure of concrete itself, and Robak said he has ideas for other special projects involving science and other types of art, whether sculpture, painting or more.
“I’ve got too many ideas and not enough artists,” Robak said. “I’m totally looking for more people to rope into these kinds of things.”
Summing up her year-long experiment and the exhibit, Andonucci said “it’s awesome, it’s pretty and it’s cool. I had fun and learned a ton.”
You would expect to find such items as plastic cups, tablecloths, and paper plates at a picnic, but as materials for clothing?
According to senior Crystal Cochell, yes.
For her senior art project, the Trumansburg resident created a series of five dresses made from mostly recycled materials including the picnic fare, black and white garbage bags, cardboard, cellophane, velvet, feathers, ribbon, and pipe cleaners.
“I chose these materials to express my anger toward corporations that are wasteful and careless of the environment,” said Cochell, a visual/verbal art major. “The common color through my designs is red, which I believe is an angry color. I wanted to convey that corporations can recycle, just like individuals.”
Red, black and white clothing designs fashioned out of more recycled goods than just fabric. A giant animal cage adorned with photos and paintings of rescue dogs, with a door allowing a person to step inside. A bronzed sculpture of a hawk, wings stretched out before it takes flight.
All three art projects are the work of a trio of graduating seniors at Keuka College and can be seen as part of the student art show, which runs through May 30 in Lightner Gallery, and also features additional works by underclassmen. And all three seniors are clear that their respective artwork makes a statement they want others to “hear.”
With her collection of red, black and white dresses, Crystal Cochell of Trumansburg is protesting in color and form the waste she observes in the environments around her, especially corporations. Nicole Groth of Henrietta showcases her work with humane societies through black and white photos of puppies playing in the yard of an animal shelter and color paintings of dogs adopted into families she knows, including her own. And Stephanie Lange of Apalachin is eager to invite interaction from the public — students, faculty and visiting community members — with the bronze installation she hopes might become the first of several sculptures to adorn the campus. (more…)
Editor’s Note: This is the third of six profiles of nominees for the 2012 Student Employee of the Year award that will be presented at the Annual Student Employment Awards Luncheon April 16.
When the Keuka College Class of 2015 arrived on campus in the fall of 2011, there weren’t many people they could greet by name. But thanks to the wonders of the web, junior Erica Ruscio was an exception.
That’s because the Middlesex resident was already familiar to incoming students who had read her blog posts for Eye on the Storm, the official blog for undergraduate admissions at Keuka, and interacted with Ruscio on the class’s official Facebook group page.
But Ruscio is far more than a social media butterfly, says Webmaster Pete Bekisz, for whom Ruscio works as a web assistant. Since she first began writing for Bekisz as a freshman, she’s penned some 130 posts for Eye on the Storm, enticing readers with advice such as The College Admissions Essay: How to Successfully Write One Without Having a Mental Breakdown. (more…)
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award.
Junior Courtney French wants to be a photographer for National Geographic someday, and her January Field Period—working with Global Volunteer Network’s (GVN) Turtle Project program in Costa Rica—could bring her one step closer to realizing that dream.
Photographs by French, a visual and verbal art major from Massena, were featured in the student art gallery in Hegeman Hall. The images were taken in and around Penn Yan.
“Traveling to Costa Rica and helping with the Turtle Project will help me improve my photography portfolio because it will be much more diverse than photos I have taken previously,” said French. “I will photograph the beauty of the reptiles and the country throughout the trip.”
Her duties with GVN will include providing support to biologists involved in the conservation of the Olive Ridley turtles’ nesting grounds for 14 days. Considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world, an estimated 800,000 Olive Ridley females nest annually.
“These elegant animals are becoming endangered due to natural predators and poachers,” said French. “I will work side-by-side with locals and biologists at the turtle hatcheries and nesting sites. and go on nightly beach patrols, tag turtles, relocate nests into hatcheries, count eggs and turtles, and help with beach reforestation efforts.”
Overseen by the Costa Rican government, the Turtle Project includes a sustainable egg harvesting program that feeds or provides income to the local communities, and is designed to prevent other forms of harvesting and poaching.
“I will also have the opportunity to live among the local villagers of San Jose, Costa Rica,” said French. “I think this will be hard, but definitely an experience I will never forget. It will broaden my horizons as an individual, and make me a better-rounded person.”
In addition, French will take Spanish lessons at Maximo Nivel, which is at the GVN international headquarters in San Jose.
French has “always had a strong passion” for traveling and learning about foreign cultures.
“I decided on Costa Rica because I always wanted to travel to Central and South America,” she explained. “Also, my favorite flower, the bird of paradise, is abundant in Costa Rica.”
French has been to the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec and “all over” the East Coast.
“My favorite place would have to be on top of the high peaks in the Adirondacks,” said French. “I completed a two-day hike in the Adirondacks that measured about 16 miles, and covered three mountains—Algonquin, Whales Tail, and Iroquois—and we were able to trench through Avalanche Pass.”
Her next adventure?
“Hopefully,” she said, “to Ecuador or Tanzania.”
She calls it “the printed collage.”
Artist Barbara McPhail of Canandaigua likes to use household items – wallpaper, fabric, string, tag board, almost anything with a texture – in her specialty prints, often works that focus on nature and the beauty she finds in it.
In her current exhibit, “Shadows in the Water, “ on display at the Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library, Keuka College, through Oct. 6, the elements of water, shadow and light take center stage. Prior to a gallery reception running 4:15 – 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, McPhail will demonstrate her printmaking technique in a two-hour presentation for students that starts at 1:30 p.m.
After planning out a design in a sketchbook, she’ll pick up those textured scraps, and over weeks, or perhaps months, begin crafting them into the shapes she wants, perhaps modifying her design if she feels it necessary. When she’s finally ready to print, McPhail will set aside an entire day to focus on one image. (more…)
Colorful, two-sided pyramids dotting the lawn between Allen Hall and Strong Hall. An oversized wire spider scaling a tree outside Jephson Science Center. A giant pen in the College colors scrawling out “lightner library” on a wall inside the building, while nearby, brightly colored paper origami birds dangle from the ceiling in symmetrical “V” formations.
These are final projects for Keuka students taking Sculpture I or II from Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art. Known as an “installation,” each of the large-scale pieces, some crafted by students working solo and some working in pairs, were placed in different locations around campus, to brighten buildings, hallways, stairwells, lawns and elsewhere to raise the profile of the art program. Some of the installations, like the giant pens inside the library, will be permanent. Others will be on display through the end of the semester.
Students in the class trekked across campus Tuesday and Thursday to survey each other’s work. Questions and comments popped up from different ones as each installation was discussed and students shared their design techniques, the cost to build each piece, and the amount of time invested.
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