G.R.E.A.T. Day exhibits illustrate thriving student creativity

While a typical exhibit displayed in one of Geneseo’s galleries runs for several weeks, the two featured during the seventh annual Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement & Talent Day were presented for a fraction of that time.

The student work presented in the Kinetic Gallery was shown only on April 16 and the exhibit in the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery will close on April 19. Both exhibits opened as part of G.R.E.A.T. Day on April 16.

Despite their abridged presentations, the amount of work and planning that went into bringing the exhibits to life was just as intensive as it is for longer-lasting shows.

“Preparation for two galleries for a one-day show is extensive,” said professor of studio art Patrice Case, who helped to organize the exhibits as a G.R.E.A.T. Day art team member. “It actually starts about a month in advance when the call goes out for artists.”

Once the student works were submitted, the exhibit organizers decided where each of the pieces would be placed.

“We sat down as an art team with a list of the works that we didn’t know very much about,” Activities Commissions Arts & Exhibits Coordinator sophomore Chelsea Butkowski said. “There wasn’t much information given.”

While in most instances a visual of each piece was not provided upon submission, the organizing team did know the medium of the works and their relative sizes. This proved to be key in choosing which gallery certain pieces would look best in.

“We tried to utilize the floor space in Lederer for the large pieces and have the more intimate works in Kinetic, although we do want floor works in both and we do want two-dimensional works in both,” Case said.

Their efforts brought forth two lively-yet-distinctive exhibitions, both featuring student work that ranged in size, color and media.

The Kinetic Gallery exhibit was comprised mainly of sculptures made with various materials as well as portraits, jewelry and photography.

A series of photographs taken by sophomore Holly Kandel featured Geneseo students posing inside their self-decorated dorm rooms. Grouping the 60-plus photos together helped enhance the sense of community while still propagating the importance of individuality.

Sophomore Lara Elmayan had a still-life drawing featured in the Lederer Gallery and a charcoal illustration of her mother in the Kinetic. Both of her works were created last spring during adjunct lecturer of studio art Leslie Stroz’s ARTS 210: Drawing I class.

According to Elmayan, she took a picture of her mother in very harsh light in order to accentuate her imperfections. She used the photo as a reference for her drawing.

“I wanted [to draw] someone who looked real and displayed a very real beauty instead of a Photoshopped beauty,” she said.

One of the more intriguing pieces in the Kinetic gallery was senior Raymond Ferreira’s “drip. ooze…dribble,” which included a crystalline wax sculpture placed in a puddle of honey that intentionally dripped down to the floor.

“I was interested in having contrast between the static nature of the wax and also having a portion of the sculpture that had some movement and was impermanent and was subject to the effects of time more readily than the wax was,” Ferreira said.

With so many submissions from students, this year’s exhibits exemplified not only the immense talent of Geneseo students, but also the important role art plays in the Geneseo community.

“I think the fact that we had 101 submissions really speaks to how the Geneseo art department is still thriving and creating great work,” Butkowski said. “Even though [the program] is phasing out, it’s encouraging to see so many different types of art.”