Dozens of students and alumni of the SUNY New Paltz Master of Fine Arts program exhibited work in the artists’ mecca of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from April 12 to May 4, drawing on the College’s enduring spirit of impassioned artistry and longtime reputation as one of the best art schools in the Northeast.
Every two years, New Paltz MFA students and alumni are given the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Society. The first such exhibition took place in 2017, and was curated by Shannon Stratton, former chief curator of the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan. This year’s show, “Now: Press Play,” featured nearly 40 MFA students and alumni and was curated by Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at the Yale Center for British Art.
“It was an honor to exhibit in such a magnificent historical building in Williamsburg,” said Karen Jaimes ’20g (MFA ceramics candidate). “The communal installation process was rewarding and enlightening. A lot of work and hands are required behind the scenes to prepare large exhibitions.”
New Paltz Department of Art Graduate Coordinator Matthew Friday said the exhibition serves as a demonstration of the program’s commitment to art-as-research.
“I’m an unapologetic advocate for craft … and my selection here includes artists who work vigorously into and through their materials, whether conventional—clay, wood, metal, fiber—or otherwise,” said Adamson. “In dialogue with this assertive materiality, there is a noticeable emphasis on narrative, often caught in a moment of arrested development. Quite a few works in the show strike me as ideal props for films still unwritten.”
Hundreds of people came to the “Now: Press Play” opening on April 12, including Adamson and several representatives of major New York City art world institutions, Friday said. The show even led to some sales of student and alumni artwork to prominent patrons, as well as opportunities for students to exhibit their work in future shows.
“Yuko Nii, artist, philanthropist and the director of WAH, purchased three pieces of student work for her foundation,” said Friday. “Students who have been in this show have been invited to participate in other exhibitions.”
The MFA students and alumni who exhibited work in “Now: Press Play” were Sylvie Alusitz ’19g, Julia Arvay ’19g, Geoffrey Booras ’13g, Emily Brownawell ’19g, Hyein Cho ’17g, Min Jae Eom ’20g, Reed Fagan ’16g, Mary Beth Fiorentino ’18g, Jessica Gaddis ’18g, Stefan Gougherty ’20g, Bryan Hale ’19g, Tamar Hedges ’19g, Amanda Heidel ’19g, John Huckins ’14g, Julianne Hunter ’17g, Karen Jaimes ’20g, Benjamin Kellogg ’18g, Bora Kim ’10g, Geuryung Lee ’19g, Betsy Lewis ’19g, Ruizhi Li ’19g, Katy Itter ’15g, Lydia Martin ’17g, Megumi Naganoma ’19g, Emily Nomer ’17g, Michal Ozeri ’17g, Sariah Park ’20g, MengNan Qu ’15g, Jennifer O’Connell Reid ’18g, Heather Rosenbach ’19g, Nick Rouke ’20g, Jolynn Santiago ’19g, Andrew Sartorius ’19g, Jamie Scherzer ’20g, Sharon Strauss ’19g, Bruce Wahl ’20g, Kehan Wan ’20g, Hannah Ward ’18g, and Xuewu Zheng ’20g.
The MFA exhibition in Brooklyn will continue to be held every two years and is open to MFA students and alumni.