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‘Master’-ful Exhibit at Hillwood Art Museum Through May 8

Annual exhibit by LIU Post Master of Fine Arts students includes painting, drawing, printmaking and metal, ceramic and mixed-media sculpture


Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University

Brookville, N.Y. – Art students finishing up their master’s degrees are displaying some of their most creative work – from a 10-by-20-foot wall of charcoal drawings to sculptures made of crab shells -- in the annual MFA Thesis Exhibition at Hillwood Art Museum at Long Island University/LIU Post.

The exhibition features artwork by 11 contemporary artists graduating this spring with a Master of Fine Arts from LIU Post. The works include painting, drawing, and printmaking, as well as metal, ceramic, and mixed-media sculpture. Each artist is inspired to work for a different reason – a trip across the globe, spirituality, daily rituals, natural disasters, or the history of painting.

The work of Marvin Aravelo explores the history of mimetic painting. Objects are realistically painted on board and then “modified” with tools; one might refer to the modifications as damage. Mr. Aravelo writes of his own work in his artist’s statement:

Relationship between imagery and surface. How they relate. 
Taking a crowbar to it.
It's a reminder of what is real and what is fake.”

Robert Calame has installed a wall of charcoal drawings that is 10’ tall and 20’ wide.  This ambitious project reflects his use of the model and layered gestural rendering. Of his method he writes:

My working method is to layer and scrape away in a constant struggle of constructing and deconstructing in order to find the image – to finally see what is there. For me there’s an urgency to both create and destroy. Through this process the picture still contains the evidence or memory of its history in the old layers, and this becomes part of the new image.  

In her large-scale paintings Ashley Ciccotelli considers the beauty of our everyday rituals – even driving in the rain on the Long Island Expressway. Through a camera mounted on her dashboard, videos are made of the roadway – its lights, traffic, and movement. These videos provide images that become source material for her paintings. Of the series “Street Symphony” she writes:

I am able to convey the idea of pausing a daily routine to realize and communicate the beauty around the viewer …The viewer is unwillingly forced to not only “complete” the tasks presented, but also to pick out their own beauty in my daily routine. The connection between the artist’s life and the life of the viewer is especially significant.

In crisp-edged screenprints, Emily Harrison Ach investigates a theme of island-living; fishing.  Seeking inspiration from personal experience with fishing, an interest in exploration, and the interaction between man and the sea, Ms. Harrison Ach investigates both “the emotional and visceral nature of fishing.” Of her inspiration she writes:

Being taught to fish has given me a look through the eyes of a fisherman and a small window into the microcosm that is the sea. Some fish get returned to the water and live, others are placed in buckets to be taken away, filleted, and consumed. I want to express the emotional and visceral nature of fishing and man's relationship to the sea.

Marc Isaacs works in ceramic on a large-scale.  His objects, which are part of the series “Sentinels: Interlocking,” are precise in structure and surface. Of his work he writes:

My Sentinels are a bulwark against danger without as well as turmoil within… Products of the subconscious; they are as much a part of my soul as the portion God gave me in life…Blended with humanism; their fortress like qualities manifest the precision of my creations with the healing frailties of my flesh. Under the banner of that unity, I choose to advance.

“Beautiful Tragedy” is a theme that Leehyun Ellie Kim explores in her work. She considers the desire for making something beautiful as linked with the pursuit of perfection. Of her brightly-colored textured paintings she writes: 

Dancers have a great deal of effort towards making a performance to be perfect on the stage for the audience and to satisfy their ego. All people have different minds, thoughts, and attitudes, but they pursue one common thing and that is the beauty. No matter how hard the process is, how much time it takes, people keep making effort to be perfect, which is beautiful.

The desire for protection features in Jongwon Lee’s sculptures and mixed-media works. Mr. Lee uses crab shells to cover everyday objects like a television, a chair, and a teddy bear, but also uses them to create mosaic-like panels. In this installation, he has also included a large humanoid sculpture made, in part, with crab shells.  Of his mixed-media work he writes: 

Outer part of the crab, which is referred to as the shell, plays an important role: It protects their bodies, the way armor does a human body …I imagine the crab shells as guardians that protect the lives and dreams of people. I form sculptures covered with shells that can act as guardians that protect valuable human assets like ideas and dreams.

Dave Rogers works in cut paper and the works included in this exhibition have been created with a plasma cutter. His time in the military and his work in China have both influenced his artmaking. Of his work he writes:

On my return from China I began to make connections between the crafts that I learned and my years as a soldier. The results of this unusual connection have been beautiful two and three-dimensional metaphors of the importance of time and the fragility of life and democracy.”

Youngmi Seo addresses questions about the creation and retention of memory in the brain. Why do we only remember certain things? Why are there others that we would like to forget, but can’t?  Her works are paintings that have been sliced into strips and woven into new surfaces for additional painting. Of her work and its relationship to memories, she writes:

I believe that all memories are precious because they give us lessons for the future. For example, when we get a scratch on our knee, it is painful. But a few days later our body creates a scab over the wound to protect it automatically. This may perhaps alert us to find a better way to fall down carefully next time.  In my works, the potential memories in deep inside are expressed in abstract ways by weaving canvas fabrics and colorful touches, which is added up in order to convey the message of memories in unconscious space.

Yusam Sung works with both natural and man-made disasters in his artwork. Even though there is an intense magnitude in the content of his work, the materials are fragile and familiar. Of this series he writes:

I am searching for subjects whose presence leaves a strong impression. I have found that global issues can fulfill this requirement because everyone can relate to one kind of natural disaster or another. The tsunami has been a global issue in recent years that has affected many countries. Nuclear disasters are also a problem that has plagued our history. Even though few people actually experienced a nuclear disaster, the issue and fear exists in everyone’s mind. These forms do not have fixed physical shapes. Their shapes are influenced and change depending the circumstances around them.

Hillwood Art Museum is located at LIU Post at 720 Northern Boulevard (Route 25A) in Brookville. For more information about Hillwood Art Museum or events, please visit the Museum’s web site at or phone (516) 299-4073. Hours of operation through May 10, 2013 are Monday - Friday: 9:30 – 4:30, until 7:30 on Thursdays, Saturday 11:00 – 3:00.

 Ashley Ciccotelli, 38th and 9th, 2013, Acrylic paint and resin on canvas                                Emily Harrison-Ach, Largemouth Bass, 2012, Screenprint

Dave Rogers, Words of War, 2012, Plasma-cut paper

Posted 04/23/2013

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