Western Connecticut State University’s Department of Art invites the public to view the 2023 Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition held March 23 – April 6 in The Gallery at the university’s Visual and Performing Arts Center, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 23, from 6 – 8 p.m.
The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public. The exhibition will be open for viewing from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4 p.m. The opening reception on March 23 is co-sponsored by the Department of Art and the WCSU Alumni Association.
The M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition is the summation of two years of intensive, creative study and extensive interaction with resident faculty and visiting artists for students in the WCSU Department of Art Graduate Program. The graduate student art also will be displayed at Blue Mountain Gallery, 547 West 27th St., New York, New York, on June 20 – July 8, with the opening reception on Thursday, June 22, from 5 – 8 p.m. This exhibition is supported by the Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Endowment Fund at Western Connecticut State University,
The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts is the preferred degree for the practicing artist who is preparing for a professional career in the visual arts. M.F.A. degrees are available in painting, illustration and interdisciplinary visual art. The M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition is the capstone experience of the graduate program, demonstrating a personal direction and mastery in the work of the artists. Four graduate students will present their thesis work this year:
Dan Baker, of Danbury, is an interdisciplinary artist who works in multiple practices, including photography, printmaking, painting, drawing and collage. In 2021, he earned a B.A. in Photography from WCSU, where he is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Visual Art. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at WCSU, he has worked in several advanced photography courses.
“My work in the exhibition shows the ups and downs of everything that I have faced within my education. By mixing my background in photography, I attempt to show the emotion that I felt to create these works. I mix the mediums that I use to show what I want to express,” Baker said.
His work was exhibited at the Brookfield Craft Center in 2021 and at WCSU in “Covering Blue Note (1 & 2),” collaborative shows with the WCSU Department of Art and Department of Music in 2019. Baker’s short film, entitled “Perfect Lovers,” was shown on “The Marty Heiser Show” and “The Chris Pante Show” on Danbury, Bethel and Ridgefield Television. Upcoming in May 2023, he will have a solo exhibition of mixed media works at Art in Common Gallery, Ridgefield.
Marcus Escribano, of Danbury, is pursuing his M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Visual Art at WCSU. He earned his B.A. in Photography from WCSU in 2019 and received the Department of Art’s Excellence in Photography Award. He also studied abroad at the Rome Art Program in the summer of 2018 and was invited to return in 2022 as a visiting artist and painting instructor. Escribano has also taught art classes at Harambee Center for Youth in Danbury. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at WCSU, he has worked with art students in two-dimensional design.
“Inspired by my ignorance and driven by my curiosity, I am a multimedia artist using tools to further my language. I paint, photograph, sculpt, write – anything. I am an Afro-Latino born in the United States, where my main source of inspiration comes from Taino cultures and European art during the Renaissance. I am not one, but many languages,” Escribano said.
Since 2017, Escribano’s work has been in gallery and online exhibitions in the United States, as well as Italy, Greece and Hungary. In 2022, he was represented by New York City gallery Artifact at Art Basel Miami Beach. In an upcoming group show in South Korea, one of Escribano’s paintings has been selected for the permanent collection of the Yukyung Art Museum. His work is also in the collection of the Danbury Fair Mall and has been published in British Vogue Gallery and Vanity Fair U.K.
Lilah Heyman, of Bridgeport, is a painter, drawer, printmaker and embroiderer currently completing her M.F.A. in Painting at WCSU. She earned her B.F.A. in Studio Arts from Fairfield University, where she received the CAS Arts & Sciences Award for Distinguished Work in Visual and Expressive Arts. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant at WCSU, Heyman has worked in Drawing I, Painting III and Printmaking classes. She also worked with Fairfield University Art Museum and contributed to the creation of a coloring book based on the museum’s permanent collection.
“I paint playfully, using color as light, and I pay attention to how light changes through various scenes. I enjoy using bright, bold colors to capture a sense of vitality. I paint still lives and interior scenes that focus on the rituals and beauty found in daily life,” Heyman said. “Time connects to my paintings, showing the way that time can stand still for an instant or how separate moments can blur together as one.”
In 2022, Heyman’s work was in a group exhibition at Bruce S. Kershner Gallery in Fairfield called “New Beginnings … After the Pause,” where she was honored with a People’s Choice Award. Her upcoming exhibits include a three-person show at Bruce S. Kershner Gallery from June to August 2023, and a solo show at Art in Common Gallery in October 2023.
Aimee Jette, of Ridgefield, is completing her M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Visual Art at WCSU. She received an M.A. in Creative Arts Therapy Counseling from Hofstra University in 2019 and a B.A. from Albertus Magnus College.
“What excites me about painting is capturing the emotional landscape of a place, whether internal or external. A landscape becomes a residence to mark contrary ideas or truths. Our memories of objects and events exist in the topography of our psyche. What is placed in the foreground and pushed back depends on the emotional intensity and chemical processes that dictate the event,” Jette said. “I am fascinated by how these artifacts are stored. What does it mean to access this? Ultimately, the external and internal landscapes personify the layers of our consciousness, which I confront and expose through art.”
Since 2002, Jette’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. She was awarded a Gullkistan Artist in Residency in Iceland, where her work was also exhibited. In 2016, Jette founded Art in Common, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization that connects communities by promoting creativity and compassion through the expressive arts. Art in Common Gallery, located in Ridgefield, had its grand opening earlier this year and offers art classes, workshops and gallery openings.
For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or WCSU Public Relations.