MFA student artists at WCSU present Virtual Exhibition

Six Western Connecticut State University graduate student candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree in 2020 are presenting their works in the M.F.A. Thesis Virtual Exhibition currently featured on the web page of the Gallery at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at WCSU in Danbury.

Sponsored by the university’s Department of Art, the virtual exhibition was launched on March 26 to offer the public an opportunity to experience the diverse works in painting, illustration, sculpture, digital art and mixed media created by this year’s M.F.A. candidates. Closure of the VPAC Gallery and all other WCSU facilities to the public through May during the COVID-19 pandemic has made viewing in person at the Gallery impossible, but the virtual tour provides a creative response that opens the exhibition to all through online access from home.

Through the web page link, https://www.wcsu.edu/art/gallery/exhibitions/2020-mfa-thesis-virtual-exhibition/, the online guest is invited to take a virtual walk through the Gallery to view the exhibition installation as it appears on site. On the same web page, the visitor is invited to access links from representative pieces by the participating artists to view more comprehensive slide shows of their portfolio of works as well as each student’s biography and artist statement.

The Department of Art organizes the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition each spring as a capstone experience demonstrating the personal artistic direction and mastery of candidates for the M.F.A. in Visual Arts, expressed in the works they present for viewing. The M.F.A. is the terminal degree for practicing professional artists. The following M.F.A. students are showing their works in this year’s exhibition:

  • Stephanie Dee, of Bethel. Born in Bogota, Colombia, Dee received a B.F.S. in Illustration/Animation and a B.A. in Linguistics/Psychology from the University of Connecticut, She works in traditional and digital media, pursuing dual careers in editorial illustration and macabre art. As a conceptual artist with a background in biology and medicine, she creates works under the name “Maritza” that draw inspiration from the psychology of color, evoking fear through their unsettling combinations of horror and fantasy. She has exhibited her works at galleries in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and received the Award of Excellence from Conception Arts Boston in 2018.
  • Brian Antonio McCarley, of Danbury. McCarley, a multi-media artist who works in many disciplines, forms and materials, earned a B.S. in Justice and Law Administration with minor in Studio Art and an M.S. in Educational Psychology/School Counseling at WCSU. His previous service in the U.S. Navy has provided inspiration for his frequent use of metal, wood and other discarded materials to create paintings, drawings and sculptures designed to activate space and engage the viewer. He has exhibited his works at several sites in Connecticut and currently teaches art courses in the Danbury Public School district.      
  • Amanda Paige Megill, of Northford. Recipient of a B.A. in Studio Art and winner of the Portnow Excellence in Painting Award at WCSU, Megill works in oils on canvas or board, painting subjects that evoke memories of persons once close to her and now lost. Her current series of paintings, executed with brushes and palette knife, incorporates chairs observed at odd and unexpected angles and cropped close to focus on surprising details, producing otherworldly and often abstract imagery. She has exhibited her works in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
  • Jen Olvera, of Phoenix, Arizona. A native of south Texas who earned her B.A. in Studio Art from Texas A&M University, Olvera also pursued studies at the American Academy in Rome, Italy, and received an artist residency at the Chautauqua Institution. Inspired by the rich desert landscape surrounding her home in the American Southwest, she often uses handmade papers as the base for works that are drawn, painted, stitched and layered to produce her distinctive mixed-media art, sometimes in three-dimensional forms. She has exhibited her works at galleries in Connecticut, New York, Texas and California.
  • Hannah Hurricane Sanchez, of Southbury. Sanchez, a native of Florida and Texas, earned her B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and held artist residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Art and the Vermont Studio Center. Her drawings, paintings and prints incorporate personal symbolism, reflections on domesticity and landscapes, and suggestions of celestial spaces. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions across New England and in New York and Texas. She received awards in 2018 and 2019 from the MASS MoCA Assets for Artists program.
  • Wing Na Wong, of Danbury. Recipient of a B.A. in Graphic Design and winner of the Antonio Alberetti Excellence in Painting Award at WCSU, Wong is a photo-realist painter whose recent works focus on human and animal portraiture. She has completed more than 20 private commissions and has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. Her paintings are held in the collections displayed at the City Hall office of Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and the Waterbury office of U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, who represents Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District.
  • For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.