HEADLINES

WCSU to present spring semester M.F.A. artist lecture series

Six artists whose paintings, illustrations and mixed-media works have earned international critical acclaim will discuss their artistic philosophies and creative process during the Western Connecticut State University spring semester Master of Fine Arts lecture series continuing from Jan. 30 through April 16.

All lectures, sponsored by the WCSU Department of Art M.F.A. in Visual Arts program, will be at 11 a.m. in Room 144 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited; advance registration is requested at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.

The series will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 30, with a lecture by illustrator and caricaturist Steve Brodner, whose drawings and commentary on controversial topics and political figures from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump have featured prominently in many of the nation’s leading publications for more than four decades.

A B.F.A. recipient from Cooper Union, Brodner has secured his reputation among the foremost freelance illustrators of his generation with regular contributions of illustrations to print and online media outlets including Harper’s, The New Yorker, Esquire, The Nation, Rolling Stone, National Lampoon, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Book Review and many others. His visual essays have covered 11 national political conventions, and he has originated, written, edited and graphically designed many articles for publication. He also has created his own books, animations and films including the “Naked Campaign” series in 2008 for The New Yorker website and a series of political shorts for “Need to Know” on PBS in 2010 and 2011. He maintains a strong online presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Among Brodner’s many honors was his selection in 2008 to present the first career retrospective exhibition ever to feature a living illustrator at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He has received the Gold Medal in Editorial and the Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators, the Reuben Awards for magazine illustration and for advertising from the National Cartoonists Society, and additional prizes from the Art Directors Club, the Society of Publication Designers, Communication Arts and other organizations. A resident of New York, he has taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the School of Visual Arts.

Other artists featured in the M.F.A. spring semester lecture series include:

  • Monday, Feb. 12:Matt Bollinger, whose works are featured in the “Parallel Practices” exhibition from Jan. 25 through March 4 in the Art Gallery of the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center, has participated in more than 50 solo and group exhibitions across the United States as well as in France and Germany.  Recipient of an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, his works are based on narratives from personal experiences as well as fictional scenarios, deconstructing and rebuilding memories and generating alter-egos in search of transformative moments in everyday situations. “My work has always moved fluidly between mediums: drawing and sound, collage and sculpture, and most recently between painting and animation,” he said in his artist notes for the WCSU exhibition. “The different mediums I use revolve around a narrative core. Because of this, when I shift materials, I can take advantage of that form’s storytelling potential.” He serves on the faculty of the School of Art and Design at Purchase College and has earned arts fellowships from prestigious institutions including the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, and the Sharpe Walentas Studio Program in New York. His works are held in the collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Dole, France.
  • Monday, March 5:  Kelly Popoff, an Ohio native who now lives and works in Greenfield, Massachusetts, uses the processes of drawing and painting interchangeably to create works with themes that frequently address experiences and concerns of childhood, often drawing upon recollections of her own youth. Through images inspired by old school yearbooks and antique objects of Americana, she portrays the past as a means to respond to the present and future. An M.F.A. recipient from the University of North Carolina, she has participated in group exhibitions across the United States and in Hungary over the past decade, with recent solo shows at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Framingham State University. She has received two artist grants and a fellowship residency at the Vermont Studio Center, as well as the Sustainable Arts Foundation Promise Award and grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Durham Arts Council. She teaches art at Greenfield Community College.         
  • Wednesday, March 21: Painter and printmaker Riley Brewster has combined his creative work with a career as an arts educator, serving since 2006 as an adjunct professor in the WCSU Department of Art and previously teaching at the University of Washington, the New York Studio School, and Bowdoin, Dartmouth and Hampshire colleges. He has exhibited his paintings and prints in exhibitions across the United States, including a solo show last fall at the Giampietro Gallery in New Haven. Recipient of an M.F.A. from Yale University, his works are held in public and private collections including the Davis Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. His numerous honors include awards and fellowships from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation.   
  • Monday, April 2: Judy Glantzman has explored many themes ranging from introspective self-portraits to sweeping studies of social issues and humanity in her extensive portfolio of paintings, drawings, collages and other creative works during a career spanning nearly four decades. Recipient of a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, the New York City native has participated in 26 solo exhibitions and more than 100 group exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Dactyl Foundation presented a 30-year retrospective show of her works in 2009 and her works are held in the Whitney Museum of Art and other public and private collections nationwide. Solo shows at the Betty Cunningham Gallery in New York presented her artistic responses to Winslow Homer’s “Dressing for the Carnival” and Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” reflecting her recurring exploration of darker aspects of human nature beneath the surface of polite society. Her many honors include the Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches art at RISD and the New York Studio School.  
  • Monday, April 16:  Painter and arts educator Margaret Grimes, founder and former coordinator of the M.F.A. in Visual Arts program at WCSU, has shown her works in 18 solo and more than 75 group exhibitions in New York, Connecticut and other venues in the United States. Grimes, a Connecticut State University Distinguished Professor Emerita, earned her M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at WCSU from 1980 until her retirement in 2013. Jennifer Sacha Samet, reviewing a 2013 Grimes retrospective show for artcritical.com, observed the artist’s landscape works “are about vastness, not just the all-encompassing kind, but also vastness at the molecular level. She paints the individual leaf and the entire screen of the forest.” Her paintings on-site in the woods of Connecticut and Maine were featured in her 2017 Blue Mountain Gallery show, “The Secret Life of Trees,” which explored her fascination with the effects of darkness. She is a member of the National Academy of Design, which awarded her the Benjamin Altman Prize in 2004.       

For more information, contact the WCSU Department of Art at (203) 837-8403.

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