PSU Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibitions in Graphic Design and Studio Art April 30—May 18 at Plymouth State University

April 22nd, 2013 by Elizabeth


Mike Heitz "unnamed" ink wash and line

Plymouth, N.H.—The Department of Art at Plymouth State University is proud present 17 students who are making their debut as painters, designers, printmakers and creators. The department’s annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibitions in Graphic Design and Studio Art will be held April 30–May 14.

Graphic design projects will be exhibited at the Silver Center for Arts while the studio art works will be displayed at the Karl Drerup Art Gallery in the Draper and Maynard Building, with opening receptions from 4–6 p.m. April 30 at each venue. A gallery talk will be held from 4:30–6 p.m. May 7 at the Drerup Gallery.

Gallery Director and Professor of Art Terry Downs says,” There comes a time in all our lives when we declare ourselves to be this or that person, profession, or thing—when we declare our identity as Self. For artists this is a powerful moment. It is when they discover what their personal mark is in this world. Like a fingerprint, it bears the stamp of individuality.”

Downs says, “Over the past four years the faculty have nurtured the artist inside these students. They have aided this self-discovery by encouraging the artistic diversity and singularity of each person. In these exhibitions we see the newly declared direction each one has chosen.”

The exhibition presents work that is the capstone achievement of a year of intensive inquiry, creative challenge, experimentation and exploration; and their development of a comprehensive and cohesive body of work from which pieces for the exhibition are selected.  In addition, each venue offers unique curatorial and installation challenges and a unique viewing experience.

Exhibitors include graphic designers Jacqueline Aiello of Burlington, Mass.; Neil Brown of Milford, Joseph Carney of Jackson, New Jersey; Michelle LeBlanc of Merrimack; Lacey Mason of Tuftonboro, and Adam McComb of Belmont.

BFA in studio art exhibitors are Mike Heitz of Warren, Kristin Horan of Fryeburg, Maine; Cortland

Brett Strother "Wading River" gouache and micron pens

Johansen of Meredith, Peter Kovacs of Windham, Danielle Lareau of Milford,Drake McKay of Brookline, Colleen O’Hara of Otego, N.Y., Kristin Sarette of Plymouth, Noelle Stillman of Bedford, Brett Strother of West Milford, N.J. and Jaclyn Wood of Manchester.

Lacey Mason, t-shirt with logo

Lacey Mason hopes to work in the field of children’s media. Her BFA graphic design thesis project is to create a visual identity for a zoo. She says, “In my project, the River Park Zoo is a 90 acre zoological park fictitiously located in Oregon. I chose a zoo because it played well to my strengths in relating to children, but still had a variety of aspects to design that range from the whimsical to the professional, including signage, shops with merchandise, food locations and packaging, marketing materials and the corporate identity for the park itself.”

Cortland Johansen is a BFA studio art major with a minor in art

Cortland Johansen "Fridge" painting

history. She is intrigued by the abstractions of light and reflections within the shapes, spaces and colors she explores. She says, “In each still life there is a celebration of the light and color that continually delights the eye and engages the mind.” She finds inspiration in the food and utensils that are in her kitchen every day. “My desire is for the observer to get in touch with the subject and experience the abstractions of light, space and color,” she says.

Brett Strother is challenged by how fast our brains function day in and day out. “As we live, we experience many moments, good and bad, that may shape, guide or even control who we are and how we live. In my work, I attempt to capture these moments that make us who we are and I try to communicate the constant flow of the working brain to paper to provide a visual interpretation of the mind’s process. The structure of my works is based off that continuous stream of information that our minds produce. The collage-like arrangement and morphing of objects is my attempt to translate the chaos of the never-ending thoughts within the mind,” Strother says.

Kristen Horan "Dream Series@6 etching with aquatint

Kristen Horan’s work is inspired by her dreams. Kristen says that overtime her interpretations of each dream have become less literal, forming more open narratives that allow viewers to have a greater freedom of interpretation and interaction with each piece. “The figures remain as emotionless and impersonal as possible, either with blank stares or their backs turned to the viewer so as not to influence what one may take away from the piece. The multiple layers and processes within each print help to build an environment that is both quiet and yet subtly complex, with enough information to create a real sense of space with no definite setting,” Horan says.

Mike Heitz is a native of Warren currently finishing his BFA degree with a concentration in drawing. His work primarily deals with abstract shapes and forms, with “an obsessive attention tostraight lines.” Heitz drew his initial inspiration from Zen arts, where a few simple brush strokes can depict an entire scene. The pieces he creates using ink washes and lines deal with formation, motion and natural and inorganic forms, like a stain on a carpet or splattered paint. He says, “I have little or no control over ink washes and the forms I get from letting water and ink slowly dry over time. I try to create a visual balance between ink washes and other methods I have minimal control over, and the architectural lines that I completely control. By adding thought out lines and some elements of control, I can make the work my own.”

The Silver Center for the Arts is open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. and closed PSU holidays.

The Karl Drerup Art Gallery in the Draper and Maynard Building is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Wednesday until 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1–4 p.m. Closed PSU holidays.

Exhibition information is online at

Information about the Silver Center is online at

General information about events at PSU is available at