PSU Undergrad Makes Exhibition Debut at Portsmouth Gallery

February 24th, 2006 by Adam

She found inspiration in the works of Henri Matisse—regarded as a master of color and one of the most important French painters in the 20th century—and is now an inspiration to her fellow classmates at Plymouth State University. Junior painting major Carla Giordano, from Campton, entered her first juried exhibition and had two paintings accepted. Her works, patterned bedroom and purple coffee maker, will be on display at 100 Market Gallery in Portsmouth through April 17.

“It is fairly prestigious for an undergraduate student to have their work accepted in a juried competition as they are competing with working artists, not students,” says PSU Associate Professor of Art Tom Driscoll. “I had encouraged my students to enter this show and Carla decided she wanted to participate.”

Giordano says she felt confident submitting her work because, “Now I feel I have a direction and I’m proud of my work last semester.” She explains her paintings as a focus on bright colors and patterns.

“Pink has always been my favorite color, and color has an affect on people,” Giordano states. “Patterns are fun for people, they enjoy looking at them. I think my work reflects my personality: friendly, social, I like people and I like to talk.”

Giordano says her paintings are the result of a discovery process. Last spring she was focusing on abstracts, which allowed her to experiment with color and pattern on paper. She drew inspiration from the works of Henri Matisse, which she describes as flattened images with a focus on textile and color. During fall 2005 Giordano’s work moved to interiors as a vehicle to express patterns and colors that were relatable.

So how does it feel to have her work on display? “It feels pretty good,” says Giordano. “I was surprised at first, then didn’t think too much of it when I dropped off my paintings. Going there for the opening was when it finally hit me.”

“This is an unbelievably competitive field,” notes Driscoll. “Having your work accepted in an exhibition is exposure. The more you show, the more visibility, recognition and opportunities there will be. For the future, it has long-term career benefits.

“As an artist, there is ego involved,” Driscoll continues. “Getting accepted in a competition is a real ego boost and motivator. More importantly, you start making the mental transition from art student to artist. That is a big transition.”
<p.For Giordano, success in her first competition reinforces the transition she made from art education major to seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. She wants to continue her PSU education by pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching, specializing in art education. Her ultimate goal is to be an artist and art teacher.

Growing up, Giordano says she and her sister were always doing projects, as their mother is an artist. Moving to New Hampshire halfway through high school was a huge turning point in Giordano deciding to become an artist herself.

She says, “The art program at Plymouth Regional High School allowed for a lot of experimentation and I was encouraged by my teacher Peggy Houseworth. That was reinforced by Tom (Driscoll) in my early painting classes at PSU. We were allowed freedom of expression, but in the context of a direction and with integrity and respect for the learning process. He is the best teacher I’ve ever had, and I respect him because he is an artist himself. The technical skills I learned have been very beneficial.”

There is another exhibition in April Giordano wants to enter and she has almost completed her newest piece, with ideas about a few others. For more information on Giordano visit her Web site at

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting is just one of 42 degree options offered by Plymouth State University. For more information contact Associate Professor of Art Tom Driscoll at 603-535-2422 or visit

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.