SRU senior art exhibitions bring color and courage to Martha Gault Gallery

Art student making art

Michael Putorti, using a technique called linoleum black printmaking, is one of eight senior art majors from Slippery Rock University exhibiting senior capstone projects at the Martha Gault Art Gallery. The art shows run from April 23-May 10, including Putorti’s exhibit “Emergence” April 30-May 3.

April 17, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University will host a trio of exhibitions featuring eight senior art students' capstone projects beginning April 23 at the Martha Gault Art Gallery.

"Being able to present my work to the public has always humbled me," said Kaci Flora, a senior art major from Pittsburgh. "It's a different kind of nervous feeling (a good kind) because I am showing people, people I don't know, a part of myself ... after all, every artist exhibits a part of themselves in their work."

Flora's exhibit, "Faces of Courage," will be one of two student exhibits featured May 7-10 at the Gault Gallery. An opening reception will take place 5-8 p.m., May 8. Other exhibitions will be featured April 23-26 and April 30-May 3 with opening receptions from 5-7 p.m., April 23 and 6-8 p.m. April 30, respectively. The Martha Gault Art Gallery is located in Maltby Center and is open Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"During senior project exhibitions, students who are graduating with a BFA demonstrate expertise across multiple art medias," said Theresa Antonellis, director of the Martha Gault Gallery and instructor of art. "These exhibitions will have drawings, fiber arts, paintings, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Each student focuses their exhibit on one method or medium to use, which they practiced and perfected during their final year at SRU.

"It's an important experience to have the opportunity to present in an art gallery that showcases the artworks of students, faculty, and professional artists. Having your own artwork seen in public, in a professional exhibition pushes art students to a higher level of accomplishment.

"It's so inspiring to see the artworks. The students formulate a unique visual language, and it's always amazing to see the final results. For example, both Amanda Demmler and Jess Durban are working with the subject of deep admiration for close friends and family, yet they each have a very different visual vocabulary."

Demmler's "Kindred Spirits" is made up of rainbow hues of pencils on papers, showing faces of family. Durban's 'Identity' is purely black and white photography, dramatically focused on the hands of her subjects. "Both artists show us what artists can do ... elevate and memorialize relationships with a range of methods and materials," said Antonellis.

Love and relationships are strong themes running through the senior project exhibitions.

Michael Putorti's exhibition of "Emergence" also demonstrates admiration for close relationships. Through the technique of linoleum block printmaking, Putorti shows viewers transformational portraits of friends who have made the decision to navigate transgender identities.

"The LGBTQ community became such a big part of my life, but I had yet let it merge with another big part of my life, my art," said Putorti. "That's what inspired me to do my senior show and have it focus on transgender identifying people. For me, it was not only a way to spread positivity and educate the community on this concept. It was also a way for me to say 'thank you' to the LGBTQ community as a whole for helping me find myself, not only as an artist but as an individual as well. I could not be more grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, and I can only hope that more will follow."

The schedule for the senior art show is as follows:

April 23-26 (opening reception: 5-7 p.m., April 23)
-"Kindred Spirits" by Amanda Demmler from Industry.
-"Identity" by Jessica Durban from Slippery Rock.
-"Disjoint? A Series of Analytical Portraits" by A.J. Miller from Portersville.

April 30-May 3 (opening reception: 6-8 p.m., April 30)
-"Emergence" by Michael Putorti from Slippery Rock.
-"Isabelle" by Caitlin Guillot from Irwin.
-"Quiet Comfort" by Tyra Welsh from New Castle.

May 7-10 (opening reception: 5-8 p.m., May 8)
-"Faces of Courage" by Kaci Flora from Pittsburgh.
-"Autobiographical" by Zachary Rutter from Pittsburgh.

MEDIA CONTACT: Hebist Asfaw | 724.738.2091 | hba1001@sru.edu