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The latest exhibition in the Grossman Gallery in Lafayette’s new Williams Visual Arts Building showcases the creativity of artistic expression by Lafayette students.

Seniors Carly Fink, Amy Dorfman, Mandy Weil, and Susan Baldaserini have earned departmental honors in art. In a show called “Perspectives,” their honors projects are on view through May 19 in the Williams Visual Arts Building, 243 North 3rd St., Easton. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call the gallery, (610) 330-5828.

A public reception for the artists will be held 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 4, in the Williams Visual Arts Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Fink is a double major in art and history from Alpine, N.J; Dorfman is a double major in art and international economics and commerce from Meadowbrook, Pa.; Weil is an art major from Scarsdale, N.Y.; and Baldaserini is a double major in art and English from Ridgefield, Conn.

Fink’s project consists of three six-foot paintings showing her interpretations of three different stages of the transition from caterpillar to butterfly, a series of wash drawings (ink and diluted paint), and digitally manipulated images of insects and spiders. Fink grew her own caterpillars to study their movement, growth, eating habits, physical attributes, and changes during metamorphosis. “I also studied insects preserved in the biology department and in scientific books, and I learned how other artists portrayed them in order to incorporate new ideas in my work,” she says.

One of Fink’s goals is to share her appreciation for insects. “People love to look at butterflies, but there is a beauty to spiders, too.” She also wants to convey the message that all life has value. “Through my art, I hope that the viewer will be able to see insects in a new perspective,” adds Fink.

Guidance was provided during the project by Fink’s thesis advisor, Ed Kerns, Lafayette’s Eugene H. Clapp II Professor of Art, an internationally known abstract painter. He and the other art professors at Lafayette have provided Fink with encouragement during her time at Lafayette. “They are there for everyone,” she says. “They’ve always been so helpful, even before I got here. That’s why I decided on the school. They’re always helpful and open.”

Dorfman’s work seeks to “confront, evaluate, and penetrate the unseen cultural, political, and historical contexts and agendas that control how we apprehend and consume the images presented to us.” She has combined original art with a video featuring art historians and artists, interspersed with Dorfman’s own comments on stereotypes in art and overall culture. Her prints illustrate how images are used, perceived, and confused.

“I wanted to produce a piece of work inclusive of my four years at Lafayette,” says Dorfman of her honors thesis opportunity. “I wanted to explore what I have learned, inside and outside of the classroom, and synthesize it into something personally valuable…I can find deeper meanings to my questions and put some closure on the most significant four years of my life.”

Fink and Dorfman were the recipients of this year’s Frederick Knecht Detwiller Prize for distinguished work in art and art history.

Weil also combines multimedia and original art, sandwiching a video between two digital slide shows, along with an eight-by-twelve-foot painting. Her honors thesis centered on providing art therapy to terminally ill children and cancer patients at Lehigh Valley Hospital Network Cancer Clinic in Bethlehem.

“I believe through art, children access their private worlds,” she says. “I want to guide children with cancer and to empower them through their own perceptions. I want to learn from them as they reflect on whatever it may be that influences their art. Hopefully, through our journey together, we can create an understanding and I can gain their acceptance.”

Weil’s painting includes pieces of art created by the children, one of whom recently died. The slide shows run simultaneously above and below a video screen, all of which show scenes of her interaction with the children and their artistic creation.

“I want children with terminal illnesses to see art as the electricity that gives them light, a light that validates whatever they want to share,” says Weil. “I know that I cannot save them from the emotional and physical things they must experience. I hope to engage them and to give them a voice through art.”

Weil was awarded the Vivian B. Noblett Prize in Studio Art, given to an art major who has demonstrated proficiency in painting and drawing, and who shows potential for future achievement.

Baldaserini not only created a fictional magazine for her honors project, she also depicted the creative and promotional processes involved with launching such a publication. She made page spreads, layouts, and design plans for she chic, a 32-page magazine focused on topics concerning women college students, particularly juniors and seniors, such as dealing with stress, finding a job after graduation, and roommate problems.

Baldaserini also scripted dialogue and created the environment for three tableaus: a classic brainstorming session about the magazine concept and marketing approach; a production environment with computers, wall sketches, and crumpled papers with discarded ideas; and a trade show environment for the magazine, complete with spreads laid out on standing panels and a four-by-four-foot cover suspended from the ceiling. Student actors portrayed the first two scenes at her honors thesis defense, while Baldaserini explained the overall design and marketing plan.

The experience brought out the kinds of challenges involved in navigating graphic design and publication styles. “I was able to explore a wide range of venues that the world of graphic design offers,” explains Baldaserini. “Although I have endeavored to make the spread of each article unique, I have learned how to do so without losing the necessary graphic continuity. This has been one of the greatest challenges of the project. However, the most rewarding aspect of my thesis is that I can now stand back and see this final product as one graphically cohesive whole.”

Categorized in: Academic News