Sculptures and Prints by Bachelor of Fine Arts Students Charlie Patterson ’22 and Jazen Reuss ’22 Highlighted in SUNY Potsdam Exhibition
Works by two graduating seniors in SUNY Potsdam’s rigorous Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in visual arts are on display now through Commencement at the Gibson Gallery.
The 2022 BFA Exhibition, presented by The Art Museum at SUNY Potsdam, showcases how the two student artists—Charles Patterson ’22 of Constable, N.Y., and Jazen Reuss ’22 of Saranac Lake, N.Y.—have each overcome adversity to create a strong body of work.
“These two extraordinary young people have heroically overcome significant obstacles and challenges. Yet in the supportive environment of SUNY Potsdam, both students, soon to be graduates, have flourished and are sharing the extraordinary results of their hard work,” said Professor of Ceramics Marc Leuthold.
The BFA Show is on display in the Gibson Gallery, located in Brainerd Hall. The gallery is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. During Commencement weekend, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional hours are also available by appointment.
About the show:
Ten years ago, student Jazen Reuss ’22—though exceptionally talented—left SUNY Potsdam before completing her studies. Last fall, she returned and selected Leuthold as her tutor for a fully online year-long tutorial, and is now set to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts. “Without the online option, I would not have been able to complete my BFA degree or this artwork,” Reuss said.
In her artist statement, Reuss says that her show “explores the ways in which we are connected to the seen and the unseen, the past and future, and the endless possibilities of change… Through these works, I hope to invigorate the imagination and invite the viewer to embark on a journey of discovery as we explore a new social ecosystem.”
Printmaking faculty member Nate Infante mentored Charlie Patterson ’22 as he created a body of artwork in response to his mental illness for the exhibition. In his art statement, Patterson shared fascinating insights as to how making art is both hard work and a coping strategy. The graduating senior titled his project “Divine Affliction,” and describes it as a project that is a “release of my mental health struggles… channeling them into something creative rather than destructive.”
“This project is my way of opening myself up to talking about my life and my personal fight,” Patterson said. “I take religious scenes and turn them into a metaphor for my life, my mind and my experiences.”
Patterson is set to graduate summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts and art history. As for his mentor, Infante masterfully guides all his students and has been awarded with student-nominated best professor awards several times.
Now in his 25th year of service, Leuthold described online instruction as useful to expand access, geographically and logistically.
“Online instruction is a valuable complement to traditional advanced coursework. After leaving college, ceramics students hit a brick wall,” Leuthold said. “What do you do when you no longer have the teacher and facilities? With online instruction, students learn to make art independently like professionals do.”
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is the professional undergraduate degree in the visual arts at SUNY Potsdam. Admission is by portfolio review only. The BFA adheres to the College’s strong general education in the liberal arts, while offering increased breadth and depth in the studio arts. The primary goal of the program is to foster students’ mastery of the visual arts, by giving them further experience in the studio and advanced work in art history and theory.
The Art Museum at SUNY Potsdam serves as the center for visual arts at the College, and encompasses all of the collections found throughout campus, including in the Gibson Gallery. The Museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of quality works of art, and its collection includes significant artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as earlier pieces.
Admission to the Gibson Gallery, located at Brainerd Hall, is free, and the exhibition space is wheelchair-accessible. For more information, call (315) 267-3290 or visit www.potsdam.edu/museum.
SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Art offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in art history, art education, studio art, fine arts, and graphic design and new media. Graduates have gone on to pursue professions in the fine arts, art administration, art therapy, digital design, K-12 and university teaching, museum curation, audio/visual administration, publishing, gallery ownership, interior design, architecture, commercial printing, pattern making, photojournalism, studio ceramics and more. For more information, visit www.potsdam.edu/art.
About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.
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