Press Releases

Art+Design MFA Alumni Exhibit at the Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich, Conn. Oct. 18-Nov. 17

Date Released: 10/15/2007

Fifteen artists, all graduates of the master of fine arts in visual arts program at Purchase College, SUNY, will exhibit their work in Matriculations at the Bendheim Gallery at the Greenwich Arts Council October 18-November 17. The artists will exhibit work in painting, print media, photography and installations. An opening reception will be held on October 18 from 6-8 PM. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 AM-5 PM, Saturday, 12-5 PM and Sunday 12-4 PM. The Bendheim Gallery is located at 299 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, Conn. For more information, call 203-622-3998 or visit

The artists included in Matriculations are Christine Darnell, New Haven, Conn., Joelle Jensen; Andrew Hunt; Craig Kane, Flushing, N.Y.; Sasha Kopelowitz, White Plains, N.Y.; Brian Lund, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Luis Maldonado, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Kirsten Nelson, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Adam Nicklewicz, North Haven, Conn., Sue O’Donnell Bloomsburg, Penn., Jennifer Perry, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Michael Rivera, Roxbury, Conn., Andrew Small; Champe Smith, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Parsley Steinweiss.

The Master of Fine Arts Program in the Purchase College School of the Arts, School of Art+Design is small and highly selective. Its purpose is to foster the artistic, intellectual and professional growth of each student through exposure to a variety of viewpoints represented by the graduate faculty, visiting artists, critics and the current group of graduate students. The program provides an environment in which a student may intensively pursue independent studio work, as well as pertinent art historical and other academic studies.

“One of our objectives in the School of Art+Design,” says Dean Denise Mullen “is to create the opportunity for our surrounding communities to engage with relevant ideas and issues in contemporary art practice. We are grateful to the Greenwich Arts Council and delighted to share the work of our students, to promote a better understanding of the way art is made today, and to provide a glimpse into the shape of visual art in the future.”

Christine Darnell works in large charcoal and paper drawings as well as three-dimensional installations. 

Joelle Jensen’s work reveals a dark sense of humor as she examines family life, memory and loss. Jensen received several awards for her series, Repose, in which she mined her family photo albums and selected images to restage. The images touch on loss and the unattainable through juxtaposition of the past and present.

Andrew Hunt's paintings depict a range of subjects including chairs, fruits, war, sports, groups of people, retro science fiction, fairy-tales and one-liners. He juxtaposes pieces of imagery, line and color to create obscure narratives, questionable allegories and other unusual relationships between visual elements in his paintings.

Sasha Kopelowitz’s miniature abstractions investigate the body as a complex locus for contradictory corporeal and spiritual experiences.  She has created a unique, cartoonish imagery in which organisms float above, and sometimes collapse upon, a desolate and fantastic background, simultaneously beckoning and repelling their viewer. 

Brian Lund’s drawings and paintings feature extensive graphic vocabularies translated from pop-culture media sources, such as television and movies.  Lund attempts to replicate, and therefore call attention to, an experience of popular culture overload that coincides with today’s entertainment industry.

Luis Maldonado has developed a series of seasonal paintings, inspired, in part, by a need to record the movement of time—its cyclical nature and its inevitable march forward. He imbues each seasonal work with universal symbols and signs, leaves, ghosts and candy for fall, for example, combined with personal myths and memories.

Adam Niklewicz came to the United States in the 1980’s, seeking refuge from martial law in Poland. While he has developed a body of work that is varied in material and formal terms, it is unified in its lyricism and sense of loss, and in its obsession with the impossible project of reconciling past and present. His work evokes not homeland, but rather the absurdity of nostalgia, the futility of trying to be in any place other than the liminal space of the prefixed-American.

Kirsten Nelson’s work explores the gap between present experience and remembered space. Her sculptures, built out of common home building materials, exist between object and space. Each piece evokes a recognizable site, yet it remains an invented fragment, or “false” rendition of everyday architecture.

Sue O’Donnell is a visual artist whose work combines experimental book arts, graphic design and conceptual narratives. Her constructions reveal secrets and life events that search out and map connections and paths that explore models of certainty, evolving emotions, and the concepts of truth and memory.

Jennifer Perry sees her sculptures as contemporary versions of scholars’ rocks, or guai shi (literally “strange rocks”), which Chinese literati have valued for centuries as a means of bringing part of the natural landscape indoors for contemplation. Perry mines the “landscape” of her Brooklyn neighborhood for ordinary materials such as Styrofoam and cast-off furniture using them to create miniature “moveable mountains” that perch on wheeled bases.  In using lowly and synthetic materials to mimic nature, Perry raises questions about preciousness, permanence and our troubled relationship with the natural world.

For Michael Rivera, nature has been the point of departure for his sculpture, and although he is still in tune with the natural world, he has begun to incorporate human nature and thought. He is deeply interested in man's potential for greatness and potential for destruction. His artistic goal is to engage the viewer through movement, color, scale and repetition of surface.

Andrew Small’s abstract paintings exist in a distinctive gap between a playful whimsy and an inhibited unsightliness in which awkwardness, spontaneity and humor are indispensable. The paintings appear as unsettling dramas that are at once attractive and repulsive. Investigating this paradox is vital, as his work teeters between the personified qualities of introvert and extrovert. He examines the underlying theme of isolation, and the feeling of self-consciousness that results.

Champe Smith is an artist and printmaker in New York City working in letterpress and collage. Her work is in numerous collections, including the New York Public Library and Yale University Arts of the Book Collection.

Parsley Steinweiss’s large scale photographs examine imaginary worlds. They describe a place between micro and macro, inside and outside, growth and decay.

The Purchase College School of Art+Design is headed by Dean Denise Mullen, Rowayton, Conn. Prior to becoming dean at Purchase in 2004, Ms. Mullen was Vice Dean of the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC. She is an arts administrator and an artist whose works are in numerous collections.

As a photographer, book artist and printmaker, she has taught courses in these areas and has worked in paper conservation. She has participated in many exhibitions, including the Biennale Internazional del’Arte in Florence, Italy; the International Competition of Book Arts in Ancona, Italy; and the Biblioteque Historique de la Ville de Paris, in France. Her work is in several fine public and private collections, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers University Library, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection at Florida Atlantic University.

She currently serves on the Executive Board of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and has served as an evaluator for this organization to many institutions in this country, as well as a consultant to universities in Mexico and the Middle East.

She received her B.A. degree in art from Sweet Briar College and her M.F.A. degree from Pratt Institute.