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Madeline Cramer ’18 Wins SUNY Thayer Fellowship

A painter of abstraction, she’s recognized for potential as a professional artist.

Madeline Cramer ’18 (visual arts, interdisciplinary) is the winner of this year’s Thayer Fellowship in the Arts, a SUNY-wide award meant to serve as a bridge between study at The State University of New York and first­-time entry into a professional career in the creative or performing arts.

The Thayer Fellowship of $7,000 (split this year among three finalists) is based on talent, achievement, and potential as a professional artist.

Cramer feels fortunate she was chosen and is grateful her senior advisor Matthew Bollinger, encouraged her to apply. “Many of the professors at Purchase encourage their students to apply themselves to grants, fellowships, shows, etc. You get used to putting yourself out there with the hopes of showing the world a part of yourself and in some instances, someone notices. It’s very heartening and motivates me to keep going,” she says.

Interdisciplinary Artist

With concentrations in both graphic design and painting and drawing, Cramer merges the two disciplines to create abstract paintings in which she regards negative space as active and vital. “These abstracted paintings reference erosion and what isn’t quite there,” she states.

“I found that as an interdisciplinary student in the visual arts, I was able to make connections between ideas and concepts across different disciplinary boundaries. This was exceptionally challenging and required a lot of hard work but it was all worth it.”

Evolution of Ideas

Her definition of art has evolved since transferring to Purchase. “Over my time here, I realized art is more than a pretty picture. Throughout my years at Purchase, I began to abandon my traditional view on how a painting is constructed and gained the freedom to experiment and transform a canvas.”

Next Steps

After graduation, Cramer hopes to get more involved in the art world. ” I plan on applying to a couple of residencies such as Vermont Studio Center to not only build up my portfolio, but to meet other creative artists as well,” she says.

The award, established in honor of Jeanne C. Thayer, a trustee of SUNY from 1974­–1984, is available to seniors and graduate students in the arts who are about to graduate from SUNY and make a career in the arts. They are not intended for students going on to graduate school.