2011 Student Academic Conference: Student Art Competition
By Vickie Moller, student, Long Island Center–Hauppauge Unit and 2011-2012 student representative, Student Affairs Committee
December 28, 2011
Amid the remarkable display of distinctive and creative works exhibited at the student art competition at this year’s Student Academic Conference, Ivy Stevens-Gupta’s acrylic painting, “Field of Flowers,” took first prize. Colorful poster replications of her delightful profusion of flowers blanketing a hillside could be seen everywhere.
When asked what motivated her to create her painting, Stevens-Gupta said she was inspired by nature and had begun working on it in the spring when flowers were blooming in abundancearound her house. “Field of Flowers” took three months to complete.
After graduating high school, Stevens-Gupta pursued a degree in art, but, dissatisfied with the institution she was attending, shifted her focus to securing a degree in business and marketing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing at SUNY Empire State College. Currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, she is working on her thesis in media studies at the Central New York Center. She hopes to complete her degree by the end of this year.
Stevens-Gupta took a 27-year hiatus from creating art, during which she worked full time and went to school part time. It was returning to school at SUNY Empire State College that rejuvenated her interest in pursuing her creativity. Currently, she has four paintings in her home at different stages of completion. After she finishes her thesis, her goal is to get back into her artwork. Stevens-Gupta also has been asked to create illustrations for a book. When asked whether she intends to pursue a career in art, she said she was not certain, but that she is contemplating pursuing a doctoral degree sometime in the future.
In addition to taking first prize in the art competition at the Student Academic Conference, Stevens-Gupta also was a student presenter. She explained that she was excited to have the opportunity to present because, “You work so hard on your papers and your research, and to be able to have an audience to present to is outstanding.” Her topic, “Exposed, Invisible or Empowered? Female Athletes in the Media,” addressed media’s role in the construction of gender dominance in the sports industry, particularly in the area of discrimination against female athletes, and its ultimate influence upon our culture.
Rosanne Raneri is this year’s second-place student art competition winner. Her stunning collage, “We Travel,” is a compilation of images she collected over a period of three months. With her creative genius in full force, she created this piece in just three weeks.
Raneri, currently a graduate student at the Northeast Center in Latham, created her collage as part of her studies in a visual art representation class. Her inspiration for this beautiful piece came through a combination of her study of montage theory, feminist theory and her love of fine art. Her background in visual art also had a strong influence on her work.
She explained, “I was studying theories of art and of meaning making – how images communicate to us. Because of my particular interest in feminist studies and feminist theory, I tried to, in this art piece, communicate some of that feminist theory.”
She incorporated images of women and created the collage as a mosaic to indicate that “we are very expansive, we are multifaceted – not just two-dimensional stereotypes or archetypes, but women really have all of these fantastic facets of their identities.”
Most recently, Raneri has been more involved in theatre art than in visual art. This summer she submitted her final project and thesis for a master’s degree in theatre and feminist studies, which included directing a feminist clip, “Approaching Simone” by Megan Terry.
Raneri would like to join the faculty at Hudson Valley Community College and will continue to teach theater arts classes.
Daniel Mosner’s delightful painting, “Looking Toward the Future,” took third place in this year’s student art competition. Mosner’s submission represents work he had done previously on a county fair series when he first moved to upstate New York – a one-person show sponsored by the State Council on the Arts in Binghamton. Each piece took him about two months to complete.
Trained as a figure painter, Mosner said for years he went to county fairs “scoping out the beautiful settings.” He reflected that the “tons of people doing wonderful things at the county fair” inspired his work. The boy in his painting is Mosner’s son (now 22 years old and about to graduate from SUNY Binghamton), who would go with him to the fairs.
Mosner remarked, “I would always ask him to quickly pose for me, and it was always such a painful experience as he bemoaned, ‘Oh Dad, not again.’”
The setting of “Looking Toward the Future” is Chenango County (meaning bull thistle) in Norwich, N.Y. Mosner explained that he wanted his painting to communicate the connection he felt to his family at the time he created it.
“It was a joyful moment in my life. We would go to the county fair ... they knew I would go early in the morning ... there were families and farm families,” he said.
Mosner explained how it was a place you could have joy and do silly, funny things and go on rides and strange roustabouts, interacting with the local people.
“There was a certain hearkening back to my own childhood,” he said. “That was pretty delightful.”
Mosner is a student at the Central New York Center in Binghamton. After completing two more classes, he will receive a bachelor’s degree in studio art.
Raven J. Wolf
Raven J. Wolf’s submission entitled “Nine Spirits” is one of this year’s student art competition honorable-mention winners. Using high-quality artistic permanent markers, Wolf painted nine birds on an elk skin drum made by a native Apache woman, given to her by a friend. She used permanent markers because elk skin is very thin and she was not sure how paint would last. It took her just 24 hours to complete her beautiful and inspired work
Wolf waited nine months before she began to create “Nine Spirits” in order to get a clear picture of what she was supposed to paint. The day she envisioned nine birds on the drum was also the day before her mother died.
She remarked, “I saw the birds flying and I just outlined them. I saw the clouds. I saw the lightning.”
Wolf commented that she believes her artwork is a gift from her mother’s spirit, who she feels is still with her because she loved her so much. She explained, “I started it the eve before my mother died, and I was actually with her for her death. After she died, that very evening, I completed it.” Wolf uses the drum in ceremony.
Currently, Wolf is working on a series of hummingbirds and on a red-shouldered hawk. She lives in an ecologically rich prime birding area and commented that the birds are right in her front yard.
“I can’t miss them,” she said.
In the future, Wolf hopes to be paid for her art. She would love to paint murals on the sides of buildings and do artwork every day.
Wolf studied at the Hudson Valley Center and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies. Her studies were very broad and she did a lot of art and creative writing as part of her degree plan. She plans to pursue her master’s degree in liberal studies at SUNY Empire State College because, she explained, “Empire has been such a beautiful guiding light in my life. It has gone along with my personal evolution.”
Wolf looks forward to continuing her involvement in the Alumni Association at SUNY Empire State College as well.
Every submission at this year’s student art competition represented a remarkable display of talent and unique artistic expression. We celebrate the stunning work of each participant and sincerely congratulate the winners!