Current Graduate Students
I am interested in the behaviors and misbehaviors of the human body and, by extension, mind. My intent as an artist is to investigate them as vessels of personal narrative and communication and how they can be used, modified or transformed by external or synthetic means. I endeavor to promote consideration of the human form and to investigate these concepts in a psychological and physiological context.
Inspired by the light, color, and composition found within my environment, I am compelled to bring attention to the mundane aspects of daily life and portray these unseen or overlooked intimate moments within an otherwise ordinary space. By enhancing photography with drawing (and drawing with photography), I am altering the narrative of each image, introducing the unexpected into the commonplace and weaving a new reality. I force the viewer to question what is reality and what is imagined. I want to challenge the viewer to look beyond what is common and realize possibility.
Curran is a printmaker and sculptor from Rochester, New York who received her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2011. Since receiving her degree from Alfred, Curran had been living in the Southern Tier for the last four years running a small ceramics studio in rural New York and developing her portfolio as a sculptor and educator for various art organizations and Alfred University.
Influenced by human connections and relationships, Curran has been exploring and researching the grieving process in relation to intimacy. In 2015, she began her first semester at the University at Buffalo in New York as an MFA student.
Bernard Aaron Dolecki
I use technology as one elemental component of my multidisciplinary practice. This facilitates the creation of works with greater reception in our complex, rapidly changing global culture. My works tend to repeat individual elements to form integrated systems. My new media transcends from the more traditional mediums, like drawing and sculpture, by tapping into the realms of phenomenology. Interactive works are ephemeral by nature, calling upon the users to interact, deconstruct and leave real time impressions into their own visceral experiences. In essence, users are fragmenting and then defragmenting their own realities. Temporal experiences, either physical or metaphysical, have been my ongoing focus.
I am an artist-educator who has exhibited visual work and taught Latin American arts and crafts for over 25 years. I’m known in Chicago and the Midwest for leading student and family workshops in kite-making, which is a traditional craft in Puerto Rico from where my family originates. The fun and competitive craft of making and flying kites, or “Chiringas,” has passed through three generations, and I’m hopeful this will continue with my son.
I’m the first Flores to formalize kite-making curricula for the classroom, combining handwork with social studies, math, and science. My methods have led to new concepts, including my idea to reuse old sails, which are already repurposed, to create new sails. It’s a process that I’d like to repeat, analogous to the seemingly infinite reflection cast between opposing mirrors, or until the paper falls apart. The resulting patchwork kites I’ve made so far are especially significant because they depended on my longtime premeditative habit of collecting and saving things, which like traditions and humor, is a topic that I want to continue exploring in my work.
I have also worked professionally in marketing communications, primarily graphic design and promotional writing for college outreach programs in arts integration.
Aleah Michele is a photographic artist from Western New York. She combines her knowledge of painting, fabrication, styling, and photography to create imaginative scenes that reveal innate human vulnerability. Fed by a steady stream of once-upon-a-times, beautiful landscapes, an over-active imagination, and great empathy for the feelings of others; her themes evoke memories of child-like wonder conveying depths of emotion.
Aleah attained her undergraduate and graduate degree in Art Education from Buffalo State and is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts through The University at Buffalo. Her work has been published and featured by The Portfolio, Phlearn, The Re:Art, Dark Beauty, and Atlas, among others.
In most of my works, I depict characters that often share similar faces as well as other features. They frequently represent raw feelings such as anger, angst, and curiosity. They are meant to be innocent and childlike, the messages conveyed are intentionally vague and ambiguous so as to make them easily relatable. The development of these pieces is meant to be challenging, however. One of the ways in which I usually set myself up for challenges is by first making abstract designs to serve as backgrounds. The challenging part is then finding a way to fit the characters into the environment, in a way that makes sense and that makes it appear as though the characters’ relationship with their environment might have been planned from the start. Lately, another way I have been making my work more challenging for myself is by going out of my way to work on materials and surfaces that I am not accustomed to using. I have been experimenting with a lot of recyclable materials and found objects. In the future, I may choose to place more emphasis on my use of these objects so as to bring attention to environmental issues. Currently though, what is most important to me is that my completed works appear both playful and tedious at the same time.
Pam Glick was formally trained at the Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BA in painting. Glick was widely exhibited during the 1980s and 1990s, most notably in New York City with solo shows at Ramnerine Gallery (Long Island City), White Columns Gallery and Wolff Gallery as well as in group shows at Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles. Locally, Glick was a part of the In Western New York exhibition at the Albright-Knox in 1981— the artist’s very first formal exhibition opportunity— and most recently at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center as part of Amid/In Western New York. Glick’s work has also been included in important group shows alongside works by artists such as Jean Michele Basquiat, George Condo and Christopher Wool. Glick’s work is a part of many collections, both public and private, including the Eli Broad Foundation and Citi Bank. In 1985, Glick moved to Vermont to raise her children and turned her focus to works on paper. Glick has recently relocated back to Buffalo with a renewed interest in oil, which the artist describes as her “first and favorite medium.” In 2016,Glick has had solo exhibitions at BT&C Gallery, Buffalo and White Columns, New York. Glick is represented by BT&C Gallery.
My unique life experiences have informed my body of work. I have been impacted by many people from cultures that have often been marginalized in western society. It is my intention to capture the perspectives and experiences of persons who are often misunderstood. I aim for my work to give members from these communities an opportunity to tell their stories in their own words so that it remained unfiltered from biased points of view. I want my work to defy stereotypes of people such as those in the LGBT community, people of color, undocumented immigrants, and others. I want my work to impact its audience on an emotional level; one that allows the audience to relate to the subject on a human level. I believe that the best way to do this is through new media objectives such as digital imaging and video.
My drawings, copper plate, and linocut prints are about creating images of a world where slavery had not existed in West Africa. My research has revealed that Africa has a rich history of producing works on paper and my work will continue this tradition adding an Afrofuturist twist to the prints. In Black Future I imagine myself as the main character Amir Dex. Afrofuturism is defined as speculative fiction that treats African American themes and addresses an enhanced future where people of color live in a technology intensive world.
In Black Future Amir Dex changes slavery, and makes Africa one of the biggest Afro-technological places for Africans to live. In the year 2035, Amir stumbles upon a tribal book while working on an African American History paper. Inside there is a page marked “incantation spell for returning to the past”. He reads the spell and is thrown back to 1619 where he is able to prevent slavery from happening in Africa. By doing so, Africa becomes an intellectual powerhouse where technology and art have combined and created new futuristic themes. While being in futuristic Africa, Amir Dex learns about his history and becomes one with Africa. To assist him in his work he creates a robot named Zeek who can change and transform into anything Amir needs. But an evil slave master named Colin threatens to stop Amir from changing the past by any means necessary. Will Amir prevail against this unforeseen Evil?
Kyla Avery Kegler
Born in Buffalo, NY in 1985, she is a 2018 Studio Art MFA student at the University at Buffalo.
Between 2009-2016 Kyla was based in Berlin. In 2014 she completed her MA in Solo/Dance/Authorship at the University of Arts, Berlin. Her MA thesis performance, Histrionics of a Contortionist (Flip it and Reverse it) was an investigation into (self)intimacy in the age of virtual avatar and mediation. She has shown her work extensively in the Berlin Dance scene and in Buffalo, often collaborating with local community organizers for socially engaged actions.
She makes collaboration driven, inclusive playgrounds that rejoice in art as a utopian alternative to pragmatic logic. The mediums she works through are project-specific arrangements that shift between performance, choreography, video, word-play, sculpture, and painting. Her work functions to understand existing paradigms and to maximize (her/our) capacity to feel.
Looking at how to encounter familiar ideas in unfamiliar contexts, to discover new relationships to old phenomena, she is questioning if and how it is possible to bypass or at least subvert cognitive mediation of present sensations, and to privilege feeling over thinking.
My concerns as an artist lie in the transformative nature of memories, and how they often leave us with false impressions of an actual occurrence. While also working heavily in printmaking, I find a certain level of synchronicity between these conceptual elements and the process of printmaking itself. My most recent work has been utilizing printmaking – proofing, printing, altering, re-proofing, etc. – to examine these memory lapses and how they relate to the imperfection of the person behind the process.
Drawing influence from comic books, cartoons, and horror films, Erik Miller’s artwork is a highly illustrative look into a self perpetuating world of wonder and worry. The surreal and the absurd are the basis for the vast majority of his work. Themes such as multi-dimensional realities, bodily horror, and psychosis are used as catalysts into an often humorous cerebral sardonicism. Borrowing conventions from commercial illustration and traditional comics art, the work seeks to build off of the artist’s own nihilistic frame of reference and create a colorful and horrific worldview that is equal parts sci-fi humor, and biographical —stylistically allowing itself to be consumed at the leisure of the audience despite some of its baser elements. Do not take on an empty stomach. May impair ability to operate large machinery.
I am from a country with an old history. After finishing my BFA in 2013 I came to the United States. Now I want to focus on human inequality through the use of simple symbols in my artwork. My artwork took a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. My goal is to be an artist that makes people think about gender inequality. Specifically, to promote human rights and protect women from all forms of violence, discrimination and injustice. It is crucial first to trace the cultural, social and legal roots of these unjust practices.
Rachel Shelton received her B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2011 with a concentration in Printmaking. Her work is centered around the practice of printmaking and also includes bookmaking, drawing, enameling, and sculptural work. Rachel has studied the methods and theories used in Archaeology and Anthropology to gain an overhead perspective of the evolution and organizational structures of human populations.
Her recent work lies somewhere between diagram and abstraction. While examining our relationships with each other, as well as other life on Earth, it also aims to situate our experience and existence in perspective with the vast universe beyond our planet. Why do we still feel entitled, in power? How does an understanding of our comparative scale not mitigate our tendency to obsess over relatively meaningless issues? Can this understanding of our surroundings be used to prioritize and focus our efforts, or will it only instill fear?
Mijin Shin is from South Korea. She graduated from Hong-ik University with a B.F.A in Printmaking. In a combination of printmaking and digital media, Shin’s work highlights the interdependency between societal systems by visualizing these networks of relationships to approach coexistence from multiple perspectives.
In what ways might a creative practice produce new circulations of commodities as a means to redirect the energy of capitalism?
How might the act of consuming lead to new sites of meaning and how might this act be achieved through what James B. Twitchell calls the “creative imaginative endeavor?”
Theologian and theorist Gram Ward states, “The last object that capitalism commodifies is the object that constitutes its inner identity: religion. In the commodification of religion, therefore capitalism narcissistically consummates itself.” What does it mean for capitalism to “consummate” itself and how does this manifest itself in the world through our everyday consuming habits?
Law was born on in Hpa-An, the capital city of Karen State in Burma. From 1991 to 1996, he studied law at Rangoon University. He worked as a staff photographer for AFP (Agence of Frence Press) from 2003 until 2005. In 2005, he was hired by the EPA (European Press Photos Agency) as a staff photographer. Due to governmental instability in Burma, he came and settled in Buffalo in 2007 as a refugee. From 2008-2014,he worked as a culture liaison for the International Institute, refugee resettlement office in Buffalo.
Van Tran Nguyen
Critical Museum Studies MA
M. Abbott Nixon
Critical Museum Studies student Abbott has spend the last five years in fine art conservation. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Arts administration from SUNY Fredonia, and has continued her education in Chemistry prior to starting her masters in 2015. She has interned at notable museums such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Shelburne Museum, VT in their object conservation departments. Currently she is working at West Lake Conservators in paintings conservation.
Visual Studies MA
Natalie Kennedy is a first year Visual Studies MA student with an MFA in Photography. Combining her interest in the discourse of the veracity of the photographic medium and the authority of the archive, she is particularly focused on the speculative fiction, counter-factual history and liminality active in “parafictional” works of art by artists such as Michael Blum, Joan Fontcuberta, and Walid Raad, among others.
Visual Studies PhD
Amy Baer is a doctoral student in the Visual Studies program. Her primary interest is American post-modernism, specifically the Pictures Generation artists, and their integration of film with sculpture, performance, and photography. Her research is focused on the early works of Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman from the mid-1970s, specifically their representations of masculinity and femininity, performativity, and identity construction.
Andrew Barron is a second-year doctoral student in the Visual Studies program. He recently received a BA in art history from New York University. His research focus is American art and visual culture since 1960, with an emphasis on queer and feminist theory, theories of postmodernism, modes of distribution and display, and historiography.
Cat Dawson is a doctoral candidate in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo who specializes in American and European post-war and postmodern art, culture, and theory. Her particular interests include feminist and queer aesthetics and politics, theories of the body, and psychoanalytic theory. She is currently writing a dissertation investigating literalism and minimalism.
Jamie DiSarno has received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture, a Masters of Fine Arts in New Media, and is currently a PhD student in Visual Studies at the University of Buffalo. She studies performance art, feminism, and art in Latin America. Her area of focus is on the interrelation of US foreign policy and art in Latin America, and the ways in which artists engage with the phenomenological in order to bridge a presumed otherness and to implicate complicity in silencing.
Jennifer Gradecki’s research and practice focuses on the relationship between information and power, and aims to make specialized knowledge and technical information more accessible. She earned her MFA in New Genres from UCLA’s Department of Art in 2010 and has participated in numerous international exhibitions and conferences, including the New Media Gallery in Zadar, AC Institute in New York, Science Gallery in Dublin, the New Gallery in Calgary, Critical Finance Studies in Amsterdam, the International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver, and Radical Networks at NYU Polytechnic | Eyebeam.
Benjamin Kersten is a first-year PhD student in the Visual Studies program. He earned a BA in art history from Pomona College. He is interested in how the body is theorized and organized in visual culture as well as the different methods used to negotiate the particular and the universal in queer and feminist theory.
MC Koch is a 4th year PhD student who is researching early twentieth century modernism and the Russian/ Jewish artist Marc Chagall. Her research explores the pivotal moment of le fin de siècle, exploring issues of identity, history and revolution as they pertain not only to the recent past, but to the contemporary art schema.
Sarah JM Kolberg
Sarah JM Kolberg specializes in the American and French post-WWII avant garde, with an additional focus on narratology, queer theory, and queer subjectivity in experimental film. Her dissertation investigates the use of irony and pop culture in the work of Ray Johnson. She has won numerous awards as both a writer and film producer, holds a joint MA in English and Film, an MFA in Film Production, and an MA in Visual Studies. Her current film project is a documentary about pulsar research: www.lgmfilm.com which is funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA’s West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and West Virginia University.
Conor Moynihan is a doctoral student in the Visual Studies program at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He specializes in modern and contemporary art with an interest in contemporary artists working in transnational/transcultural contexts. More specifically, Moynihan is interested in contemporary queer art and visual culture, francophone North African art, and postcolonialism. Moynihan co-curated Drama Queer with Jonathan D. Katz for the Queer Arts Festival 2016 in Vancouver, Canada, which looked at the role of contradictory emotion in contemporary queer art.
Nagatsuma has worked on Japanese representations of sexualities in the context of Japanese socio-political life in the 1960s and 70s. The main goal of her study is to reveal that the manifestation of queerness in the lives and works of Japanese artists during this era subverted the then-contemporary Japanese socio-political settlement.