The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Senior BFA students prepare to exhibit their work in solo galleries

Senior BFA students, enrolled in AAV 461: The Professional Practice, have been given the opportunity to present their work in their own solo exhibitions this fall. Four students will present their galleries in the first solo series in AIMM 111 and 119, which will run until Oct. 18, with a public reception on Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 5-7 p.m.

Jessie Bodnar, specializing in photography and video, took inspiration from a poem titled “The Orange” written by Wendy Cope after resonating with it over the summer. The poem focuses on simple, meaningful moments with people you care about, which she captures through her photos. Printouts of the poem will be provided to viewers, so they can fully understand and interpret her project, titled “I Love You. I’m Glad I Exist,” which is also the last line of the poem.

“I hope my images make the audience reflect on their own relationships and interactions and start to appreciate these little moments. I’m hopeful that they are able to personally connect with the images and see themselves in most of the images,” Bodnar said.

Brighid Keller is another photography and video student, who chose to focus on the beach in her “Salt Air” project. Keller describes the beach as a place of comfort and peace, and that her project “helps the viewer focus on tranquility in times of stress.”

Jenna Clayton, specializing in fine arts, takes a multimedia approach to her project, “The Saddest Birthday Party Ever.” Between the use of paper, painting, embroidery, and drawing, as well as juxtaposing bright and fun colors with heavy text, the project conveys the experience of dealing with the hardships of mental health while acting as though you are not. Using her own personal experience as inspiration, she created collage works that represent the internal need to appear happy and fun, despite facing darker thoughts.

“Recently with graduation and adulthood quickly approaching, this need to be excited for the future has been nothing but forced upon me. In reality, I’m still just a 21-year-old girl dealing with 21-year-old girl things,” Clayton said.

Emily Vargas’ project, “Chromatic Canvas” focuses on “abstraction, texture, collage, and the semiotics of color.” With a fine arts specialization, Vargas tends to use painting as her primary medium. Though with this project, she decided to experiment with materials she hasn’t used before to work with texture and layering.

“Although I know that abstract paintings aren’t easily understood by everyone, I hope that it evokes various emotions and can make the viewer reflect on what it reminds them of,” Vargas said.

The class, taught by Professor of Fine Art and Photography/Video Anita Allyn, exposes students to skills and experiences that they may encounter in their future careers. The class places a strong focus on strategic planning, financial management, legal rights and obligations, marketing, and fundraising. The purpose of this solo exhibition was to combine these five elements and learn about the process of preparing, installing, and executing a gallery for public display.

“Professional Practice is an intensive research/study and studio concentration in Fine Art and Photography and Video Art that extends into the practical professional dimensions of a career in the arts and the larger professional field,” Allyn said.

The second solo series will run Nov. 1 through Nov. 15, and will feature Michaela Moran, Angela Siwarski, Stephanie Krontiris and Emily Mirka. A public reception will be held on Nov. 8. This will be followed by the third series, presented by Francis Longo and Franchesca Vega. A group exhibition curated by the entire class will be held on Dec. 8 during the School of the Arts and Communication’s ArtsComm After Dark event.

–Grace Murphy ’26


School of the Arts and Communication
Art and Interactive Multimedia Building
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628