Senior Thesis Exhibit Showcases Work of Graduating Seniors

Thursday, March 25, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (March 25, 2010) - Beginning April 9, Mandeville Hall’s second floor will house the 11th annual Senior Art Thesis Exhibition, an event that highlights the work of SJU’s graduating fine arts majors. This year’s exhibit presents the work of eleven student-artists and a diversity of media, including pottery, clay, drawing, digital photography, mixed media and ceramic sculpture. The show will run from April 9 through 29, with an opening reception held on the first floor of Mandeville Hall on April 9 from 5-9 p.m.

In their senior year, fine arts students enroll in a two-semester capstone course in which they work toward creating a consummate artistic portfolio. Ron Klein, M.F.A., professor of art, guides the class throughout the year and commends this year’s artists for their talent and hard work and the ways in which they’ve distinguished themselves from seniors of the past.

“This year’s exhibit will lean more toward three dimensional work, primarily executed in ceramics, than the show has in previous years,” says Klein. “There’s also strong work in photography, video, painting and drawing – and this year we have two outstanding students presenting thesis papers in art history.”

With influences as diverse as the pieces presented, ranging from an Italian still-life artist to an Australian ceramicist, the exhibit promises to be not only visually interesting, but intellectually stimulating as well.

Laura Borawski, of Monroe Township, N.J., asks her audience to consider the complexity of the world through her still-life pottery arrangements, while Colin Broderick, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., emphasizes the simplicity and longevity created by combining the natural elements of earth and fire. Julianne Kelley, of Dresher, Pa., pulls her influence from a more personal space; she provides gallery visitors intimate and photo-realistic graphic representations of her friends and family.

For the students, the exhibit is a chance to showcase not only their talent, but also the contemplative side of their creativity – the conversations that develop between works and artists. Regan Hillman, of Lansdale, Pa., says the collaborative atmosphere of the senior capstone experience was a highlight of her academic career.

“Working on the senior thesis exhibit with my classmates has been of immeasurable benefit to me, both in my present work and for all art-related projects I might encounter,” says Hillman. “I don’t think any of our projects would have come as far as they have without the group support.”

Hillman’s project is a series of gouache – a paint similar to watercolor – paintings done in conjunction with a thesis paper that explores the impact of titles on how art is viewed by audiences.

But the gallery show, ultimately, is about more than just exposure – this class emphasizes the importance of communicating with their audiences, whether by stimulating their emotions or provoking deeper thought on a theme or issue. Kaitlin Coppola, of Marlton, N.J., who is showing a portfolio of clay animal forms, says her goal is to allow the viewer to feel as if they’re interacting with her portion of the exhibit.

“I like for my creatures to be tactile, to be objects that one would want to touch and play with,” says Coppola. “I think that through this action, people gain a sense of inclusion in my craft.”

In addition to the senior thesis show, the annual Junior Art Exhibition will be held from April 9 to 23, with a reception in Boland Hall on April 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. A final exhibition of student artwork will run in the University Gallery from April 30 to May 7, to close the academic year. A reception will be held on April 30 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Other artists participating in the Senior Thesis Exhibition include MacKenzie Fell, a mixed media artist from Hummelstown, Pa.; Nyasha Hayes, an art history major from Freeport, Trinidad and Tobago; Vivienne Lawrence, a ceramic sculptor from Philadelphia, Pa.; Nicole McMullen, a digital photographer from Robbinsville, N.J.; Matthew Prusack, a painter from Zionsville, Pa.; and Jeffrey Wallin, a videographer and painter from Malvern, Pa.

Mandeville Hall is located at 54th Street and City Avenue. The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue, between 54th Street & Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. A campus map may be viewed at

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or visit


Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,


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