Threshold: The first Visual Arts and Technology senior exhibition

For the first time in Stevens history, the Visual Arts and Technology program hosted its senior exhibition at the Barsky Gallery in Hoboken, New Jersey. From April 15 through 24, seven designers and artists displayed the results of what they had worked on for over the past two semesters.

Jeff Thompson, Assistant Professor and Program Director of the Visual Arts and Technology Department at Stevens, was very excited for the seniors’ work to be installed in an actual gallery. “The exhibition, titled ‘Threshold,’ was completely organized by the Visual Arts and Technology seniors,” said Thompson. “They developed the work as their capstone projects over this last year, planned the exhibition’s layout, and organized the publicity and opening reception. The work ranges from traditional paintings to interactive installations.”

Each of the seven projects was unique in both vision and technique. Elisa Iribarne Brieva created acrylic portraits that explored emotional states using texture and color. Jay Simms combined music, video, experimental cinema, and art history to create an interested array of short videos. Sarah Quiles presented her line of “Shadow Creatures,” stuffed animals strategically similar to her potential company’s branding materials. Dylan Clark worked with animation, specifically featuring dreaming animals and empty landscapes, while Tino Ivezaj reimagined covers of both LP and CD albums in a minimalist fashion. Finally, Dan Zamrano detailed the life of a 65-year-old comedian from Queens to create a documentary film.

Jay Simms explained that his project, titled “The Light Abstraction” is about exploring light capture through experimental camera and editing techniques. “I created four pieces that are woven together with the use of sampled music and sounds. The final piece has both abstract images as well as more concrete images.” He found inspiration from Sergi Einstein, a Russian filmmaker who is deemed as the creator of montage theory. Simms used the Adobe suite to create his films.

Julian Chaves’ project, “Heart Beat Sounds,” is a multisensory, generative pulse controlled installation. “It is a multi-tiered installation that explores the relationship between human and technology as well as our own self-awareness,” said Chaves. “Technology’s ability to evoke human emotion is something that is under examined in our society and I was looking to explore that concept more.” His inspiration comes from experience his at Stevens. “Throughout my time here at Stevens I have studied Visual Arts & Technology, minored in Music & Technology and I have done a significant biomedical research through the Center of Healthcare and Innovation. When it came time to chose a topic for my thesis I wanted to combine all of these facets of my education.”

Thompson explained why the seniors were finally able to display their work to the greater Hoboken community. “Barsky Gallery was kind enough to donate the space for two weeks, and to assist in planning and promoting the show,” said Thompson. “While we do enjoy showing the students’ work on campus, the show at Barsky Gallery connects us with the Hoboken arts community and gives a very real-word experience for the students.”

Hoboken is known for its rich arts culture, and having the work in the gallery offered the seniors many advantages. When the students prepare to display their work at Stevens, they can do so at their own schedule and leisure. However, Thompson noted that working with a gallery offers a much different experience. “Working with a gallery involves a lot of planning, loan agreements, and a very different professional context. It also puts a bit of a point on the process. Their work won’t just be outside our classrooms but in a real space,” said Thompson.

Although the exhibition is now over, the students’ work has been transferred to the second floor of the Morton building. Their work will remain in Morton past graduation, so all students, whether they are majoring in visual arts or engineering, are encouraged to come see the impressive works of art.