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Student Capstone Projects Celebrated

On Friday (April 29), 39 graduating BA, BFA, and MFA students from the Visual and Media Arts Department showcased their capstone projects on campus at the Huret & Spector Gallery and the Bright Family Screening Room. The 32 capstone projects represent a culmination of work produced and are considered to yield some of the best student works.

There was an opening reception to premiere student photography as well as video art projection installments in the Huret & Spector Gallery, located in the Tufte Center.

Then, across campus at the Paramount Center, BFA students screened short films in the Bright Family Screening Room. Film genres ranged from animation and experimental films to narrative and documentary—encompassing the entire output of film specializations within the VMA Department.

Students submitted their work to VMA faculty for consideration, and Curator-in-Residence Joseph Ketner worked with an installment professional to complete the design of the exhibition in the gallery. “This is the beginning of a new way to present the next generation of photographers, multimedia creators, and filmmakers graduating from Emerson,” he said.

Associate Professor and Director of the BFA VMA program Kathryn Ramey said she was grateful for the experience to teach such talented individuals, in which she gained valuable insight. “The most exciting element is that these are our very best, most sophisticated students. They work collaboratively all year on their capstone film and find support and critique each other’s projects,” she said. “It produces the most mature, thoughtful, and interesting work.”

One of the films is Gem of the West—a collaboration among BFA students Daniel Gamache ’11, Jared Kowalczyk ’11, and Joseph Rechtman (Dec) ’11. The three shot the much-talked-about western film on location in Landers, California (Whitehorse Ranch). Read more about that experience»

BA student Will Van Beckum ’11 is a Cinematography major, with a minor in Photography. His series, which shows in the Gallery, focuses on humankind’s place in nature. The photos have a wax encaustic finish to give them a dream-like quality, an effect Van Beckum hopes will cause viewers to evaluate the photos as a more surreal experience than the typical snapshot.

“The images depict nature as a beautiful, desolate, welcoming, and scary place; and urge viewers to reevaluate their relationship with the natural world,” said Van Beckum. His project is inspired by one of his previous works titled “Man and Nature,” which explored how manmade structures such as bridges, buildings, and factories infringed upon the natural world. “From there, I reevaluated the idea and decided to bring human figures into the work,” he explained.

student van becum work will be shown at the huret gallery
emerson student van becom will show his work at the huret gallery
Photos by Will Van Beckum '11.

Showcasing their work formally in a professional setting and being prepared to discuss it was a requirement for many of these students; however, Van Beckum is more interested in reaching out to others.

“Being featured in the Huret Gallery is a confirmation that my photos are speaking to others as I intended them to,” he said. “Every artist struggles with the fear that their work will not communicate their voice as it was intended to, and being selected to have my work displayed is affirmation that my work is effective.”

Van Beckum recently accepted a position as course coordinator at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in New Mexico. He starts after graduating in May.

BA and MFA student works are on display in the Huret & Spector Gallery located in the Tufte Center (10 Boylston Street) through May 16, Monday–Friday, 12:00–5:00 pm. Admission is free; open to the Emerson community and the general public. For more information, call 617-824-8667.

The films will be shown again during graduation weekend on Sunday, May 15; time TBD. Screenings are free and open to the Emerson community and the general public. For more information, call 617-824-8800.

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