Moving On // Moving Out: senior art students to exhibit work at Hera Gallery this spring

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 4, 2023 – Senior B.F.A. art students at the University of Rhode Island have adapted to change along their college journey, because of the pandemic and due to the temporary closure of the Fine Arts Center for renovation this year. They say such changes have helped them learn to be flexible while continuing to grow through their art. This April, they are celebrating their work — and forward momentum — in the senior capstone art exhibition, Moving On // Moving Out, taking place at the Hera Gallery in Wakefield, R.I., April 8 through May 6.

Senior art major Cynder Carroll-Coates says, “Moving to another building for classes halfway through our senior year made us realize that it’s not about the rooms around us but our fellow students as we all head toward graduation together.”

Now these graduating seniors have the opportunity to showcase their work at the Hera Gallery, a contemporary art gallery at 10 High Street. Hera is launching the exhibit with an opening reception on Saturday, April 8, 6 to 8 p.m. The gallery is open Wednesday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The closing reception will take place Saturday, May 6, 2 to 4 p.m.

The student exhibit promises a wide-ranging mix, everything from ceramics and digital art to photography and traditional charcoal drawings. “This show provides a real view on the diversity of URI’s art program,” says Carroll-Coates.

“Hera Gallery has a long history of hosting URI’s senior seminar exhibition,” according to Chad Amos Self ’12, president of the gallery’s board of directors (and a URI adjunct faculty member). “It is always an exciting event. Showcasing URI’s young and upcoming talent in a public and professional setting is a yearly favorite for the gallery and our community. We look forward to this event and the fresh perspectives the young artists at URI have to offer through their artwork.” He calls Moving On // Moving Out “an incredible show,” noting the talent in this year’s senior group. URI and the Hera Gallery maintain a strong relationship year-round through senior exhibitions and student internships.

Featured artists at this spring’s show are:

Rylie Bessette (Cranston) switched into art from education and says that decision helped her to thrive during the pandemic.

Thomas Bowater (Smithfield) also switched into art during the pandemic, coming from engineering, and has a passion for fantasy art.

Aquaria Butler (Providence) hopes to create work that explores societal problems; she hopes her work inspires other students from low-income and marginalized backgrounds to follow their dreams.

Cynder Carroll-Coates (Richmond) has aspired to a career in art since childhood; his work is packed with small tidbits that will reward eagle-eyed viewers.

Grace Horner (Dighton, Mass.) brings a background in anatomy and physiology to her work; Horner’s piece explores the role of religion in her life.

Michael Imbruglia (Cranston) is inspired by video games, offering a labyrinth through an alien world on the fringes of consciousness.

Olivia LaFazia (Warwick) creates illustrations and drawings rooted in the fantastical, dark, and mysterious; her “Berserker Brides” explore Viking archetypes and legends.

David Luong (Cranston) sculpts mythical and fantastical monsters, inspired by the rich world of Japanese folklore.

Kayla Randolph (Cranston/West Greenwich) is a ceramicist whose work has been featured in Rhode Island Monthly; her work in this show opens a dialogue about disparities in modern healthcare.

Elizabeth Witkun’s (Vernon, Conn.) photography series “Essences of Life” captures how time, objects, and people tell a story from an individual’s perspective on the world.

The exhibition has been coordinated by Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, professor of photography.