Conversations: Exhibition of CVPA Student-Faculty Pairs

November 6 – December 6, 2018

Conversations Exhibition postcard images

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) has the pleasure to present the Conversations: Exhibition of CVPA Student-Faculty Pairs at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The exhibition explores shared creative interests of CVPA students and faculty:

Prof. Anthony Fisher and Robert Najlis (MFA, Painting’19)
Prof. Thomas Ladd and Jaclyn Lacorazza (BFA, Photography’19)
Prof. Bryan McFarlane and Bhen Alan (BFA, Painting’19)
Artist in Residence Lauren Moran and CVPA FOU 101 students
Prof. Elena Peteva and Allen TenBusschen (MFA, Painting’19)
Prof. Suzanne Schireson, Dylan Podesta (BFA, Painting’19) and Bhen Alan (BFA, Painting’19)
Prof. Adrian Tió, Stephanie Sileo (MFA, Printmaking’19) and Taylor Hickey (MFA, Printmaking’19)

Artist Statements


Prof. Anthony Fisher and Robert Najlis (MFA, Painting’19)

Anthony Fisher

Anthony Fisher’s paintings and drawings embody energies and frequencies painstakingly tuned to evoke internal states. His new work expresses a profound recent interest in the use of extensions of his body to make drawings and videos. This recent work has been forged by an ongoing personal journey of being unable to walk without pain.

Fisher’s process involves the invention of tools and “machines” that he operates to create marks. These herculean efforts are recorded in videos that bear witness to the elaborate, cumbersome process of his drawing. The turbulence of the marks communicates aspects of an internal state, especially longings to recapture joy in freedom of movement. He is persistently interested in how his images can be made.
First inspired by Leonardo’s beautiful roiling, squally drawings of deluges and tempests, Fisher summons similar energies employing his body and drawing tool inventions.

Robert Najlis

I wonder at the nature of reality: is everything a product of emerging and converging elements of the physical world, or is there a separate plane of reality apart? I am also increasingly intrigued by the consequences of the philosophical traditions such as materialism and metaphysics, which focus on these questions. My work makes use of both Western and Chinese artistic processes and philosophies, derived from a shifting set of axioms with which to view the world; allowing for altering paradigms in how we think and perceive. The physical presence of my painting plays an important role in creating a resonant space shared between viewer and work.


Prof. Thomas Ladd and Jaclyn Lacorazza (BFA, Photography’19)

Erasure – the removal of all, most or some of the traces of something.


Prof. Bryan McFarlane and Bhen Alan (BFA, Painting’19)


Bryan McFarlane

Egg signifies all possibilities within our universe.

Bhen Alan

My painting showcases Filipino globalization. Local vendors are not able to maintain tradition, practice, heritage and a sense of continuity in Tuguegarao City.


Artist in Residence Lauren Moran and CVPA FOU 101 students

A collected/collective statement from Foundations 101 students:

A collection of questions from the minds of artists. Artists are always thinking about questions both within the world and within themselves. Everyone is curious. It’s part of being human. Our questions tell the place many of us are at. We are all here together learning and growing into better artists, and to learn you have to ask questions. These questions are important and essential. They help us understand our art and ourselves as individuals, and how we relate to our art. Some will be answered, some may not. Each question is important to consider. These questions were asked by first year CVPA students. Most are new to UMass Dartmouth and New Bedford and so we have been exploring.


Prof. Elena Peteva and Allen TenBusschen (MFA, Painting’19)

Elena Peteva

“Light” and “Cloud” are part of the Presence and Absence series, which explores the human state, time and transience. The decontextualized image, formal decisions and working processes function as allegorical vehicles. The outer becomes emblematic of the inner, whether the outer representation reveals my subject’s inner state or my subject acts as a personification of an idea. In the drawings I construct I seek a distilled representation that captures the ephemeral essence of “now”, the memory of the past (“before”) and the sense of what is to come (“after”) and creates a deeper and more truthful reality, in which our presence and absence exist simultaneously. I often think what I try to do in my work is to define, present and illuminate things that are perhaps unrepresentable. 


The drawings are done in charcoal, Conte pencil and thin washes of acrylic on Strathmore or Fabriano paper, from a combination of direct observation, photo reference, memory and reflection. My drawing process involves a layered construction of the image – building, pushing back, excavating and redefining the detailed topography of the form through what I think of as “organic micro-abstractions”, which when viewed from a distance come together in a cohesive representation. This process is almost meditative. I continue until the portrayal reaches the visual, psychological and emotive depth I am after.

Allen TenBusshen

A portrait is a measure of the relationship between artist and sitter. Through the gaze or lack of one, the viewer is invited to observe a sliver of a personal relationship. These paintings reveal more about my relationship with the sitter than the relationship of the work with the viewer. When I sit with my friends or family, people who have known me, I am able to finally gather an idea about who I am.


Prof. Suzanne Schireson, Dylan Podesta (BFA, Painting’19) and Bhen Alan (BFA, Painting’19)

Suzanne Schireson

My work investigates how we develop a conscious sense of who we are and subsequently how we deconstruct ourselves, in order to start all over again. At the core of my imagery is a focus on the essence of this cycle: our awareness of mortality and a compulsion for re-invention. I am interested in the idiosyncrasies of creation, the value of exploration in this practice, and art’s own integrity to bear unforeseen meaning through the process of being made.


The subject matter for my ideas has recently taken the form of invented female DJs suspended in audiovisual overload. Visually I have been inspired by a collective of feminist DJs called DISCWOMAN. I find a peculiar parallel between certain maternal archetypes and how these DJs multi-task to perform, create, re-invent, and repeat.  This painting’s title “Flash Freeze” is a reference to oocyte cryopreservation, a procedure to preserve a woman's eggs in order for them to be fertilized at a later date.

Dylan Podesta

Confusion and darkness are pierced by moments of clarity and affection, the dramatic highs and lows of a relationship in the face of tragedy is the source of the ambiguity and contradiction in the imagery of my current work.

Bhen Alan

My work showcases Filipino globalization. Local vendors are not able to maintain tradition, practice, heritage and a sense of continuity in Tuguegarao City.


Prof. Adrian Tió, Stephanie Sileo (MFA, Printmaking’19) and Taylor Hickey (MFA, Printmaking’19)

This project began with an invitation to print with the BIG INK team at Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport this past summer. This work continues in that vein with the addition of monoprinted grounds overprinted with woodcuts. Graduate students, Stephanie Sileo and Taylor Hickey, assisted with the monoprinted surfaces and final printing of the woodcut overlays.


College of Visual and Performing Arts, Gallery Campus Gallery