A banner year for the Sonoma State University Art Gallery will end with a bang. The gallery’s annual BFA show, which exhibits work from students graduating from the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program, will open on April 27 at 4 p.m. with a reception until 6 p.m.
The 2016-17 academic year has featured big-name donations to the gallery and shows, such as a painting exhibition featuring work from John Yoyogi Fortes and Cate White. However, second to the annual “Art From the Heart” auction (normally held in February), the BFA show reception is the gallery’s most lively night of the year. For graduating seniors entering the intimidating art world, it is often their first opportunity to exhibit their work in front of a large audience. Local artists, collectors and curators almost always show up, allowing for card exchanging and elbow rubbing. The chance for BFA’s to invite friends and family to celebrate the years—sometimes four, usually five, increasingly six years—of work that they have poured into improving their practice is also something to cherish.
“It’s a reflection of all the hard work students have put in for their degree,” said the recently-graduated Lorena Cruz, who is one of 13 students featured in the show. “It’s a great opportunity for our work to be seen by an audience outside of our department.”
Of the 13 students who are showing, there are five painters, three sculptors, two photographers, two printmakers and one ceramicist, though most of the artists consider themselves interdisciplinary.
James Blake, who graduated last winter with Cruz and is another one of the showing BFAs, fits that description. While he considers himself a sculptor first, Blake said he incorporates tools and techniques from sculpture and printmaking, as well as pieces of painting and ceramics into his work.
In addition to fulfilling normal studio art major requirements, BFA students must take an additional 30 units of concentrated coursework. They also participate in bi-semesterly faculty critiques, in which each student in the program has their work critiqued by every full-time faculty member within the department (adjuncts are welcome, though not required to attend these critiques).
The opening is free to attend and open to the public. Those who cannot attend will have a chance to see the thesis work. The show will remain up until graduation weekend, with a closing date of May 21.