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Western Connecticut State University
2022 Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition

June 21 – July 9, 2022
Reception, Thursday, June 23, 2022, from 5 to 8 pm

2022 MFA Candidates.jpg

The Department of Art at Western Connecticut State University is pleased to announce the 2022 Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at Blue Mountain Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, Suite 200, New York, NY.    


An opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 23, 2022, from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will run from June 21 through July 9. The gallery is open for viewing from 11 to 6 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays.


The Master of Fine Arts is the terminal degree for practicing, professional artists. 

The MFA Thesis Exhibition is the capstone experience of the graduate program, demonstrating a personal direction and mastery in the work of the artists. Four graduates will present their thesis work this year.



Janelle Chandler is an illustrator based in New Haven County, CT. She earned a BA in Illustration from Western Connecticut State University in 2019. She is currently enrolled in the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Diploma Program, United Kingdom. Inspired by the beauty of nature and botanicals, she translates her subjects onto paper, working primarily with colored pencils and watercolor. In her artist statement, she writes, “In nature, we have the opportunity to experience any color imaginable, and there is never a shortage of shapes, textures, compositions, and even mathematical formulas.” Janelle is a member of several artist organizations, including American Woman Artists, American Botanical Society of Artists, and Colored Pencil Society of America. In 2020, her work was selected for an international juried exhibition at the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick, England.



Kelsey Gilmore is from Northport, NY. Her artistic practice includes paintings, works on paper, and prints. She received her BBA in Marketing from Iona College in 2017, and worked in management for a design company and product development with a shoe designer. Working from observation and memory, she explores the convergence of figuration and abstraction while hinting at themes of nature. Her paintings encompass a wide range in scale, from 8 x 10 inches to 6 x 8 feet. In her artist statement, Kelsey writes, “I am interested in the connection that exists between myself, nature, and the unknown essence from which we both came from; the tiny miraculous moments that happen while present in everyday life. My work reflects the awareness that is mirrored within us through light, shapes, and shadows existing in the natural world. . .There is a collaboration between myself and the material, a growing relationship that ebbs and flows until we both become one.” @kelseygilmorestudio


Don Houston grew up in Tampa, Florida, and has lived in New Haven County, CT since 2011. He attended a summer program at Ringling School of Art and received his BS from SUNY Maritime College in Bronx, NY, in 2009. For two years, he worked on ships, one doing runs from Houston to LA through the Panama Canal; the other from the Far East to the Middle East. While working on the ships, he was greatly influenced by the isolation and indifference of the ocean. After moving to CT, he re-discovered his love of painting and attended classes at Parsons School of Design. He writes in his artist statement, “The act of painting for me is a voyage. I don’t always know where it will take me, and navigating from blank canvas to completed work can be a stormy, emotional journey. I have some basic outline, some goal I want to achieve in the painting; as long as I am playing with light and color, the canvas can get as deep as the oceans I often paint.”



Robert Charles Hudson is a resident of Bristol, CT. He received his BFA in Sculpture from UCONN and draws inspiration from his African American heritage and family traditions in quilting. His Thesis work includes a series of paintings entitled Bowtie, with reference to a symbol used by enslaved people on their quest for freedom. In his artist statement, Robert explains, “When slaves headed North, . . . they would look for symbols on quilts to show them the way. The bowtie symbol indicated the necessity to travel in disguise; to change into clothes worn by a person of higher status to continue the escape on the Underground Railroad.”  Furthermore, he writes, “I added a contemporary twist of color to the symbol of the bowtie. . . a relief to such a horrific period in American History.” Robert has exhibited in solo and group shows in CT, MA, NY, and Washington, DC. His CT solo shows include Hartford Public Library, Mattatuck Museum, and New Britain Museum of American Art, where his work is in its permanent collection.



For more information, contact the WCSU Department of Art at (203) 837-8403, and visit the MFA program website:

Chandler_Hibiscus Hawaiian Red_22x22_color pencil and watercolor on hot press.png
Hudson_Bowtie II_48x72_oil on canvas.jpg
Gilmore_The moon appears for the night travelers_diptych 68x96_oil on canvas.jpg
Houston_Two men on beach_50 x 60_oil on canvas.jpg
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