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Blue Mountain Gallery to host opening reception June 20 for eight featured artists: WCSU Master of Fine Arts recipients to exhibit at New York gallery

DANBURY, CONN. — Eight Western Connecticut State University recipients of the Master of Fine Arts degree in 2019 will present their works in the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition running from Tuesday, June 18, through Saturday, July 6, 2019, at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York.

The exhibition is supported by the Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Endowment Fund, managed by the WCSU Foundation. An opening reception for the artists will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, at the gallery, located on the fourth floor at 530 W. 25th St. in Manhattan. Admission will be free to the reception and the exhibition, and the public is invited. The gallery will be open for viewing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Department of Art organizes the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition each spring as a capstone experience demonstrating the personal artistic direction and mastery of candidates for the M.F.A. in Visual Arts, expressed in the works they present for viewing. The following M.F.A. graduates will show their works in this year’s exhibition:

  • Dee Rose Barba, of New Haven. Barba, who was born in California and grew up in Stamford, earned B.A. degrees in Interior Design and Studio Art from the University of New Haven. Her two- and three-dimensional works incorporate a variety of mediums including oil on canvas and wood, pen on paper, and clay. A keen awareness of her surrounding environment inspires works that feature figurative expressionism, non-representational forms and exaggerated landscapes. Barba has shown her works in the City-Wide Open Studios festival of Artspace in New Haven and at Art Helix Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Brett Colon, of New Windsor, New York. A native of northeastern Connecticut, Colon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration/Animation as well as a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Working primarily in watercolor paint and dip pen ink, she explores the boundaries of expression and precision to depict the ambiance of the scene as well as the appearance of the subject. Her thesis work incorporates pages for an illustrated cookbook inspired by her grandmother’s recipes. Colon has exhibited at venues in Dutchess County, New York, and across Connecticut, including her artwork for the 2018 Women Composers Festival in Hartford.
  • Brian Ferreira, of Bethel. Recipient of a B.A. in Illustration at WCSU, Ferreira is a U.S. Army veteran with a wife who remains on active military duty. Employing his artistic skills during his deployment to create murals, logos and platoon shirts, he returned to WCSU to pursue an M.F.A. with specialization in illustration for children’s books. His focus on stories about children with special needs has been inspired by his son’s diagnosis with autism. “It’s never easy to fit in when it comes to meeting new people, even more so for those with disabilities,” he said. “I want to help younger people learn to see through others’ unique behaviors and truly find the person, passions and motivations inside.”
  • Greg Mursko, of Watertown. Recipient of a B.A. from WCSU and an M.F.A. in Advertising and Graphic Design from Syracuse University, Mursko garnered numerous professional honors over the span of a distinguished three-decade career in marketing and design including three Ozzie and five Gold Ink awards as well as recognition at the International Festival of Fashion Photography at Cannes, France. He currently serves as an adjunct arts instructor at Naugatuck Valley Community College. His thesis work in illustration features two series of mixed media and digital images addressing the themes “Matrixing: A Study in Stone” and “The Seven Deadly Sins.”
  • Mildred Paulino, of Danbury. Paulino, who earned her B.F.A. from Paier College of Art, has worked recently in oils on gesso board and plexiglass as well as charcoal and graphite on paper. She paints and draws from direct observation, exploring themes of identity and family in portraits that convey powerful stories about personal relationships. She has participated in the City-Wide Open Studios festival in New Haven and in exhibitions at the Silo Gallery in New Milford and Mercurial Gallery in Danbury. She currently serves as an art instructor at Hudson Country Montessori School in Danbury.
  • Dee Dee Perrone, of Ridgefield. Perrone earned a B.S. degree from Wesley College and enjoyed success in a previous career as a graphic designer before taking up painting. Inspired by masters such as Casper David Friedrich and Andrew Wyeth, she paints still-life and figurative works that capture moods and emotions, seeking through brush stroke, texture and color to echo feelings evoked by memory and passing moments. She applies multiple layers of oil paint to convey movement and change over time, leaving a history on the canvas. Her works have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York and the Art and Frame Gallery in Danbury.
  • Rima Rahal, of Danbury. A native of Delmar in upstate New York, Rahal holds dual B.F.A. degrees in Illustration and Graphic Design as well as a master’s in Visual Art Education from Lesley University. Her detailed, dry-layered watercolor paintings offer reflections upon her Lebanese heritage and draw inspiration from her father’s professional trade as a jeweler. Over the past decade, she has exhibited in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts as well as China and Turkey. She has visited 30 countries and has taught visual art in Beijing and Istanbul. Her selections for the thesis exhibition have been inspired by her travels around the world.
  • Andrea Rios, of New Milford. Recipient of B.A. degrees in Painting and Illustration from WCSU, Rios is a professional illustrator who uses various mediums including scratchboard, watercolor, ink and gouache to tell stories that connect diverse peoples and cultures. She specializes in illustration for children’s books and has explored classical and contemporary folk tales from around the world, drawing parallels between the values and beliefs held by foreign cultures with those held by Americans. “I love the power of narratives and how they lead us to empathize and learn and connect with each other,” she said.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



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