Can you imagine having your artwork exhibited in the governor's office, just after graduating from college? For Heather Swenson, a Rochester resident and Purchase College, SUNY School of Art+Design alum (BFA ’12), this is no dream. Two of her paintings, Slipping Out and Elephant Tree, are among 14 pieces by top SUNY student artists from across the state selected for display in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Washington, D.C. office. Swenson, who created the works while a senior at Purchase College, is one of only two artists to have two items chosen.
“I commend these outstanding SUNY students for their hard work and am honored to display their artwork in my office," said Governor Cuomo. “As visitors from across the country and around the world enter our Washington, D.C. office, they will be greeted with a visual display that embodies the excellence and creativity of our state and the promise of a new generation of New Yorkers."
Slipping Out (2011) and Elephant Tree (2011) are both oil-on-canvas paintings based on collages and scaffolding structures Swenson glued and taped together on the wall of the art studio she worked in at Purchase College. Included in Slipping Out are her proofs from prior photographs and screen prints, colorful scraps of paper, and miscellaneous pieces of wood. Elephant Tree (2011) got it's name from an old polaroid, found by Swenson in the trash and featured in the painting, of a giant tree behind the colleges Admissions office that students call the "elephant tree."
Swenson received the President’s Award for Achievement in the School of Art+Design during last May’s commencement celebration. She earned a GPA of 4.09 and a degree in interdisciplinary visual arts, with concentrations in printmaking and painting/drawing. Her body of work comprises paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptural wall assemblages that examine the border between representation and imagination.
Ravi Rajan, director of the School of Art+Design, praised Swenson’s art for “moving deftly between mediums.” He says, “Her work demonstrates keen observation and reverence toward the objects she collects. It reveals itself slowly, offering the viewer a quiet, unmediated experience.”
Since graduation, Swenson has been exhibiting at art fairs across upstate New York. She will be part of a two-person show entitled "Things That Are Still" at the Gallery@Equal=Grounds in Rochester, from Sept. 7 to 29.
A photo gallery of the art chosen to hang in the Governor’s office can be viewed online via Generation SUNY’s Facebook page. The works will be on exhibit through July 2013.
School of Art+Design at Purchase College's School of the Arts
One of the preeminent undergraduate BFA programs in the country, the School of Art+Design offers intensity, depth, and excellence in graphic design, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.
Purchase College also boasts the internationally renowned Neuberger Museum, the 10th largest university museum in the country. The 160,000-square-foot Visual Arts Building is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Northeast, providing students with superb studio environments, as well as state-of-the-art software and hardware specifically geared to the demands of professional design and art making. Purchase's proximity to New York City gives students access to world-class artists and venues, and attracts some of the finest exhibiting artists and educators to the campus.
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspirations for Purchase were to combine on one campus conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Purchase College, SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.