News & Events

Pullen Gallery features 2016 Fine Art Senior Thesis Exhibitions

The University of Maine at Presque Isle Fine Art Program faculty members are pleased to announce the two solo exhibitions developed through the 2015-16 Fine Art Senior Thesis Exhibition course. The series of exhibitions will be hosted in the Pullen Art Gallery starting in April and continuing through May.

The Fine Art Senior Thesis Exhibition, a six credit, academic-year-long course, is a capstone to the BFA program. The rigorous course of study is unique to most statewide BFA programs. The Senior Show allows enrolled students to have an experience similar to a graduate school environment. Students are required to prepare a body of work for the solo exhibition and defend it orally and in writing, in order to graduate.

The students featured this year are Roldena Sanipass and Emma Ruff.

Roldena Sanipass states: “To be moved by an artist is awe-inspiring. It gives you a view into the artist’s life, culture and identity. Reproducing an artist’s work and calling it your own is a different story. Not only is it disrespectful to the artist but it also takes away a piece of their identity. The same could be said of the Native American custom and dress. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledgment and respect of the Native American headdress but wearing one without an approval is most certainly not. The act of cultural misappropriation takes away the power and sacred meaning of the Native American dress and customs, for integrity and respect should be vital for all individuals, populations, and cultures.”

Sanipass’s exhibit, Custom Not Culture, runs from April 29 through May 5, 2016. Her opening reception is from 6-8 p.m. on April 29 and will be a ceremonial celebration of her work. She will conduct a Gallery Talk at 6:30 p.m.

Emma Ruff poses questions around conscious consumerism: “How often do you think about where your clothes have come from? The various countries listed on the tags of our garments often go unnoticed and are read without thought. What if you were to learn that those clothes could be linked to tragedy, loss, and suffering? The true cost of fashion certainly came to light on April 24, 2013, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed. The death toll of a staggering 1,134 instantly branded the event as a symbol of global inequality.” Ruff has taken a deeper look at the flaws within the fashion industry. Her senior thesis is based on how people can become conscious consumerist, taking the tragedy of Rana Plaza and allowing viewers of her work to think deeper into their consumerism habits. Her pieces involve sculptural fashion gowns and other mixed media sculpture that each focus on humanizing this tragic event. Ruff encourages the community to come learn a bit more about the fashion industry and how all can become more aware of their consumer habits by looking deeper into the who, what, and where of the clothing industry that all support and take part in.

Ruff’s exhibit, 1134, opens May 6 and runs through to May 15, 2016. Her reception is during the First Friday Art Walk on May 6 from 6-8 p.m. She will conduct a Gallery Talk at 6:30 p.m.

The Fine Art Department commends the efforts of this year’s BFA students. They have been responsible for all aspects of their exhibition, from making the frames and labels for their pieces, to advertising and promoting their show to the campus and community, to arranging for their art receptions (including food and music), to developing their final artist’s statement, to preparing their gallery talk. As a final component of this year-long project, students must turn in their final thesis, an in-depth research paper about their work and the art, artists that influenced it, and their aesthetic decisions.

Members of the campus and community are invited to view each show that will be on display this spring in the Pullen Art Gallery and attend all show receptions. For additional information, please contact Heather Sincavage, UMPI Assistant Professor of Fine Art, at

Please follow the UMPI Art Department on Facebook at and Instagram: @umpiart.