Photography Featured as Genesee's Final Exhibit for the Season

Genesee’s final art exhibit of the season will open with a reception on Tuesday, May 8 from 12:00-2:00 PM in the Lobby Arts Gallery of the Stuart Steiner Theatre, located at Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus. The exhibit features the work of Nancy Masters, a Genesee employee who is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.

Nancy Masters, from Batavia, has always been interested in art, but it wasn’t until she started working at Genesee Community College five years ago that she began taking her interest seriously. She took her first art studies at Genesee, enrolling in beginner drawing classes, followed by ceramics and painting. Her first photography class, with Robert Cooper as instructor, was initially very frustrating as she struggled with learning to develop film and produce a final print. But with patience and persistence, everything came together and Nancy found a new passion for photography.

“The more I learned about working in the darkroom, the more I discovered how creative and fun the development process could be,” she said. “I have spent many, many hours in the Genesee Community College darkroom.”

As her interest in photography grew, Nancy decided to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Photography. She is completing her degree through Empire State College this June. Robert Cooper, an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Photography at Genesee Community College, has continued to be her mentor and instructor through Empire State College.

“Nancy and I have worked together for several years – longer and to a greater extent than I have worked with any other student since I began teaching in the 1960s,” Cooper said. “Her Empire State College curriculum included a semester reading the history of photography and another semester working with sequence and series. These understandings can be felt in the work she continues to produce.”

Nancy’s work takes inspiration from her travels. While out walking, she looks for interesting architecture or unusual natural formations in rocks, fungus, trees, and plants. On display are many individual photos she has taken in places ranging from the Canadian Rockies to the Adirondacks, from Darien Lake State Park to Toronto, Ontario. The photo collage entitled “Nature” combines eight different photographs of leaves, ferns, fungus, and pinecones taken from different locations. Other collages include architecture she photographed during trips to Germany, France, and Albany, NY. In December of 2005, Nancy traveled to Biloxi and Ocean Springs, Mississippi where she was able to take photographs of the destruction and devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina.

Although she tried using a medium format camera, Nancy found that the weight and additional equipment made hiking and photography more difficult. She returned to her smaller 35mm camera and prints photos only to a 4x6 size, which allows her prints to maintain the sharpness and clarity she desires. In the darkroom, Nancy prints on fiber-based paper and often combines photos from different shoots in the same frame.

“I enjoy the challenge of combining photos taken at different times and places together to create a collage,” she said.

Nancy Masters' Thesis Exhibition will be on display May 8-30. The Lobby Arts Gallery is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. For more information about this exhibit, contact Heath Bartel, Instructor of Fine Arts at Genesee Community College at (585) 343-0055 x6448.