Brian Choquet

(Brian Choquet/ Amherst Wire)

UMass employees showcase their artwork at Building Bridges gallery

This art installation takes diversity and uses it to unify.

September 28, 2018

Employees at the University of Massachusetts Amherst debuted their artwork on Monday at the opening of the Building Bridges art showcase in the Lederle Graduate Research Center on campus. To anyone walking into the Science and Engineering Library in the LGRC, the art installations are not immediately noticeable. They’re seamlessly incorporated into the library, coexisting with the students working there.

A closer look, however, reveals art exhibits everywhere, hanging on the walls and sitting in display cases. There is a lot of diversity in media and subject matter, from acrylic to stained glass, pop culture icons to flowers.

This opportunity is very meaningful to the artists whose work is displayed. I was able to interview a few of the artists, who all have widely diverse stories and artwork.

Abstract paintings by Paul Ribeiro (Olivia Amato/Amherst Wire)

Paul Ribeiro works at the UMass Physical Plant. He has worked here for five years since his daughter started to attend school here. He has an art degree, and he loves to paint.

”I use it as a way to de-stress,” Ribeiro said.

He paints anything abstract and multicolored, letting the energy flow onto the canvas. The painting on the left (in the image above), he pointed out, has a hidden message for his wife.

“It contains an eye, a heart, and the letter ‘U’,” he said — in other words, “I heart you.”

Lisa Korpiewski, alcohol ink tiles, mixed media (Olivia Amato/Amherst Wire)

Lisa Korpiewski has worked at the Institute of Applied Life Sciences for four years. She loves to use a variety of media, from acrylic paint to alcohol ink to old recycled bottles.

Korpiewski likes to emulate a vintage look in her art, using distressed paint, earth tones and old bottles and materials. She also uses alcohol ink on tiles, which looks very abstract.

“It’s hard to control — [it] creates organic shapes,” said Korpiewski.

She moves the fluid around by blowing on it and dragging the ink. Korpiewski uses her art to create beauty; to her, it’s a way to meditate, to be mindful.

Jennifer Masztal, glass flameworking (Photo: Oliva Amato)

Jennifer Masztal, an accountant for the College of Education, has worked at UMass for five years. Her pieces shown in the display cases of the gallery are beautiful, colorful blown glasswork. This, she said, is her favorite medium.

“I love to make things that are beautiful and sparkly … things I can’t buy or find anywhere else,” Masztal said.

“My work is part of who I am, a way to channel the universe,” she added.

Building Bridges is bringing together people who would usually not interact in everyday life — it includes artists from the College of Education and from the Physical Plant all the way across campus.

This art installation takes diversity and uses it to unify, showing off the way many different people use their art to enrich their own lives, their campus and their community. It will be open in the LGRC Science and Engineering Library until Dec. 13.

Brian Choquet
A stained glass flower, created by UMass Physical Plant employee Cathy Collins, hangs over an out-of-order copier machine on Sept. 27, 2018.(Brian Choquet/ Amherst Wire)


Brian Choquet
(Brian Choquet/ Amherst Wire)

Email Olivia at [email protected], or follow her on Instagram @olivia.amato.

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