In New Paltz last Friday my nephew, Nick Alciati, exhibited ten photographs for his senior thesis show at SUNY New Paltz. Nick has been studying photography and education, and his work was beautifully mounted and hung in the museum on campus. The “light and shadow” images were perfectly lit, an homage to male flesh, partial nudes, no faces, only bodies. The portraits on his website capture delicate and heavy faces, an exquisite jaw line, a fulsome head of hair.
The art show included work by 16 other seniors. There were crystals grown on human hair and small stick figures made from sticks by Melodia Molina. Mitchell Saler paints natural landscapes — Lake Placid seen from the air, a barn in New Hope, NY, a rainstorm over the water, a sunset. His triptych shows three spiraling bodies of air mass– a hurricane’s eye, a whirlpool, and galaxies, all taking the same forms, linked together in a mystical way. I was taken with these meditations on nature.
The jewelry and digital designs and sculptures all lived in the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art side by side. It was clear that a lot of discussion had to take place to fit so many works in such a finite space. The more I looked at Nick’s photographs, and the farther I got from them, the better I liked them, especially the nudes. Congratulations to him for preparing such a thoughtful thesis statement, and for mastering the techniques of light and shadow, and portraits, with a narrative that was very personal.
It was poignant to see the photograph of Nick holding the small dinosaur from Lizzy’s collection, which he had put on the table near the postcards and comments notebook. The title was “Remembering Lizzy.” She loved photography and would have been proud of Nick’s work. The show took place on the fifth anniversary of her death at age eighteen.