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Two UNH Artists Win Fellowships to Support their Work

Release Date:
8/30/2012 7:00 PM
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Aug. 30, 2012

Joseph Smolinski, Blizzard, 500px
Joseph Smolinski, Blizzard

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- Two members of the University of New Haven community have received Artist Fellowships from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, part of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

The fellowships were awarded to 46 artists based on artistic merit in the categories of craft, new media, painting, photography, sculpture/installation and works on paper. The single review criterion was artistic merit. Panels of experts in their respective fields reviewed the works of 331 applicants as part of a highly competitive process.

 Joseph Smolinski, features Joseph Smolinski

Joseph Smolinski, a UNH lecturer in the Art and Design Department, earned a fellowship in the works on paper category.  Noel Sardalla, a university student majoring in art who is also an administrative assistant in the Communications and Public Affairs Office, won the fellowship for sculpture installation.

Each received $2,500 as part of the program that is designed to encourage the continuing development of Connecticut’s artists. The program allows artists to create new work and further their careers.

Smolinski, who has an MFA from the University of Connecticut and a BFA from the University of Wisconsin, most recently was exhibited at the Mixed Green Gallery in New York City.

His work often portrays unusual events in nature, such as climate change.  “I am interested in exploring the intersection of nature and technology.  Many of my works question human impact on the environment and envision the future of the natural world with a dark sense of humor.  Lately my work draws from art history, current climate events, and my daily observations of the landscape,” he says.

Noel Sardalla, Seton Gallery, 500px, artist
Noel Sardalla standing next to here/there/everywhere

Sardalla was the subject of a feature story in the New Haven Register last year, after his net of colorful paper flowers, a sculpture called “here/there/everywhere” installation was on display at the Hilles Gallery at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven.  The installation also was part of the student show at the Seton Gallery on the UNH campus last spring and this summer.

Sardalla, who attended Paier College of Art, also works on collages and does graphic design.  “My goal is to make the arts relevant to non-artists by making people understand that creativity and expressive literacy can have profound and beneficial effects in other fields such as engineering and medicine,” he says. “The arts to me represent adaptive problem-solving by synthesizing process and content into an elegant or informative solution.”

Sardalla said he lets the material – often stone and more recently paper -- dictate what a sculpture will become.

 Noel Sardalla, Nelvanna, 500px Noel Sardalla, Nelvanna

“A rough block of alabaster has patterns in it - I’ll follow the grain to where it leads. Henry Moore said, ‘The first hole made through a piece of stone is a revelation,’ which has stuck with me. So I always make at least one hole. The idea of holes eventually led me to thinking about volume and space, which is what I now focus on in my paper installations. When installed they take up a lot of room, but when archived they can fit into a small plastic bin. I find that appealing.”

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. UNH enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.