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Monday, June 24, 2024
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‘Symbiosis’: A collection of thought-worthy student art

Diverse artwork conveys message of connection and collaboration

<p>The “Domestic Portraits Series” by Chloe Koegel.</p>

The “Domestic Portraits Series” by Chloe Koegel.

“Symbiosis,” an art collection created by first- and second-year MFA students, is on display this month at downtown Buffalo’s Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts (CEPA) Gallery. The exhibit’s name, “Symbiosis,” alludes to artistic connection and collaboration.


"Variable Sombre Dimension I" by Salem Browning.

One of the most striking pieces was “Variable Sombre Dimension I” by Salem Browning, a master’s student at UB. 

Meant to open viewers’ minds to gender non-conformity and to speak out against societal pressures and stereotypes, the piece consisted of a short video display and painted glass beads in the shape of chromosomes. The cool-toned video showed the artist first standing on a beach shore, observing the water and the patterns of the waves. After cutting between close-ups of the waves and close-ups of the artist, the artist is seen picking up a bag that says, “WOMB.” The artist slowly descends into the water and calmly allows the waves to take over.

Another notable piece was by H. Boone’s maze-like poem, accompanied by a to-size 3D print of a frog and a transparent print of a frog. This collection was a criticism of the reactions conservative media had to the 2014 study exploring the hormone changes in frogs that resulted in same-sex mating and sex-changing. A line from the poem reads, “THE GAY AGENDA — CULTS — RELIGION — SIN — HELL — DEMON SPIRITS INCARNATE IN HYBRID BODIES.”

A few pieces focused on the experiences of blue-collar workers. A photo of a migrant worker titled “Chilo y mochila de pestecidas” captures the exploitation of undocumented and migrant workers in the U.S. A group of hand-drawn portraits accompanied by photographs portrays UB’s custodians in positions that show their exhaustion — a criticism of the way UB overworks and underpays its employees.

Another notable piece was the “Domestic Portraits Series” by Chloe Koegel. It is a collection of print portraits made with ink and household objects such as a toilet plunger, a whisk, books, a spatula and more.

The gallery will be open until June 7.

The arts desk can be reached at



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