I introduce the 2021 College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis catalogue with deep gratitude to the graduating BFA students in Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, and Graphic Design who created compelling individual and group thesis projects under challenging collective circumstances. I am proud that in 2020–21, during a global pandemic, the School of Visual Arts was open, offering access to studios, classrooms, presses, and a new RISO printer—and the vital opportunity for students to work with faculty mentors in the studios. The work in this catalogue and in our galleries attests to the innovative vision, flexibility, and discipline shown by our students. Given all that these students faced with grace and creativity, I feel especially proud of this year’s graduating BFA seniors.

In fall 2020 SVA opened our usual studios as well as a renewed 855 Commonwealth Avenue building and renovated Faye G., Jo, and James Stone Gallery. However, our community did not enter this academic year in habitual ways. Our eyes were opened to longstanding and newly forming social problems. Our full senses were opened to new ways of navigating space—real, virtual, or marked by red wayfinding signs. Students learned that they did not need to be physically together to experience genuine collaboration. The BFA thesis exhibition in Stone Gallery, Commonwealth Gallery, and in the studios exemplifies the strength of the class of 2021’s collective efforts: Graphic Design students created exhibition designs with interactive reading and gathering areas to showcase their books and projects; Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking students planned for integrating their work in exhibitions in Stone Gallery, Gallery 5, and large studio rooms; and the BFA Branding team created a multi-platform brand for the entire group with Breaking Out as the theme of this year’s thesis exhibition. Our seniors broke out with work that pushed against the pandemic limitations of this past year, and with a brand identity characterized by humor and beauty. It exemplifies the ability of creative work to transform complex, shared, emotional experience into a communicative new form.

Please look closely at each senior’s work on these pages. Each has honed concept and practice in individualized ways. Leah Triplett Harrington, this year’s curator of the Stone Gallery exhibition, writes, “As they graduate into a new world, no subject, process, or style is off-limits to these artists. Each artist brings their own particular inventiveness to their work, with themes or materials from their personal and shared experiences alike.”

I leave this year feeling hopeful and strengthened by the work of the students, faculty, and staff of CFA SVA. I am grateful for the privilege to lead an art institution at a time that calls for the power of the arts to connect us all. Humane responses and human truths are here in this catalogue. Thank you to the BFA branding team—Natalie Bolton, Lena Johnson, Morgan Recker and Mariana Velasquez—for working with Assistant Professor Mary Yang, co-chair of BFA Graphic Design, on this wonderful website and catalogue and on the BFA thesis branding for the class of 2021. The thesis work is a testament to the teaching and artistic mentorship by the professional artists and designers on the SVA faculty, which required an exceptional degree of dedication and flexibility this year. I sincerely thank the professors who taught senior thesis courses alongside me: Deborah Cornell, James Grady, Meena Hasan, Zach Horn, Breehan James, Richard Ryan, David Snyder, and Mary Yang. The BFA is a four-year journey, and I recognize the impact of all SVA faculty on the senior work as well as the contributions of professional advisor Beth Zerega, Assistant Director for Administration. Thank you to Boston University Art Galleries and Lissa Cramer, who helped prepare our students professionally, and to the SVA staff who worked so hard to make the thesis process run smoothly, particularly: Jessica Caccamo, Assistant Director for Admissions; Julianna Augustine, Administrative Coordinator; and Technical Associates Josh Brennan, Brandon Cohen, and Gus Wheeler working with Logen Zimmerman, Operations Manager.

On behalf of the School of Visual Arts, I sincerely congratulate the BFA class of 2021! You have each transformed our community by your work and presence. I am sure that you will transform the world you enter this May as young artists and designers.

Dana Clancy
Director and Associate Professor of Art
School of Visual Arts


Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking


Graphic Design



It is impossible to ignore how the pandemic and online learning have played significant roles in the way we learned, worked, and created this year. Although we have been placed in unfortunate situations, we have persevered and have become stronger because of it.

This year’s BFA thesis branding is a homage to online learning and the efforts each artist and professor have made to adapt and succeed in our new reality. When Ernest Hemingway was young, he wrote a story about “coming back from the war, but there was no mention of the war in it.” Hemingway’s theory was that “you could omit anything if you knew that you omitted and that the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood.” With the same purpose, Breaking Out does not mention Zoom, the pandemic or the loss that we feel from this last year. Instead, this year’s identity focuses on the strength and perseverance of the artists. In the words of Graphic Design Professor Nicholas Rock, “We are still artists, we are still here. Even after the worst is over, we are still going to create.”

Throughout the identity of Breaking Out, rainy-day glyphs are used as imagery to portray the idea that even though today could be seen as a rainy day, brighter days are close ahead. Iridescent and holographic styles are used to represent the cloud’s silver lining and pixelated fonts are used as a subtle nod to the digitalization of our senior year.

The branding design of this year’s BFA thesis serves as a frame to unite the students of the School of Visual Arts at Boston University and most importantly, emphasize the individuality of each artist.

The BFA Thesis Show is organized by the BU CFA School of Visual Arts director, faculty, students, and staff. The branding is by Graphic Design students Natalie Bolton, Lena Johnson, Morgan Recker, and Mariana Velasquez (CFA ’21). Fonts by Pangram Pangram Foundry.