We Met at
the Crossroads

May 2 - June 28, 2024

St. John’s University’s Department of Art and Design and the Yeh Art Gallery are proud to announce the opening of the 2024 BFA Thesis Exhibition, We Met At The Crossroads. The exhibition showcases artwork by BFA senior thesis students Bridget Cannon, Nicole Assunta DiCamillo, Amy Drob, Christina Kurth, Shaelyn Lenko, and Leonardo Santos. There will be an opening reception with the artists on Thursday, May 2nd from 4 to 7pm. 

We Met At The Crossroads embodies a convergence of mediums and ideas from a diverse group of artists, each journeying through their own distinct paths yet finding a common ground in confronting deeply personal issues. Each artist's project serves as a self-reflective exploration, delving into themes ranging from eerie environments and the surrealism of the unknown to the raw beauty of death and grief, from the challenges of menstruation to the complexities of familia relationships abroad. Through mediums such as painting, photography, and mixed media, We Met At The Crossroads challenges perceptions and provokes contemplation. As the artists stand at the crossroads of their individual experiences, they collectively choose to share their narratives with viewers, inviting them into the intimate spaces they have traversed.

Amy Drob's work delves into eerie environments, blending oil painting and dioramic forms to evoke a sense of quiet unease and challenge perceptions of beauty and surrealism. In Bridget Cannon's photography, reflections on death and grief are prominent, finding solace in cemeteries while focusing attention on the raw beauty of memorialization practices. Christina Kurth confronts
the difficulties of menstrual cycles, portraying the pain and emotional toll it evokes through photography. Leonardo Santos addresses existential questions and emotional experiences, aiming to share and relate to the truths of others through the technical processes of photography. Reflecting on ancestral connections and identity, Nicole Assunta. DiCamillo’s work guides viewer through the exploration of her grandparents' hometown. Shaelyn Lenko's work also studies family dynamics as well as societal expectations on an island setting, aiming to understand the complexities of relationships and heritage.

Photo by Leonardo Santos

Participating Artists: Bridget Cannon, Nicole Assunta DiCamillo, Amy Drob, Christina Kurth, Shaelyn Lenko, and Leonardo Santos

Artists’ statements:

Amy Drob
The Fragmented Neighborhood

Imagine peering into a sliver of an alternate universe, where things just feel different. In this body of work, I explore the unsettling beauty of eerie environments, capturing moments that linger on the edge of the familiar and the unknown. With an aim to evoke a sense of quiet unease, through the placement of a singularity, I am inviting viewers to confront their own discomfort with the idea of mystery and the unseen. Bringing together painting and mixed media, spaces are created that feel both isolating yet strangely inviting, drawing viewers into a realm where every shadow hides a story, and every silence speaks volumes. Challenging perceptions of beauty and surrealism that allows those a space to reconsider their relationship with the unknown in their own lives.

The work is brought to life through oil painting and dioramic forms that capture moments frozen in time, and seemingly pulled from their origin and made to intersect with our world. Each individual piece stands alone, representing their own form of stillness and in the end coming together to showcase The Fragmented Neighborhood.

Amy Drob, The Shadows Hold The Secrets, 2024, Oil on cardboard, mixed media

Bridget Cannon
Among the Living

Among the Living (2022-2023) is my observation of the raw beauty of death, grief, and the ways in which people memorialize loved ones who have passed. Driven by my ability to rely on the peacefulness of visiting my loved one's final resting place, cemeteries have become a place of focus for my creative side. Death’s presence from an early time in my life serves as a major influence on my photography and art, being a way for me to process my pain and emotions.

The idea of death has had its presence in my life since I was a little girl, and the losses I have faced throughout my years strongly influence the work I create, it’s something I’ve never been able to escape. My art is and always will be inexplicably intertwined with my trauma and the hard things I have overcome throughout the years. Among the Living is a reflective exploration of grief and the solace that one derives from visiting a loved one’s burial site. Cemeteries exist as a comforting territory in my life, they kind of always have. Through this work, I hope to bring a new perspective to death and grieving, to show that the vigil of going to someone’s grave can be a calm and soothing process. I want to show that not everything about grief has to be miserable. I have been conducting a close observation of the raw beauty of death and grief, and the ways in which people choose to memorialize loved ones who have passed. I am especially interested in how these memorials and cemetery practices vary throughout different communities. And truthfully, each cemetery is a little community in and of itself, and it’s important that we are careful not to neglect them.

Bridget Canon, Among the Living, Uncharted Territories, 2022-2023, Hardcover lay-flat book

Nicole Assunta DiCamillo
A Place That Lives Within

My grandparents grew up together in the small mountain town of San Vittore del Lazio in Italy. Marrying in their mid-twenties, they came to New York to build a home and a life together. They would return to the town every summer to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of life in their homeland. My grandmother, Assunta, passed away two years before I was born. Ever since her passing, my family has never returned to the town. My grandfather, Luigi, trained in Italy as a craftsman, devoting his life to designing and building masterful furniture creations. Our home in Brooklyn is still full of his work.

I was brought up surrounded by a close family and was immersed with stories of the past. I’ve always had a sense of nostalgia for a time that once was. In 2023, I embarked on a journey to experience this ancestral place that has so profoundly shaped who I am, hoping to experience a sense of that time for myself. I journeyed alone to the town of San Vittore del Lazio, wandering through medieval streets, “la piazza”, and up into olive groves in the nearby mountains. I immediately felt a deep connection to the scenic beauty of the land, as I experienced the presence of my grandparents throughout.

During my day in the town, I shot a roll of film to record what I was experiencing around me. Since then, I have been reflecting upon this experience and its significance. I’ve continued this journey of learning about my ancestry, as I’ve uncovered archival photographs that belonged to my grandmother. Using these documents as inspiration, I intend to capture the atmospheric beauty of my ancestral town and the spirit of my grandparents through the medium of oil painting.

Beyond my personal experiences, this body of work is a reflection on what shapes our identities as human beings. Our families, the land that we are from, and times that came before us, are with us in spirit as we journey through our life on earth. Discovering these connections within us can help us to further understand ourselves, our relationship to one another and the world.

Nicole Assunta DiCamillo, My Grandma Assunta, 2024, Oil on canvas

Christina Kurth

This project is called Unspoken. It is a series of images that focus on my own personal challenges in dealing with my menstrual cycle every month. As something normal my body is doing, it ends up causing more harm than good. The pain I experience has affected my emotional and mental health as I am unable to do everyday tasks.

Upon waking up from a single drop of blood, a volcano starts to erupt on the floor. I rush to the bathroom as I notice that my clothes are dripping with blood all the way down to my legs. I immediately rush to the sink to wash the blood away as the sudden thought enters my mind: "It is stained; my clothes are damaged." I panic as I realize that I don’t have enough time to clean everything up. I have only 30 minutes to get myself back together before class starts. I am a mess. I feel like a mess. This experience happens to me every month. From the moment I wake up, I feel an extreme pain of cramps, and am unable to move a single inch away from my bed. It feels like someone has just stabbed me a hundred times and left me on the floor to die. I remember this one particular time when I was in my dorm room, and I started my period. Little did I know that my period had turned into a mass murder scene out of nowhere. My cramps started to hurt me like hell. I rushed to take a shower to see if the hot water would help me, but nothing changed. I decided to take some Advil to see if that would work, but nothing happened. All I could do and think about was to lie down on the floor with my robe on as I cried. I waited for the pain to go away. It felt like hours. Ten to fifteen minutes later, the pain started to soften. I got up and got ready to go to class, washed my face, and put a smile on my face, pretending I hadn't come back from the dead.

Each month of getting my period has always been a challenge for me. From the painful cramps to waking up in the middle of the night in my own soaking pool of blood, my period was affecting me in the way I am living causing me to not be in perfect health. The amount of blood I was losing has caused me to have iron deficiency. This affected me mentally and physically. The amount of pain I could feel caused me to be unable to go through daily tasks such as going to class, swimming, or even attending family parties. This then causes me to feel anxious when my period comes along, and it starts when I feel a single cramp. I feel like I need to take Advil out of fear of what my period could turn to.

Christina Kurth, Unspoken #10, 2023, Archival Pigment Print

Shaelyn Lenko
Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

Where the Mountains Meet the Sea, 2023, is a photography-based project aiming to exhibit the life and circumstances of my relatives living on the island of Capri. With my family having dwelled in Naples for generations, this sequence of images serves as testament to resurfaced memories and the inability to leave a space despite holding all of the resources to do so. As three of my family members reside in Capri, this project aims to depict and delve into the mental status of my cousin Daniela, and the coping mechanisms she utilizes while living there with her older sister and her senior mother. This thesis project also works to exemplify the circumstances surrounding a case of island or “rock” fever, where Daniela specifically faces mental turmoil in the face of any potential change to her static lifestyle. As a middle-aged woman without kids or a desire to settle down, her own actions cause the characteristics of her world to remain the same, all while sensations of contentment are fleeting. Where the Mountains Meet the Sea is a project not only about aging in a family of three women past their fifties, but also about navigating bloodline in a claustrophobic space that is normally labeled a paradise by any outsiders who choose to visit. Societal expectations placed on women to provide in the face of duty is prevalent through Daniela’s experiences, regardless of the way she attempts to flee these obligations through substance abuse and choosing to allocate her free time to older men.

This project does not serve as judgment for Daniela’s fate, but rather, it attempts to understand the dynamics encompassing the small family that have lived within the same space together since the birth of Daniela and her sister Rosaria. It is also a way for me to rediscover my roots abroad, and to connect back with my lineage regardless of how disheveled the relationships between them are. My grandmother was raised on the shores of Capri, and left Italy at the exact same age as I am now, to work on a project that she would find to be special and close to her own heart if she remained here today. Depicting the memories that she may have experienced by capturing ones of my own can allow for her story and her existence on the island to live on, and for me to call tribute to her brave decision to step on a two-month boat journey when she was twenty-one years old to live an entirely new way of life. It was her decision that caused our family to grow, and for this project to become an actuality. With representations of her sister Filomena, characterizations of Daniela’s life, and my own presence in their home to recollect moments of my childhood spent in Capri, Where the Mountains Meet the Sea aims to create a space for family to exist in its truest and rawest form after years of youthful magic and memory has dissipated.

Shaelyn Lenko, Hand with Ring, 2023, Pigment Print

Leonardo Santos

My work is introspective, but it is also an exploration of what is possible with a camera. There is always a question prompting me to take photographs. I photograph the experience, the interactions, and relationships with the people around me or myself. Our realities and truths are all different. In a way I want to share and relate to the truth of others. There are two elements that drive my work. The first one is creating work from emotions, experiences, or dreams. The second element is exploring the technical possibility of the photographic process to create my vision and bring out the best in an image. This project was inspired by a set of complex questions that are meant as a way of self-analyzing. I find myself late at night always asking myself these sorts of questions — What am I afraid of? Why do I live? What is my purpose? I wanted to spend more time consciously and in a different setting with the questions.

Leonardo Santos, Eclipse, 2024, Inkjet print on canvas