Undergraduate Research and Creativity Alumni Profiles 

Bethany Krull, B.S. '04

Major(s): Ceramics

What research or work have you done since graduating from Buffalo State?

After graduating from Buffalo State, I went on to get my M.F.A. in ceramics from Rochester Institute of Technology. Post graduate school I took a year long residency at the Flower City Art Center in Rochester and then traveled the country doing artist residencies at The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, The Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana and the Goggleworks Center for the Arts in Reading, Pennsylvania. I have taught extensively in both community center and academic settings along the way and have maintained an active exhibitions record, showing in both nationally and internationally.

Can you translate your work for the general public?

My sculpture speaks to the complicated and often contradictory relationships humans maintain with other animals. We have taken great measures to keep the wild, unpredictable and problematic aspects of nature at bay, and yet we also cannot resist the need to be connected to that which we came from. In today’s increasingly nature deprived society our most intimate connection with the natural world tends to be with plants and animals that we ourselves have drastically altered through the process of domestication. Wild animals have been turned into pets, genetically sculpted into sweeter, cuter, less dangerous versions of themselves, permanently altered by man’s effort to fulfill their need for relentless love, amusement and companionship. Our homes have become barriers that keep the wild out, yet they are filled with caged animals, potted plants and countless other controlled and contrived representations of the natural world. My work aims to illustrate the evidence of both our dominance over and our affection for nature, as well as the cohabitation of our unease and desires regarding it.

Most recently, the influence of motherhood has made its mark with the animal figure becoming much more personally symbolic to me since I have had children. The hungry baby bird, and the furless and helpless newborn mouse perfectly embody this season of my life, where nurturing and protection are paramount. Explorations of the beauty, vulnerability and fragility of the natural world, and our species influence on its degradation go hand in hand with a desire to shelter my children and to ensure their blissful ignorance as they are threatened by countless dangers. Concerns about the morality of our politics, the health of our environment, and our own species ultimate survival are amplified when they are seen as a reflection in the eyes of our children.

Why did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

I was encouraged by my mentor and professor.

How did your undergraduate research experience influence your career path?

The research experience showed me the value of a systematic approach to developing both conceptual and formal aspects of my work. To this day so much of what I do is based in an initial research phase, whether it be consuming books and articles relating to the concepts and ideas that my work revolves around or diving into methodologies related to the physical creation of objects.

Describe the research you did and if you presented it at any professional conference, juried art exhibit, or other off-campus location.

I did extensive glaze research to develop a palette of low-fire glazes which i then used to create a body of sculptural works. The pieces were exhibited both regionally and nationally.

Undergraduate Research Mentor: Gregory Wadsworth