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Making His Mark

Alumnus’ sculpture incorporates elements of physics, architecture and more

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As he battles cystic fibrosis, Josh Napolitano knows he likely will not live as long as his peers. But, that isn’t stopping the 26-year-old from leaving a lasting imprint through art.

“I want to do something that’s immediately gratifying and something I can shape and leave a mark with,” said Mr. Napolitano, ’14, a sculptor who earned a physics degree from Bridgewater State University and has since taken art classes at BSU.

Mr. Napolitano has a dozen sculptures on exhibit through Friday, March 30, in Hunt Hall. The display, which features works of varying shapes and sizes, marks his first solo exhibit.

Mr. Napolitano, who lives in Kingston, has always been an artist. He began focusing on sculpting after his brother, Jesse, died several years ago from cystic fibrosis, a progressive, genetic disease that affects the lungs.

“I picked up art again and started building things in the garage,” he recalled.

Mr. Napolitano, who wears a respirator while sculpting, decided to enroll in art classes at BSU and praised supportive professors such as John Hooker.

“It was great. It was everything I needed at the time,” he said. “From there, it really turned into what I needed in the long-term. I really enjoy what I’m doing.”

The university helped Mr. Napolitano grow and “turned me into who I am, for sure,” he said.

While his works do not have a specific message, they represent the intersection of art and his interest in architecture, math and physics. The exhibit, called “Carrying a Torch: Two Years in Steel,” includes masks, a lamp made from part of an industrial loom with the shape of a human hand cut from it, and a concrete and steel sculpture depicting a curve he learned about while studying physics.

He hopes the BSU exhibit will be a launching pad toward finding studio space and showing his work elsewhere.

“Whenever I finish something, it’s never done,” he said. “In my head, there’s always more to do.” (Brian Benson, University News; photos by Lindsay O’Leary)

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