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Pratt Students' "Flameproof" Works Rise From The Ashes

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Dozens of Pratt Institute students who saw their work literally go up in smoke have rebounded from that loss to stage a new exhibit of works they've created since. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

When a February fire raged through Pratt Institute's main building in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn it damaged more than the school's original structure. It destroyed the work dozens of students had stored in its artists' studios.

"About half of the students lost everything, the other half may have had some work but it was heavily damaged basically by water or smoke," says Pratt Institute Provost Peter Barna.

But like a Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too can fine art. After the fire Pratt immediately moved the students to temporary studio space with the help of the Gagosian Gallery and others. All 44 whose works were damaged or destroyed are now showing new and recovered works in an exhibition called "Flameproof."

"The piece that you are looking at now for this exhibition is one out of 20 paintings that I have done in the last two months and that one is a combination of more like dark images, sort of stressful images, with nice color, I feel like I like the balance," says Pratt Institute student Maria de Los Angeles.

All of the artists have made new works since the fire and some say using new donated material has given them a new sense of freedom in their art.

"I wanted it to be an installation because the paint reflects off those-- are aluminum litho plates that were given to me by the printing studio, so what I did with the litho plates was I folded them and sewed them together with copper wires so the pink painting makes this beautiful reflection," says Pratt Institute student Sally Novak. "One of my classmates had some confetti and he gave me some so I just threw it in the corner in my studio and I liked it so much I thought this has got to be in the show, because I feel like this is more celebratory, this is about renewal and regeneration."

"Flameproof" is on display through Tuesday on the eighth floor of the landmark Seagram Building, located at 345 Park Avenue.

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