January 15 - February 15, 2015
The MFA Biennial presents the work of the seventeen students currently enrolled in the School of Art's Master's of Fine Arts program. These artists are at various points in the three-year program that is dedicated to helping them "develop a mature body of work by exploring the relationship between active studio practice and rigorous intellectual inquiry." The mediums represented include photography, painting, glass, printmaking, ceramics, and sculptural installation.
Although each exhibitng artist offers a distinct point of view, shared concerns are evident. Works based in biomorphic form and nature run the gamut from the representational, in Mike Tracy's exquisite glass bonsai trees, to the surreal, in Jeremy Lampe's mischievously stalking glass creatures and Stoney Sasser's floor-to-ceiling, patterned fabric-wrapped tendrils, to the nearly abstract, in Venise Keys's gestural swirls of rich pigment recalling Action Painting, Micah Zavacky's meditative prints inspired by direct observations of nature, Emma Farber's fiery color-field paintings referencing landscape, and Dylan Welch's prints’ “simultaneous evocation of physical internality and cosmic vastness.”
The grid, with a particular reference to woven fabric, is evident in Gina Hunt’s pulsating stripes, sometimes sliced, twisted and stapled, other times spray painted directly onto the canvas, as well as in Samantha Buchanan's frayed-edged, bulging paper weavings, and prints on paper with loom-like interstices.
Prints by Chris Hagen, ceramics by George Barecca, and color photos by Catherine Davis address the idea of service. Hagen's impressions result from food and wine spilled inadvertently on embossed paper during dinners he hosts, while Barecca's brightly colored and irregularly shaped cups, tureens, and plates dare the viewer to put them to use. Davis's vivid, iconic portraits of “pink-collar” workers allude to inequity in the service industry.
The human figure has a strong presence in Krista Profitt’s brash, erotically charged paintings teeming with sunning, jumping, and bicycling nudes, Meg Coonelly's traumatized veterans fittingly rendered in painterly machismo, and m. jo hart's legions of exquisite, doll-scaled ceramic feet lined up on the floor and ascending onto the wall. In Laura Newman's monumental yet fractured ceramic throne, the absence of a power-wielding monarch is palpable. Finally, the eerie lighting and oblique point of view in Lexie Bragg's photographs of isolated figures in domestic and institutional settings contribute a Lynchian touch to the exhibition.