• Becoming. transformations within the maternal exchange: MFA Thesis - Printmaking

      Jaehnert, Tina (2016-05)
      Entering into a parenting role awakens unexpected concerns, fears, joys, and anticipations. Instincts go into overdrive as life’s main purpose shifts from self-preservation to protection and nurturing our child or children. The life once mapped out, or even the life in mid pursuit of, becomes magnified and heavily interrogated within this shift. My installation joins different environments, objects and works to explore the roles taken on during the tender and transformative incubation period of infancy and toddler stages. The role of protection is the focus of this body of work, using symbolic representations that contain processes within the natural world.
    • Feast: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Zhang, Mingqiu (2017-05)
      I am exploring how humans balance positive desire and the avariciousness in our everyday lives. My work reveals the excess desire that will lead to human extinction. My inspiration begins with a famous ancient Chinese evil creature called Tao Tie. It is derived from Shan Hai Jing. The story depicts a mythological landscape from which Tao Tie emerges. Tao tie is depicted in many ways, but is always the image of greed. Nowadays, the Tao Tie image represents greediness and glutony. In Buddhism, desire is neither positive nor negative, but is understood as balance. Nothing remains positive when people don’t do things in moderation. In my work, I want to explore the precarious line between greed and healthy desire. In the book “Shan Hai Jing”, the Tao Tie, who was especially greedy for food, ended up eating its own body. In my work, the consequence of Tao Tie symbolizes the prediction of human greed. I utilized paper clay to create a three-dimensional figurative sculpture of Tao Tie as one part of my installation. This material has become a medium for me to describe the myth from history in my work. Tao Tie in Chinese contemporary culture not only means a monster, but also means a dinner which has all kinds of food. I combined the traditional sculpture of Tao Tie with an interactive component. The viewer is invited to sit at the table, hovered over by Tao Tie, and peer into a large bowl which contains a video. In the video I represent people “eating” all kinds of different unbalanced desires such as money, love, food, power, beauty, and health. I use the activity of eating material goods to express the subject of greed in my project. My installation symbolizes humans’ avaricious nature, which is destroying us.
    • How to Steal the American Dream: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Monk, Andy (2017-12)
      The work in my MFA thesis exhibition, How to Steal the American Dream creates a rare opportunity for honest examination and discussion of a political topic in the era of “alternative facts” and “fake news” by using visual strategies to incite curiosity in the viewer. My work persuades viewers to start from a place of curiosity, so their guard is down as they discover the underlying political subject matter. Using bright LED lights and clean, shiny aesthetics, the work, entitled "Gerrymandering: North Carolina Districts 1-13" and "Gerrymandering: Maryland Districts 1-8", presents the bounding shapes of all the US congressional districts from the states of Maryland and North Carolina, which have been deformed and contorted through centuries of extreme partisan gerrymandering. Two sculptural works in the center of the exhibition represent different societal structures: one standing as a critique of contemporary American society, the other positing a utopian reimagination of an alternative way in which a society might be organized.
    • In//Access//Able: MFA Thesis - Metal

      Huckins, John (2014-05)
      I manipulate rods of steel and bronze in a way that is in conflict with the materials’ own properties. Through my work, through effort, I show the relation between a body in action and the material’s ability to be manipulated, distorting its processed, stock identity. I transform a bar of milled steel’s linear orientation through careful forming, cutting, and welding, to re-assemble a bar that is no longer straight. For example, a window grate where all of the vertical, straight bars have been tied and twisted, creating an opening in a structure meant to deny access. I choose to make these window grates for their ability to evoke dialogue about access to spaces. Institutions geared towards knowledge, faith, and government are erected to house privileged individuals. These institutional structures affect our lives and shape our knowledge. These institutions are the most inclusive clubhouses in western culture, and segregate based on cultural hierarchy and class systems. A window grate acts as both a barrier and a reminder of one’s place in the world. In domestic architecture, a window grate can also imply the same distinction of class. However, this implication of the domestic setting reaches a wider economic spectrum. A window grate can protect any person or family from home invasion; however it does not provide protection from all outside aggression. Through the abstraction and subversion of the window grille or window grate format, I ask the viewer to reconsider practical and ornamental function. Venetian blinds so strong they would stop a bullet because they are made from steel; a set of steel bars over a window frame that are exaggerated, swooped, and tied into an absurd bow. These call into question ideas of access and denial: who is allowed inside, who must be kept out, and why. Whether you are in, or out, I am giving you a window to access issues surrounding social and cultural institutions, and who is able to have a voice in them.
    • JAKE QUEST: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Demenkoff, Jake (2018-05)
      Objects made by humans contain within them human characteristics. For example, chairs, like people, have legs, arms, backs, feet. Bottles have necks. Clocks have hands. People and the objects we make are unified by a common design language. What started as separate interests in industrial design, furniture making, and the human condition merged to form my practice. Humor is also a critical part of my work. A combination of strict proportions, abrupt transitions, and juxtaposition of objects and form make for a quirky sort of tension. Working with wood, as well as incorporating everyday objects and materials, I create silly, yet somewhat serious, anthropomorphic, furniture-like, autobiographical figures.
    • Low-key Solidarity, Strategies for the Alliance: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Gallira, Ana Azzue (2017-05)
      Giving space for viewers to cultivate curiosity for other people through whimsical and lighthearted objects and interactive experiences grounds my research. I make work that confronts the reality that most human relationships are lacking empathy, an overlooked connection necessary for survival. Practicing the imaginative leap into another’s experience provides a platform for global change.These connections are in need of nurturing and my work provides a welcoming environment to combat social constructs that contribute to the dehumanized “other”. Participation, aesthetics, and public accessibility to the artwork is a method for gathering curiosity and projecting that interest into direct action.
    • Make it Plain: MFA Thesis - Metal

      Richards, Shani (2016-05)
      Knowing the history of craft and the material traditions are important to making my work. I insist on having this metalsmithing label, and I purposely challenge and subvert the discourse of what a metalsmith is. As a metalsmith I investigate like an archaeologist, and I search for objects and people that reflect the history of post colonialism in America. I had to take a critical look at the effects of slavery had on this country. How this country was built with was on the backs of slaves. History excludes working class minorities: The faceless and nameless who worked the land picking cotton, digging coal, and cleaning ditches.
    • Moments Materialized: MFA Thesis-Ceramics

      Morton, Rebecca (2017-05)
      Through movement, I am aware that my mind quickens my body and my body invigorates my mind. Movement, for me, is a response to a particular place in time similar to an improvisational dance. I’m interested in large amounts of volume in clay and the elation I feel during the making process within my own body. Excitement comes from working at a larger scale. The physicality of the material awakens my body. I create large, hand-built sculptures that reference movement, lightness, and curves. Delicate, soft creases, and folds inform my attempt to create continuous flowing sensual forms. Cycles seen in nature, and especially fertility, are often my foremost focus. I aspire to portray these moments and simultaneously suggest ongoing ceaseless motion.
    • Noesis, the inner nature of body expression : MFA Thesis - Ceramics

      Fortin, Christopher (2014-05)
      As we progress through time, language is generated and adapted through the ever-changing structures of society and technology. Like all languages, non-verbal communication has adapted and changed through time and culture. A single gesture can mean a dozen different things, yet many of these traits have stayed constant over human existence; it is this universal visual presentation that is our language of emotion.
    • Obscura: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Mattison, Sarah Reese (2014-12)
      From the architectural element to Microsoft, windows are analogous to notions of the portal, the frame, and the screens of film, television, the computer and mobile phone. They represent a passage to other worlds, new ways of thinking and ideas, a frame for voyeurism, spiritual insights, as an escape from the banality of daily life, as well as a medium for inner reflection. The window’s function is paradoxical: providing a physical separation from inside and outside while still enabling cross examination, existing as both an internal and external form simultaneously. They are usually transparent but also have a reflective surface. They close out and close in. Windows frame both virtual and physical realities thus challenging notions of time and space. These dualities are at the heart of my thesis question. Through my thesis, I ask, “where does the external end and the internal begin?” Where do you end and I begin?” The entry point for my thesis project, Obscura, was an exploration of the physical and metaphorical expressions of window. Physically, I took the elements of a window and undressed them one by one: the frame, glass, coatings, screen, etc. Through this process, I was also attempting to dismantle the metaphorical concepts of beyond / outer / other / exterior / separateness by highlighting the tangled hierarchy of an absolute binary: without an inside, there is no outside, no exterior without an interior, and vice versa. The concepts exist simultaneously and are entrenched to the point where one does not exist without the other – a chicken and egg dilemma. Which comes first, inside or outside? Mother or child? Time or space? You or me? How are these signifiers nested together in an interwoven whole?
    • Oh, Wonder! Votives of the Anthropocene: MFA Thesis Metal

      Chandler, Emma Olivia (2017-05)
      My research occurs in biological and archeological texts, as well as in mythological realms. The twin tracks of scientific investigation and folklore illuminate a wide range of relationships between that which we imagine and that which we manifest. I pose the question: what mythology will we construct for ourselves to explain our contemporary conditions? How now do we explain the butter that won’t churn? The fallow field? The failed experiment? What is the equivalent casting of the evil eye? To explore these ideas, I am collecting a pantheon of mythical creatures new and old, real and imagined and investigating these questions of genetic and physical transformation through a lens of folklore and superstition. I reflect on the traditional ephemera of bodily adornment and domestic decoration as I adapt historical forms to tackle contemporary anxieties.
    • Symbioses, recollect: MFA Thesis - Printmaking

      Christie, Kimberly (2017-05)
      ‘Symbioses: Recollect’ focuses on themes of memory and relationship. Symbolic ceramic sculptures join dreamy relief prints in simplifying the complexities of these ideas. The word ‘symbiosis’ translates to ‘living together’. Ranging from mutually helpful to seemingly unaffected to harmful, these relationships can be divided into three separate categories: mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. Interpersonal relationships can be just as, if not more so, complicated. Nostalgic family photographs that have been digitally altered and veiled by color and image communicate my interpretation of recollection. These concepts are additionally bonded through color, material, and form.