MFA Candidates to Exhibit Final Projects

April 4th, 2013 by Katlin McNally
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Part of Andrew McCauley's final thesis show

Part of Andrew J. McCauley’s final thesis

On April 12, CCAD will open the exhibition Trace of a Moving Point, which is the culmination of two years of intense study for nine MFA candidates.

The exhibition in the Canzani Center Gallery will showcase the graduating MFA students’ innovative work, ranging from glass, installation, video, and photography to illustration, painting, and digital media.

The artists are Kristin Baird, Amy Cubberly-Yeager, Linda T. Diec, Laurie Ihlenfield, Mike Laughead, Andrew J. McCauley, Liz Morrison, Amy Lynn Schweizer, and Pamela I. Theodotou.

“My work revolves around the effects that diseases like multiple sclerosis have on the body and mind,” Andrew J. McCauley says in his artist statement.

McCauley’s multimedia paintings incorporate the human figure into a narrative landscape that acts as a metaphor for memory loss.

Photograph by Amy Schweizer

Photograph by Amy Schweizer

He creates his work by carving into the surface, adding a mixture of gasoline and paint pigments to the panels, and then igniting them. The stains left on the surface call to mind blood vessels and neurons underneath the skin.

Another MFA candidate, Amy Lynn Schweizer, also relates her work to illness. “Illness is a common thread that connects all people to one another. And as changes in health occur, one’s sense of self can change as well,” she says in her artist statement.

Schweizer photographs in black and white, capturing the subjects as they are moving, to create a ghostlike appearance.

Still from Pamela Theodotou's "Pandora"

Still from Pamela I. Theodotou’s “Pandora”

Pamela I. Theodotou’s final thesis also explores the world through a lens.

During her time at CCAD, Theodotou created three “cinemagraphic novels,” which combines words, images, video, and motion graphics. According to her artist statement, the final one, Pandora, looks at “confrontations created when beauty and the grotesque are brought into the philosophiocal dualities of truth and immortality.”

Theodotou was the writer, producer, cinematographer, artistic director, and production designer for the project. The second film in her series, Stark Justice, will appear in film festivals in Columbus, OH, and Los Angeles this year.

The cover of Mike Laughead's graphic novel

The cover of Mike Laughead’s graphic novel

While Theodotou uses moving pictures for her “novels,” Mike Laughead takes a more classic illustration approach with his thesis project. The Legend of Acornhead is a fantasy-genre graphic novel about a teenage girl leaving her religious commune to seek a husband.

Laughead collaborated with an inker and colorist to develop the story, for which he drew inspiration from his experiences as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and, in particular, his time as a missionary in Argentina. The graphic novel addresses themes of acceptance between people with different points of view, but with a sense of humor to appeal to a younger audience.

Amy Cubberly-Ye

Amy Cubberly-Yeager’s multiple self-portraits

The idea of identity is explored in Amy Cubberly-Yeager’s final thesis. Her work explores portraiture and self-portraiture in materials such as oil, charcoal, wood, wool, coffee, and beans.

Cubberly-Yeager uses repeated self-portraits to reveal her true identity through repetition and redundancy. This process, according to her artist statement, is similar to when a word is repeated over and over again and begins to sound bizarre and lose its meaning.

Kristin Baird’s paintings deal with repetition—in her case, the patterns of “the urban core, be they structures that make up the urban environment, the footprint on which the city is built, or the human interactions and relationships occuring within the city,” as noted in her artist statement.

Detail of Kristin Baird's "Tracing 1"

Detail of Kristin Baird’s “Tracing 1″

Her two- and three-dimensional works showcase layers of patterns and elements found in her urban surroundings and her movements within them.

Another MFA candidate that explores repetition and order is Laurie Ihlenfield. Her work considers the idea that order is consistently being challenged by nature and time and that man has no control over this.

“We find comfort in order, but our push toward order is constantly challenged by nature and time,” Ihlenfield said in her artist statement. “Nature is a force that can be altered, but not ignored.”

Detail shot of Laurie Ihlenfield's work

Detail shot of Laurie Ihlenfield’s work

Her large-scale embroidered drawings have a sense of grandeur, but at the same time are delicate and precise.

Her inspiration comes from the the cities, cultures, and landscapes she has viewed in her lifetime and her observation of how humans arrange and react those environments.

Linda T. Diec is similarly inspired by her culture and environment. A first-generation American born to Vietnamese refugees, she grew up in a home where her parents were pressured to stop speaking their native language. This led Diec to look at the meaning and origins of language and translate that investigation into her work.

Linda Diec in her studio

Linda Diec in her studio

Diec’s final project, Halo, “illustrates the ego and futility of the human desire for perfection with poetic environments rich in cultural, spatial, and theoretical irony.” Her artist statement also describes her desire to create something extraordinary out of common materials.

Liz Morrison’s final thesis derives from something that is certainly not a common material— the night sky and the chaos and beauty in its constellations.

Her original poetry is presented visually as though it were a constellation—with clusters of words and connecting lines highlighted against deeply colored backgrounds.

Detailed shot of one of Liz Morrison's works

Detail of one of Liz Morrison’s works

“The setting for the stories is a quiet, personal cosmos, an intimate experience of the infinite created through scale and construction,” she says in her statement. “Whereas the expansive night sky overhead is overpowering, these modestly sized pieces are approachable.”

Check out all nine candidates’ work in Trace of a Moving Point, April 12–May 3 in the Canzani Center Gallery. There will be an opening reception April 12, 6 p.m.

CCAD’s MFA in Visual Arts is a project-based, non-media-specific curriculum that focuses on individual artistic/design development and creative leadership. It brings together talented individuals from a variety of different media to build a community that fosters exploration, professionalism, and creative success.

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One Response to “MFA Candidates to Exhibit Final Projects”

  1. Blythe says:

    I don’t get how some of the pieces fit the theme or title of the show.