Columbus College of Art & Design will showcase the culminating work of 14 graduating MFA students in All This Happened More or Less, the 2014 New Projects MFA Thesis Exhibition opening April 4 and running through April 30 in CCAD’s Canzani Center Gallery.
The students’ work ranges from sculpture, jewelry, installation, video, and photography to illustration, drawing, painting, and digital media.
The 2014 graduating class, whose thesis work will be exhibited, includes Tony Bible, Chase Bowman, Aaron Denney, David DeRosa, Angie Gunnoe, Alenka De Los Rios Llong, Liz Roberts, Jason Schwab, Carmen T. Smith, Lexie Stoia, Jayne Struble, Liz Trapp, Kimberly M. Webb, and Yang Wu.
Bible has been a wood carver for more than 20 years and said in his artist statement that working and living on a farm has sculpted him as an artist.
“I use my hands to transmit my ideas, my feelings, and energy into my work,” Bible said. “Weaving is a creative act, which often starts in a state of utter chaos but moves toward an ordered system. My current work aims to highlight the contrast between the order of man and the perceived chaotic nature of material.”
West Virginia-native Bowman will showcase mixed-media pieces that “bring the beautiful and bizarre together to investigate how we use the delicacy, grace, absurdity, and outrageousness around us to give our lives context and meaning.”
“In my world the fantastic and grotesque exist with fixed reality simultaneously, casting the everyday in an otherworldly light,” Bowman wrote in his artist’s statement.
Denney‘s sculptures trace the development of the Daniel Boone myth as the first distinctly American hero archetype. In One Swift Blow, Denney uses fiberboard, expandable foam, aqua resin, and paint to depict the violent results of associating America hero archtypes with the American ideal.
“The works begin to question the flexibility given to the values expressed in these hero figures, and they predict the catastrophic future of perpetuating these models as the ideal,” Denney said.
In Survival Tactics, DeRosa explores visual stereotypes by projecting them into the real world.
He said that his body of work is “an attempt to address themes of isolation, stigma, dehumanization, and, to a lesser degree, our obsession with diagnosis and medication.”
Gunnoe’s photography charts a path of loss. The images in her body of work present varying viewpoints of moments spent grappling with the passing of her father.
“This process has included grieving, honoring, and remembering,” Gunnoe said in her artist’s statement. “The photographs have become containers for the experience, revealing the presence of absence.”
Peruvian MFA candidate Llong will present her project on reverse colonization.
“Llong’s project alerts viewers to the surreal horror of living as a perpetual trespasser,” wrote Tamara Mann, Ph. D., in an essay for the MFA exhibition catalog. “This work unsettles the traditional flow of power, calling into question the accidents of history that we build our lives within and around.”
Roberts will present a video/audio installation titled Lift. “Movies are a form of transportation,” Roberts said in her artist’s statement. “We are moved by motion picture illusion.”
In the exhibition catalog essay Mann noted: “In Lift she gives us the elevator—an object at once magical and mundane. The elevator becomes a reflection of our addictions to narrative, transportation, and invention. She moves us up and down without ever taking us anywhere.”
Schwab uses photographs to explore the moment when the simulated self becomes more interesting then the real self.
“The fireplace, piano, refrigerator, and bookshelf were once commonly used to exhibit images signifying one’s identity. Now those images live in your pocket and on your computer,” Schwab said. “My use of photographs to create these objects mimics the façade present in the curation of images on social media.”
Smith drew from her obsession with ritual and decoration to create works that express a modern connection to a feminine tradition of making.
“The objects represented in this collection open up a dialogue about womanhood by using the historical language of beading, embroidery, and stitching, mixed with materials that exclusively relate to the female experience,” Smith said.
Cleveland-native Stoia called her body of work, The Way Out, “a community we’ve established on the moon in response to our planet’s terminal illness.”
“The Way Out awakens our senses and deprograms Homo sapiens of neurotic behaviors, freeing us,” Stoia wrote in her artist’s statement.
Struble combined plaster, drywall, plywood, and other construction materials to create works that are on the verge of collapsing and breaking.
“Each piece is meticulously balanced to create compositions that conflate structures and ruins,” Struble said. “The works exist without permanence, displaying their vulnerability to the viewer and the environment.”
In her artist statement, Trapp asks, “What constitutes contemporary painting, and what does it mean to work in that medium today?”
Though she said her works do not provide an authoritative answer, she said she aims to “develop a series of questions through various experiments in materials and forms of mark-making, and with the inclusion of the gallery wall within the space of painting.”
Webb‘s body of work, Consider the Lump, includes sculptural pieces that imitate the loud, immediate, fragmented nature of daily life.
“Consider the Lump is siphoned, assembled moments,” said Webb in her artist’s statement. “The work is reactionary in content, form, and process. Value is found through the practice of slowing down to collect what is often disregarded.”
Wu, a native of Gansu, China, randomly met Puppet Man, the subject of his documentary film, on a bus.
“In this documentary film, I collect [Puppet Man's] father-son story in addition to the tragedies that have occurred in his life,” said Wu in his artist’s statement. “His life has more dimension, depth, and nuance than what the general public initially categorizes under its typical social tags.”
An opening reception will be held in CCAD’s Canzani Center on April 4 at 7 p.m. For gallery hours and directions, visit the online event page.
CCAD’s New Projects MFA program 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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