MFA 2022 Painting and Sculpture Thesis Exhibition
March 18 – April 3, 2022
Sunny Moxin Chen
This remarkable group of students started their MFA journey in the Fall of 2020, optimistic that the confusion and uncertainty of a global pandemic would soon fade. Although these hopes proved false, these artists persevered in their studios and classes and continued to learn, expand, make, break, scream, cry, laugh, sigh, and wonder what it even means to make art in this moment.
After the tumult and uncertainty of the past two years, they realize that they are re-entering a landscape that has fundamentally shifted. They have negotiated the tension between the immersive material demands of their individual projects and the increasingly relentless exigencies of the public sphere. In short, they have encountered a particularly acute version of the age-old challenge: to make work of one’s own that feels both true and urgent.
Veracity and urgency are embedded in the materials they chose to handle, the images they chose to create, the subjects they chose to depict, and the structures they chose to build. What are the boundaries of identity? Are there new ways to depict the human body? How does one expand conventions and traditions? What does it mean to be radical? How does one structure freedom? How does one make the invisible visible? These students consider these, and other questions, through the disciplines of painting and sculpture, and the friction-filled histories and porous parameters of each.
As their faculty, it has been an honor to be a part of their journey and privy to their individual stories. The works in this exhibition point to where each artist started nearly two years ago, to a point of arrival today, and to where they may be heading. The strength of their efforts suggests an overwhelming potential that fills us with hope.
Associate Professor of Art and Interim Chair of Graduate Studies in Painting
Assistant Professor of Art and Chair of Graduate Studies in Sculpture