Eight graduating Master of Fine Arts students in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History and Design will present their MFA Thesis Exhibitions in the Eisentrager•Howard Gallery in Richards Hall beginning March 21.
The simultaneous solo shows will be on display in four rounds, with a new pairing of artists each week between March 21 and April 15.
The first round runs March 21-25 and features the work of Allison Arkush (ceramics) and Maddie Aunger (painting). An artist’s talk is 4 p.m. March 25 in Richards Hall, Room 15. A closing reception is 5 to 7 p.m. March 25 in the gallery.
The second round will run from March 28-April 1 and features the work of Austin Cullen (photography and printmaking) and Sarah Jentsch (printmaking). An artist’s talk is 4 p.m. April 1 in Richards Hall, Room 15. A closing reception is 5 to 7 p.m. April 1 in the gallery.
The third round will run April 4-8 and feature the work of Eddy Leonel Aldana (photography) and Amber Boris (sculpture). An artist’s talk is 4 p.m. April 8 in Richards Hall Room 15. A reception is 7 to 9 p.m. April 6 in the gallery.
The final round runs April 11-15 and features the work of Dehmie Dehmlow (ceramics) and Hannah Demma (printmaking). An artist’s talk is 4 p.m. April 15 in Richards Hall Room 15. A reception is 5 to 7 p.m. April 15 in the gallery.
All four rounds of artist talks will also be available via Zoom.
General hours for the MFA Thesis Exhibitions are 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public.
Below is more information about the artists and their exhibitions.
Allison Arkush | It Won’t Be Easy
As an interdisciplinary and multimedia artist, Arkush’s practice engages a wide and fluctuating range of materials, modalities and research. She primarily works within the domains of sculpture and installation, which have increasingly come to include her poetry, as well as audio and video components. Her ever-emergent and evolving personal lexicon of symbols and metaphorical motifs connects and deepens the narratives within her work. These individual symbols are “germunits,” each representing a single germinated concept/object that has proliferated and taken on new associations and meanings, deeply rooted in and vining through her practice.
Arkush was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. In 2010, she moved across the country to attend New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. While at NYU, she studied studio art, psychology and the intersection of these two disciplines. She graduated magna cum laude. In the following years, Arkush taught ceramic classes, worked as a studio technician and later as a studio manager, among many odd jobs.
Maddie Aunger | Idylls
In her artist statement, Aunger writes, “In “Idylls” moments of quiet, stillness and clarity mirror my experience of the domestic spaces in my life and how I encounter them. Layered spaces and the interstices between, like windows and alleys, create interactions between different places and between paintings… . My work evokes the feelings of comfort I find in the small elements of delight sprinkled throughout an average day. The paintings document a specific place and time and provide snapshots into a period of my life.”
Aunger grew up in St. Louis, Mo. She completed her undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in art education, a minor in art history and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing.
Austin Cullen | A Natural History (Built to be Seen)
In his artist statement, Cullen writes, “’A Natural History (Built to be Seen)’ is a series of observations of the absurd and human ways the natural world is presented in museums. As someone who grew up visiting natural history museums regularly, I’ve always been fascinated by the extravagant ways museums framed the American landscape… . I want to understand the ways that natural history museums and the American landscape affect one another.”
Cullen is a photographer and printmaker from Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2019. He first became interested in photography in high school.
Sarah Jentsch | The Ghosts Shed Tears
“The Ghosts Shed Tears” is a series of paintings and drawings that explore narratives of personal and universal emotion. Jentsch writes in her artist’s statement: “These works center on my experiences of womanhood; the frustration of interaction, the fear of physical and psychological harm, and the tension of inhabiting a body capable of creating life with or without my permission. Using a variety of symbols derived from the traditions of mythologies and fables, these works exist in an uncanny universe where reality is filtered through a lens of magic realism.”
Jentsch is an artist from Etoile, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2018.
Eddy Leonel Aldana | me tengo que ir
Aldana writes in his artist statement, “’Me tengo que ir’ means ‘I have to go.’ ‘I have to go,’ as in go home, back to my home country, hang up the phone or pass away. ‘Me tengo que ir’ focuses on my family’s place in the Guatemalan diaspora and my reliance on memory and history to examine my own identity. Existing within the diaspora implies displacement, emigration and deportation, along with uncertainty, loss and absence; most of these stemming from nationalism, colonization and U.S. intervention… . ‘Me tengo que ir’ consists of photographs and videos that aim to give insight into the role that the U.S. has played in the destabilization of Guatemala and how U.S. immigration laws have affected families like mine.”
Aldana is a Latinx artist originally from Clarksburg, Md. He is first-generation Guatemalan-American and his video and photographic work focuses on his family’s experience within the Guatemalan diaspora and examines his own identity. His work explores themes of displacement, migration and loss, among others.
Amber Boris | I Want to Go Home
Boris writes in her artist statement, “The significance of a home lies within the memories of the space. ‘I Want to Go Home’ is a body of work that explores this idea through a collection of sculptures and drawings depicting my childhood home. This house holds meaning to me not only because it is where I grew up, but because it also was my mother’s childhood home. Six generations of our family have passed through the house, creating a long history of associated stories, memories and emotions. I have constructed scaled-down sculptures of rooms for these memories to live in. The spaces are left empty, allowing the viewer to look in and imagine what has happened there.”
Boris is an artist who focuses on sculpture and drawing. She is originally from New Jersey and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in fine art from the Corcoran School of Art + Design at the George Washington University in May 2017.
Dehmie Dehmlow | The Brick Collage
Dehmlow writes in her artist’s statement, “I work as an interdisciplinary artist making modular sculpture and ceramic vessels. I build with found and salvaged materials/objects, and fabricated structures to create dynamic three-dimensional compositions. These assemblages emphasize the potential in each found, salvaged and fabricated component as a form of agency and vitality. My practice is powered by imagination. I imagine a new collaborative life for found materials/objects that then fill a structural and compositional need within the whole of a sculpture. Moments of familiarity and play are creating through designed mechanisms of implied function and use.”
Dehmlow grew up in Denver, Colo. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in ceramics and pre-medical sciences from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 2014. She worked as a caregiver for elderly and adults with disabilities while earning her bachelor’s degree and in the years since. In 2017-2018, she worked as a ceramics intern at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colo. She was selected as an Emerging Artist in 2019 at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.
Hannah Demma | Salt in Our Bones
Demma writes in her artist’s statement, “I look to the natural world for inspiration in my work. I play the scientist, and the studio is my lab. I observe, hypothesize and run experiments. Then I interpret and process my findings. I am captivated by the variety found within all flora and fauna, as well as the relationships between animals and their environment. I am curious about cause and effect in the natural world (including the disastrous impact humans have had on ecosystems, such as coral reefs). Everything is connected, for better and for worse. There are arguments to be made that humans are nature. There is no separation, no line we can draw between things.”
Demma is an avid outdoorswoman, outdoor educator and lifelong Nebraskan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2017. In 2018, she received the Kimmel Foundation Emerging Artist Award and a Mayor’s Art Award. Her passion for art education has taken her to Lincoln, Mont., where she spent a month leading the education programming for an outdoor sculpture park, Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture in the Wild. She has also served as a coordinator for the Cedar Point Biological Station art program and Art Adventure camp.