Seven graduating Master of Fine Arts students are presenting their MFA Thesis Exhibitions through April 24 in the Eisentrager•Howard Gallery in Richards Hall.
The first MFA Thesis Exhibition shows through April 10 and features the work of Avi Arenfeld, Allen Morris and Adrienne Smart. A reception is 5 to 7 p.m. April 10 in the gallery.
The second MFA Thesis Exhibition is April 13-17 and features the work of Hiromi Iyoda and Gabrielle Valdez. A reception is 5 to 7 p.m. April 17 in the gallery.
The third thesis exhibit is April 20-24 and showcases the work of Chadric Devin and Kelly Stading. A reception is 5 to 7 p.m. April 24 in the gallery.
Arenfeld’s exhibition is titled “Line Language.” Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Arenfeld received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. A studio potter, he has been a resident at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, the Mendocino Arts Center and received a resident scholarship from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. He has exhibited across the U.S. in galleries such as The Clay Studio of Philadelphia and Santa Fe Clay, and he has travelled and showed with the Artstream Nomadic Gallery and Harvey Meadows Gallery. In his artist statement, Arenfeld wrote about his work, “The pots I make are inspired by architectural structure and anthropomorphic form. I reference buildings from my travels to Japan and the Middle East, as well as the geometry of the human body.”
Morris’ exhibition is “On Nine Mile.” Born in Baker City, Oregon, Morris earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Oregon State University and an associates degree from Easter Oregon University. His work has been exhibited in multiple locations domestically and internationally in Xi’an, China. He has taught photography courses at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha and UNL, including the first photography course at Cedar Point Biological Research Center last summer. In his artist statement, Morris wrote, “My body of work ‘On Nile Mile’ was created to develop an understanding of a new landscape and a different place. Having spent all my life surrounded by the mountains and forests of the Pacific northwest, the work served as an entry point in exploring a largely flat and open landscape with which I shared no personal connection.”
Smart’s exhibition is “Dear, Whoever You Are, I Don’t Care Who You Are.” She grew up in a quiet suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spent most of those years eavesdropping on her mother’s telephone conversations and then later repeating back to her the important details she forgot. Years later, language, communication and human interaction have remained a central focus in her work and in her research. Her work ranges from traditional printmaking and photographic processes to more unconventional forms of art making. In her artist statement, she wrote, “My research has led to the observation of a not-uncommon human frenzy — to collect, save, and keep private all information that we enact or endeavor to create. In my current work, I sift through this archive of data that makes up my collected digital conversation and seek to translate bits and pieces to a more-physical format. It is a rapid attempt to make permanent the ephemeral nature of a conversational moment. At the same time, the curation of these fragments creates a new, implicit conversation of a larger common feeling.”
Iyoda’s exhibition is tentatively titled “Inner Struggle.” Born in a small town in rural Japan, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University of Long Beach and an associate degree in art from Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California. Her work has been chosen for the 2015 NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition and she is in an exhibition of UNL Grad Students at Gallery 9 in Lincoln. She received an Appalachian Center for Craft Workshop Scholarship in 2013, attended a wood fire workshop at Flynn Creek Pottery in 2012 and was a finalist in the “57th International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art in Faenza” in Florence, Italy, in 2011. She makes figurative and narrative clay sculpture, and her work is based mostly on her past and current life experiences.
Valdez’s exhibition is titled “Unknown.” Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Valdez received her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. Her work has been exhibited in both Texas and Nebraska. In her artist statement, she wrote, “As somebody who spent a considerable amount of time coming to terms with my own identity, I would often look to other people to try and see what makes them who they are. I know almost nothing about the subjects of my paintings—and the viewer of my paintings is provided the limited information that I take away from this interaction. These brief encounters are documented as photographs taken with my phone. Working from these cellphone images I make what amounts to exaggerated character studies of the people I have chosen as subjects.”
Devin’s exhibition is titled “Man to Man: Expectation and Desire in Masculine Gender Performance.” Originally from Cole Camp, Missouri, Devin works in alternative and historical photographic processes, printmaking and sculpture. His work as both an artist and curator explores gender, race, the body and performance. He has recently exhibited my work nationally and internationally in Madison, Wisconsin; The Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana; the Institute for Research on Women and Gender in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and in Xi’an, China. In his artist statement, he wrote, “Growing up I felt an overwhelming responsibility and pressure from my father and the community in which I lived to participate in athletics and display their preconceived ideas of masculine behavior. American culture and society, in the same way, has constructed its own set of archetypes that dictate maleness and the ways in which men are expected to interact and perform their gender. My work explores the complications of these expectations, the complexity of the social relationships formed between males, and my desire to understand how history, meaning and experience can be reshaped and understood through the physicality of interacting with materials.”
Stading’s exhibition is “Half Light.” A Nebraska native, Stading did her undergraduate studies at Creighton University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited in both Lincoln and Omaha. She has also worked for the Kent Bellows Studio as the workshops coordinator and at Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery as the assistant to the director. In her artist statement she wrote, “The sculptures of this show focus on concealed emotions (disgust, rage, resentment, shame); buried responses to events never openly acted upon out of shame or fear. This buried darkness is the underbelly of life. The dark events lived or witnessed that infect lives; shaming or confusing enough to hide, even from ourselves.”
Gallery hours for the MFA Thesis Exhibitions are weekdays, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information, call 402-472-5522.