Graduate art students step out of their studios
Master of Fine Arts students abandoned their studios to mix and mingle with the general UH populous in the Blaffer Art Museum where they continued the ongoing dialogue between exhibitors and art appreciators.
All the attendees were rounded up for the field trip at noon around the museum. The diverse group of about 55 people was lead by Amy Powell, a Cynthia Woods Mitchell postdoctoral curatorial fellow who also acts as the museum’s curator.
Blaffer presented a second gallery talk at the 35th UH School of Art Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition, an annual exhibition that featured 12 MFA students at noon Wednesday. Six of the 12 exhibited graduate students were there to explain their work and answer the audience’s questions, making this the final gallery talk for the exhibit.
Powell began by introducing Jessica Ninci, a graduate in painting who received her BFA in 2008. She described her work as “semi-site specific” and a reflection of ongoing studio practices and processes.
“There is a dialogue I go for between paintings in a space,” Ninci said.
Just across the vast space resided the work of Carrie Cook, another graduate painting student. Cook also experiments with the intersection of painting and physical space as well as the intersection of sculpture and painting, using her childhood memories of West Texas landscapes as inspiration. She described her work as a “meditation on natural processes and cycles.”
As Powell lead the way into the adjacent wide, rectangular room, some seemed surprised with what they saw.
Black quotes on white canvases and objects filled almost half of the hall.
The boldfaced words that surrounded the audience demanded attention, and Fiona Cochran, graduate sculpture student candidate, stepped into the limelight to explain this ongoing series, “Understudies.”
“What I tried to do was create these replacements for existing works of art, works that are historically significant,” Cochren said.
“Understudies” is her satirical replication of work of the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Rene Magritte. Upon each of the “replications,” she crafted one sentence that held the essence of the work she was displaying.
As the gallery talk picked up momentum, attendees met artists Stacey Farrell, Christopher Cascio and El Franco Lee II, all of whom shared their stories and thought processes. Their work ranged from family life, drug addictions, to the documentary-like preservation of Houston’s drug-race culture.
The exhibit ends Saturday.