Kids Will Play: UArts Summer MFA Thesis Show

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University of the Arts Summer MFA Thesis show is up right now through Dec. 20 (closed then for the holidays) and from Jan 3-6. I was over there Saturday and got a look. I’m sorry to say I misplaced the list with everyone’s names on it so missed a few names — and I missed taking pictures of some works. What I saw was interesting, thoughtful and worth a visit. Erin Boyle, Lee Milliard, Romy Scheroder, Lindsey Avery, Demond L. Baine are the names I have. There are several more and I’m hoping someone can tell me so I can include them. I’ll run some images here to give a sneak peek.

[Correction to post: Mary Barrett, one of the MFA students whose works I couldn’t attribute, wrote and sent in some images of her works. Diana Manoussos is the other name left out. My apologies to both. Barrett’s works are in Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery and Manoussos’s drip paintings are in the Hamilton Building. The show’s still up (to Jan. 6) so stop on by and have a look.]


(image above is detail of Barrett‘s installation and below is her description of her works. And here at flickr is an installation shot of Barrett’s work I took when I saw the show.)

I use slip cast porcelain for its opposing properties of strength and fragility. My work (fragments, relics and re-collections) is influenced by the past (the history of the ceramic vessel, speciifcally commercial art pottery) and collecting. The broken vessels seem to be either evolving or devolving, and can be seen as a metaphor for fragmentation in memories that we collect.

The top image is from Romy Scheroder‘s installation, one in which domesticity and surrealism come together in some ice age of memory. The ambiance gave me chills. Scheroder’s object-making is just great. The riding horse is sumptuous; the sand castle is just how you remember making them; the stack of paper thin figures (at least I took them to be figures) evoke the memories filed away for safe keeping in a something so brittle and fragile it will blow away as dust if exposed to the light of day.


Lindsey Avery‘s acrylic on bedsheet paintings riff on lost cultures and the idea of creating a new one for herself. Without intending to, the works also brought up ideas of the bedroom and acts of creation that take place there.


Demond Baine‘s ceramic torsos, each of which has a different surface texture, all evoke for me the deliciousness of working with the squishy, primal material. Some surfaces seemed extruded from a machine, others like this one feel like cake icing slathered on an armature; one had a kind of matte cocoa dusting to it and — intended or not — the chocolate brown works were confections — beautiful and about human beauty.


Erin Boyle‘s installation seemed all about passageways, holes and what’s seen through an aperture. Birth was the subtext (the artist has a glass bowl with cast plaster objects that resemble fetuses which you are invited to take with you (one of them that is) as a memento. The creation of art is on Boyle’s mind as well with literal frames dotting everything everywhere. Overall the circle in the square is a great motif; the obsessive and overwrought detailing bespeaks a manic attempt to figure things out; and the piece kept me rapt looking through all passageways from all angles.


Lee Milliard‘s creation of a Lancaster County living room, Action News playing on the tv is great. The installation refers to a piece the artist made recently — a roadside shrine to a road-killed deer. And Action News ate it up. (You can see the clip on the tv.) The newspapers, too (they are laid out on the coffee table). The artist is from that part of Pennsylvania and he knows whereof he speaks. His humor is less mocking than biting but at the same time there’s a kind of homeboy pride here as well.

Anyway, catch it if you can.

The show’s in the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery and across the street in the galleries in Hamilton Hall.

It’s kind of a mystery why the Summer MFA show is now instead of in the summer. But that’s probably just a scheduling thing. The good news is that the kids continue to worry about things but while they’re looking inside they’re also remembering to reach out to communicate with an audience. That’s a great combination, inward looking and outward speaking with a message that includes a lot of questions.

avery, lindsey
barrett, mary
scheroder, romy
milliard, lee
boyle, erin
baine, demond

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