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Creative License: MFA candidates explore life from every angle

From childhood memories of a public television figure to a trash vortex the size of Texas, from an obsession with domestic meditative interiors to instructions on how to end civilization as we know it, from casting Mom in a favorite film to a dive-bar bathroom full of stolen graffiti. The works in The University of Chicago Department of Visual Arts Graduate MFA Exhibitions are as diverse and intriguing as the artists who created them.

Three exhibitions will showcase nine MFA candidates. All exhibitions will take place at The DOVA Temporary, a newly renovated gallery space located at 5228 S. Harper St. in Hyde Park. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. Each exhibition will remain open to the public Monday-Thursday 1 to 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A complete listing of the exhibition schedules and information will be available at the Department of Visual Arts’ Web site.

Thursday, May 15, 6 to 9 p.m.: “Cryptomnesia” featuring Jeremy Pelt, Val Snobeck, and Brett Tracy. Exhibition closes May 25.

Thursday, May 29, 6 to 9 p.m.: “One brick country in the Sea” featuring Jennifer Krantz, J. Thomas Pallas, Casey Smallwood

For more cultural events at the University of Chicago – including exhibitions, performances, lectures and presentations, please visit the Humanities Division calendar.

About the Artists:

May 15th to 25th
“Cryptomnesia”

pelt.jpgJeremy Pelt creates and arranges objects to evoke memories, fantasies, spirits and treasured souvenirs.

Utilizing platforms including the Internet, the collective unconscious, and the garbage vortex in the Pacific Ocean’s center, Val Snobeck explores the boundaries of reversion and awareness.

Brett Tracy - skatersBy appropriating current events, modern spaces, and digital imagery, Brett Tracy peers through the cracks of industrial civilization, revealing a Post-Collapse aesthetic characterized by activation of the contemporary ruin, romanticization of life after oil, and the reintroduction of a more free, more humane existence.

May 29th to June 8th
“One brick country in the Sea”

Jennifer Krantz MFAJennifer Krantz’s work pushes the immediacy of visual engagement initiating domestic materials through her psychological and physical processes of repetition and order.

J. Thomas Pallas
“The mix, mash-up, radical collage of existence is the truth of history, the specificity of which is bloody and brutal…but in Truth, America, we are muddled and confused and J Thomas Pallas - MFAcannot properly point to anywhere as first or original, we can only excavate our influences and legacies, embrace and learn from them All, the horrid and humble, the detestable and delightful, the shameful and the stunning. These cursory dualities themselves are not broad enough to hold us all. We are complex and multiple, poly-cultural, we live in the actuality of the miscegenated moment, the mixing of kinds, America is a crossroads under lamp lights, and we can move toward reconciliation and equity, in this moment, we can walk toward and learn from the truth and promise and dare I say hope of our tangled roots.” – Kevin Coval, Chicago poet and artist

Casey SmallwoodCasey Smallwood examines the process of “becoming like” someone or something else as a mode of developing identity by filtering cinematic narratives through her mother.

The first of the MFA shows took place May 1st to 11th. Titled “…and somewhere in between,” the exhibit featured the work of Manol Gueorguiev, Clay Smith and Joseph Miller.

Manol Gueorguiev’s work operates in the empty space that envelops significant events and experiences. Relying on strong figure ground juxtapositions, he creates work that is spatial and motivated by the literal surroundings. Gueorguiev’s work is anti-narrative, anti-expressive, anti-humanist, anti-subjective – it is objective, constructive, literal rather than metaphorical.

By directly interacting with audiences and communities, Joseph Miller facilitates new forms of collaborations to deal with issues of authorship, appropriation and attitude. In conjunction with Miller’s thesis exhibit, The Empty Bubble Residency and Friends hosted an opening Saturday, May 3rd from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave.

When viewed as a constellation of an art practice, Clay Smith’s works – whether video, sculpture, or installation – come into focus around the issues of southern ambivalence and personal histories questioning whether a pure southern identity can even be attained.

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