July 7, 2020

MFA in Visual Art First-Year Exhibition

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis

Jessica Bremehr, I think I’ll just stay home tonight. Acrylic and gouache on wood panel, 14” x 14”.

Maddie Grotewiel, early in the morning that autumn. Latex, unwashed bedsheets, found bedsheets, found satin nightgown, found satin pillowcase, cheesecloth, nylon, muslin, my great aunt’s thread, polyfil, organza, found pillow stuffing, wood glue, my great aunt’s yarn, cotton rope, gouache, watercolor, felt, enamel, spray paint, household hook, my great grandmother’s hand-spun wool, house paint, screws, joint compound. Approx.  82" x 62" x 70". 

Younser (Seri) Lee, The Bowl of Memory (installation view). Soap, water, found objects, 8” x 11” x 4”.

Richard Pan, Warning, digital image, 19" x 13”.

Takura Suzuki, Now They See You. Inkjet print, 23.3” x 14.6”.

Alexa Velez, From Below. Digital photographic quadriptych, archival inkjet prints, 30" x 16 3/4".

Adrian Gonzalez, Apoyarse en Otra Pierna. Acrylic, enamel, dye-based ink on Mylar, paper, canvas, and wood. 76" x 68" x 6".

Ryan Erickson, The Void in My Room. Marker, 4' x 4'.

The  Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts  at  Washington University in St. Louis  is pleased to present the Graduate School of Art’s  2020 MFA in Visual Art First-Year Exhibition.

Featured artists: Jessica Bremehr, Ryan Erickson, Adrian Gonzalez, Maddie Grotewiel, Younser (Seri) Lee, Richard Pan, Takura Suzuki, and Alexa Velez.

Curatorial Statement from Associate Professor Monika Weiss
During fall 2019, first-year MFA in Visual Art candidates conducted extensive experiments in their newly built individual studios in Weil Hall, simultaneously engaging in group critiques and collaborations with students and faculty in the School's graduate programs in architecture and illustration & visual culture. Despite global conditions of isolation caused by the pandemic, in spring 2020 the artists continued to make strong work from home, thus entering the field of contemporary art in historically unprecedented times. The works of Jessica Bremehr and Alexa Velez depict gendered bodies involved in imaginary events and psychological states. In Bremehr’s colorful, tragi-comic paintings, the figure portrayed is a human being who happens to be a woman, a condition causing serious side effects. In Velez’s carefully edited video and sound works, the artist performs dance and movement depicting inner states of psychological distress, staged in anonymous domestic or city spaces. A different take on the body is seen the interdisciplinary work of Younser (Seri) Lee whose sculptures, performances, and installations convey a deep preoccupation with the passage of time and the ephemerality of all beings. Takura Suzuki, Adrian Gonzalez, and Richard Pan treat images as battlegrounds of memory, imagination, and trace. Gonzalez’s inspiration comes from the accidental images caught on a cellphone, which the artist transforms into often large-scale paintings. Suzuki’s digital renderings point directly at the relationships between power and seeing, asking us to consider difficult questions about the future of humanity. Pan’s atmospheric digital photographs of urban spaces at night offer a glimpse into reality that is both sensual and ominous, cinematic and architectural, perhaps in stark contrast to the mixed-media sculptures created by Maddie Grotewiel, who merges the abundance of the sensorial with post-apocalyptic connotations, offering poetic investigations of private memories. Finally, Ryan Erickson’s installations, drawings, and word-based works offer humorous, while also existential and phenomenological, questions about the historical and empirical conditions of our time.

About the MFA in Visual Art program:
The MFA in Visual Art program in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts educates artists who will define and change the future of their disciplines—in small, medium, and extra-large ways. It instills students with the agency and resiliency that will be essential to the next generation of artists. Led by professor and newly appointed chair Lisa Bulawsky, the program is home to an inclusive, close-knit community of renegade makers and thinkers, and offers students a site of rigorous inquiry, humanity, and intellectual generosity. The Sam Fox School has abundant resources, with expansive facilities and studios that serve as a think tank for intellectual and material experimentation. The program is located within a tier-one research institution and is proud of its location in St. Louis, which serves as both an extension of the studio and site of engagement for art and artists. The MFA in Visual Art professionally prepares students for a diversified approach to the field of contemporary art that nurtures sustained, lifelong engagement while recognizing multiple pathways and definitions for a career in the arts and culture.

About the Sam Fox School
The  Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis is a leader in architecture, art, and design education. We are advancing our fields through innovative research and creative practice, excellence in teaching, a world-class university art museum, and a deep commitment to addressing the social and environmental challenges of our time. Through the work of our students, faculty, and alumni, we are striving to create a more just, sustainable, humane, and beautiful world.

For more information about our MFA in Visual Art program, visit  or contact  mfa-va [​at​]

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