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Announcement
May 11, 2021

Art and Art History MFA thesis exhibition 2021

Columbia College Chicago

Ava Makenali, Baliyyah the Shotor, 2021. Installation with cardboard, fabric, electronics. Courtesy of the artist.

The 2021 Art and Art History MFA thesis exhibition features the thesis works of the MFA candidates in Columbia College Chicago’s Art and Art History Department. The exhibition, which includes artists’ books, prints, drawings, textiles, sculptures, photography, sound, projections, and installation works, represents the culmination of two years of development on a cohesive body of work for each artist. Participating Artists: Jack Bradley, Josué Esaú, Chelsea Noelle Fetherlin, Jake Himovitz, Ava Makenali, and Sabrina Pastard.

The 2021 Art and Art History MFA thesis exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Department of Exhibitions, Performance, and Student Spaces (DEPS), the Department of Art and Art History, and Paul Catanese, Director of Graduate Studies for Art and Art History. Special thanks to the Department of Cinema and Television Arts Frequency TV in the production of artist interview mini-documentaries; and DEPS staff for producing in-depth artist profiles for the exhibition website.

Introducing the artists
Jack Bradley
is an artist who creates constructed languages, text work, and sound art. Bradley is an active member of numerous constructed and endangered language communities as well as the current editor of Vatum, an online collection of literature and art created using invented tongues. He has received the Language Creation Society President’s Scholarship, the Prix Avatar, and the Prix Folie/Culture and has been featured on the podcast À l’est de vos empires.

Josué Esaú was born in Honduras. Their family migrated to the US when they were a child. He’s had many years to consider his place in this country, to have his existence politicized and narrativized, and had many people question his inherent worth and humanity. Josué works to claim space, to reflect on the policy, ideology and power structures that impact their existence and that of their family. He imagines futures without nations, borders, or arbitrary measures of human worth.

Chelsea Noelle Fetherlin is a Pittsburgh-native feminist, Riot Grrrl, activist, mixed media artist, and A-sexual gender outlaw whose work is centered on women’s health. Their works include books, zines, music, ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, and other combinations of techniques. Through their experience as a woman, their naturally weird sense of humor, and their friendly, outspoken personality, they educate others empowering them to take charge of their health by embracing, understanding, and normalizing talking about their health to bring about change and create spaces for women.

Jake Himovitz is a Chicago based artist and educator who creates paintings, poems, films, and performances that emerge from his meticulous collection of cultural ephemera and personal symbols. His paintings merge figurative representation, with a careful analysis of the formal elements that make up a visual language. Both his teaching and creative practices are founded on values of process, curiosity, play, and self-study.

Ava Makenali is a Persian interdisciplinary artist from Iran, who identifies as a camel. She was inspired to become a camel by the Persian idiom Kineh Shotori, meaning “to hold a grudge like a camel.” She uses her camel identity alongside animal symbolism to tell the story of her artworks and metaphorically plot revenge against those who have wronged her in her human form. Her artworks are installations that incorporate drawing, soft sculpture, video art, sound, and photography.

Sabrina Pastard is a visual artist who works with the poetics in the meta of the mundane. Often balancing her visuals on the borderline of familiarity and the abject, safety and crisis. Her multidisciplinary practice ranges in medium from ready-made sculpture and abstract prints to conceptual writing and poetry. Each new work invites an intellectual intimacy from the viewer as it inquires to the status of our assumed lives and societal taboos.

MFA in Fine Art
The MFA in Fine Art offers students mentorship from professional artists/educators, professional practice development, and opportunities to teach while engaging in national and international conversations on contemporary art. With world-renowned galleries and alternative spaces in the nation’s third-largest city, Chicago is an ideal and affordable location for artists to develop their studio practice while building industry connections. The program’s entrepreneurial focus will ready students to succeed at the intersection of creative and business practice while learning from studio artists immersed in their fields. Designed for students working in diverse materials, concepts, and techniques, the program offers an interdisciplinary experience and a collaborative space for critique and professional growth. The MFA program includes on-campus studio space, access to the college’s 15,000-square-foot fabrication facility, and mentorship from notable faculty artists, including: Adam Brooks, Paul Catanese, Joan Giroux, Taylor Hokanson, Duncan MacKenzie, Niki Nolin, Melissa Potter, and Folayemi Wilson.

About Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens.

For more information, please visit colum.edu/artmfa or contact the MFA Program Director, Paul Catanese at pcatanese [​at​] colum.edu.

Gallery hours: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm
Capacity of gallery is 10 visitors, and masks are required.

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