January 2021

2020 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

Eric Anthony Berdis, The Ghost of you is what haunts me, 2019. Found objects and mixed media.

Laura Boban, Trouble in the Neutral Zone, 2019. Papier mâché, thrifted bed sheets, hockey cards, and flocked chair.

Min Haeng Kang, Circulation, 2019. Paper towels, 59 x 59 x 4”.

Andy Lowrie, Cut, Bend #1, 2019. Brooch, brass, steel, and enamel paint.

Paige Lizbeth Morris, Mouth to Mouth, 2018. Video performance (still), cast lipstick.

Bushra Alsughayer, Orbiting Forward (Thoughts On The Nature Of Conflict - Sighs On The Struggles Of Change), 2020. Archival digital print, excerpt from thesis book, 16 ½ x 23 ⅜ ”.

Yutong Liu, ^ Touch - Screen & Mirror (still), 2020. Video, 1 minute 30 seconds.

Feixue Mei, Otherness, 2020. Excerpt from thesis book, 11x 17”.

Aidan Quinlan,, 2020. Guide and a simulation of lying on the ground with nothing to do. macOS application, website, book.

Jason S. Wright, The Near Death Experience, 2020. Screen print on cotton t-shirt, dimensions variable.

Jared Duesterhaus, Return Scripts (still), 2020. Still from WebGL build of Unity-based interactive 3D animation.

Yonghun Jung, Human Interrelation (still), 2020. Interactive video and sound, dimensions variable, 3 minutes.

Bryan Castro, a form of connection, 2020. Oil pastel, chalk, and charcoal on chalkboard, 35 ½  x ¾  x 47 ¼”.

John Chae, Corinthians 2:9, 2019. Acrylic on canvas and wood, 120 x 70 x 30”.

Kyrae Dawaun, Get Down Pat (exhibition view), 2020. Photo: Dev Hein.

GM Keaton, Akin, 2019–ongoing. Wool, natural pigments, copper bells oxidized in urine, pharmaceuticals, dog companion, video projection, sound piece. Photo: Luis Vasquez.

Seren Moran, Via de Neri (still), 2020. Animation, 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Luis Vasquez La Roche, The Impossibility, 2020. Bricks, palm oil, gunpowder, lemon juice and gold glitter. Photo: LaRissa Rogers.

Hannah Altman, Threshold, 2018. Archival pigment print, 20 x 25”.

Ash Goodwin, Skyline Drive, 2020. Archival pigment print, 40 x 50”.

Elizabeth McGrady, Martian Mother, 2020. Archival pigment print, 18 x 40”.

Aaron Estrada, Corrido, 2020. Razor wire, brown leather, bottle opener, heart stickers, broken heart stickers, beads, camouflage lighter, blue bandana, dirt, red paliacates, tequila, blood, pocket hair comb, coin, mirror, spoke hubcap, star pin, evil eye, smoke, coffee beans, and smudge stick, 18 x 18 x 16”.

Umico Niwa, Baby Roma Series: Dad and Mum, 2019. Digital photograph, dimensions variable.

Mariana Parisca, 100,000 Bolivars Legs, 2020. Print on aluminum, 12 x 18”.

Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, Araceli23220, 2020. Mariachi sombreros, cow horn, horn tips, black boots, white T-shirt. white socks, cow hide, silicone, twine, lint, poly-fil, trash, clothes rack, 42 x 20 x 18”.

Peat Szilagyi, Afterhours Telepathy, 2020, Page excerpt from Psi Zine Vietnam, 8 x 10”.

Kate Turner, They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To, 2020. Digital scrapbook.

Like many other MFA programs in spring 2020, the graduating students at VCUarts were not able to show their work in a final thesis exhibition due to the global pandemic. There have been a wide array of solutions that each student has used to address this challenge, but to approximate a physical thesis exhibition, work by these artists from six VCUarts departments has been gathered here.

The Painting + Printmaking MFA graduates address a wide range of subjects including the slippage of language, queer animism, the wake work of traumatic histories, and diasporic identity as an impossible object.

The Craft/Material Studies MFA graduates explore concepts of identity, sustainability, intimacy, social justice, and material culture. Their work, uniquely positioned at the intersection of craft, performance, and technology, investigates diverse approaches in art making to develop a unique voice and personal vision.

A group of six powerful artists, the 2020 Sculpture + Extended Media MFA graduates worked through the immense trials at the brink of the Covid era to produce bodies of work that promise to help heal and shine light on ways to move forward.

The photographic works of the 2020 Photography + Film MFA graduates explore concepts of intimacy, spirituality, ritual, landscape, and the ways in which we shape relationships with our world.

The 2020 Graphic Design cohort departs VCU with clear eyes, full hearts, and a sweetness that held their community together through the toughest of times. As these students have said: "maybe the real group show is the friends you make along the way..."

Jared Duesterhaus, a Kinetic Imaging graduating MFA, speaks for their cohort with the following text: “The fastest way I can understand myself is to break the whole thing. We are defined by boundaries and the only way to map that is to reach out. So I reach out. Reach out. Reach out. Reach out. Reach out. Reach out.”

Participating Artists

Painting + Printmaking
Bryan Castro
John Chae
Kyrae Dawaun
GM Keaton
Seren Moran
Luis Vasquez La Roche

Craft/Material Studies
Eric Anthony Berdis
Laura Boban
Min Haeng Kang
Andy Lowrie
Paige Lizbeth Morris

Sculpture and Extended Media
Aaron Estrada
Umico Niwa
Mariana Parisca
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya
Peat Szilagyi
Kate Turner

Photo + Film
Hannah Altman
Ash Goodwin
Elizabeth McGrady

Graphic Design
Bushra Alsughayer
Yutong Liu
Feixue Mei
Aidan Quinlan
Jason S. Wright

Kinetic Imaging
Jared Duesterhaus
Yonghun Jung

VCU School of the Arts is one of the nation’s leading schools of arts and design,  offering degree programs in fine arts, design, performing arts, and narrative media. VCUarts encourages intellectual inquiry in and through the creative fields, fostering rich, interdisciplinary collaborations between artists, designers, health practitioners, and other areas of study at the university. Distinguished faculty members are internationally recognized in their respective fields and are committed to mentoring the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars, and engaged citizens of diverse communities around the world. VCUarts’ campus in Qatar provides students and faculty with a direct tie to the Middle East and underscores the school and university’s commitment to global education and experience.

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