Related
Exhibition
February 2021

While We’re At It: 2020 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Art, Theory, Practice, (A,T,P,) at Northwestern University

Left: Anya Smolnikova, Upon Your Joyful Shores, 2020. Gouache, acrylic, and watercolor on paper, 12 x 9”. Right: Anya Smolnikova, Watching the Sunrise / emotional landscapes / the feeling of the tears going down into your ear when you’re laying on your back, 2020. Gouache, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 12 x 9”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Walden Pond with Two Snakes, 2020. Gouache, acrylic, and watercolor on paper, 12 x 14”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Os Olhos do Mar / Eyes of the Sea / Song for a Portuguese Sailor, at the Overlook, Boundbrook Island, Cape Cod, MA, 2020. Gouache, acrylic, and watercolor on paper, 14 x 12”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Morning by the Lake / Conversation with a Friend, 2020. Gouache, acrylic, and watercolor on paper, 13 x 11”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Two Logs in a Fire, 2020. Gouache, acrylic, and watercolor on paper, 14 x 12”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Birds Splitting the Sky / Birds Holding the Sky Together, 2020. Gouache, acrylic, and watercolor on paper, 12 x 14”. Photo: Sara Medlin.

Anya Smolnikova, Chakra Color Light Healing Bath, 2020–21. Colored light bulbs, clamp lights, cords, switches, cloth, and chair, 7 x 10 x 5’. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Chakra Color Light Healing Bath, 2020–21. Colored light bulbs, clamp lights, cords, switches, cloth, and chair, 7 x 10 x 5’. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Anya Smolnikova, Chakra Color Light Healing Doorway, 2020–21. Colored light bulbs, clamp lights, cords, and wood, 7 x 7 x 2’. Photo: Nathan Keay. Technical assistance: Philip Kaufmann.

Jurrell Lewis, Faces for a New Drama, Masks for a Tomorrow Today, 2020. Cardboard, acrylic, and masking tape, dimensions variable. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Jurrell Lewis, U Gone Cry in a Honda or Ferrari?, 2020. Digital image, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Kayla Anderson, Pilea Peperomioides (Precarity Fetishes and Aspirational Beings), 2019. Video installation. Photo: Useful Art Services.

Kayla Anderson, Pilea Peperomioides (Precarity Fetishes and Aspirational Beings), 2019. Video installation. Photo: Useful Art Services.

Kayla Anderson, Pilea Peperomioides (Precarity Fetishes and Aspirational Beings), 2019. Video installation. Photo: Useful Art Services.

Kayla Anderson, The Waves, 2020. Video installation and nickel copper mesh. Photo: Useful Art Services.

Kayla Anderson, The Waves, 2020. Video installation and nickel copper mesh. Photo: Useful Art Services.

Kayla Anderson, The Waves (still), 2020. Video installation and nickel copper mesh. Courtesy of the artist.

Kayla Anderson, The Waves (still), 2020. Video installation and nickel copper mesh. Courtesy of the artist.

Cindy Phenix, Distributive Associations, 2020. Textile and thread, 82 x 98”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Left: Lauren Wy, BecomingSofa, 2019. UltraViolet and manganese blue, lamp black, and opera on Arches Oil Paper, 51 x 75”. Right: Lauren Wy, Swiper, 2019. Compose green, manganese blue, and ivory black on Arches Paper,  51 x 41”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Left: Lauren Wy, BecomingSofa, 2019. UltraViolet and manganese blue, lamp black, and opera on Arches Oil Paper, 51 x 75”. Right: Lauren Wy, Swiper, 2019. Compose green, manganese blue, and ivory black on Arches Paper,  51 x 41”. Photo: Nathan Keay.

Art, Theory, Practice, (A,T,P,) at Northwestern University is honored to share this body of work from our graduating MFA class of 2020. These brave, inventive, and committed artists worked undeterred through this most difficult and unprecedented of eras to present their work in both virtual and spatial contexts. Their visions, their voices, are vital.

“While We’re At It” is on view at 6018North, Chicago’s home for experimental arts and culture, February 27–April 25, 2021. A digital version of the 2020 thesis catalogue is available on the A,T,P, website.

The 2020 thesis exhibition was organized by Michael Rakowitz, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Art, Theory, Practice (A,T,P,), and Tricia Van Eck, Artistic Director at 6018North.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Jane & Francis Purtell Endowed Fund, the Jerrold Loebl Fund for the Arts, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, The Graduate School, and 6018North for making this exhibition possible.

Participating Artists

Kayla Anderson
Jurrell Lewis
Cindy Phenix
Anya Smolnikova
Lauren Wy

Art, Theory, Practice, (A,T,P,) is the department of art at Northwestern University. Our acclaimed faculty of practicing artists and critics work closely with students at undergraduate and graduate levels. We are committed to helping students develop into active, independent, and critical contributors to their chosen fields.

Our two-year graduate program is an intense critique-based experience that is fully funded for every student. The program’s size, averaging ten students in residence, ensures a rigorous critical atmosphere that supports a range of theoretical perspectives and diverse ways of making.

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