Alex Ebstein’s Favorites from MICA’s Annual Senior Thesis Exhibit
The annual MICA art walk features seven buildings of artwork by the graduating seniors making work in all concentrations and interdisciplinary majors. Graphic design, video games, illustration, socially engaged art, installation and experimental fashion mix in with the more traditional painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. I look forward to it every year, but for the newcomer, it can be as overwhelming as it is exciting – its best to approach the art walk with a game plan. Mine is Fox, Brown Center, Bunting, Station, Main, that little one and then Gateway, but no matter how strategically I approach those show, there is always the feeling of having accidentally missed something great.
After two trips through the commencement exhibition, it was easier to choose favorites, but there were memorable works in every medium and every building.
In Bunting, KangHee Kim’s incredibly photogenic exhibition, O0ps became even more optically intense, with a checkered floor and the artist dressed in a black and white outfit.
Scale and material were pleasantly subverted in Spirit Cruise, a group show in station which featured the work of Allie Linn, Colin Alexander, Christina Haines, Evan Roche and Patrick Schlotterback.
Harder to photograph was the Materials Research Workstation 3D printer designed by Harrison Tyler, Evan Roche and Lucas Haroldsen. The printer, made from plastic, medical parts, printer parts, metal, and other materials can print with a number of non-traditional 3d print materials. Tyler demonstrated prints made with liquid nails and said they’d also had success printing with plastic and ceramic. In addition to the printer, Tyler exhibited a number of intervention pieces including a pile of metal door handles removed from all of the doors in the Station Building, which he’d replaced with brightly colored, enamel painted handles. He and collaborator Isa Gonzales are also responsible for the red clock faces on the Station Building’s clock tower.
Detail of Fiona Sergeant’s mouse house
In the same room, Fiona Sergeant’s mouse house and work station was pretty spectacular. Sergeant created her own dream house, complete with miniature artworks, scaled down to the appropriate size for a mouse-mansion. This piece was also hard to photograph, the entire table had a designed, interior space.
Sergeant’s desk and drawings
Hunter in a installation with grass (one of MANY!!)
Jenn Kim’s faceted, rock-climbing wall with parachute and beta wing suit were pretty and impressive. Although I didn’t see anyone attempt it while I was there, rumor has it the wall part of the piece was functional.
Jenn Kim, above and below
Droopy eyes and exaggerated, cartoony figuration was a common aesthetic in this year’s graduating class. The above example is from Dr00pville, a two-person installation by Sara Grose and Patrick Schlotterback. The piece, appropriately titled “Sometimes your eyes just fall out” is by Grose.
Patrick Schlotterback’s video piece called “Still Lyfe (Basement muchies)”
more droopy eyes by Schlotterback
Detail from Josh Nukem’s installation
In the most hidden room in Station, Josh Nukem created an immersive installation with heaps of confusing materials, some of which were elaborately crafted, other strewn about haphazardly. In the center of the room however, were a single pair of virtual reality goggles, allowing one viewer at a time an escape from the crowded room into a beautiful 3d environment designed by the artist.
Marissa Fein, above and below
The droop and cartoony figures returned in the group painting exhibition, Blurred Lines, featuring work by Maggie Daviet, Emily Bach, Mark Wehberg, Shelby Rosabal and Abigail Parrish. This was a loud, crowded, bright exhibition with very little visual respite from the plastic-y airbrushed and vinyl surfaces in most paintings and painterly sculpture works. While the overall exhibition was undeniably fun, Emily Bach’s pieces had the most surprising surface treatments and were the quietest works in the room. Normally, this might make works fall back and receive less attention, but here it definitely worked to Bach’s advantage.
works by Daviet, Bach, Wehberg, Rosabal and Parrish
Maggie Daviet’s portrait of Lil Wayne
While most of the group exhibitions in the Main building were reserved for painting, installation and video, one group exhibition of photography managed to escape the subterranean galleries usually designated to the medium. Michael Bussell, Tommy Bruce, Emily Mason and Scott Bradley presented abstract and / or surreal photographic works, all of which were great, this was one of my favorite rooms.
Another of my favorite exhibitions, I Love It Here, with works by Colin Alexander, Kathe Kaczmarzyk, Val Karuskevich, KangHee Kim, and Ralph Delia, started off with one installation, and on the second trip, had been changed by Karuskevich to include a large-scale, light sensitive piece:
Colin Alexander and KangHee Kim
In my quick-paced tours, I didn’t get good images of some of my favorite works, fashion lines and photographs by Alexandra Caivano, and another line of apparel by Madie Shaver. Nor did I document the elegant, minimal works in the top, skylit space of the Station building.
I did manage to get images of a few more notable pieces:
Jameson Magrogan Left and Center, Sage Dever Right
As these student artists enter the general artist population, it will be exciting to see how this class impacts the city and the larger art world.
* Author Alex Ebstein is an artist, curator, writer, and optimist.