Graduating Students from the MFA in Studio Arts Program Showcase Works

One of the works by graduating students in the MFA Studio program on exhibit recently at the White Box Gallery, N.Y.

Seniors in the Master in Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Arts program at Montclair State University exhibited their works recently. Entitled "Horse Designed By Committee," the exhibition   was on view at the White Box Gallery, 329 Broome St., N.Y., May 16-27. An opening reception was held May 19. (View pictures from the opening reception on Flickr here).

Curated by Eleanor Heartney, the program's notable Visiting Critic in Residence this year, the exhibition featured the following artists who graduated with an MFA in Studio this May:

The title of the show is from the oft-heard maxim A camel is a horse designed by committee and Heartney said it's apropos. 

"An MFA show is, like a camel, an entity that is at once perfectly functional and inherently awkward," explains Heartney. "It reflects the individual trajectories of the artists whose work it represents. But it is also possible to read the ghost of a group dynamic in any MFA show as these are individuals who have been working, living and evolving in close proximity for two years as they have pursued their MFA degrees. These two readings are in potential conflict, which is best resolved by considering the show to be a whole made up of fully independent parts."

Heartney said the students' thesis work addresses issues that range from the personal to the political to the philosophical, taking up everything from ecological threat and the shifting paradigms of science, to family dynamics and the search for existential meaning.  She added the works reflect " the multiplicity of approaches and ideas evident in artists across the globe," which is only fitting since the MFA students "come from diverse backgrounds and bring to bear very different personal histories and intellectual concerns."

She adds of interest to note with these students' work is hybridity. "Many of the works here exist between conventional categories," she says.

"We are all very proud of the tremendous progress and rich works that the students have made in the transformative process of the MFA," added Dr. Andrew Atkinson
program director. "Each is well prepared for the next stage in their artistic careers, and we look forward to following them in the years to come."

Montclair State University's MFA in Studio Art is a 60-credit degree program designed to further the growth of students as practicing professional artists. Comprised of a diverse group of faculty and students who share a vision to explore, synthesize, innovate and create, the rigorous MFA is a full-time, two-year, in-residence program that fosters opportunities for critical discourse in an environment where individuals collaborate or work independently to make meaningful contributions to contemporary culture.

Over the years, the program has invited an exceptional group of artists, curators and visiting critics, such as Heartney, to the program to engage with students in in-depth capacities. Other notables have included Matthew Nichols, Roberta Smith, James Rosenquist, Philip Pearlstein, William Wegman, Shirin Neshat and Dana Schutz. (Further information about the MFA program may be obtained by contacting program assistant Louise Davies, or its director Dr. Andrew Atkinson, or by calling (973) 655-4074.)