Madison has a pair of world-class art museums, along with a smattering of smaller galleries that are able to land shows from international talents. But it’s easy to overlook the city’s up-and-coming talents: graduate candidates in UW-Madison’s well-regarded master of fine arts program. In the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Madison’s program is tied at No. 15 with prestigious institutions California College of the Arts, Pratt Institute, Stanford University and Temple University.
While MFA shows are regularly held every four weeks during the academic year and feature a rotation of artists, from February 2-16 the work of all the first-year MFA students will be on display in First Year Review Show at the university’s Art Lofts Gallery in the Humanities Building. Featuring 29 artists from nearly 10 different mediums, the show offers art from a number of disciplines.
First-year student Sean Klute, working in the ceramics department, will exhibit a diorama of an airport with a soldier returning home from war. “It’s a narrative scene,” says Klute, adding that he’s aiming to “get viewers to have a little bit of empathy for the military families.”
Interdisciplinary artist Kel Mur doesn’t work in a single, specific medium; such students are placed into the department’s 4D classification, which includes artists working outside singular or traditional formats.
Mur’s provocative works tend to address social and feminist themes. In her piece for this show, “Menarche” — a term for the first occurrence of menstruation — Mur has poured and afixed menstrual blood to a painted white chair, topped with a crown. Stark and visceral, the piece embraces what we are often taught to turn away from.