2018 MFA GRADUATES

Timothy Arment

4-D, MFA ’18

I’ve always been a bit of an escapist. I grew up alongside video games and personal computers immersing myself within increasingly lucid virtual realities both non-digital and computerized. As a result of this lifelong fascination with artificial reality, fiction and narrative come out naturally in my work. I’ve always looked at fiction as a way in which we can understand our own subconscious realms – both personally and as it is collectively shaped by society and culture. In my images, I try to create a story in a single frame one in which the viewer can infer a sequence. I want the narrative to be ambiguous because I want the audience to see a bit of themselves by way of each individuals’ unique interpretation of the virtual space.

Theodore Benson

Printmaking, MFA ’18

During my M.A. and M.F.A candidacy UW – Madison, I have developed a collection of artwork that investigates issues of rendering and communication through prints, sculpture, sound compositions, and interactivity. My two dimensional works stem from stamping and demolishing found, paint-covered electronic hardware and other objects to emulate mappings of imaginative, abstracted, and often obliterated sites. Composed with both violent and calculated gestures, they convey the anxiety of living in a techno-centric, postmodern world.

Justin Eccles

Painting & Drawing, MFA ’18

My paintings are a reflection of personal changeover from living for 12 years in Turkey and my experience of repatriation. Every work of art I produce is a self- portrait, metaphorically representing my life in the midst of changeover. I surrender to the work as deeply as possible, looking into the mirror, past the surface. As I paint, images appear with the familiarity of old friends, interacting with each other and coaxing me to continue the movement of my brush. The figures whisper stories in my ear, recalling their significance in my personal narrative. The process is emotional and compelling.

Leigh Garcia

Printmaking, MFA ’18

This coexistence of cultures, yet inability to blend, is a phenomenon I have questioned my whole life. While stereotypes can be dangerous, I find fascination in knowing I can fit into both and neither. As a child, I was plagued with insecurities regarding my ethnicity, but I now recognize the power in having access to two cultures.

Kaylyn Gerenz

Sculpture, MFA ’18

Each object is saturated and stuck within a viscous layer for examination. Familiar forms are transmuted and estranged from themselves. Phrases once whole are now severed from their original intent, abbreviated and less honest. Empty note cards are placeholders for thoughts to come and moments lost, accepted, or revisited. Gaps in an otherwise complete grid allude to conversations left unfinished.

Ariel Gochberg

Metals, MFA ’18

My current work explores the nuanced aspects of alternative sexual practices by creating precious objects that directly reference those used in these practices. Whether flesh hooks or ball gags, I draw specifically from implements designed for submission that place the user in a position of vulnerability. These instruments of subjugation are carefully crafted with the baroque attention to beauty and seductiveness that often accompanies precious ritualistic objects. By creating subversive objects in an aesthetically pleasing way, I encourage the viewer to enter the work, even if its subject matter may be explicit and discomforting.

Grant Gustafson

Ceramics, MFA ’18

The work I do seeks to disrupt expectations around established art/viewer relationships. If the work is political, it is only obliquely so in the way it allows language to open up questions rather than assert answers. If it is humorous, there are no explicit jokes, but rather a mildly nihilistic embrace of art as a medium for social conviviality.

Jason Kartez

Comics / Painting & Drawing, MFA ’18

Popular Culture is like a shadow being cast by light passing by an object in time and space. It acts as an index as to what the culture in which it came from values, or more truthfully what that culture fears it might lose. Just as, “shadow” as an image is only a distorted representation of the object that cast it, popular culture is a distortion of the culture it came from.

Rebecca Kautz

Painting & Drawing, MFA ’18

Green shag carpet was in the family room of my childhood home; it represents shame. My show explores non-linear narratives of power, sexuality and gender development in adolescence. Talking with my own daughter and son about sex and gender, and “touch” brings me back to when I was ten and struggling in girlhood. As a girl, I remember playing “dress-up” with my gender. I would become mother and become father. I would make-out with my teddy bear. Not dissimilarly, my process of art making cycles through a vocabulary of mediums and forms. I incorporate a regular, reflective writing and drawing practice in my process of working through creative impulses and social problems.

Michele Marti

Wood, MFA ’18

When we sit, our bodies smash and squish in and onto the surfaces on which we rest—over this we have no control. But everybody has a body, and every body is unique to each person, just as our fingerprints. I am interested in the ways memory deposits itself and the traces we leave behind while simultaneously creating an intimate moment between the viewer and the work.

Fikriye Ozmeral

Painting & Drawing, MFA ’18

My work addresses the festering pains of carrying the female identity and contextualizing diverse standpoints. My aim is to address the female figure via the female gaze, adding to the discussion of the female figure in contemporary figurative painting via the male gaze.

Joseph Pine

Metals, MFA ’18

My work emerges from an interest in the social, cultural, utilitarian and formal considerations surrounding tools of the table. The spoon is, arguably, the most ubiquitous of these tools, appearing in some form or another across the globe. In this body of work, I aim to render these familiar objects strange, altering and abstracting different elements of the spoon, while reflecting on associations and assumptions about their form and use.

Jeffrey Repko

Sculpture, MFA ’18

I am interested in blurring the perceived distinctions between two-dimensional work and three-dimensional work. Can a sculpture be perceived as a painting? Can a painting be perceived as a sculpture? Though a physical difference may separate the two, through alterations of light, color and form our eyes can be deceived.

Will Santino

Painting & Drawing, MFA ’18

My lifelong practice of visual storytelling encompasses a narrative of addiction and recovery, from confusion, shame, and lostness to self-acceptance and healthy sexuality. My fantastic worlds and magoofical creations long served as a mask. I gave away the ‘good’ parts of my self for public consumption. Now, my art is a window into personal struggles with intimacy and honesty.

John Shea

Ceramics, MFA ’18

When something doesn’t fit right, that is when we pay the most attention to it. When something disrupts our normal routines and reminds us of something that it isn’t is when we see it. This act of seeing this difference, of being made aware of this difference, is what interests me in its relationship to our understanding of objects.

Karen Trexler

Metals, MFA ’18

Interested in exploring the nature of memory and the way we are impacted by those whose absences we suffer, my work deals with representations of absence and memory by re-contextualizing objects and photographs. Utilizing the transparency of vitreous enamel and the ability of electroforming to create a metaphorical double, I will explore memory in objects which will be transformed from the anonymous to the highly idiosyncratic.

Claire Wilson

Painting & Drawing, MFA ’18

Elizabeth Jean Younce

Printmaking, MFA ’18

In the anthropomorphized world of Bestiary flora and fauna act as surrogates, illustrating certain aspects of the human condition. Drawn from natural history, symbology, wunderkammers, and feminism, Elizabeth Jean Younce uses the vocabularies of scientific, medical, and children’s-book illustration to investigate the psychology within coded references and historically loaded images.