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2014 MFA Thesis Exhibition to highlight work of 20 graduating students

2014 MFA Thesis Exhibition to highlight work of 20 graduating students PHOTO COURTESY — FACEBOOK.COM

The upcoming MFA Thesis Exhibition will showcase the creative efforts of this year's 20 MFA degree candidates from UMass Dartmouth's Artisanry, Visual Design, and Fine Arts programs.

The show will take place in various halls and galleries throughout the first floor of the Star Store, where visitors will have the opportunity to engage with a wide range of concepts and techniques.

This exhibition will be on view from April 5th through May 18th, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 5th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. A selection of works will additionally be displayed at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston from June 4th through the 28th.

Works on display will encompass a wide range of media and disciplines - both traditional and cutting-edge - including painting, sculpture, furniture, video installation, and prototype digital applications.

The featured artists are: Aaron Badham, Alain Blunt, Bliss Clemmer, Evan DeMarzo, Kaitlyn L. Evans, Bryan Fitzpatrick Geary, Monica M. Guerra, Jessica Heikes, Jo Anna L. Hickman, Sam Kelly, Kat Knutsen, Mikelle Lindsey, Canguo Liu, Yasaman Louhghalam, Leslie Macklin, Maureen Patrick, Adrian Francis Poole, Roy St. Christopher Rossow, Calley Snow, and Jennifer Wood.

Pieces chosen for exhibition are typically completed during a student's final year before graduation, in order to demonstrate the skills learned at the culmination of two to three years of intensive study.

Kat Knutsen, a painting student, will be displaying four tondo (circular format) portraits in the exhibition, which explore "observing the vulnerable undertones within the heterosexual male persona."

"My main hope is that the show looks good and presents well. I have faith in the curatorial process and the installation," said Knutsen.

Additionally, Knutsen hopes to be able to sell another one of her paintings during the show's duration.

Following her graduation from the MFA Program, Knutsen plans to keep producing paintings, collaborate with other artists, and seek out gallery representation. Having taught undergraduate painting courses during her time at CVPA, she also hopes to pursue more teaching opportunities.

MFA Design student Canguo Liu will be using an interactive projector to display his thesis project, "Environmentally Responsive Graphic Design," on a gallery wall.

"The thesis tends to combine the invisible data with graphic design elements to extend the generative methods of the design process," explained Liu.

Liu, who is originally from China, hopes to find a professional or academic job to his liking after graduation, in addition to continuing his research on data-driven graphic design.

"I will work closely with the curator to discuss details of the [MFA] exhibition, and I believe that all challenges will be overcome before the show," Liu said.

Due to Gallery Director Viera Levitt's upcoming maternity leave, the university invited seasoned professional Judith Tolnick Champa to serve as a guest curator for the exhibition.

Throughout her career as a curator and director in university settings, Tolnick Champa has curated or co-curated more than 100 art shows, primarily focusing on the modern and contemporary periods. She has likewise worked closely with studio art students at both the undergrad and graduate levels, during which time she served as a curator and mentor for numerous BFA/MFA thesis exhibitions.

Tolnick Champa additionally taught art history courses at the Swain School of Design in New Bedford. This former art college merged with Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth) in 1988, setting the stage for much of CVPA's curriculum today.

"Being asked to curate the UMass Dartmouth MFA exhibition is a real honor," stated Champa, adding that she is "extremely impressed by the caliber of the work" of each graduating student.

"My biggest hope is for visitors to spread the word that this is a 'must see' exhibition," Champa concluded.

To learn more about the MFA Thesis Exhibition, visit

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