MFA Thesis One

Thursday, April 12, 2018 12:00 am - Saturday, April 28, 2018 12:00 am EDT

The University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) and the MFA program in Fine Arts present MFA Thesis One, the first of two graduation exhibitions of the work by MFA students. This exhibit features paintings by Eryn O'Neill and performance art by Tess Martens. Opening reception April 12 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

two images of artworks

Gallery One: Eryn O'Neill | Restrictions of Routine

Restrictions of Routine is a series of paintings inspired by my co-dependent relationship with running and painting. The urban environment cannot be experienced all at once; our senses and motion work to create a constant reorientation within the complex systems of the city, but it is our visual connection that resonates. Place, and how we respond to it, plays a central role in both my painting and my running. Urban spaces are in a continuous state of flux, under constant construction in response to wear, population density, and accessibility. During these temporary, often disruptive periods, it becomes increasingly difficult to navigate once familiar streets, particularly for pedestrians. Reactions are amplified when running through a contested space, where uneven footing, intersections, and hidden driveways present a constant hazard. The paintings are the product of months of repetitive outings, in all conditions, to gather enough information, visually and mentally, to create sensory charged paintings that are suggestive of a figure navigating an unsettled environment.

Eryn O’Neill is a Master of Fine Art candidate at the University of Waterloo. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, The Artist Project in Toronto, and attended the Vermont Studio Centre Artist in Residence program in 2016. She was awarded a Shantz International Research Scholarship through the University of Waterloo, and worked with artist Oliver Reed in Edinburgh, Scotland during the summer of 2017.

Gallery Two: Tess Martens | 1, 2, 3, 4

I started performing as a child. Alone in my bedroom I harnessed the power of make-believe to act out different roles, design costumes and wardrobe changes to entertain myself. Although the elaborate nature of play is not seen as anything out of the norm for a child, similar behaviours gain an edge when reenacted during adulthood. I am still very interested in the make-believe, and continue to reference the past in my work. Throughout my youth I participated in a number of activities that involved public exposure: synchronized swimming, stand-up comedy, improvisation, spoken word poetry, and karaoke. In addition, my work is equally indebted to a long-line of feminist artists. My performances take place at the intersection of self-deprecation, empowerment, and absurdity. The result is a situation in which witnesses are invited to laugh while I retain all of my power.

Performance Schedule:

  • Thursday, April 12, 5-8 pm: Announce It!
  • Thursday, April 19, 5-7 pm: A Second Hand Emotion
  • Saturday, April 21, 1-4 pm: Slow Change
  • Saturday, April 28, 1-4 pm: Portrait-Self-Portrait

Tess Martens is a Master of Fine Art candidate at the University of Waterloo. She completed her Bachelor of Art in Studio Art at the University of Guelph. She is a Recreation Therapist and in her free time performs stand-up comedy, spoken word poetry and karaoke. Her solo exhibition Bitch and Mona All You Want About Reality took place at AC Repair Co., Toronto in 2016, and T-Suit as part of the group exhibition MAW, New York City in 2017. She was awarded a Shantz International Research Scholarship through the University of Waterloo, and worked with artist Todd Bienvenu in Brooklyn, New York in the summer of 2017.

Please join us in celebrating the work of these outstanding MFA candidates. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery hours.