From the studio to the world, MFA thesis exhibitions

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Department of Fine Arts and the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) are currently hosting the 2014 MFA Thesis exhibitions, featuring the works of Megan Green, Ian MacMurrich, Amanda Rhodenizer and Srdjan Segan.

Launched in 1993, the MFA program fundamentally prepares emerging artists for the multi-faceted career of artistic practice, both within and outside the studio.

A distinguishing feature of Waterloo’s MFA is the Keith and Win Shantz Summer Internship Program which provides funding for MFA students to work with established artists of their choosing anywhere in the world for a period of up to six weeks. Over the years, students have worked with a diverse range of practicing artists in Europe, Asia and North and South America. This year’s MFA candidates worked with Claire Morgan in London (Megan Green), Melanie Manchot in London (Ian MacMurrich), Caroline Walker also in London (Amanda Rhodenizer), and Sin-Ying Ho in China (Srdjan Segan). This singular opportunity combines hands-on professional practice with an international cultural experience.

For their thesis exhibition, UWAG Director/Curator Ivan Jurakic works closely with each candidate to facilitate the professional installation and presentation of their work.  These experiential learning opportunities blend perfectly with the rigour of their academic training.

Amanda Rhodenizer - Turf & Twig

painting of woman and treesIn Turf & Twig solitary figures are depicted at the boundaries of salable land, performing surreal and fruitless tasks. The objects they interact with recall a manufactured domesticity, displaced and almost obsolete within the outdoors. The inadequacy of these interactions is emphasized by the immensity of the wilderness behind them. Inspired by the historic “Turf & Twig ceremony”, which has its roots in the colonial, English expansion into North America, the symbolic actions depicted in these large-scale oil paintings suggest failed versions of settlement. Source images for the landscapes are retrieved from Canadian real estate websites, which advertise ‘empty lots for sale’. These open-ended narratives act as imagined histories on lots of land charged with unresolved links to the past."

Amanda Rhodenizer received her BFA from NSCAD University and is currently completing her MFA at the University of Waterloo. She was the Nova Scotia recipient of the Bank of Montreal 1st Invitational Art Competition in 2006, and has recently been awarded a Curtlands Foundation Bursary. As a recipient of the Keith and Winifred Shantz Internship Award in 2013 she assisted the painter Caroline Walker in London, UK. She has exhibited nationally and her work can be found in a number of private international collections. She is currently based in Kitchener, ON.

Megan Green - The Jackalope in the Room

antlers and photo on wallThe Jackalope in the Room is an installation of sculptural and found objects that have been altered or contextualized in a way that conflates strangeness with normality. Many of the items in the installation were given as gifts or found in thrift stores and have been modified to communicate a broader cultural or psychological meaning. Often this meaning is related to personal anecdotes and stereotypes attached to the objects that, in turn, seek to complicate popular narratives and cultural myths—many of which relate back to my experiences in northern Alberta. Northern Alberta is a liminal, near-mythical place where our ideas about remote environments collide with mass industrialization. These shibboleths have a pervasive quality that allows me to construct an uncanny web of associations using often banal source materials."

Megan Green is currently working toward an MFA at the University of Waterloo. She received a BFA from the University of Alberta in 2011. She was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland and grew up in Northern Alberta. While living in Fort McMurray she attended Keyano College and received a Visual Art and Design Diploma in 2009. In 2013 Megan completed a Keith and Win Shantz Internship where she was a studio assistant for multidisciplinary artist and taxidermist Claire Morgan in London, UK.

Srdjan Segan - Something is Missing

spider-like hanging ornamentSomething is Missing is a sculptural installation that is rooted in notions of failure and empathy. It is a failing affect machine. In the installation, drawings of organs are desperate to inhabit imaginary bodies. Security cameras that resemble the examining tools of a medical practitioner fail to fix or function. The walls fall short of making up a room; the room becomes a metaphor for an empty stage without actors."

Srdjan Segan is completing the MFA program at the University of Waterloo and received his undergraduate degree from Ontario College of Art and Design in 2004. As a participant of the 2013 Keith and Winfried Shantz internship he apprenticed with Sin-Ying Ho in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, China. He has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 2004. Srdjan Segan is represented by Headbones Gallery in Vernon, BC.

Ian McMurrich - should one react against the laziness of railway tracks between the passage of two trains

large stone by railway tracksshould one react against the laziness of railway tracks between the passage of two trains investigates the everyday as experienced in the post-industrial landscape. Through the activities of walking and mapping, fieldwork is conducted during treks that follow the route of the railroad in the Kitchener-Waterloo region. I examine detritus as readymade artifacts of the industrial economy that has abandoned the area. My minimal gestures and interventions engage the inherent narratives of these discarded materials. Improvised sculptures mark my route as a form of wayfinding that re-appropriates these neglected urban spaces. Online maps document these treks as open works of art to be completed by participants as self-guided walks. The activity of walking and assembling sculptures in these marginal landscapes is a playful strategy that resists the alienation of immaterial labour in a contemporary economic context."

Ian McMurrich is a multidisciplinary artist. He is completing his MFA at the University of Waterloo and received his BFA with distinction from OCAD University in 2006. He has been included as part of group shows at LE Gallery and his work is in various private collections. He is the recipient of several awards including a Best Portrait Photography Award from the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and a Governor General’s Academic Medal. As a recipient of the Keith and Winifred Shantz Internship Award he worked with film and video artist Melanie Manchot in London, UK during the summer of 2013. He currently lives and works in Kitchener, ON.

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