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The graduating class of MFA in Visual Arts candidates collectively agreed upon the exhibition title it feels familiar, as it suggests a number of themes that are present throughout this catalog. For sure, many of the works examine memory, often as fractured and unreliable yet full of potential to create more hopeful futures. Below are four other intersecting themes (in bold) through which to explore their diverse artworks, details of which are on the following pages.

The works of Anna Goraczko and Michael Alexander Fernandez explore the borders between the material/spiritual worlds. Goraczko uses light as a medium through which the objects she has brought together—proxies for her grandmother—assume a metaphysical dimension. Fernandez’s altar-like tableau evokes the phenomenological, effectively blurring subjects and objects as discrete entities.

Issues of domesticity and belonging can be found in the works of Donelric Owens and Alex Del Canto. Owens’ photographs and prints depict the subcultural cosplayer community, specifically its darker-skinned members. Del Canto’s poignant video work is based on her immigrant family’s trove of super 8 film from the 1960s to the 1980s.

 

A few works focus on the porosity of forms/frames. Devora Perez’s work plays with the mutable line between painting and sculpture as historical constructs, whereas Dominique Sandoval’s practice mobilizes the line and circle to evoke the uncanny overlaps between the micro and macro, the cellular and celestial. Yi Chin Hsieh’s work questions the exhibition itself, as a form—testing its borders and elasticity as a medium of display.

Archives, found or fictional, is a trope used among this group. Chris Friday creates an archive of objects meant to stand-in for the lived experiences of people of color she encounters on social media among other places. Carrington Ware mines found film footage of the rural and black South from the 1960s to the 1980s to stitch together and approximate her own family history, which remains unrecorded.

Finally, given that many works could be easily part of more than one of these themes, what I have outlined is only meant to be a loose guide through which to frame your experience of looking through this catalog. Indeed, inevitably you will find other concepts connecting the works—effectively constructing your own exhibitions within the formal exhibition.

Alpesh Kantilal Patel
Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory
and former director of MFA program

Virtual Reception

On Saturday May 25, we celebrated FIU's incredibly talented, graduating MFA students! Although we could not hold the Master of Fine Arts Exhibition in person, we invited a small group of guests to a virtual reception, where the student works were displayed. Take a look at the zoom recording
  • Alex Del Canto

    Alex Del Canto 
    How’s the end  
    Mixed media video installation, 2020 
    Courtesy of the artist 

    How’s the end is a multimedia installation made up of audio and video work taking place in a constructed domestic setting. The video imagery is sourced from color super 8 films collected from Del Canto’s family archive. The audio components are recorded conversations, musical performances, and fabricated sounds. The materials relate to the themes of home, family, memory, and deterioration.

    Visit Alex’s website at alexdelcanto.com
    Follow Alex on Instagram @alexdelcanto

  • Michael Alexander Fernandez

    Michael Alexander Fernandez
    ...and for a moment we were able to be still
    Installation, 2020
    Courtesy of the Artist

    Using Neopagan, Catholic, and Santero sensibilities, Fernandez creates altar-like installations to work through personal narratives that deal with love, loss, mental illness, and emotional turmoil. His installations use spiritual, religious, and ceremonial formats in a form of curative performance, building sacred spaces to repair, recuperate, and reconstruct a hopeful outcome.

    “You think you have lost your faith
    but you have not,
    you have only misplaced your faith.
    And you can find it, where it lies now
    deep in your soul,
    and the way to do that
    is through the simple process of love.
    Love yourself, forgive yourself.
    You can’t love and forgive other people
    if you don’t first of all love and forgive yourself.
    You have to realize people are fallible beings.
    They make mistakes, they have to be excused from these mistakes
    and are allowed to continue on their quest for a better life
    and for goodness.
    So love yourself, then love other people.
    Please forgive yourself.
    Go on a journey finding love and forgiveness...”

    -From the short video The Odyssey: Chapter 8 Delilah by Florence Welch

    Visit Michael’s Website at michael-alexander.studio
    Follow Michael on Instagram @m.alexander.studio

  • Chris Friday

    Chris Friday
    Supplement Archive (series)
    Hand-built Ceramic, acrylic, 2019
    Courtesy of the artist

    Distilling esoteric iconography from the lived experiences of people of color, Friday explores language ritual, identity and black culture, through a lens of desire and longing. Through the fabrication of purposefully clumsy, fragile, hand-built referential art objects, Supplement Archive reflects the artists’ own attempt to fictionalize a more cohesive, multi-vocal narrative of black identity while refusing to concretize essentialist notions into indestructible, fixed constructs. Supplement Archive moves conversations of “culture” into a fictionalized space where nostalgia and memory acts as a proxy to unknown genealogy, cultural property and/or a decidedly opaque personal history.

    Visit Chris’s website at www.ChrisFriday.art
    Follow Chris on Instagram @_kinyobi_

    Individual works in the archive:

     

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    mcdonalds-at-the-house-burger.jpg                                 

    Hold ya Ear, 2019                                                   McDonald’s at the house Burger, 2019
    Varying Dimensions                                                    6 x 8 inches
    Hand-built ceramic, glaze                                            Hand-built ceramic, glaze
    Courtesy of the artist                                                  Courtesy of the artist

     

    proper-education.jpeg


    Chris Friday
    Proper Education
    Chalk, wood, acrylic, 2015
    Courtesy of the artist

    This ephemeral work mimics the act of subversion employed by mainstream media as a tool to teach discrimination, sexism and bias. employing the use of various pop cultural elements, both fixed and detachable as a means of fabricating a very specific but mutable “learning environment” or context. The work serves as commentary on the constructed palatability of popular culture by means of striking visual imagery and catchy text/lyrics that reinforce our unconscious acceptance of what is being presented despite being littered with contradictions and other questionable content that would prove problematic outside of its context.

  • Anna Goraczko

    Royal Country  
    Installation, 2020 
    Courtesy of the artist  

    In her work, Goraczko seeks to connect to her genealogy by creating installations that provide a feeling of familiarity and safety, as well as serve as tributes to the bonds made in these remembered spaces. The pain of mourning the loss of her grandmother Linda, subtly transforms into a consciousness of her grandmother’s spiritual presence. In this work, Goraczko meditates on how her grandmother’s spirit permeates her memory and physically engages with the objects that they once shared in space and time. Goraczko constructs an environment that mimics Linda’s living room where she spent many summers. Goraczko combines her materials with elements from her grandmother’s archive to create an interplay between the two, comingling across various sites and moments in time to connect with her. 

    Visit Anna’s website at annagoraczko.com
    Follow Anna on Instagram @annagoraczkoart

  • Devora Perez

    Devora Perez
    Interior Landscapes

    Perez blurs the boundaries between painting, sculpture, architecture, and design to construct elaborate reliefs that incorporate a wide range of materials. In the Interior Landscape series, Perez refers to painting and /or uses it as a point of departure through systemic and overlapping investigations of support, auxiliary support, paint, and wall. These works similarly raise questions about the interrelation between object and viewer and the built environment, interior spaces, and domesticity.

    Her works also address broader social concerns, such as the exploration of gender roles. For instance, she employs techniques and materials conventionally associated with domesticity (such as trivets, wallpaper, decorative pebbles, lace, and fabrics) to create geometric abstract forms, a traditionally male-dominated field of minimalism.

    Visit Devoras’s website at www.devoraperez.com

    Devora Perez
    Untitled (Dichotomy)
    Concrete, decorative pebbles, and plexiglass, 2018
    Courtesy of the artist, photography by Paul Perdomo
    Devora Perez
    Untitled (Home Repair)
    Concrete, wood, shelf liner, and plexiglass, 2018
    Courtesy of the artist, photography by Paul Perdomo
    Devora Perez
    Open
    Concrete, wood, and plexiglass, 2018
    Courtesy of the artist, photography by Paul Perdomo

     

  • Dominque Sandoval

    Dominique Sandoval 
    Growth  
    Installation of monotypes, 2019-2020 
    Courtesy of the artist 

    Sandoval’s work focuses on exploring the cell, its “imperfect perfections” and “organized chaos.” Of particular interest is the cell’s ability to mutate, evolve, and adapt—processes that are mirrored in her experimentation with printmaking and through the interventions she makes in her works on paper through cutting and sewing. Sandoval explores her interest in nature through color, lines, shapes, and texture, implicitly commenting on the nature/culture false dichotomy which characterizes the Anthropocene: an epoch in which humans are the dominant force shaping the planet’s bio-geologic processes. 

    Visit Dominque’s website at kekeillustrations.com
    Follow Dominique on Instagram @kekeillustrations

  • Donelric Owens

    Donelric Owens 
    Between Existence and Exclusion: Black Cosplayers  
    Archival Inkjet prints on Cardboard and Stonehenge paper, 2020 
    Dimensions variable 
    Courtesy of the artist 

    Between Existence and Exclusion revolves around the issues that exist in the cosplay community. This community is a space where marginalization and underrepresentation exists.  When these issues aren’t acknowledged, there are concerns for the slow disappearance of black cosplayers, which Owens visualizes as disintegrating characters. With the use of photography and printmaking, the artist intends to shed light on these issues while at the same time embracing them as a subculture. 

    Visit Donelric’s website at demetrivondi.com
    Follow Donelric on Instagram @demetrivondi

  • Carrington Ware

    Carrington Ware  
    Reimagined Memories  
    Appropriated found footage video, 2020 
    Courtesy of the artist, YouTube, and Kinolibrary. 

    In Reimagined Memories, a found footage video, Ware evokes memories of her parents’ childhood. The anonymous people in the video are meant to reenact moments her parents shared through their oral storytelling. Through exploration and appropriation, familial ties are connected to create collective moments of black life in the rural South. 

    Visit Carrington’s website at CarringtonWare.com
    Follow Carrington on Instagram @carrington_art

  • Yi Chin Hsieh

    Yi Chin Hsieh 
    The Gift Shop  
    Mixed media installation, 2020 
    Courtesy of the artist 

    The Gift Shop explores and challenges the parameters of exhibitions. It also functions as an experiment in using curatorial practice as a medium in artmaking. Collecting and re-creating materials and objects related to the practice of the eight artists who are participating in the MFA show, The Gift Shop questions and reimagines the context of an exhibition. The project serves as both a literal, functioning shop and as an “exhibition within an exhibition.” 

    Please exit through the gift shop.

    Visit Yi Chin’s website at https://www.yichinhsieh.com
    Follow Yi Chin on Instagram @jacqsh

     

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