This past Saturday night, the members of this year’s class of MFA students celebrated putting the finishing touches on what has been three years of intensive work and artistic development with the offcial opening of the 2017 Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition.
The exhibition features the work of four IUP students and includes pieces created using three different artistic mediums.
The students featured in this year’s show are Ashley Bouton, painting; Nicole Catalfamo, drawing; Tal Gluck, sculpture; and Ra- chel Precht, drawing.
These four students have been working diligently over the past several years to create their bodies of work for exhibition and, according to the IUP art department, the pieces on display explore the intersection between each medium’s tradition, contemporary practice and personal vision.
Due to the comprehensive nature of these artists’ creations, the exhibit is actually spread out across three different campus galleries.
The works of Bouton and Gluck can be found in the University Museum in Sutton Hall, while Catalfamo’s “Natural Systems” exhibit can be found in the Annex Gallery in Sprowls Hall.
The work of Precht, “Canary in a coal mine evidence of late capitalism in rural Ap- palachian Maryland,” is housed in the Kipp Gallery.
While the work of each artist reflects his or her personal journey, style and development as an artist, Nathan Heuer, an assistant professor and the art department chairman, said one attribute is shared by all four artists.
“Recipients of the MFA have earned the terminal degree in their field, and are now qualified to occupy the most prestigious professional positions in visual art,” Heuer said.
Catalfamo cites her childhood experiences from growing up camping in rural western Pennsylvania as a “significant influence on the natural themes that I choose to depict.”
According to Catalfamo, her exhibit “explores a common perceptual condition in which one focuses attention on details in nature while not relating those details within a more meaningful, broader context.”
According to Precht, her work uses “the domestic architecture of houses in rural Appalachian Maryland as a vehicle to address the way in which we perceive the failure of The American Dream and late capitalism. Through line drawings, connections are traced between struggling towns in a state of flux and an unsustainable post-industrial society.”
Gluck’s “Peradams” exhibit offers visitors the opportunity for an interactive experience.
“Everything in ‘Peradams’ can be picked up and rearranged,” he said. “I ask people to try not to steal anything, and if there is something that they really want and they don’t think they can afford it, they can email me to arrange a trade.”
Bouton’s work was inspired by her visits to the Navajo Reservation in Tuba City, Ariz., and seeks to communicate to the viewer the extensive history of the Dine (Navajo), their culture and the impact that their society has had on modern Western society.
Bouton also hopes to raise awareness about the issues of cultural appropriation through her work.
Admission to all three galleries of the exhibition is free. The University Museum hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 to 6:30 p.m.; Thursdays from noon to 7:30 p.m.; and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays and university holidays.
Kipp Gallery and Annex hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 4 p.m.