Artistic talent is something that can be developed through dedication and hard work but it’s harder to develop the backbone necessary to survive critiques from an exhibition. Director and curator Ivan Jurakic of the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) is hoping to do just that, as he works with four Master of Fine Arts (MFA) candidates to present and defend their final exhibits.
The students completing their MFA at Waterloo in 2014 are Megan Green, Ian MacMurrich, Amanda Rhodenizer, and Srdjan Segan.
The four artists presenting their thesis projects are participating in a grand solo exhibition known as MFA Thesis.
“[Candidates] need to have a well resolved idea for an exhibition and a completed body of artwork, whether it be painting, sculpture, installation, video or performance, that merits a solo exhibition,” said Jurakic.
The first series of MFA Thesis ran from April 10 to 26 and featured Green and Rhodenizer.
A new series of installations, MFA Thesis 2, opened at UWAG on May 1 and runs until May 17.
In Gallery One, Srdjan Segan’s Something is Missing takes visitors through a sculpture filed installation that depicts the frustration and resolution we all experience when work goes awry. Sculptures vary from incomplete walls to unfinished bodies.
In Gallery Two, Ian MacMurrich presents should one react against the laziness of railways tracks between the passage of two trains. With this installation, MacMurrich explores the post-industrial everyday through the mapping, walking, and fieldwork that occurs along the railways in Kitchener-Waterloo.
“It’s one thing to show a few random works of art. It’s quite another to successfully mount and defend the core concepts behind a newly completed body of artwork,” added Jurakic. “Frankly, it’s a pressure test.”
The exhibits are not only for artists to further showcase their skills while academically defending their work – they’re also a way to interact with the community. These interactions also help the gallery stay connected to other art organizations found in the region.
“We have great working relationships with the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and Cambridge Galleries, and are partnering with CAFKA as part of their upcoming biennial,” said Jurakic.
“We routinely exchange resources, share information and cross-promote each others events. It’s a small but very connected group committed to developing a challenging and thoughtful vision for the arts in this region.”
MFA Thesis 2 is the last installation in UWAG’s Season Four. The exhibit runs until May 17. The gallery is open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m.