BFA THESIS SHOW
This catalogue, the visual identity of the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts BFA Thesis work, represents thirtynine individual students. It also represents the interconnectivity between four undergraduate studio-based programs: Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Graphic Design. The student-led BFA Graphic Design Branding team has created a multi-layered visual identity for the 2020 BFA Thesis work on these pages, which showcase the senior work and communicates dynamic, layered meanings. A flexible grid represents the networks and connections between programs. In developing their vision for the thesis book’s design, this team of student designers referenced historical constructs in art learned by all of our programs, including the legacy of the Bauhaus, the role of proportion in drawing, and the grid as a visual system. The flexible grid employed here also references specifics of our program, taking inspiration from the proportions of our two on-campus galleries, the 808 Gallery and Stone Gallery. Abstract concepts, art historical precedents, a sense of place, the pure feeling and visual punch of color relationships can all be contained in a singular and often apparently simple, work of art or design. As an object, this catalogue contains the germ of all of these ideas, while simultaneously making space to let the work of thirtynine uniquely talented students from four diverse programs shine. The year 2020, with its repeated numbers and suggestion of a larger pattern, has a more powerful visual quality than other years. A recognized term for good vision as much as a year, 20/20 suggests clarity or the need to understand complex issues in hindsight. Perhaps, as I write during a time of global pandemic and upheaval, 2020 feels easy to divide into segments as we contemplate—in hindsight—the division of this past semester into two parts. Before and after Spring Break. On-campus/Online. In-person/Remote. Stability/Instability. What health and wellness mean in one context versus another. What the creative act means in times of normalcy versus disruption. It is a fact that the works and students represented in this catalogue are reframed by a massive shift in how we are living, both in Boston and around the world, in Spring 2020. As Sculpture professor David Snyder notes, “it will be up to us to help nourish the culture, to offer the visionary possibility of hope and humor, and to be critically incisive in the face of apathy.” We may need much hindsight to account for what each of us made and thought, but based on my own first-hand experience teaching seniors, this class has responded with action, empathy, intrepidness, flexibility, and new insights. You have proven your ability to adapt your thinking, both in your creative practice and in life, and these are skills that will stay with you for many years to come.
In closing, I want to recognize and sincerely thank the incredible commitment to keeping our vital work going shown by CFA leadership and by SVA faculty, staff, and above all the BFA students. The Graphic Design branding team who designed this catalogue embodies this commitment to vision and communication. Thank you to Jiayi Ma, Angela Sun, and Angie Wijaya for their tireless effort in creating this catalogue, working with the thoughtful guidance of Evan Smith, Media Coordinator. The work in the catalogue reflects the high level of dedication, teaching, and artistic mentorship by the professional artists and designers on the SVA faculty. My sincere thanks in particular to faculty Deborah Cornell, Jacquelyn Barrett, Yael Ort-Dinoor, Nick Rock, Richard Ryan, David Snyder and Kitty Wales for working closely with the seniors on the completion of their thesis through a difficult time. Thanks to Boston University Art Galleries Artistic Director Lynne Cooney and Managing Director Lissa Cramer, who have helped prepare our students professionally, along with SVA Assistant Director of Administration and academic advisor Beth Zerega. It has been inspiring to envision the form of future exhibitions and this catalogue with SVA staff, who bring attention to detail to all they do, including Gus Wheeler, Suzanne Hemmat, Brandon Cohen, Logen Zimmerman, and Jessica Caccamo. On behalf of the School of Visual Arts, I sincerely congratulate these graduating students and share my gratitude for the particular ways that each of you have transformed our community by your work and presence. Dana Clancy, Director, School of Visual Arts
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
7 - Graphic Design 57 - Painting 77 - Printmaking 83 - Sculpture
Alicja Wisniowska Andrew Kim Angela Sun Angie Wijaya Carlyn Soares Charlotte Kershaw Ciaran Brandin Congcong Wang Eric Randall Markus Fiona Lin Gabriela Tirado Heeyeon Kim Jiayi Ma
Kabita Das Kaylah Haye Maureen Burns Olivia Williams Sarah Cummings Sarah Perkins Sharon Zhong Skyler Tse Valentina Wicki Wenjing Liu Yian Zhao
In a society that values productivity, play is a crucial element in its structure. Unfortunately, the act is often neglected and ironically seen as an unproductive endeavor. This thesis shows the designer reclaiming a design practice through play, and explores ideas unbeknown to a final tangible form. As a result, process is emphasized over final outcome. The final body of work expresses the relevance of play in a design practice and achieves it through the act of creation, utilizing conditional design as a springboard.
When was the last time you played? I have to think back pretty far if I were to remember when I last did. In my graphic design practice, I have come to the realization that I treat design less like an act of play, and more like an act of work. Play, an arguably hard to define word, is often necessary in creating ideas or solving problems. At its core, play can be defined as an activity engaged in for enjoyment, one without a purpose or end goal. Work is monotonous behavior and play aims to break it up, filling the mind with different ways of seeing the same things. In this thesis, I needed to reconnect with the feelings I had at the start of my design journey in order to incorporate play back into my creative practice.
Design Morphology, 2019, Bristol Paper, 6 Ă— 9" Chitter Typeface, 2019, Printed Poster, 11 Ă— 17"
Discomfort goes into the study of what it is as a science, what it is to people, and what it can become in a physical space. The question of “What makes you uncomfortable” drew me to this idea. I want to create an experience that gives the viewer an understanding of what discomfort is, as well as discovering what discomforts they might have. The Research was divided into six categories: thoughts, sounds, phobias, sight, feel, and comfort. Thought revolves around social anxiety, anxiety disorder, and the Dunning Krueger effect, sounds focuses on Misophonia, phobia is on research of the science behind phobias and common examples of phobia, sights are around actions people enact, colors, and living things, feel is about why certain people have unease towards certain textures and if there is a genetic correlation, and comfort on certain spaces, and environmental psychology. The methodology is comprised of four mediums: Auditory, Digital Media, Physical Media, and Environmental. Auditory is on comfort and discomfort sounds compiled, digital media is of loopable footage that accompanies the physical and environmental aspect of the thesis, physical media will be comprised mainly of books that will be stored on a bookshelf that follows a scale of comfort that progressively becomes discomfort. The scale is made from data of people’s comforts and discomforts scored on a scale from zero to ten. Bringing all these mediums together, the space is to come together and create an environment that forms unique experiences for all viewers that walk through.
Discomforts, 2020, Book, 6 × 9" Lexicon, 2019, Book, 5.83 × 8.27" Questions, 2020, Video
Being the child of immigrants and growing up in Los Angeles, Iâ€™ve been immersed in an array of cultures and traditions. I celebrated Chinese New Year with my family friends, spoke to my parents in their village dialect, watched Kobe Bryant dominate basketball, and explored the best taco trucks. I had never really perceived myself as being a minority, because I grew up in a predominantly Asian community where all of my friendsâ€™ parents were immigrants. Once I started to enter the real world, I started to see that I was sometimes an outsider because of my cultural differences. In our current climate, there is a huge debate on immigrants and their place in American society. Immigrants come to America for a better life for themselves and for their children. I cannot imagine the work our immigrant parents have put into building themselves a life in a completely foreign place. How do people manage being so far away from their families and leaving everything know behind? My thesis is driven by my interest in analyzing and highlighting cultural experiences that have shaped the journey of being first generation Asian-American. Through conducting interviews, I will gather stories of the struggles as well as the triumphs of finding a balance between two cultures and being in this inbetween. I want to bring more attention to this specific experience that is extremely common, but not often spoken about or recognized.
First Generation Creatives, 2019, Editorial, 6 Ă— 9"
With my estranged idea of home combined with the idea of belonging, I decided to shift my research into the way it relates to those whose perception of home has been affected by those unwilling to accept new cultures and populations. By exploring a more specific case, I want to investigate how memory and acceptance relates to my parent’s identity as Chinese Indonesians. Ethnically Chinese in Indonesians have always had a complicated history in terms of their identity and sense of belonging in Indonesia, as they have even had regulations and laws passed in order to limit and control the amount of Chinese culture able to be displayed in public or even change their names. I want to look into how identity is intertwined with the small traces and artifacts (tangible and intangible) of their ancestry and identity they still have. Through this thesis project I want to investigate how language, names, and history have been kept in the memory of Chinese Indonesians and especially in the reclaiming of the Chinese Indonesian identity.
Through my thesis project, I want to focus on how someone’s sense of belonging and identity works in the context of home, through language, and names. As a “third culture kid,” I’ve always played around with the idea of home as an indeterminate aspect of my identity. But only recently have I put into question how my parents, who are Chinese Indonesians, might question and feel the same way.
Rudiment, 2019, Editorial, 9.5 × 7.5"
Have you ever wondered why we do what we do? Day in and day out I find myself observing those around me: whether I am waiting in line at a coffee shop, pressed up against the doors of the Green Line, or getting caught in rush hour traffic. I am always observing. This restless life we lead has us constantly running on empty, yet how do we survive? We cope using tools of familiarity, comfort, and by doing things we know we can control. We survive by finding comfort in routine. Routine is a useful way to bear with the struggle of existing on this chaotic planet. We establish routes with the places we go, we make connections with the people we meet, and we find patterns and structure in everything we do. There is routine in everything we do. When we stray from routine’s familiar pattern and rhythms, it can cause struggle or it can cause freedom. Routine is a part of who we are whether we embrace it or defy it. The Routine of Existence explores both the rigidity and liberation that routine provides us through the use of data analysis. As the artist tracks her day-to-day movements, forms and patterns appear which illustrate the push and pull of routine and how it can ultimately consume and define us. The viewer has the opportunity to explore and reflect on their own ways of existence alongside the artist’s narrative.
Monotony, 2017, Video Projection, dimensions variable Metamorphosis, 2019, Book, 4.25 × 6.87" Identity, 2018, Digital Photography, 8.5 ×11"
For my thesis, I want to explore the ubiquitous yet extremely individual nature of emotion. I want to give a visual identity to feeling by conveying how our brains may look when processing and reacting to the world around us, and in turn, how space is affected by our physical presence. We vary in degree and causation of our emotions, but the innate subjectivity of emotion is what makes it universal. I am intrigued by the fact that emotion, color, and music alike all hold no physical form. Color is based on the interaction of light, music is based on sound frequency, and emotion is visceral. I want to create an immersive experience that gives a tangible identity to our minds and how we interact and process the world around us, using color theory as a base and means of categorization. I wish to ground these more elusive ideals in feminist thought and theory, as a way to abstract and reframe feminism though the lens of a defined emotional sensibility.
The life of a graphic designer is filled with late nights, paper cuts, unpaid invoices, and indecisive clients. Day after day we move pixels across screens, working tirelessly to solve problems for people who, at the end of the day, dictate what the ending product will be. For young designers, it is often hard to say no to clients and jobs, as you never know when the next paycheck might come. Such mindsets can often lead to sleepless nights and stressful days, which in turn leads to dwindling passion and early burnout. In an effort to make sure I wasnâ€™t alone in this world of anxiety within design, I reached out to some professionals in the design industry to see if they were able to detach from work. The unanimous response was no. However, despite the inability to detach from viewing the world through a design perspective, I asked every designer what methods they used to alleviate and manage their own stress. Responses included tools related to activities such as basketball and skateboarding, or relaxing to music with a glass of wine. As such, my thesis focuses on the tools and methods I use for relieving stress in hopes that others can enjoy similar feelings of joy and relaxation.
Similar to ignorance, lack of knowledge or information, willful ignorance is a state of actively refusing to be informed. Ignorance could be caused by the uneven accessibility of information, and it is not necessarily voluntary. However, willful ignorance is the choice of individuals to remain uninformed, which I consider more dangerous than ignorance. On a smaller scale, willful ignorance causes conflicts in personal relationships; on a larger scale, it causes social issues such as racism. One of the causes of willful ignorance is the lack of curiosity, which serves as the driving force for people to be informed, to actively seek for new knowledge, and for new discovery and inventions. In order to fight against willful ignorance, it is important to encourage curiosity in us. In my opinion, the way to arouse curiosity is to reward curiosityâ€”to encourage asking questions. If we made the process of seeking for new knowledge more fun and more rewarding, people would be more willing to ask questions in general. My body of work will investigate the ways to encourage curiosity for active learning, and facilitate positive attitudes towards what we donâ€™t know, through the methods of interactions, games, presenting facts, and posing questions.
Wind, 2019, Display typeface design
The book has three stories. One is a letter from father to son—a piece of evidence, really. A lot happened between them, ya see. Too many screaming matches to count, and enough money thrown into the sewer to buy a cozy bungalow somewhere in California. But that was all a long time ago, and now there’s one dying breath of this familial connection left. But it won’t be enough to revive it—that I will reveal. The ballad of NO is more about bein’ born wrong— stuck in mud and trouble. In it, the word “NO” comes alive in physical form with all the rest of us. I liked the idea that you see NO as a form, a person, but at the same time you can’t help but read “NO,” no matter where NO is or what NO is doing. I think that’s pretty comical. There’s a whole lot I find funny about this story, actually. David Keeley Clay’s story is a fickle one. It’s restless and searching for some escape, but overall it’s pretty much ridiculous. David’s got free will and uses it, changing his body from one thing to the next, but it’s all in vain. He doesn’t understand that some things stay the same, and there’s no use working yourself up, or making yourself over because of it.
No Thinking and Saying “No”, 2019
ERIC RANDALL MARKUS
Rapid technological advancements have pushed retail therapy into the norm. Services such as one-day shipping, contactless payment, and free returns are created to meet customer expectations for an increasingly seamless shopping experience. As a result, the act of purchasing stopped carrying as much weight and the pace of exchange is growing at an unsustainable rate. This phenomenon is driving us into a progressively materialistic world of instant gratification and psychological displacement.
Ownership embodies the essence of the human experience, fuelling fundamental human motivations of efficacy, self-identity, and belonging. While mass consumption and materialism are often viewed in a negative light in the age of credit card debt and sustainability advocacy, objects can be more than mere tools and luxury. From the age of two, we are aware of the idea of ownership; at the age of six, we exhibit the “endowment effect,” in which we place more value on items that are or have been in our possession. Our possessions often become an extension of ourselves, and a tie to a person, time, or place we hold dear. Growing up as a global nomad, my relationship with objects was one driven by practicality, yet valued by sentimentality. However, this relationship is ever-changing in the digital age, and sentimentality as value may be headed toward becoming a relic of the past.
What is pushing this desire of ownership, and how can we redefine our relationship with objects? This project explores ownership through a pop-up store that features a multidimensional value system and curates items as repositories of meaning, rather than physical objects. Through an unconventional shopping experience, I hope to recontextualize ownership and break the vicious cycle of mindless retail therapy. The Psychology of Things, 2020, Editorial, 8.5 × 11"
With this exploration, I break apart things and put others together, but in the process, I will be using a hierarchy of actions, materials, and scale and how important they are for the functionality of the other. With this system, I want to find a way of understanding the logistics of the functionality of each part. In my work I have always found myself mixing different disciplines I am passionate about and in this body of work, it will be no different. This method of breaking apart parts of a whole, or putting new realities together, takes my concept and objects and reinterprets their existence. How essential each part is and how I can categorize their importance is what leads the exploration of my own making.
Design methods have allowed us to get across our visualizations of ideas and put them in a new physical environment. But one seems confused and intrigued when seeing things that donâ€™t usually go together put in the same space. I want to explore the ideas of juxtaposition and using available technologies to bring together new realities and intersections in my work. The main focus of my research will be exploring the topic of mixing and intersections. More specifically, what happens when we mix or break apart two series of objects, and focus on aspects of ephemerality and timelessness.
I am a nature lover. Love the roughness of trees, sound of the ocean, and smell of the rain. But things I love have been getting destroyed, which got me interested in environmental issues. Nowadays, environmental pollution is a very serious issue. It causes severe impacts such as global warming, loss of habitats, and health problems. I discovered that as the environment changes, people also change their living style and behaviors. As an example, shops encourage you to use eco-friendly products. More specifically, Starbucks uses paper straws instead of plastic straws. Moreover, cafes also encourage people to use tumblers or store cups these days rather than disposable plastic cups. These kinds of changes are shown not only in cafes but also in clothing stores. Shops are promoting the creation of warm sweaters or padding using materials in recycled plastics. I have never seen a new product that can make clothes out of plastic like this. It is hard to get rid of all the waste and pollutants we produce endlessly, but we try to create less pollution around the world. The change in our lifestyle caused by the change of the environment is so drastic that we notice them easily in our daily life. During my journey of completing the senior thesis, I wish to find the hidden value in unused wastes, which people commonly find worthless, and reform them into an artwork.
Farfetch Packaging, 2019 Gucci Public Poster, Poster, 2019
168 Hours is a collection of interviews, content, and sources from within the institutions of higher education. It is given form through a series of virtual portraits, a collection of posters, and a series of experiments that juxtapose the machine with the human body with the hope of understanding resilience, grit, and merit. This thesis presents extensive research, and asks the question, “Why are we pretending to love the grind?”
168 Hours is an observational commentary on grind and hustle culture, burnout, and the maximalizing of the 168 hour week. Social media and the desire for a meritocratic system have perpetuated grind culture, but the source can perhaps be traced to startups motivating their employees through guilt and fear, with the narrative that there is always something more you could be doing to drive business forward. 168 Hours also observes and analyzes the relationship between “adulting” and the to-do list. Elite Daily says, “The Modern Millenial for the most part, views adulthood as a series of actions, as opposed to a state of being. Adulting therefore becomes a verb. ‘To adult’ is to complete your to-do list—but everything goes on the list, and the list never ends.”
168 Hours, 2019, Digital photo, 13 × 19" Big Appetite, Full Plate, Little Hands, 2019, 7 × 10"
My thesis will use my childhood home as a focused model that will help draw larger conclusions on how people construct their own homes. It looks closely at how my parents, from different cultures, moved in together and pulled elements from their respective upbringings to create a unique space for my brother and I to first call home. Their deliberate or intuitive decisions have been ingrained in me as a young adult, beginning to build my own spaces to live in. As an interactive space that reconstructs elements from my own home through a lens of nostalgia and appreciation, I hope to use my thesis to push individuals to think more closely about what elements from their own childhood homes that have influenced them as well, and how it has impacted the way that they build a home.
Homes are constantly reconstructed. Everyone comes from a place that has been built in a particular way to house its inhabitants. Each element has been placed with some thought and perhaps with some care to accommodate and anticipate the needs of the people living in it. Homes are built for comfort and for function. Throughout oneâ€™s childhood or early upbringing, people pick up on these elements and ingrain them into other living spaces that they occupy moving forward. These things that they carry may be physical objects that have emotions and memories attached to them, or they may be habits that theyâ€™ve adopted along the way. What people remember as their very first home serves as a structure for the homes that they build for themselves in their future.
Mapping My Walk: I drew on the streets that I remember walking through by foot. Composite screengrab from the website MapMyWalk [Manhattan]
My mom once told me that growing up in the Bronx, everyone knew each other to the point of being able to ask your neighbor for a stick of butter. Now, in our Brooklyn co-op building, that isn’t the case. “We knew everyone on our floor. Someone new moving in would be such a big deal,” Mom said. A few new people moved onto our floor last fall and no one batted an eye. “I mean, we did live in a poorer neighborhood.” Her last remark got me thinking about how cities are measured. Everyone knows about the most common tool to measure a city—the map. The map is seen as an objective birds-eye view of the world; however, maps aren’t as objective as they seem. Mapping at its core is associating one thing to another, and association is largely based on experience and memory, two things that are very subjective to the individual. What if we stopped pretending that mapping is completely objective and embraced the subjectivity that comes with it? What if we changed the ways in which we map our cities to prioritize the human experience? In my research, I investigate ways to map a city without using a traditional map, and use those findings to improve how we define the communities we live in.
According to Pixar, one of the great storytelling giants of our time, there are twenty-two rules one must follow to create a Good Story. For the sake of brevity, Iâ€™ll only highlight a few. One: make your characters feel like real people, give them flaws, give them problems they have to solve, give them opinions. Two: be honest, empathize with your character and let your own experiences lend credibility to their actions. Three: write everything down, every idea, every twist and turn you can think of, but never, in the final product, stick with the obvious. And last but not least: know your ending, before you know your middle, maybe even before you know your beginning. My thesis presentation will include printed and digital elements, as well as themed environmental elements, and ultimately aims to draw viewers into a story of my own creation. Resilience (Panel 21), 2020, Digital Violets (Panel 1), 2020, Digital
Why do we tell stories? Well, stories give us something to relate to outside of ourselves. They offer us connectionsâ€”to the storyteller, to the characters, to the world. It is often through stories that we learn understanding, that we develop the empathy so indicative of humanity. Stories give us something to hold onto, to lose ourselves in, to inspire us, to make us smile, sob, scream; they are our ultimate escape and our greatest anchor. That is why, through various incarnations of storytelling, including animation, illustration, and writing, my thesis aims to explore the processes behind the creation of a successful story.
My thesis began with the concept of “zoning out.” Thinking about my own personality, I was curious about the function of moments of silence and disconnect in daily life. I wondered, in what contexts do people “zone out,” i.e., allow their minds to wander from the present moment? In my research, however, I challenged myself to look outside of my own experience. From there I considered different connotations of zones and where we see zones created by or perpetuated in society. When thinking about how to visualize zoning out, I drew inspiration from my English major. I thought of the Western canon as a zone, which privileges the work of some while placing others in the margins. Looking to Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes as a reference point, I experimented with the effect of “zoning out” content from Boston University’s English curriculum. For each text, I selected, I developed unique guidelines for how to deconstruct the original text. The output is text without margins and out of context. Using this framework, my thesis reimagines the familiar design of Penguin Classics.
This thesis explores alternative ways of creating and designing through extensive research, social media engagement, digital experiments, environmental projections, and self-made apparel. My work examines finding creative solutions for this process when our practices are jeopardizing our future. Young consumers value convenience and price over sustainability. I am curious to see what happens when the day comes when we no longer have the option to produce cheap clothing. Closely living and studying alongside so many young individuals has given me the opportunity to curate a community where others can learn about finding sustainable processes for expressing individuality and creating. My overall thesis exhibition is intended to educate, promote, and excite my college community about sustainability through fashion.
Working within the fashion industry has given me the opportunity to design for a consumer while working with content that I am passionate about. I am certain I want a future career within this industry, but I am faced with how harmful its practices are for the environment first-hand. The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to humanityâ€™s carbon emissions, ocean pollution, and water consumption. While this is something that is often called to my attention, college students are not as concerned with this issue. My body of work showcases the merging of my love for fashion and sustainability to help interest and educate those around me.
I Have Nothing To Wear, 2020, Digital Editorial, 6 Ă— 9"
Sometimes our relationships with others are developed in ways we cannot predict. The people we meet by coincidence, especially those who leave a lasting impression, might seem to be introduced to us by chance. And as we embrace the notion of chance, we relinquish the control we have over these instances. However, these randomized occurrences also grant us the power to acknowledge their existence, create meaning and significance to our lives and the events that unfold before us, and begin to feel like they were planned all along. Therefore, the people introduced to us through coincidences are part of both a controlled and uncontrolled interaction that we may experience at some point in time. For my thesis project, I wish to share the stories of both my own and othersâ€™ coincidences and how chance created these informal introductions. My installation will prompt you to interact with a set of figures that are broken up into parts where individual pieces can be moved around to create completely new figures. Each figure will represent one of these coincidental stories. Similar to coincidences, the installation is uncontrollable by its predetermined parts, but also creates new relationships with thus parts that are customized and controlled by you.
1. Automation: Everyone has access to the same tools and it is easy to make multiples of the same thing. 2. Auto-pilot: Neil Postman argued that TV is passive entertainment and your brain goes into an autopilot mode and immerses itself in entertainment. 3. Snack: one-liner titles, shock value article titles. Content has to be fast and â€œsnack-ableâ€? in a way. No full course meals. 4. Focus: your attention, visualized by the aperture of camera lens.
In the age of information and technology where we are submerged in an all-immersive digital environment, everything is fighting for your attention, from your phone to the moving ads on the bus, to the chips you snack on. Designers have a role to play in this as well; as creators who make for an audience, you are also trying to capture their attention. Content these days has to be fast to keep the viewer engaged, in a short amount of time. This brings me to what I what to talk about for my thesis. I want to talk about attention in the digital age using these four points: automation, auto-pilot, snack, and focus.
Knitting has always been a passion of mine since I was a child. The intricacy in the pattern of colors braiding unanimously as one, and the simplicity of the movements searching to embrace, are the two characteristics that compel me to continue knitting in adulthood. My love for knitting combined with my newfound curiosity in data visualization and psychology of emotions, brings forth my longing to create something unique to me; I wanted to lock it down by using the emotions I felt before my discovery of the needledpastime, and visually design how it changed the way I expressed and communicated. When I was little, the three emotions that clouded me were loneliness, alienation, and frustration, so the moment knitting came into my life, it became a threshold to become someone different. The journey I persisted in, arised as an internal struggle—to deal with my ego, my heart, and my body—and thrive in a time of turmoil. I desired to transform these emotions into a moment embellished with affection, excitement, and adventure, all while dissolving the judgements away. And knitting did exactly that. I will be composing knitted items and introducing within them, the data in which the psychology of emotions are presented alongside corresponding ideas of color theory. Knitting’s calming effect can help children experience a sense of achievement, learn patience, and discover bonds with other people; it metamorphosizes negative emotions and actions, and channels them as positivity.
Pinkish, 2018, Editorial, 6 × 9" Lineage, 2020, Web application Espresso Vision, 2020, Mobile application
Adoption is part of my biography. I was adopted, but I am not adopted. Adoption is not a permanent state. People who joined their families via C-sections, for example, are not judged on this fact for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, I am often confronted with assumptions based on my adoption background and the biological, ethnic, and cultural intersections emerging from this fact. My work will explore this phenomenon through mixed media. Disclaimer: every individual who was adopted has a different story and I can only tell mine.
I Was Therefore I Am Not
My name is Valentina, I am Swiss, I am five feet two inches tall and I am a graphic design student with an American accent. I would like to make some of the assumptions made about me because I was adopted come to life. Popular presumptions usually regard my connection to my family, genetic or otherwise, and my ethnic and cultural identity. I have fielded questions ranging from “Who are your real parents?” to “You must be good at Bollywood dancing” to “You don’t look Swiss”.
Using DNA structures, paper art, and video, my digital and physical work aims to reflect the experience of having my identity questioned and determined by others based on my adoption background.
From the time of the First World War, people have witnessed the absurdity and destruction of war, and have doubts about rational ideals, culture, and morality. New ideas break the old conventions, and their main philosophical basis is the subconscious doctrine. The unconscious chaos and unconventional fantasy dreams break through the usual logical thinking and become a real existence beyond reality. My thesis based on this theory is to explore the new relationship of human and objects. Plato has a theory that he thinks everything we see is an illusion. Just like some people live in the cave, they see the shadow of the outside world reflecting in the cave, not the real world. Many things happen in people’s daily life, and we just think of it in a realistic way, but what if the real world is not the one we thought? What if we just see the shadows of the things? In the novel Sophie’s World, under the guidance of Alberto, Sophie began to think about philosophical questions. In the end, Sophie realized that she was only a character in the book and part of Albert’s consciousness. She began to fight against the fake world, and the world in the book gradually twisted, becoming weird and unmanageable.
The reason why this issue is discussed is from my curiosity about the relationship of humans and objects. What if objects have equal statue or even higher statue than humans? What if objects had emotion to communicate with people? What if objects could be placed in a different order?
Through researches about various applications of facial recognition in real-life situations and artworks, my thesis will explore the intentions and opinions behind them, which is a battle between privacy and security. With the development of technology, anti-facial-recognition is also well-evolved. By wearing masks, goggles, and jackets with specific patterns, people can manage to fool the camera and protect themselves from surveillance. But what is real protection? In this show, I will visualize the concept that we are being watched, by showing the streaming of the audience in the gallery and translating their actions into languages. At the same time, the audience can play with clothes with specific patterns that can hide them from the surveillance. The clothes protect their privacy at the cost of the protection of their security from the camera. The trade-offs remain for the audience to consider.
We live in surveillance. Countless cameras are watching us walking, talking, and living in our “private” lives. I used to feel safe in their presence. They are indeed recording our lives, but if no one watches the long and tedious tapes, doesn’t the privacy stay private? I convinced myself with these reasons until my computer science class and internship in the area of Artificial Intelligence, and Facial Recognition taught me the algorithms to peep at people’s lives through cameras, which makes me hesitated. I would still defend the importance of facial recognition technology and cameras, but I want to extend the discussion and explore the boundary of privacy and ethics in technology development for security.
4040, 2020, Interactive installation
PAINTING Bridgette Reilly Elanna Honan Ellen Kanellias Grey Lennon Hanmo Zhou Kimberley Zak Olivia James Timothy James Bergeron Xian Marie Azu-Boles
Rock in the River, 2019, Oil on panel, 7 × 9.5" Fading Light, 2019, Oil on canvas, 18 × 24" Untitled, 2020, Steel, 15 × 11 × 15"
My work consists of images generated from photos or observational drawings in varying levels of partial abstraction. I am particularly focused on organic shapes and am influenced by my studies in biochemistry and molecular biology. Landscapes, animals, and human anatomy appear frequently as images represented in the work. The objects represented are not the entire focus of my paintings. My work deals with representing observation, the commonality between my two fields of study. I aim to capture the feeling of looking. My paintings are not accurate to life but accurate to how the information is processed though my body though my mark. The multiple mark making languages I have developed gives the work a gestural feel and breathes life into the paintings. My lack of depth perception inevitably impacts my compositional and editing decisions. As such, I choose not to include every detail. I select what I deem necessary in an attempt to document my experience of seeing. In some works original imagery is more obvious while other images become obscure depending on how fractured the image has become. In doing so I touch upon themes of degradation of the image and open the work up to a larger contextual conversation related to the object represented: degradation of the land, degradation of wildlife, degradation of the body.
Polly Pocket Car, 2019, Oil on canvas, 6 × 6" Dino Hand, 2019, Oil on canvas, 24 × 24" Galaxy Girls, 2019, Oil on canvas, 40 × 60"
My work combines portraits, objects, patterns, and colors to evoke a sensory, nostalgic world of childhood that can be read not as just a word, but as a sentence. My work ideally is displayed in a place where it can be experienced as a collective whole as each of my pieces are distilled versions of my background. As a painter and an art educator I am interested in investigativating the intersection between these two fields and how one will endlessly inform the other. By combining my two identities I found the ability to spark a sense of joy, humor, and excitement in my work that I have been striving to find. I attempt to tackle the large concept of childhood with a more narrowed and personal perspective. My intent is that the viewer may insert their own childhood experiences into the sentence I provide and possibly entertain their own personal memories of childhood. Hopefully, by evoking these emotions in myself and the viewer I can generate a more empathetic and nostalgic perspective on the places we have been and to which we are going as we move on further and further from our childhoods.
Trying to make a collage of time is difficult. When thoughts are scattered, memories fragmented, how can the pieces coexist? Do we break them apart, divide them, separate them further? Or do we allow them a home? A chance to reconcile? A place to heal? In a sense, these are comics; images placed in a sequential order to convey a message or story. Creating these fictional spaces allows these errant thoughts to come together, though, in truth, itâ€™s an attempt at replicating some semblance of peace in a chaotic mind. These works are whispers of thoughts that Iâ€™ve given room to become conversations, allowing internal dialogue to exist in an external, physical space. I give objects identities, inanimate colors voices, things that are long-dead life, and then I use them to tell stories. Sometimes they are wordless, sometimes loud. They are a space to express emotion when the written word feels too permanent but speech too volatile. Paper gives me the material to build a home for these wayward memories when it often feels like they have none. The page allows me to provide a space where these vagabond thoughts can rest, even if for just a moment.
All works are gouache on paper.
This is Not a Toy began as a way of revisiting the happy yet fleeting moments from my past and my childhood. However, memory is bittersweet; it both allows us to revisit the past, yet grounds us in reality. Imbued with nostalgia, This is Not a Toy becomes a shelter from the sometimes painful vividity of reality’s binaries and dualities. In This is Not a Toy, I confront binaries such as gender euphoria and dysphoria, femininity and masculinity, family and friends, safe and unsafe spaces, the existence of mind and body in seperate places, and most importantly, the separation between past and present that is sometimes rendered illegible by the ability to feel as both a child and an adult. In This is Not a Toy, I explore how these binaries impact the places, people, and identities I find myself kin to. Physically and symbolically, this body of work seeks to connect the duality of child and adult by placing strong emphasis on the meeting point between institutional fine arts and children’s craft materials. Overall, each piece takes a sensory approach that alludes to the power of craft materials to transgress their own boundaries and become more than just a children’s toy or a woman’s practice. Using these materials as more than a toy, I hope to also advocate for my position outside of the binary and live more presently in a reality that accepts me for who I am.
Grey, 2019, Pom pom and acrylic on canvas, 18 × 24" Untitled (Figure with Pink Cheek and Leafs), 2019, Pom pom on canvas, 7 × 11" MOM/DAD, 2019, Monotype, 10 × 10"
Starting my senior year, I have started to focus on transferring my ideas from canvas or a real space to digital form and see how that alteration could change the way people perceive my work. Besides, sculpture is another medium that draws my attention. My most recent sculpture work, The Wheel is designed for people who love roller coasters but are afraid of heights. As my next step, I would like to make digital design into an object to increase audience interaction.
During the past few years, I have been working with various media, including drawing, painting, installation, video art, performance art, sculpture, and printmaking. I am interested in using daily objects as the content of my artwork, but I usually give them special meaning to change peopleâ€™s experiences. As for me, an idea is the most important thing, and I love to keep my work simple but express a strong voice at the same time. I see everything as a living object and want to express the way I perceive these things, often with my sense of humor, which is a constant in my work. The choice of using and depicting daily objects is to draw forth the resonance and engagement between art and the public gradually, starting by creating familiarity.
I. This work is autobiographical. Any personal connection you may feel is purely coincidental, though I don’t pretend my experiences are unique or profound. The work is founded in personal experience and personal symbolism. I do not expect you to connect to it; the work suffers no deficit if you do not connect to it. I have created paintings for and about myself and I share them with you for my own sake. Art may be selfish. Selfishness may not always be bad. II. This work is autobiographical. I do not speak for anyone but myself. Experience and perception are subjective, but events occur objectively. I am not an impartial judge; neither is a viewer. I have learned that I have a right to control my own narrative, to tell my own story. Exercising this right does not negate someone else’s subjective narrative of the same objective events. This work is my chosen conduit for claiming ownership over my experiences in ways I previously thought were not my prerogative. III. This work is autobiographical. It is about manipulating and being manipulated. You are receiving the world as I have received it; though I attempt to preserve some objectivity, painting is about manipulation.
IV. This work is autobiographical. I contradict myself. I share it so I may be known. To be known is to be vulnerable. I may not want to answer too many questions. V. This work is autobiographical. I created it as a form of abreaction. I created it so that it might exist so that it might help me exist. This is symbiosis. This is part of survival. Self Portrait (detail), 2019, Coffee and mascara, 30 × 40" Self Portrait (detail), 2019, Coffee and mascara, 30 × 40"
For this series of paintings I focused on female vulnerability through the gaze: the gaze of the figure looking at herself in the mirror—the female gaze on her own body, and the gaze of the viewer, looking at the figure. I wanted the paintings to have a sense of immediacy, so I put the frame on the edge of the canvas and made the figures almost life-size. In addition, I tried to make the figures as realistic as possible, thinly layering the paint to produce life-like forms. In these paintings, there is as much emphasis on what the viewer does not see as on what they do. The space around the figures is completely white, taking away the context of the room that they are in. In that way, I wanted the viewer to question what they are looking at, while placing all of their attention on the figure in front of them. The figures are not imbued with any explicit meaning, rather they allow the viewer to project meaning because of their accessibility. They stand facing the viewer in a position of open vulnerability, inviting them in, or rather, unable to keep them out. Untitled Figure 1, 2020, Oil on canvas, 30 × 40" Untitled Figure 2, 2020, Oil on canvas, 30 × 40"
TIMOTHY JAMES BERGERON
A wooden panel is a very engaging material to work with: It is dead; It is always moving and reacting. Even while restrained to a support structure, wood continues to warp with different temperatures and levels of moisture. It has a life of its own. It is fighting back. Through this fight I get to know my material and come to understand it as an object. The life of the wood feeds my work. The reaction of the panel that I make as support for my painted surface introduces chance as each wooden surface not only looks different but responds to the paint unlike anything before. When the panel is hung on the wall it transforms from an object to an image. I begin to paint by appropriating the layers of the tree though I never know how far I can or want to push the treeâ€™s fingerprint. It is not my intention to hide these structures under layers of paint, but instead to highlight them through the tracing of layers, giving authorship to the tree in my work. While the image may be the foremost quality of my work, the life of the wood is present. It continues to add spirit and atmosphere in whatever I create. This spirit is a taste of the life that emits from the trees in the woods from which all of my work originates.
this entire arrangement of letters consists of exactly one hundred and twenty five words if one does observe that there is a disparity in word count then take note that censorship has been employed
this is a artist statement
• instructional list • question anything and everything especially the self to the point where one may prefer to enter a state of not existing rather than to engage in such action furthermore • if one could fully describe in words the process in which visual art is made then none of such would be made at all • do not sound pretentious or show off accomplishments • take this as an opportunity to restructure curriculum • even shitty tricks of the magician will never be revealed you do not know me
XIAN MARIE AZU-BOLES
Leo Feininger Michael Laungjessadakun
I enjoy the long, often messy process that goes into printing an edition. There’s something special about the fact that the actual print doesn’t really exist at all until the very end of the process. Through making multiples, my work can reach a wider audience, and have a greater impact. To me, the distribution of a print is like the dissemination of an idea.
The world and the way we move around it is fluid, with an infinite quantity of stories ever interweaving, separating, and sometimes coming back together. Many things that I’ve seen or heard years ago continue to permeate my experience as I go about in the world. Music and visual stimuli such as art and video games have stayed with me and led me to develop numerous specific associations between place, sound, and image. Much of my artwork explores these ideas, which are usually very particular to my own experience. While there may be some feeling of childhood nostalgia evident in my work, what is much more important to me is the sense of familiarity or clarity that I can’t easily trace to a particular origin. It’s a little like deja vu—it feels familiar, even safe or comforting, in an uncanny way. My making sense of this intuitive interconnectedness of things takes the form of playful, often graphic imagery.
New Snow on a Mountainside, 2019, Reductive woodblock print, 15 × 13"
I became a printmaker because I find printmaking to be unassuming in its almost pathological commitment to its own economics. Because print is an artform that occurs in a multiple, any sense of exclusivity, or lack thereof, becomes the sole responsibility of the printmaker through the edition. I find that my own predisposition towards the search for the authentic has over time become an unrealistic damaging idealization, one that often finds itself antithetical to the print’s remarkable ability to exist in multitudes. Therefore, I like that my work is inherently inauthentic insofar that authenticity is defined by scarcity, which is why I rarely make prints beyond those in an edition even if that edition is very ridiculously, criminally small. Modern economies of scale have rendered authenticity obsolete; practically anyone is able to create, reproduce, share, and experience—and it is alarming, and it is beautiful.
I draw inspiration from artists and writers who use their work as ways of processing the interpersonal with the political, the emotional with the therapeutically clinical. I aim to suspend my prints by evoking an emotion or tone rather than through direct representation, which lends them some sense of ambiguity. By creating images that evoke certain moods rather than by the specific contextual experiences in which such moods normally occur, I hope to generate responses that are simultaneously personal and universal.
Skewer me, stew me, 2019, Lithograph, 6 × 8" The flight of capital will always yield positive returns, 2020, Lithograph and silkscreen, 14 × 11"
Barbara Kang Devin Wilson Nina Miller Sofija Chroneos
The element of time is an active part in my process. The materials used in my work—found objects, concrete, steel, plaster, copper, alginate, ice melt, salt, video projections and light—are either juxtaposed or combined and, in turn, generate reactive properties. Predominantly, unexpected results of such combinations exhibit a façade of a fading, disintegrating imagery. My process and collective imagery contribute to the eventual characterization of my reflection on memories or elements of my childhood and adolescence. I hope to provide multimedia installations that offer my viewers an opportunity to empathize with my ever-changing perceptions of my past. Fragmentation of Memory, 2019, Cement, plaster, ice melt, spray paint, copper, plastic, steel, water, 24 × 17" Jamais Vu I, 2018, Copper, steel, galkyd, oil, plaster, wire, gesso, epoxy, found objects, canvas, 26 × 38"
We tend to think that memories are stored in our brains just as they are in computers. We can assume once registered, the data is stored for safe-keeping and for eventual, accurate recall. Although we may believe the facts do not change, neuroscientists have continually argued that each time we have a recollection—we are reconstructing the event, reassembling it from traces throughout the brain. Rather, memory is adaptive—reshaping itself to accommodate the new situations we find ourselves exposed to. Perception can change with each new experience, and every so often, we can convince ourselves something has happened. The more we recall, the more the memory is overridden. Memory is so malleable and fallible that it is easily subjected to being rendered to a new version so that the storyteller can be convinced that it is the truth. The transformative properties of the materials used in my work parallel the transfigurative qualities of recalling memory.
Meet the Cast: Devin, 2020, Photography, dimensions variable
As an activist and political artist, my work addresses sociological issues related to gender and queer identities, such as queer power dynamics as they relate to queer sexism and masculine hierarchies. Within my work, I explore the stereotypes and expectations of feminine-presenting people within a heteronormative culture. My work often uses queer-adapted vernacular referencesto offer a platform for dialogue and interpretation to a queer viewership. These references are derived from history, theory, and media. These queer-specific references constitute a secondary language and an alternate social iconography—used within queer culture. As a result of this “queering” of language and culture, I like to insert myself and my community into systems, spaces, images, and relationships within the broader culture that seem to resist or preclude queerness. “Queering” or “to queer” is a verb that describes my process as an artist. I often use elements of camp, such as artifice and exaggeration, to allow those who may not understand the work’s content to connect with it through its humor and formal exaggeration.
In my practice I work within a rigid framework, combining organic form and color to evoke playful moments of time. Materials that I find on the street and natural, strange found objects particularly interest me. My work involves experimenting with combinations of discarded materials and fabricated form. By using color and surface treatment on these collected forms, I create compositions focused on memory, nostalgia and childhood. I work in several media such as painting, drawing and printmaking. The marks and colors applied to forms and canvas are thoughtful yet come from an intuitive place. This approach brings curiosity through mark making and results in unexpected moments that inspire the work. The multiple media used within a framework begin to interact and blend inside those moments. This discovery of juxtapositions led to my most recent small-scale work, which involves the idea of collection. While researching childhood memorabilia, I came upon a photo documentation of objects found in preschooler’s pockets. From that new direction I started examining the preciousness of ordinary, irrelevant and mundane objects. I find that by taking these little forms out of their origin and putting them into a new context allows me to explore unexpected moments inside small worlds.
1 2 3 G0!, 2019, Mixed media, 120 × 120" 1 2 3 G0! (detail), 2019, Mixed media, 120 × 120" what’s left behind, 2019, Acrylic, oil sticks, pastel, graphite on canvas, 72 × 72"
Layering and composing interactions between reused materials within space is the focus of my work. I am continually searching for materials, whether found or re-purposed, to use with limited regard to their utilitarian value. This process disrupts their origin but establishes a new place where they can exist. At the same time, I do not disguise their physical qualities: a box remains a box; a piece of cloth remains a piece of cloth. In the studio, the work is in constant flux, never really beginning or ending. This process at times segues into installation format in a new space. My installations are spontaneous, improvised manifestations of this material process, and are “complete” based only on the given time constraints of the moment. Highly intuitive, this work is more akin to an attitude or disposition rather than a goal-oriented process. The work relies on my own interaction with the materials and, site-specific, the space it is contained within. It is full of contradictions—being about nothing yet everything, full of questions but offering no answers, touching upon a delicate balance between logic and play. It is non-narrative, yet does not preclude narrative interpretations. As a result, this work asks a lot of the viewer. Certainty about one’s aesthetic sensibility as well as physical, optical, and spatial relationship to the work may come into question.
Weight and Circumstance, 2019, Installation
May 2020 Graphic Design Painting Printmaking Sculpture
Type set in Founders Grotesk and Aileron Designed by Angela Sun, Angie Wijaya, and Jiayi Ma Printed by Blurb
855 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215 bu.edu/cfa/visual-arts (617)353-3371
Featuring work from 2020 BFA candidates in Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture at Boston University College of Fine Arts Sc...
Published on Apr 27, 2020
Featuring work from 2020 BFA candidates in Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture at Boston University College of Fine Arts Sc...