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STUDIO ARTS COLLEGE INTERNATIONAL MFA First Year Virtual Exhibition Catalog April 2020

Lindsey Campbell Joseph Cimino Eric Frey Bridget Hannah Arais Meteyard Melissa Morris Rudransh Nagi David Neal Alexander Peters Marie-France Robichaud Emily Wisniewski




At the beginning of the academic year, none of us could have anticipated the challenges we would all face with the COVID-19 and the global pandemic. These 11 graduate students were new to Italy, having just moved here 8 months prior when this crisis hit in the middle of their second semester. It has been singularly impressive to watch how this group has faced the situation with resilience, openness, creativity, and integrity. They took what could have been a disheartening loss of their studios and nimbly refocused their artistic research into their homes under quarantine, both refining their core conceptual concerns as well as exploring new ways and approaches to manifesting them. What could have been a closure, became an opening. It is this spirit that is fundamental for artists, photographers, and designers and their creative practice today.

Due to COVID-19, these students were unable to install their group exhibition on-site in Florence in March. This online catalog is a testament to what they have done this year for the world to see. Kirsten Stromberg MFA in Studio Art Program Director Romeo Di Loreto MFA in Photography Program CoDirector Jacopo Santini MFA in Photography Program CoDirector Camilla Torna MFA in Communication Design Program Director Regan Wheat Graduate Program Coordinator



Lindsey Campbell MFA in Photography

My work spans from classical documentary work on Florentine artisans’ workshops to more conceptual project (currently at a very early stage) on the condition of being a woman now, a project in which the color red plays a fundamental role in the particular interaction between black and white photographs and text.

Left and above: Untitled, medium format camera, digitally edited, 24x30 cm


Lindsey Campbell Above and right: Untitled, medium format camera, digitally edited, 24x30 cm



Joseph Cimino MFA in Studio Art

My work deals with the theme of recovery and how one processes both difficult and complicated situations presented in the world. Dealing with subject matters such as migration, memory, and directing a narrative, I take a thoughtful and meditative approach in hopes to promote an empathetic response. Working with installation, video, sculpture, painting, and sound, I explore how to best respond to these situations. For example, in my work titled “Meditation on Loss,� instead of looking at numbers on a page, the simplicity of thread stitched into raw canvas stands in for those who have died crossing the Mediteranian from 2014 onward. Leaving the viewer with the decision to gaze upon a sea of orange lines and count each individual stitch to see what the total is.

such as Khalil Joseph, Janet Cardiff, Ann Veronica Janssenss, Bruce Nauman, William Kentridge, Trinh T. Minh Ha, and Maria Lai, I seek to find where my practice falls in the discourse of contemporary art. For me, these artists get to the essence of what it is they are talking about, without over explaining it, relying fully on the experience of the work itself and the impact it leaves. Working with intuitive impulses as well as long term projects, I look for how to best process these situations, in hopes to bring awareness and begin the healing process.

Recovery is important for society today, especially when people are hit with constant bombardment by overwhelming statistics. I believe it is essential to take time and heal/meditate on these issues in order to eventually move forward. Drawing inspiration from artists

Left: The Golden Hour, video installation still Above: Balance Exercises 6, Euro coins


Joseph Cimino Above: Documentary Trailer, video still Right: The Dinner, video still



Above: Glasslighting III, scanography, 29.7x21.6 cm Right: Shadows of Time III, digital negative on paper with LED light panel, 60x60x1 cm

Eric Frey MFA in Studio Art

My art practice is informed and inspired by concepts and ideas from historical, autobiographical, and experiential viewpoints, while referencing the philosophy of Object-Oriented Ontology. My gnomic art practice focuses on the transformation or recomposition of banal objects and/or bodies that are related to a time, place, space, or experience. My art objects may seem direct, familiar, and recognizable, yet as you experience and interact with the object, the real object withdraws further from your understanding and the sensual object of your experience begins to dominate your perceptions. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, I use references and ideas that are so integrated into the process of the composition of the work that they may escape those who do not take the time to explore how and why these images comfortably linger in the mind, while leaving a nagging feeling that there is something beyond the familiar. This unconstrained, multifaceted and sometimes hyperbolic studio practice assists me in discovering who I am, yet instead of offering answers, my artworks generate more questions.

I am an Intermedia artist working primarily in three-dimensional works and photography. My interdisciplinary artistic practice utilizes the skills, disciplines and experiences developed in my time in the U.S. Army, while exploring the freedom of creativity of Intermedia art. My eclectic processes translate my beliefs and experiences into objects, creating a cognitive dissonance between perceived reality and constructed memories, which allows the viewer to investigate the duality that develops through independent interpretations. On the surface, my work appears literal, and simply recontextualizing objects, yet when time is taken to absorb the essence of the metaphors presented, the sensual object of your experience, withdrawn from the reality of the object-initself, allows some access to the ineffable me, the object, that has been indirectly encountered through my artworks.

Eric Frey Above: Heidegger’s Hammers, Intermedia Series, dimensions variable Right: Kant’s Cans, Intermedia Series, dimensions variable



Bridget Hannah MFA in Communication Design

Ciao a tutti | howdy ya’ll I left my southern roots in Oklahoma and moved to Italy to pursue my MFA in Communication Design. My academic background is in Psychology, and what better way to approach design than from a foundational understanding of other people’s minds?

Left: And Then Rulebook Right: Improv Poster Spread


Bridget Hannah Above: Alone Right: Tourism



Arais Meteyard MFA in Studio Art

See it to believe it, believe it to see it; the sacred and scientific, equal sides to the same fight. I work with time, antipodes, narration, and fables. I look at these languages through speculative historical, scientific, and science-fiction lenses; specifically that of Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Modern Times by Carroll Quigley, How Big Oil Conquered the World by James Corbett, Politics and the English Language by George Orwell, And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russell. I use multi-faceted truths in all of my work as a structure to show multiple perspectives. A main thought of interrogation lies in fungal formations, using fungus as a metaphor for destruction and healing. A form that embodies its environment and then tries to digest it. Along with religion in sacralizing the perceived ordinary into that of the spiritual. I show this through illustration, inking, black and white photography, animation, artist books, and then collage these aspects together. My collages use fungal formations to exhibit human destruction physically and

psychologically. An illustrative piece surveys the sacred aspect of mountains as opposed to the mining devastation. My animation narrates observing, and then being a part of religious hostility, persecution, and genocide while trying to keep with one’s credence. Recent books of mine document the human response: In mentality of the quarantined, the adult’s imagination vs. the child’s, and the truth as we are made to believe vs. the truth as we try to find.

I show dichotomy of healing and destruction within these similar structures to form my own fables and gain routine inspiration by the films of Wes Anderson, Isao Takahata, and Hayao Miyazaki.

Left: N A, digital print, liquid metal, ink Above: A Peepum, paper and ink


Arais Meteyard Above and right: Etiam Attique Etiam, paper, ink, found image, recorded video, rotoscoping, black and white film photography, textiles, and collaged sound




Melissa Morris MFA in Studio Art

Drawing on ideas from critical post-humanism, I work with shifts in perspective to re-think the notion of the human and our place in the world. I explore the relationship between our technological manipulation of the visible and human perception, and query the space that opens up between them. Through painting, sculpture and installation, I use the color of the green screen to reference the virtual—something that exists in essence but not in actuality—and combine it with a grid in various states of collapse to point to the tenuous thread between perception and knowledge.

causing infiltration and the potential for damage. I aim to show the instability of seemingly stable structures and the fallibility of our endeavors, while suggesting the possibility of extending our vision; a visionary thinking about our current dilemmas, to safeguard our humanity. My practice also encompasses collaborative projects. In an instruction piece entitled, Complementary Pair, David Neal and I use chance operations and the language of color to explore the body-object relationship and the unforeseeable.

In the series of works, Perspicio, I manipulate the perspectival grid in relation to the spaces of Renaissance architecture, photograph the interventions, and then paint the resulting images; each step a potential remove from or move towards the real. In the painting entitled, For-sake/safekeeping, I look at efforts to address the detrimental effects of humaninduced global warming. Using satellite and archival images of the exterior and interior of the vault of the Svalbard Global seed bank, I apply a color palette of infrared and thermographic photography to refer to that which is invisible: the higher than normal temperatures Left: Perspicio I, oil on canvas 50x50 cm Right: Hiroshima, oil on canvas, 80x80 cm


Melissa Morris Above: Fore-sake Safe-keeping, oil on paper, 24x30 cm Right: Infra-re(a)d, oil on canvas, 60x80 cm



Above: Shortness of Breath Right: Lonliness Pages 48-49: Non Talking to People


Rudransh Nagi MFA in Photography

SYMPTOMS Feeling overwhelmed, insecure, and nothingness. It is difficult to make people understand that anxiety disorders are not just something everybody feels at some point. For people like me who have had an anxiety disorder, it hinders the everyday, mundane, and simple life. Anxiety could trigger at any point without any indication beforehand. For most people, including me at some point, it is difficult to talk about it due to the fear of being misunderstood or hearing things that do not help the situation. Hearing statements like ‘you just need to go out more,’ ‘it is just a phase,’ or ‘you are just exaggerating it’ is just too much to bear. Because it is not visual to the

naked eye or tangible like a scar, this issue is not taken seriously. The feeling of dying or having a heart attack, worrying and overthinking, body tremors, and many more symptoms could be an everyday experience for others as it was for me. It feels like a neverending, lifelong experience. But it is not, and people can come out of it, like I did, for good. So, this series is a dialog between other people who are going through anxiety and me, a push for those people to talk and open up about it a bit more. The stigma of anxiety shouldn’t cause anybody to suffer in silence. And, to a lesser extent, this series is for people who don’t fully understand the day-to-day misery of it.





David Neal MFA in Studio Art

My present body of work deals with how ancient mythology has been used as a moral teaching tool and how we are may be unaware of its role in specific morals and rules. The oral and written myths were shared with the people; these stories were justified in influencing the social system and encouraging people to follow certain religions. I work with a variety of mediums such as photography, drawing, sculpture, video and performance. In my photograph, Centaur pillow foul, I am about to smash a lamp which connects the ancient Greek depiction of the barbaric and drunk centaur with the cinematic portrayal of party culture. In my drawing, “When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm!”, the third circle of hell’s guard dog is instead a parasitic worm protruding out of its wolf host’s mouth with the tropical disease, Lymphatic filariasis; today this disease is stigmatized by the community and its host develops negative mental health. I juxtapose authority with humor in my performance SBG: Security Force.

I am portraying a security guard with an invisible detection dog. I disrupt the flow in a space while my detection dog is sniffing and circling around a pair of people from a security line; they either are passed or are put aside for vague reasons eventually having to start over. My work reveals a connection between the ancient myths and the contemporary circumstances that people may experience. Although the viewer may be unfamiliar with these stories, the function of mythology is directly and subtly visible in our society.

Left: Centaur pillow foul, photograph Above: Ricorda di respirare, video still image


David Neal Above: Cerbero urbano, photograph Right: Smile sweetie, video still image




Alexander Peters MFA in Studio Art

My work investigates the boundaries between art and science as representation and reproduction. Through painting I explore when and how a subject transitions from a representation of an idea into a reproduction made in its own image. Working with subjects of animals, fossils, and artifacts in the context of museological collecting, I investigate how they become memories of the past to be misremembered or misinterpreted. The setting of these subjects treats preservation as a destructive process, arresting a specimen from its original, living context.

The arrangements are inspired by stories of the disappearance and reemergence of animals, ideas, and practices over time. Immobilized traces of life are illuminated. The moments of light search for a way to animate the subjects from the confines of their still life. Recalling and caring for what is gone does nothing for these defunct things, yet the artistic gesture is not empty. These grieving documents of lost things are not for the benefit of dead; they are the for the living who carry the burden of their memory and wonder of what might have been.

I reference the staging of still lifes and the nature of their historically static narratives that became the basis for museum exhibits. The preserved, obscure, and esoteric remnants sit at a distance from the viewer who is left to draw their own conclusions as to how the objects came to be in this space. The viewer may project their own context only to discover upon further study how near or far they actually are from understanding the subjects. The closeness one might feel to an unfamiliar animal might betray the viewer’s own solipsism; of using familiar analogies against the unknown. Left: Reproductions, oil on canvas, 120x100 cm Right: Cyclops, oil on canvas, 120x90 cm


Alexander Peters Above: Rhyme, oil on canvas, 120x100 cm Right: Af Tzelokhes, oil on canvas, 50x100 cm




Marie-France Robichaud MFA in Photography

Accumulation (aggregation, collection) of fragmented memories Memories are like particles eroded naturally; they detach from the parent material, are transported and finally deposited. The main theme of my artistic research is our relationship with time, expressed in narrative visual form, based on ideas rooted in stories or experiences from the past that can explain the present. The ongoing project at the moment is about my paternal grandmother’s condition. She is affected by a form of dementia, which causes her memory to fade. I am exploring landscape erosion as a metaphor of disintegration of one’s ability to recall the past. I am still in the process of understanding how a link between erosion and memory loss. They will be made with photographs of eroding landscapes the use of photographs and documents that belong to my grandmother.

Left: Accumulation (aggregation, collection) of fragmented memories: Gabrielle #1, photography: archives and medium format 120mm Right: Accumulation (aggregation, collection) of fragmented memories: Gabrielle #2, photography: archives and digital


Marie-France Robichaud Above: Accumulation (aggregation, collection) of fragmented memories: Gabrielle #3, photography: archives and digital Right: Accumulation (aggregation, collection) of fragmented memories: Gabrielle #4, photography: archives and medium format 120mm



Above: Chernobyl Lost Histories 1930s, oil on canvas, 140x150cm, 2020


Emily Wisniewski MFA in Studio Art

Trouble in Paradise Excaping Destruction, 18x29.7 cm, 2020

Interconnected stories and landscapes These paintings explore concepts based on landscapes previously considered sublime yet imply traumatic connection and disconnection between lifelines in a landscape. In this body of paintings, I seek to reiterate and rewrite the stories told by images I reinterpret with sensitivity to the others associated with these stories. I focus on the precarity of entities enmeshed natureculture convergences and the many characters in these stories. I am interested in the current landscape and our embedded interactions therein. The stories of archives decontextualized in today’s neoliberal lens result in a new interpretation and empathy toward the land

and intraconnected subjects. These subjects are natural and cultural landscapes that have experienced trauma deeply felt by the livelihoods lost from human-caused destruction. By combining science, archives, news, mythology, and expressive techniques, I create new possible lines of thought in the way we conceptualize the future of our embedded nature through the viewer’s interpretation. The perspective lent to the story through painting allows variations in the iteration of traumatic and sublime. Although the past looks different now, and many landscapes are diverse now, the future is still an unwritten story for us to decide the ending.


Emily Wisniewski Above: Hidden Freshwater Spring Near the Colorado River 1970, oil on canvas, 21x29.7 cm, 2020 Right: Innocence: Snowdrop Flower of Youth, oil on canvas, 60x60 cm, 2020



Studio Arts College International Master of Fine Art Programs

SACI’s community of MFA students works in a creative environment of rigorous critical and technical inquiry utilizing the unique artistic and cultural resources of Florence, Italy to prepare students for careers as artists and college instructors. For a duration of two years, students live and work in the city that, during the Renaissance, revolutionized art and has since served as an inspiration and catalyst for generations of artists. By exploiting fully the advantages available to emerging artists through advanced study in Florence, SACI MFA students can become highly competitive when seeking an artistic professional career and university level teaching positions. Throughout their lives, they will be able to realize work reflecting their unique experience and deep understanding of Italian art and the nature of the artist’s role in society.


This catalog is digitally published as an end of first year selection of student work at the graduate level. Although the physical exhibition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 global health crisis, this online catalog features the current projects of graduate students in the MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, and MFA in Communication Design programs at Studio Arts College International (SACI) in Florence, Italy.

CATALOG COORDINATION / COPY EDITING Regan Wheat / Christina Gednalske

GRAPHIC DESIGN / COVER DESIGN Naomi Muirhead / Bridget Hannah


Christina Gednalske, Špela Zidar

Studio Arts College International Palazzo dei Cartelloni Via Sant’Antonino, 11 50123 Florence, Italy info@saci-florence.edu www.saci-florence.edu Copyright © 2020 Studio Arts College International, SACI Press. All rights reserved.





Lindsey Campbell


Joseph Cimino 10

Eric Frey 14

Bridget Hannah 18

Arais Meteyard 22 Melissa Morris 26 Rudransh Nagi 30 David Neal 34 Alexander Peters 38 Marie-France Robichaud 42 Emily Wisniewski 46 Studio Arts College International / Credits 50



Profile for SACI Florence

SACI MFA 1st Year Virtual Exhibition Catalog 2020  


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