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THE MFA AT UNT We serve our students by focusing on their intellectual and creative growth, fostering student’s practice, and preparing them for lifetimes of accomplishment and meaningful contribution as culture creators. The program frames the individual needs of each student through the development of conceptual, aesthetic, and technical skills. While in the College of Visual Arts and Design, students participate in ideas and practices across disciplines while engaging in the critical practice of the fine artist.

I am thrilled to present UNT’s second annual Department of Studio Art MFA exhibition catalogue. In this catalogue, we celebrate the diverse means of research modes and art making processes in our graduate program. We celebrate the results of hours of students pursuing their curiosity, iterations, experiments, failures, skill building, engagement and hard work. We celebrate the many success of the MFA graduates in this catalogue (and all of our alumni) who have made an impact through creative inquiry, scholarship, and innovation. The success of our graduate students is supported by a faculty who foster the individual voices of the candidates and help them realize their potential.Their dedication has long-lasting effects on our alumni who have continued to excel in their chosen fields. I want to thank this year’s graduating students for their focused dedication to their artistic and intellectual development and sharing the distinguished bodies of work presented here. Respectfully,

Lauren Lake, Chair Department of Studio Art

Dallas, TX | taylorbarnes.space

Taylor BARNES Oreo | 60” x 60” | charcoal on cloth | 2017

That Thing You Said Still Eats At Me 72” x 48” | charcoal on cloth | 2017

My work expresses personal experiences dealing with race, identity, and social critique. As an African American woman born and raised in Texas, it is common for me to be the only black face in white spaces. Being framed as the “other” has been ingrained in my existence, affecting the way I navigate through life. Throughout my time in graduate school, I have constructed my own framework of identity. Referencing history and its permanent effects on the present, my work explores the internal and external complexities of being a black woman in America today.

Them Us You | 48” x 65.5” | embroidery and charcoal on cloth | 2018

Face the Day Pill Tray: Unamused | Backdrop: 18”h x 22”w | Tray: 4”h x 10”w x 3”d stoneware, cone 7 oxidation, silkscreen transfers, glitter, resin, MDF, pine, acrylic | 2019

Brock, TX | lyndeedeal.com

Face the Day Pill Tray: Chill (detail) Backdrop: 18”h x 22”w | Tray: 6”h x 12”w x 3.5”d stoneware, cone 7 oxidation, silkscreen transfers, glitter, resin, MDF, pine, acrylic | 2019

Lyndee DEAL

Face the Day Pill Tray: Curious | Backdrop: 22”h x 18”w | Tray: 8”h x 8”w x 3”d stoneware, cone 7 oxidation, silkscreen transfers, glitter, resin, MDF, pine, acrylic | 2019

A shot of apple cider vinegar, 13 vitamins, gluten-free diet, and portion control. These are all aspects of my routine that I dread, but they keep me going. The concept of routine as composition resonated with me when I first made these dietary changes. Much like repeated elements in a composition, repeated components in my routine are what keep me going, help me function, and make me a successful composition and human. So why do I get bogged down by the objects that are supposed to be helping me? As a woman who has been on some form of a diet since age 12, it was challenging to come to terms with the fact that my body is dependent on another object (or twenty) to function fully. By creating functional pieces specifically made to accompany these unenjoyable aspects, I intend to make the elements of my routine that I dread, something to look forward to.

Fort Worth, TX | megandesoto.com

Megan DESOTO Horse on Blue I & II 26” x 17” and 20.125” x 30.25” archival inkjet print | 2019

Installation View of “Beauty Remains” photographic wallpaper and photographic fabric on dining chairs | 2019

This body of work contains large scale photographs to highlight a personal journey through motherhood. Traditionally, the roles of a new mother have been handed down from generation to generation.A mother teachers her daughter how to soothe her fussy infant, her domestic responsibilities, to maintain her feminine mystique. Though many of these traditions of mouth to ear to mouth familial heritage continue, today’s society inundated women with visual language to remind them that although they can challenge the traditions and their choice to participate, those same discarded ideals of how to act or perform will continue to tug at the shoulder. This serves as a continuous reminder of which facet of motherhood to embrace.

A Lady Never Forgets | 20.125� x 30.25� | archival inkjet print | 2019

Heart Trap Chain (detail) | 90” x 30” x 6” | mild steel & rust | 2018

Keela Dee Dooley is a metalsmith from southwest Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains where southern culture has gender expectations, stereotypes, and misconceptions. Working in what is considered a “man’s world” she challenges the expected role of a young woman by being skilled in a traditionally male-dominated field, ferrous metalsmithing, and referencing the traditionally maledominated practice of hunting. Breaking the boundaries of industrial equipment and material, she creates elegant yet intimidating wearable sculptures out of steel on the CNC Plasma Cutter exhibiting the duality of being feminine while utilizing masculine skills and traits.

Christiansburg,VA | keeladee.com


Thorn Trap Cahin | 96” x 24” x 60” | powder coated mild steel, CNC Plasma Cut | 2019

Baby Trap | 1” x 3” x 1” | sterling silver | 2017

Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico | karlamichellgarcia.com

Karla GARCIA Recollection of Momnents | 80� x 64� porcelain, corn husk paper, clay, wire, maple wood, galvanized steel pipe, graphite | 2019

In my artwork I explore my concept of home in relation to my memories growing up in the border cities of Juarez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas. Being a young immigrant, the only constants in my life were my sense of home and the common landscape on both sides of the border. In order to create a connection of that time and place, I investigate materials that are symbolic to my Mexican heritage and my life in the United States through the combination of traditional handwork and digital fabrication. I utilize various materials such as clay and corn husks, unifying them through the formal elements of value, line, and shape. My work becomes abstracted to symbolize the passage of time and the way in which our memories are imperfect representations of events.

Unorthodox | 108” x 48” | charred corn husks | 2019

Carrito de Memorias | 72” x 40” x 19” | maple wood, repurposed bicycle wheels, corn husks, metal trays, paper | 2019

Installation Image | 2’ x 8’ x 10’ | digital Image | 2019

When I left my parents to venture out into the world alone, my white privilege was stripped — while my racial background is not white, I was raised by white parents who had two biological children. Being raised this way meant that I was granted permission to be anywhere I wanted, never shut out because of my color. I also learned of my membership in a club, small and yet furiously protective of its members, of other people of color that I didn’t know I belonged to. I often have wanted to be a whale or an otter. The desire to be another species stems from my imaginative bend to exist in alternative spaces. I still experience these moments of escapism, but now I reflect my imagination in the patterns I create.

Irving, Texas | sarahjanke.com


From the Autumn Collection titled,The Craft in Me, Repeat titled,Trumpet 8.5” x 11” | digital image | 2019

From the Spring Collection titled,You Did Not Bargain, Repeat titled, Boxed Dreams | 8.5” x 11” | digital image | 2019

My research focuses around the evolution of the bathroom from a chamber pot next to a bed to a room dedicated to hygiene and appearance, bathroom access and practices in select major areas of the world, and ill-conceived bathroom architecture. In an effort to bring further focus to my research, all of the bathroom-themed pieces and installations in my thesis show are based on the type of toilet I use and the type of anxieties I face when entering a public restroom— be they real or imagined—because my viewers experience similar situations and, often, the same porcelain.

Eau Claire, WI | teresalarrabee.com


Loveseat & Third Wheel 32” x 52” x 28” | red stoneware, rug, bucket, matboard, pedestal | 2019

Fountain | 84” x 60” x 60” | cone 10 stoneware, oxides, glaze, pvc, copper pipe, lead solder | 2019

Nightmare Bathroom #1 and #2 | 4” x 5” x 4” and 7” x 5” x 4” 3D printed toilets, acrylic, foam core, door peeps | 2019

Concurrencies (installation view) | Variable | oil on canvas | 2018

Pansol, Philippines

| hannapettyjohn.com

In my recent work, I have expanded upon the deconstruction, reconstruction, and reflection that has informed my artistic process for many years. My working method involves using remnants from previous works; they reappear in their original form or are reworked, aged, destroyed, or recreated from different materials. My process allows me to illustrate the passage of time as older work takes on new forms in a renewed context. New connections begin to surface as my paintings and accompanying objects are layered into a work about the passage of time as well as other passages; a migratory mentality know to all who live away from home.


Kaugnayan (detail) | Variable mixed media | 2019

Chapter 43 Public Indecency Subchapter B Obscenity Section 23, part f | 22” x 18” x 20” Cotton Fabric, Crochet Wool, Foam | 2019

North Richland Hills, TX My work merges craft and queer iconography to reflect on my journey of discovering identity in the absence of a positive sexual role model. It has resulted in a body of work that is heavy with sex-toy imagery, and explores multiple disciplines including quilting, soft sculpture, crochet, and printmaking. Through this exploration of material, I humorously combine wholesome and taboo imagery in order to reclaim and confront sexual commodity, an industry that is heavily dominated by male pleasure. While questioning my own constructed identity, I use humor as a defense mechanism to ease into the conversation of Queer identity and the Queer female gaze.


Feeling Like a Princess | 20� x 20� | Cotton Fabric, Polyester Thread | 2017

Lube series (detail) | Cotton Fabric, Cotton Batting | 2019

Rochester, MN | jessisawyer.com

Jessi SAWYER My work about place attachment and the physical markers within the landscape that I consider home – Minnesota. I am interested in space and place and where those two things intersect. Using a limited color palette, metalsmithing and enameling techniques, texture, drawing, and photographs, I imbue my work with the memories of the landscape. My work is about experiencing space and is meant to bring pause - a moment of quiet and calm.

Dreaming Awake | 15” x 32” x 4.25” copper, enamel, graphite, sterling silver, overglaze, iron oxide transfer, horse hair | 2019

Field Studies | left: 2.25” x .75” x .25” | right: 1.625” x 1.” 5 x .125” copper, enamel, graphite | 2018 Aerial View | 8.5” x 8” x 1.25” | copper, enamel, sterling silver, graphite | 2019

Topeka, Kansas | kendraleaphotography.com

Kendra SMITH Footprints | 16” x 24” archival inkjet print | 2018

Clouds Sequences | 8” x 12” 40 prints total archival inkjet print 2018-19

Through the process of a walk, I make images that emphasize being present in my current space and moment. The work presents glimpses of individual human trace, as well as transient marks seen in nature that one might miss because of the ephemerality of place.The images transport the viewer outdoors and make them a participant of the walk, and allows one to actively analyze and understand the connections the imagery makes with the mysterious details in the world and lives of others.

The Walk, Exhibition Image | Cora Stafford Gallery, Denton, TX | April 4, 2019 Plants | 16” x 24” | archival inkjet print | 2018

My work represents my personal experience with having learning differences such as Dyslexia, ADD, Auditory Processing Disorder, and others. I create pieces that reflect my thoughts, experiences, and the obstacles that I face daily. I utilize materials obtained from school desks as memories that reflect on the long periods of time we spend sitting at desks in classrooms, during which we discover how to process information. To articulate these experiences, I create marks and drawings on recycled pieces of school desks. These marks indicate equations, words spelling, and information that mimics symbols from my own learning experience. Through the inclusion of hidden stones and drawings, I integrate positive associations and humor. Perceived Differences | 3.4 x 3.9 x 0.8 steel, powder coated, brass, school desk | 2019

Lake Bluff, IL | instagram.com/jjthomson_


Placed here for a reason | 2.75 x 3 x 1.25 black spinel, school powder coated | 2019

Square chalk | 2.3 x 2.4 x 1.6 | steel, powder coated, chalk | 2019

Flower Mound, TX

Amy WACHAL Through my art, I strive to raise awareness of the protection of the ocean. Plastic pollution, overfishing, species extinction, and nuclear waste are some of the problems I symbolize in order to create conversations around the issues. I want to do my part in starting a wave of change.

Chasing Coral | 18” x 15” x 13” coral: Hand-built ceramics, glaze, wood-fired, fish: hand built ceramics, cone 5-6 glaze, bronze rod, steel | 2018

The ocean is one interconnected circulatory system for our planet, so anywhere that humans are abusing the oceans, it affects us all. I hope to remind people of the sacredness of the sea in order to help renew our reverence and respect for it.

Waking Up To Our Dominion | 14.5” x 17” x 11.5” Hand-built ceramics, glaze, electric-fired cone 6, paint 2017

Queen Angelfish | 10” x 8” x 5” | Hand-built ceramics, glaze, electric-fired cone 6, paint, mica fragments, red velvet | 2017

An Ocean Without Color | 11” x 13.5” x 4” | Ceramic Sculpture | 2016

Our graduate programs are led by engaged artists and educators who are recognized nationally and internationally for their intellectual and creative research.The studio art faculty are passionate and work tirelessly to ensure that students realize their potential.

STUDENT | COMMITTEE CHAIR Taylor Barnes | Amie Adelman Lyndee Deal | Brooks Oliver Megan DeSoto | Paho Mann Keela Dooley | James Thurman Karla Garcia | Brooks Oliver Sarah Janke | Gabrielle Duggan Teresa Larrabee | Brooks Oliver Hanna Pettyjohn | Matthew Bourbon Alyssa Russell | Amie Adelman Jessi Sawyer | Ana Lopez Kendra Smith | Paho Mann JJ Thomson | Ana Lopez Amy Wachal | Ana Lopez

FACULTY + STAFF Amie Adelman / Martin Back / Laura Beard / Rachel Black / Brian Scott Campbell / Matthew Bourbon / Jim Burton / Andrew DeCaen / Dornith Doherty / Gabrielle Duggan / Alicia Eggert Ana Esteve Llorens / Christian Fagerlund / Lari Gibbons / Liss LaFleur / Lauren Lake / Annette Lawrence / Ana Lopez / Paho Mann / Brooks Oliver / Arthur PeĂąa / Elaine Pawlowicz / O. Gustavo Plascencia / Binod Shrestha Lindsey Bass / Valerie Hancock / Ann Howington / Tom Leininger / Sarah Loch-Test / Zak Loyd / Jeff McClung / Thomas Menikos / Abby Sherrill / Angela Vanecek

Special thanks to Tom Leininger for headshot photographs. | Design: Hey!Roger | art.unt.edu

As a community dedicated to thinking beyond conventions, the Department of Studio Art motivates students by focusing on their intellectual and creative growth. We recognize and celebrate difference and know what needs to be done to prepare students for lifetimes of accomplishment and meaningful contribution as culture creators.The MFA program supports the individual needs of each student through the development of conceptual, aesthetic, and technical skills. Our graduate students often work across disciplines, taking strategic risks to find creative solutions while engaging in the critical practice of the fine artist. Your gift to the UNT, College of Visual Art and Design’s Department of Studio Art will help us build and sustain an extraordinary training ground for artists across all media. The generous support of many friends has already helped create the imaginative, industrious, and inclusive community who learn in world-class facilities on the Denton campus – and beyond. Please consider giving to the department of Studio Art to help us raise the profile of our academic, research, and service missions even higher. By donating to the department, you can help support the program in the following ways: Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards Visiting Artist & Scholar Series Outreach and Student Engagement The Chair, Lauren Lake, and I are always available to discuss ways in which you might support this amazing department.   All the best,       Greg Watts, Dean College of Visual Arts & Design

Profile for UNT Department of Studio Art

2018 - 2019 MFA Department of Studio Art Exhibition Catalogue  

Catalogue of 2018-19 MFA graduates and samples of their work.

2018 - 2019 MFA Department of Studio Art Exhibition Catalogue  

Catalogue of 2018-19 MFA graduates and samples of their work.

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