In the Studio with DoVA: Spring 2019
Madeline Gallucci, 29
1st year MFA student
Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
I work between the realms of painting, installation, and sculpture to examine the performance and seduction of femininity, layering thick latex paint that I peel to unveil visceral and saccharine surfaces alluding to skin, cosmetics, and domesticity. The resulting assemblages of paper, paint and cloth drape precariously from ropes and armatures that convey a constant flux of construction, dissolution and concealment.
I’ve valued my studio visits with faculty, and the intensive first-year seminars with David Schutter and William Pope.L. These classes and interactions have expanded the perceptions of my work and placed it in a greater context of the art world and surrounding community. I have also enjoyed the time getting to know my MFA cohort and the diverse experiences and insight we give each other in and out of the classroom. The energy in the department is palpable and it's always exciting to show up, make work, and exchange new ideas with each other.
Cameron Mankin, 25
1st year MFA student
Hometown: Boston, MA
We live in a time where memory of current events come to us as shaky cellphone video or compressed jpegs off the internet. Lately, my practice has been dedicated to using traditional printmaking techniques, like etching and wood engraving, to bolster these “low-quality” images. Sometimes that means pulling out details, using systems of linework to underscore systems of representation. Sometimes that means letting the image dissolve into a digital blur, presenting that loss of specificity as content in its own right. The resulting prints, artist’s books, and digital repeatedly installations read as a cross between photo essays and gestural compositions.
My favorite thing about working in the arts is the strong opinions it generates. By necessity, everyone who is seriously engaged in making art has formal or conceptual stances they are invested in and they are regularly required to make objects or experiences that manifest those stances. The best part about the MFA program is being surrounded by such a condensed group of different responses to that problem. Everyone in the program comes from such different artistic and experiential backgrounds that it leads to a really diverse mix of critical insights and influences. As a result of this environment, I feel like my work has changed more in the past few months than it has in the few years prior.
Kevin Pang, 41
2nd year MFA student
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Considering the creation of a piece and a piece itself, as a form of language, is a large part of my work. I look to ancient origins of mark-making, visual, and oral communication. I view everything as an expression of communication and look for the clearest methods and tools. My primary tools are Chinese brush, paper, ink stick, and ink stone. The marks on the Chinese paper are irreversible and sensitive and act as a refined record of one’s mental and physical control. It becomes an invaluable tool for observing the elusive interior characteristics of a person. By meditating before, during, and after, I work to “see” and know myself and to share my own imperfections and self-discoveries with others.
My MFA experience has been beyond expectation. The staff and faculty at the Department of Visual Arts are world-class. They are professional and motivated to help the students while growing in their own busy practices. They have challenged me, asked uncomfortable questions, and pushed me to think from different perspectives. This has greatly broadened my knowledge and solidified my positions. There is a focus on academic theory and historical context for one’s work which helps facilitate dialogue and social interaction. At the same time, artists are also able to freely chart their own paths against established academic thought.
Michal Koszycki, 32
2nd year MFA student
Hometown: Warsaw, Poland
At UChicago, I’ve been pursuing a conceptual sculptural practice. My work is an open-ended research into the conditions of material reality and, metaphorically, the conditions of the encounter of art. I address these haughty issues of media theory and philosophy with the use of construction and everyday materials. The work may include a self-made electronics assembly (a phone), a candy wrapper, or a concrete masonry unit. I stage part-to-whole and surface-to-depth relationships to address people’s hopes, wishes, and projections onto things, and relish in the juxtapositions stemming from the phenomenological encounter with an object – personal-detached, absurd-believable, generous-demanding. Ultimately, the work is a direct consequence of the way technology changes the world around us, bestowing an uncanny instability on what things are both at the material and the performative level.
In the Department of Visual Arts program, I appreciate most the insightfulness of the faculty and my peers which, in addition to its small size, results in meaningful and surprising conversations at crit time.
All photos by Sarah Larson.