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Graduate master's students showcase quirky works at the Ackland Art Museum

UNC graduate students used the unconventional subjects of hunters, clay boxes, beds and submerged speaking in an exhibition that marks the culmination of their two-year Master of Fine Arts degree program.

The exhibition, titled “New Currents in Contemporary Art,” features the projects of four MFA students who will be graduating in the spring.

The exhibition will be on display at the Ackland Art Museum from today to May 23.


Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today
Location: Ackland Art Museum

The four students use different media and backgrounds to create a diverse exhibition.

Lauren Sanford, a Ph.D. student, graduate intern for the Ackland and the curator of the exhibit, sees the event partially as a preview.

“This exhibition gives people a glimpse at what coming people are working on,” she said.

For MFA students, this exhibition is equivalent to a Master’s thesis in other fields.

T. Coke Whitworth used photography to capture images of rural North Carolina related to his theme of heritage and heredity. Whitworth, a father, uses personal and family photographs to study how past generations shape future ones through what they choose to pass on.

Jessica Dupuis’ project uses clay sculpture to reinterpret a mundane object — the cardboard box. She used discarded boxes as a mold for clay and newspaper covering. When the sculpture was fired, the clay was left and the cardboard incinerated.

Kia Mercedes Carscallen uses several media to make a statement about what is and is not considered normal. The work will use a video projector to project a ‘grotesque’ image onto a bed that is symbolic of the ways that ideologies of the past distort societal images of women today.

Emily Scott Beck’s multimedia work is also on display. It will feature “Churn,” a video of women struggling to speak with their heads submerged in water.

Through this work, Beck shows how women have traditionally been stifled in communication and uses physical stifling to allow women to release their true feelings.

Her work will also feature an audio recording of people discussing their beliefs about God. This will appear in a separate, pre-existing gallery of Early Modern art.

The graduate students did not create their various works with a particular theme in mind, although they find commonality in their novelty.

“This exhibition is very forward-thinking and works with issues that are pertinent to today,” Sanford said.


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