The Master of Fine Arts program at UNC has attracted artists from all around the world, ranging from South Korea to Arkansas to New York City.
Now, in preparation for graduation in May, nine of these second-year student artists will showcase their work in their own weeklong exhibit in the John and June Allcott Gallery in Hanes Art Center. The series of nine exhibits, titled Aesthetic Conditions, began Monday and will end in mid-April.
See the series
Time: Now through April 18
Location: Allcott Gallery, Hanes Art Center
Second-year MFA student Minjin Kang, who specializes in photography, said she was looking forward to the opportunity to exhibit her art, which she’s spent more than a year creating.
“I’ve traveled to probably at least 20 places in Chapel Hill and all over the state to take these pictures,” the South Korea native said. “So I’m excited for people to see them in the gallery.”
Kang said that while preparing her work and creating art at UNC, she has received a lot of helpful support from faculty.
What she likes most about the program here, she said, is her relationship with faculty and how encouraging and supportive they have been of her work.
Fellow MFA student and professional artist Michael Bramwell also said he found the faculty very helpful.
“Many of them have galleries, and many of them show in the art world, so when they teach, they’re not just teaching from a theoretical perspective,” the New York native said. “They have practical experience that I can relate to, and that’s been very helpful.”
For some students, success in the program depends most upon self-discipline.
MFA student Lile Stephens of Arkansas said he appreciated how far faculty go to communicate with students.
“All of our faculty are very accessible, and a lot of the really good feedback comes from one-on-one interactions with them,” he said.
“But it’s really centered around being a self-disciplined artist.”
Stephens’s exhibit is the first of the series to be on display at the Allcott Gallery, and will remain there until Friday.
Stephens’s work utilizes older pieces of technology — which he said many call obsolete — and finds alternate functions that will allow people to see them in new ways.
He creates art installations involving video and outdated electronics, and uses many resources provided by the University, such as studios, digital cameras, audio equipment and even a new laser cutter.
Bramwell, who teaches an art course at the undergraduate level like other second-year MFA students, said the University’s resources helped him to create work as well.
“I take full advantage of the design lab, the media resource center, things like that, to produce videos and photographs and all of other stuff I do,” he said.
His exhibit will emphasize the importance of language through visual art. Even after practicing as a professional artist for 21 years, Bramwell said he thought he might have more to formally learn about art and its history, which is why he returned to school to complete his MFA.
Stephens said he wants to be an art educator after graduating, and agreed that the program has allowed him to learn beyond just artistic skill.
“I think the combination of having artistic ability and having learned and practiced a direct conceptual approach to teaching will really prepare me for a competitive job market,” he said.
For now, however, Stephens said he was excited about the exhibit, and hoped people would be interested in seeing old technology work in unique ways.
“Hopefully, people will be interested and come out,” he said. “It’s a weird, crazy, techno universe in that space.”
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