Am I Done Yet?
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Links to my final MFA work and paintings still in progress. . .
The culminating piece to receiving my MFA degree back in June should have been an exhibition of my MFA graduate cohort's work, that we would have installed in the Lunder Center galleries on Lesley University's campus in Cambridge during our final residency. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it like everything else at the moment, had to go virtual. Luckily though, Lesley Art & Design came up with the solution to push our group show back to December 2020 (unlike many other BFA and MFA programs that graduated in summer 2020 and canceled their in person exhibitions all together).
For the moment, as far as I know, the plan is for it to be installed from early December until the beginning of the January 2021 residency, when we will be able to have a gallery opening and graduation ceremony for my class. Needless to say, with the way things are going, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will remain the plan.
I suppose in a way this actually turned out to be a good thing for me because I was having a hard time figuring out how to resolve the large scale paintings for the show (together the two canvases measure 6 feet 8 inches by 6 feet). And I was looking forward to getting a few critiques during my fifth and final residency in the hopes that it would help me come up with the solution. (Here's a link to my "virtual" critique space from the June 2020 residency. It includes an artist statement and more images of my work.)
But since then, the progress towards resolving them has been painfully slow (see picture above) and while I feel like I am getting close to being done, I have yet to experience that "aha" moment in which I know that they are actually finished. Now, I'm starting to wonder if the problem is not so much finding the solution, as it is the fact that there isn't the imminent need to get them finished. Although, now that it's getting to the end of September, the deadline for shipping them to Boston is getting closer. Which means I need to step it up!
To be fair with myself, I do think that my creative process, especially when I am getting towards the end of a painting, is by nature very slow and deliberative. I need to spend a lot of time just looking at my work before I can know what I want to do next, and this can be an uncomfortable place to be in creatively. Also, when I don't have a deadline to finish, I tend to let other responsibilities and projects get in the way of completing work that is hard for me to resolve. So maybe the time extension wasn't such a great things after all. But I promise that I will get it done by the December deadline!
The good news is, that I did pass my thesis defense with flying colors during the June residency and here's a link to the final paper which is also now published to the Creative Commons, along with this link to a PDF of 20 images, which is much of the work that I created during my two year MFA in Visual Arts program.
As I mentioned earlier, many of the accredited full time BFA and MFA programs that graduated in 2020 had to have their in person "Thesis Shows" canceled due to the pandemic. These exhibitions are sort of the "jewel in the crown" of any arts degree for an artist, and are something that is worked towards and looked forward to by everyone involved. It's where you get to invite family and friends to see your work in a gallery setting and at some of the top programs, this is where you may get "discovered" as an emerging professional artist and possibly even offered gallery representation. Obviously, it's a big deal and to have it canceled is pretty devastating. Most schools had virtual exhibitions instead, but this can never replicate the experience of standing in front of your artwork at a crowded opening in a gallery.
In response to this disappointment and in an attempt to unite all graduating art students, the Thesis Shows 2020 site was conceived of by the graduating Photography students at Rhode Island School of Design to serve as a location for the public to find links for the class of 2020. Here's the link to the page for my MFA in Visual Arts graduating cohort at Lesley Art & Design, which can also be found on the Thesis Shows 2020 website under the link to Lesley University.
Finally, here's a link to the online exhibition entitled "Unlocked: Art as Antidote" that I worked on during an elective class, Anatomy of an Online Exhibition, that I took at the June residency. You can find the page that I worked on specifically, under the heading for Compassion on the homepage. Also on the homepage, make sure to scroll down to read the full text that explains the concept behind the project. And if you want to read more of my in-depth thoughts about it, read my last blog post here.