MFA Thesis Exhibitions run April 2-20 in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery

Phoebe Jan-McMahon, “Aloe,” oil on linen, 20” x 16”, 2018.
Phoebe Jan-McMahon, “Aloe,” oil on linen, 20” x 16”, 2018.

MFA Thesis Exhibitions run April 2-20 in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery

calendar icon06 Apr 2018    

An image from “A Certain Kind of Woman” by Emily Wiethorn.
An image from “A Certain Kind of Woman” by Emily Wiethorn.

Lincoln, Neb.--Lincoln, Neb.—Nine graduating Master of Fine Arts students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History & Design will present their MFA Thesis Exhibitions in three exhibitions on display between April 2-20 in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery in Richards Hall.

The first MFA Thesis Exhibition runs April 2-6 and features the work of John-David Richardson, Phoebe Jan-McMahon and Kyle Nobles. A reception will be held April 6 from 5-7 p.m.

The second MFA Thesis Exhibition runs April 9-13 and features the work of Rosana Ybarra, Emily Wiethorn and Wansoo Kim. A reception will be held April 13 from 5-7 p.m.

The third MFA Thesis Exhibition runs April 16-20 and features the work of Patrick Kingshill, Pecos Pryor and Zora Murff. A reception will be held April 20 from 5-7 p.m.

Just prior to the closing receptions on April 6, April 13 and April 20, the artists will present public lectures at 3:30 p.m. in the gallery. Each of the three artists in that week’s exhibition will present 20-minute lectures on their work.

Gallery hours for the MFA Thesis Exhibitions are Monday-Friday, 12:30-4:30 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public.

The Eisentrager-Howard Gallery is located on the first floor of Richards Hall at Stadium Drive and T streets on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln city campus. For more information, contact the School of Art, Art History & Design at (402) 472-5522.

Below is more information on the artists and their thesis exhibitions.

John-David Richardson
Richardson’s exhibition is titled “Someday I’ll Find the Sun.” In his artist statement, he writes, “The atmosphere of my childhood prepared me for a world where economic and social worth is defined by class. My family fought to make ends meet, but due to addiction, domestic violence, and a lack of education, their efforts fell short. . . . In Someday I’ll Find the Sun, I ruminate on my family’s troubled history by building relationships with those of a similar background, finding people that are simultaneously callous and tender. Through forging these relationships, I am coming to terms with my bloodline. My photographs aim to generate a conversation about the class divide that consumes our country, and the people most affected by this fracture in our system.”
    Richardson is an artist and photographer from Russellville, Alabama. He holds a B.F.A. in photography from Northern Kentucky University. He is a recipient of the Edgren Tuition Fellowship, the Hixson-Lied Fellowship, the Kimmel Fellowship, 2018 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging, and he was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2018 PDN Student Photo Contest. His work focuses on the historical and sociological construction of the lower socio-economic class and investigates concepts relating to identity, culture, and family history.

Phoebe Jan-McMahon
Jan-McMahon’s exhibition is titled “The Adjacent.” She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. After receiving her B.A. in studio art from Luther College in 2013, she continued her education as a Hixson-Lied Graduate Fellow, graduate teaching assistant, and an instructor of record in painting and drawing at University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
    This body of work explores the adjacent spaces found in her apartment. These paintings explore the quietness of ‘The Adjacent” as a familiar space where one can process, escape, and heal from the cacophonous politics and harshness of everyday life. Jan-McMahon’s paintings offer visual knots that invite the viewer to meander through and meditate on familiar subjects though a new lens. The focus on white-on-white interiors provide an unfamiliar observation of color; delicate patterns are studies of intersecting lines in the apartment’s architecture, furniture and plants. “The Adjacent” invites the viewer to see the calm corners in everyday life from a new perspective that provides solace from the exhaustion we face every day.

Kyle Nobles
Nobles’ exhibition is titled “It Can’t Leave You The Way It Finds You.” His work deals with the ideas of identity and the self over time, exploring the inherent and often disorienting realization that you have changed so much, you no longer recognize yourself. In his artist statement he writes, “My drawings are my attempt at a reintegration of my often disparate senses of self into a whole individual. I have rendered my image in graphite, carefully pulling my being out from into the ether into being, birthing myself for a second time. This lengthy and highly focused exploration of my form has come to take on a meditative quality, allowing for deep introspection.”
    Originally from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Nobles received his bachelor’s degree in both art history and studio arts with a focus on printmaking from Hamline University in 2015. He has shown his work both nationally and internationally. Nobles has a background in many of the arts, particularly in theatre and dance. This commitment to artistic expression of all kinds has influenced him in innumerable ways and continues to provide inspiration and enrichment to his life and work.

Rosana Ybarra
Ybarra’s exhibition is titled “Chimera.” She is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, sculpture and performance. Ybarra is interested in the ways the material world reflects and imbeds cultural ideology and works to create aesthetic experiences rooted in intersectional feminism. She writes in her artist statement, “Chimera has three definitions, each so equally fitting of my work that this word has come to embody what I consider my own holy trinity. One: a fire-breathing female monster in Greek mythology, often read as an omen for disaster. She was a hybrid animal made up of three—lion, goat and serpent. Two: an unrealizable dream, a fanciful illusion composed of discordant parts—improbable but dazzling, wild. Three: an organism formed by multiple sets of distinct DNA, human, plant or animal. Chimera—a hybrid monster, an impossible dream, a harmonious organism composed from disparate origins. This exhibition is a demonstration of my own self-exorcism, and it is a conjuring. I have made a series of chimera. Each individually extricates an ideological fixation, a monster in my mind, via embodiment. And each embodiment serves as a particular offering to you, the viewer.”
    Ybarra received her B.F.A. from Portland State University with an emphasis in painting. She is a Trickey Memorial Fellowship recipient and was recently nominated in the category of “Best Emerging Artist” in the Omaha Arts & Entertainment Awards. Her artwork and curatorial projects have been exhibited widely throughout the region. This fall, she will have a solo exhibition at Petshop Gallery in Omaha, along with other group exhibitions.

Emily Wiethorn
Wiethorn’s exhibition is titled “A Certain Kind of Woman.” She is originally from Melbourne, Kentucky, and received her B.F.A. in photography from Northern Kentucky University. She has most recently been awarded the 2017 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging, was a Critical Mass finalist in 2017, a finalist for The Texas Photographic Society’s National Photography Award and is a featured artist in the spring 2018 issue of PDN edu. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in China and Italy. She works primarily in self-portraiture where she explores notions of feminine identity, societal constructs of femininity and self-discovery.
    In her artist statement, she writes, “Utilizing self-portraiture, I am constantly experiencing a ‘hall of mirrors’ effect where it is difficult to distinguish between truth and illusion, as I am both subject and maker. I am a complicated construct of both the rejection and acceptance of society’s definition of femininity. I am confronting the disguises that have become a part of my feminine identity while exposing and scrutinizing my own secrets. Working alone, I experience a powerful reclamation of power. I confront the viewer, the camera, and ultimately myself in an attempt to uncover and assert my inner identity underneath years of impersonations. Hidden behind expected social roles, our inner identity can become lost. Through my work, I explore what happens when our masks become so convincing that we no longer recognize ourselves.”

Wansoo Kim
Kim’s exhibition is titled “In Between.” He was born and raised in South Korea, where he received his B.F.A. in ceramics from Seoul National University of Science and Technology. During his experience in Korea, he received multiple awards from both the school and from outside juried exhibitions. He participated in the 2015 International Art Workshop in Turkey as one of seven Korean ceramic artists. A recipient of an Othmer Fellowship at Nebraska, he continues to show regularly in national juried exhibitions in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Kansas and North Dakota. Most recently, he is the recipient of a 2017 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Graduate Student Fellowship and Trickey Memorial Fellowship.
    In his artist statement, he writes, “I purposely intervene in the viewers’ generalized conceptions by creating an unrealistic scene or object. My works are an assemblage of recognizable and unidentifiable elements, intended to evoke the environment where realism and surrealism coexist. Through my work, I question the way we believe, the way we perceive and the notion of awareness and ignorance by presenting dichotomous ideas.”

Patrick Kingshill
Kingshill’s exhibition is titled “A Synthesis of Structures: Reflections on the Built Environment.” Kingshill was born into a family of cobblers, loggers and carpenters. He quickly developed a fondness for the crafts and eventually found himself at the potter’s wheel. Since then he has sought education from various community colleges in California, and eventually received his B.F.A. from San Jose State University. In 2014 Kingshill studied glass and ceramics at the University of Sunderland, England and has recently worked as an apprentice for Takeshi Yasuda in Jingdezhen, China. He has exhibited his work in venues nationally and internationally including the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco and multiple National Council on Education from the Ceramic Arts conferences.
    In his artist statement, he writes, “My work presents an ongoing investigation of the environment that I exist in and my efforts to curate that environment in order to make sense of my place within it. I seek connectivity and commonality among the many musing subjects that I have come across in my life, if only to better understand my own personal values of aesthetics. My studio practice challenges me to find links between the many different designers, builders and craftspeople of today and throughout history, and discover the ways that we humans interpret and manipulate the world we live in.”

Pecos Pryor
Pryor’s exhibition is titled “Time and Lines.” He is a visual artist who primarily works in printmaking and drawing to make visible the mundane beauty of daily life. Pryor grew up in the small hill country town, Dripping Spring, outside of Austin, Texas. He received his B.A. in fine art from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.
    In his artist statement, he writes, “Partnered with curiosity, I began this series by exploring the potential of drawing materials. How far and for how long can a single sharpened pencil last? What does a mile of lines look like? These curiosities parallel my life’s larger questions:  How many years will I have with my parents? What do I want to do for the rest of my life? As time is the border of a life, I have used distance and duration as the self-prescribed perimeter for these images. The various expressions of time and distance are a metaphor of our mortality and most of all, our potential. The process is the impetus—time, distance and materials become means to explore the significance of the rituals of everyday life. Mostly what I’ve found is that the spectacular occurs within life’s natural procession.”    

Zora Murff
Murff’s exhibition is titled “Re-Making The Mark.” Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Murff studied photography at the University of Iowa and received a B.S. in psychology from Iowa State University. Combining his education in human services and art, Murff’s photography focuses on how social and cultural constructs are mediated through imagery; specifically the power dynamics of stigmatization systems including criminality, socioeconomics and race. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Aperture Magazine, VICE Magazine, and GOOD Magazine. Murff was the Daylight Photo Award Winner in 2017 and was a Joy of Giving Something Fellow through Imagining America in 2016. He published his first monograph, Corrections, through Aint-Bad Editions in the Winter of 2015, and his second monograph, LOST, Omaha through Kris Graves Projects in the Spring of 2018.  
    Murff explores the passing of the National Housing Act of 1934, which brought with it the practice of redlining—refusing mortgages and business loans to people of color in segregated areas because those areas were deemed a poor financial risk. This is a history experienced by the historically Black neighborhood of North Omaha, Nebraska, the community in which Murff makes his work. He asks: Is there a difference between a lynched body in 1919? The condemning of a family home long abandoned? The forced removal of a community through the construction of a freeway? A landscape shaped through generations of segregationist policy? In ‘Re-Making The Mark,’ Murff contends with the convergence of the physical and social landscape. Through photography, sculpture and re-contextualizing vernacular photographs, he references the oppressive rhetoric and legislation used to establish stereotypes and shape the landscape; visualizes the legacy of redlining as a way to understand its fullness; and invokes the notion of the photographic archive to emphasize the act of looking at images. Meant to be viewed in both their historical and contemporary contexts, his works weave a complex narrative about person, place, presence and absence inside of a larger conversation about race and power.