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MFA Thesis Exhibition
December 2–19, 2004
Tisch and Koppelman Galleries 

This exhibition is the first of four in an ongoing series of MFA thesis exhibitions shown annually at the Tufts University Art Gallery as part of the joint graduate degree program of Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The artists explore ideas of conflict, social violence, sensory experience, cultural aesthetics, and our contemporary relationship to the land through painting, book art, drawing, and mixed media installations. 

About the artists:

maren denys bell 
Fabricating Reality
I start each painting with a printed repeating pattern. Like symbols and words which repeat in my mind, these images are familiar in their histories and uses. Using camouflage print, chinosiery floral or romantic landscapes, I place my own mark by layering and altering these “grounds” of my canvases. On these models I make my own cultural landscape out of new concerns and existing constructions, reshaping and restructuring new and familiar images.

ellen chambers 
The Taste and Smell of Seaweed: A Sculptural Vocabulary of the Virtual
As a synesthete, my way of organizing experience is based on cross-modal sensory perception. Technically, I have "colored" hearing, taste, touch, smell, and stimuli perception. These literal perceptions are real and physically dynamic as well as abstract, incorporeal, and virtual. My challenge as an artist is to create a material, visual rendering of movement and sensation as it exists in abstract space. Sculptural objects of transparent plastics and acrylic paint describe my perceptions of various seaweeds.

cenk erlevent 
Turtle Island
Before we were here there were the Native Americans. Some of them named this land “Turtle Island.” Since the Creator created the Earth they have been the keepers of the island. They never owned the land; instead, they belonged to it. Their hospitable nature was, and still is, to welcome anybody, and everybody, in different shapes and colors, from many different lands. They have respect for everyone who touches this soil. So whoever came to this land and warmed up their hearts with its sun, drank its crystal clear water, listened to the songs of its birds, looked at its big sky and heard the sounds of the rain drops over the leaves of the trees, became a turtle islander.

This is the story of Turtle Island and some of its generous people whom I have met and loved. The ones who are not in this book will live in my heart until I die, then forever…

karl frey 
The Thing About Objects...
As a painter I feel it is my obligation to provide the viewer with an experience that reflects not only on the psychology of the artist but also on the perceptual patterns of the culture. With my current work I hope to rediscover the “lost American folk aesthetic” (L.A.F.A.) as relocated in mass-produced “kitsch” objects. This "incidental" fine art explores the aesthetic motivations of our culture through painting, and implicates the viewer in the process.
Untitled (Art Object #4), detail, Gouache, oil, and beeswax on shaped canvas, 11x15 inches, 2004

lisa lunskaya gordon 
The Medusa Phase
In the Medusa Phase, the mature organism releases itself from the bottom and becomes free swimming. The viewer is invited to explore the habitat of these ethereal beings: the world of transmutation, reanimation, rhyme, anemic memory.

kathy halamka 
Lumber into Forest
An “inscape” is defined as the outward manifestation of inner essence through individually distinctive beauty, specifically through landscape. I am exploring these inner states with my application of heat, abrasion, water, and charcoal on birch plywood panels. The memory of the material is exposed as the surface is transformed. The complexity of the drawing process becomes metaphorical for our contemporary relationship to the land. In this slow act of drawing, I render inscapes in which I am mindful of the spirit of Thoreau’s concept of living deliberately, particularly within our rapidly accelerating culture. The archeology of uncovering these secrets within the grain of the wood is a meditation on the internal and external landscape and the quest for my place within it.

piotr parda 
Master of Wonders
... there is yet another chance for a new miracle to come. I'm putting aside my disbelief but I still doubt.
"No, no way! It's impossible"- I say, and then when nobody is looking I try to make my keys levitate or I look to the sky for a sign from the heavens. Maybe something like: "DO NOT ENTER" or "STOP"...
In "Master of Wonders" I balance on the edge between miracle and disbelief. Against overwhelming doubt, I decide to give it another chance.
I hope that if I fail, I won't loose my faith in miracles or if I loose my faith in miracles, it will be an experience as awakening and refreshing as gaining one's faith.