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MFA Thesis Exhibition

April 15 - May 2, 2010
Tisch and Koppelman Galleries

This exhibition is the second of 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.

About the artists:

"My installation and sculptural works reference one-on-one communication and missed attempts at such. Handmade from wood, hardware, and handtools, the work is familiar yet precarious, alluding to senses of desire, longing, connection, damage, play, and danger."

Chad Arnholt, View of Artist's Studio, 2010

Jen Barrows has been awarded the Graduate Student Research Award - Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, Tufts University

"through the perilous fight is part of an ongoing investigation of the construction of the American identity. The video piece is comprised of the artist's interpretation of events chosen from a revolving list of randomly solicited information about sites that is ranked in a hierarchy of popularity. The result is an examination of contemporary America through the lens of popular culture, history, religion and tourism using rites, rituals and experiences whose meaning is emphasized and considered by way of sound, celebration, prayer and record."

Guarding Old Glory, Smithsonian, video (still) from through the perilous fight, 2010

"In this series of works, I, as the main character, shuttle between different ages, both between my own personal ages and China's historical ages, going through the layers of "decoration" and imitation, to experience a new way of thinking. Actually "decoration" and the desire to be similar are really interesting, because they are both on the surface. This character of superficiality brings more subjective or emotional introspection about history, rather than objectively facing the essence of history. Photo sticker patterns also express my way of re-reading the aesthetic history of the Chinese."

Surface Read, Digital C-Print, 2010/03/05, 16 x 23 inches

"My MFA Thesis Show, Trying All the Time, features a series of meticulously rendered graphite drawings on paper. Utilizing the figure as a performative vehicle, the drawings depict both the struggle and the pleasure of residing in a yearning body. These works seek to pose questions about the nature of the body, and to explore the mechanisms of desire."

Graphite on Paper. 28" x 40" (detail). 2010

"Polyglot Telephone is a three-channel video piece that explores the discrepancy of language translation. The work begins with a story told in Spanish about growing up in Mexico City in 1962. The story is then translated successively, 12 times into 8 different languages with English interspersed.

The translations will be shown on two monitors while a third channel will be projected between them showing a visual reenactment of the story."

Polyglot Telephone Three-Channel HD Video, approx. 21 mins

"With these three paintings I have created a fantasy world where there are multiples of myself spread throughout the area of the Kaaterskill Falls, in the Catskill Mountains. The multiple selves within these paintings are exploring the landscape as well as each other, creating many small yet significant moments. The insertion of myself into this particular landscape is an exploration of my relationship with ideas of nature, God, and the significance of the self."

Untitled (Kaaterskill Falls), 2010, oil on canvas, 41 x 47 inches

"The Harmonic Infantry is a performance piece examining the concepts of creation and destruction, utilizing firearms as musical instruments. The goal was to play a piece of classical music. The show contains a documentary video demonstrating the process and results of this series of performative acts. Additionally, there will be twenty-five steel bars that served as targets, tuned in equal temperament. Other remnants include, shell casings, photographs, and the uniform worn by the rifle-men/musicians."

"To what extent do the objects we collect, create, and prize reflect who we are and how we think? What sorts of narratives develop around our spaces and collections? Can these stories further an understanding of ourselves and those around us?"

"My work investigates the process of collecting, storage, and notions of ownership. My evolving personal methodology of classification and documentation manifests in the form of video and installation work for this exhibition."

"My carefully constructed sculptural work combines elements and materials from period furniture pieces with forms that reference the human body. Resembling chairs and sofas as well as prosthetic devices and compromised bodies, the pieces speak about our experiences of comfort and damage, the domestic and the uncanny. Disturbing, humorous, or pathetic, each piece gestures toward a futile attempt to heal the body and restore its function through the materials of nostalgia and luxury."

Surrogate #1, 2009, Silk, plaster, upholstery materials, found objects, 16 x18 x 8 inches, Photo courtesy of artist

"My project started from a fundamental question about the flow of time, which is the essence of life, and the measure of change. I will present a painting of 30in x 30in and 3 panels of 5ft x 7ft paintings. In these paintings, I create micro-organisms that seem to float in their own universe, a spatial construction with infinite temporal layers of such organisms spanning time from a primordial period to the present moment. The micro-organism portrayed as floating in the universe interacts with a dynamic trajectory linking past, present, and future. To connect my paintings in pictorial space with real, physical space in nature, I will show 6 photographs which point to the same flow of time in nature."

The Two Silences of heaven and Earth, 2010, Graphite, ink and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches