This year’s Master of Fine Art Degree Candidates Exhibition was planned to take place at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia from April 11 through May 17. The annual exhibition highlights graduating master’s students at the Lamar Dodd School of Art and is a tradition going back decades. The COVID-19 outbreak and cautionary measures designed to slow its spread mean that the exhibition is online at georgiamuseum.org. It will open the same day as planned but will remain on the museum’s website in perpetuity.
This year’s candidates are Nick Abrami, Yana Bondar, AC Carter, Cristina Echezarreta, Christina Foard, Laurel Fulton, Mary Gordon, Alec Kaus, Leah Mazza, Robby Toles, Kim Truesdale and Rachel Watson. Elizabeth Howe, a preparator at the museum, acted as curator of the exhibition, working with the students to refine their initial proposals and making studio visits.
“It’s a very good group this year, and I think the exhibition will show that range in the different mediums,” said Howe.
Howe’s background in art installation brings a useful technical aspect to her curatorial duties, and she had created a layout that allowed candidates’ work to interact with one another and viewers. The online version sacrifices the immersive nature of some of the work but compensates by allowing candidates to include more work, as their space is no longer limited. Howe describes this year’s work as “as contemporary as you can get” and says she enjoys working with “real, living artists” and creating a setting for their art to be brought to light.
Cristina Echezerreta says that her art focuses on “how material culture affects the way in which we identify ourselves” and “draws inspiration from familiar experiences, marketing and consumerism.” Alex Klaus is interested in “the role history, archives, and folklore play in constructing narratives about our collective past, present and future.” The 12 artists work in media including video, photography, printmaking, sculpture/fibers, metals/jewelry, ceramics, painting and drawing.
MFA Speaks, which provides each candidate a platform to discuss their art for three minutes, is being reconfigured into a series of short videos by the artists. The Lamar Dodd School of Art will no longer publish a physical catalogue, but the museum will incorporate essays by art history graduate students on the MFA students into the online exhibition.