News desk | ILLINOIS

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Graduate students of the School of Art and Design will present works of art that represent the culmination of their higher studies in an exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum.

The Master of Fine Arts exhibition at the School of Art and Design will feature the work of 13 MFA students in design for responsible innovation, industrial design and studio art – painting, sculpture and new media . The exhibit opens April 2 with a reception from 4-6 p.m. and runs through April 23.

This is the first in-person exposure for MFA students since 2019.

“There’s no substitute for being in the museum,” said Laurie Hogin, a studio art teacher and director of graduate studies in art and design who works with graduate student exhibitors. “The essential characteristics of so many of these works are material and related to scale, space, the architecture that frames them and the physical relationship with them in real time. Some aspects of material qualities can be inferred from digital images, but only have their full effect in person – the specifics of color, texture and gesture. And there is the social aspect of how viewers relate to the works and then to each other in their presence.

The MFA Expo website that was created during the pandemic will continue to provide virtual access to remote attendees and archive shows, Hogin said.

Nathan Grimes is a multidisciplinary artist and musician who uses painting and sculpture in both figurative and abstract ways. Her recent work is autobiographical, reconstructing her understanding of her identity and chaotic childhood.

Grimes created artwork for the exhibit using construction debris. He often resurfaces the debris by coating it with paint, adding texture and pattern, then sanding it down to reveal the layers he has accumulated underneath.

He painted or textured 34 fragments of varying sizes and attached them to an armature for “People Pleaser”. For another piece, he covered an abandoned cabinet door in a pattern, painted it, and hung it so it slanted against the gallery wall. Grimes attached books that have personal meaning to many of his artworks. His work is positioned at different heights on the gallery walls, representing his height as an adult and a 7-year-old child.

He said his artwork reflects the fragmented and abstract memories of those who have experienced trauma and attempts to create an emotional understanding of them. He said the message he communicates is, “Life breaks us. What do we do with our parts?

Katherine Hair’s sculptural work examines the impact of humans on animals, particularly through climate change.

“Using animals in storytelling is accessible to many different people,” Hair said. “It’s a really useful tool for talking about these difficult things that we’re going through, but sometimes we have a hard time starting conversations.”

One of his installations, “Turtle Derby; You Can’t Go Home Again,” is a group of box turtles cast in wax in molds created from turtle shells. The hair mixed the wax with dirt collected from places around the country that hold turtle derbies, where people race turtles they’ve caught. Each turtle shell includes soil from a specific site.

“The ritual of giving each earth wax turtle a home range seems important to me. Box turtles have very specific home ranges and strong site fidelity. hard to adapt,” Hair said.

Katherine Hair, “We All Live Downstream”, 2021. Concrete, glass, water. Courtesy of the artist.


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She often uses coyotes in her works, and “Watershed” is a concrete coyote that appears to be trotting along the ceiling of the gallery, with a neon string dripping from its eyes as if crying. “We All Live Downstream,” installed in the garden in front of KAM, features coyotes gathered around a fountain.

Sydney Vize said she was drawn to sculpting because of the transformability of the silicone, foam and clay she uses. Her work reflects conflict in both pleasant and painful moments, and how these seemingly incompatible feelings can exist simultaneously.

“Mannequin Trio: A Male Mannequin Will Be the Death of Me” features three mannequins made from expanding foam that has a bubbling quality. “It’s these globes on the floor with silicone and beads embedded in the foam,” Vize said.

Image of foam sculptures sitting on the floor of a gallery.

Sydney Vize, “Mannequin Trio: A Male Mannequin Will Be the Death of Me”, 2022. Foam, silicone, cement, net, glass beads, thread. Courtesy of the artist.


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She was inspired to make them after researching how most dummies, CPR dummies and crash test dummies are modeled on male bodies, with actual effects on women, who are not as protected in the car accidents or which are not administered in public. emergencies as often as men, Vize said.

“Alone in the Elevator, Option 1” and “Alone in the Elevator, Option 2” are clay works with pieces of poured silicone that stand close together in one corner. One tapers away from the wall in two troughs, and the taller artwork bends at the top and then drops straight down to the floor. Vize said they represent being in an enclosed space that feels both comforting in its loneliness and also threatening.

Shuning Zheng is a jeweler who studies industrial design to learn about the product manufacturing process, including developing a prototype and designing with a computer.

She said jewelry making often focuses on decorative and cultural meanings, but consumers also expect practical function. She is interested in creating smart wearable products or practical accessories.

Image of a poster of a watch and a pocket watch with a timer function for time management.

Shuning Zheng’s “TimeIt” project is a timer and clock feature that can help workers better manage their time without the distractions of a phone or smartwatch.


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Her project, “TimeIt,” is for multitasking millennials who are struggling to manage their time, especially with the pandemic shifts in work habits and the increase in people working from home. It is a simple timer and clock function in the form of a watch or pocket watch that can also be worn as a pendant. Its simplicity is key, Zheng said, giving it the advantage of being less distracting than a phone or smartwatch with similar functions.

Through an app, the user can set their schedule for the day, and the timer indicates by vibrating when the set time for a task or break is over. The timer can be set for different intervals to use for the Pomodoro time management technique, which requires working for set intervals with short breaks and can help maintain focus and reduce distractions.

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