MASTER OF FINE ARTS CANDIDATES EXHIBITION I AND II
School of Art and Art History
College of the Arts
March - April 2023
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Fleeting Imaginaries is the product of three years of hard work by this year’s Master of Fine Arts candidates. The time between when these students were admitted to our program and the opening of this exhibition has been one of transformation for the Studio Art program in the School of Art and Art History, here, at the University of Florida. During this period, we have worked to redefine our curriculum to become a more interdisciplinary arts program. The fruits of this process are evident in the work of these graduate students who are earning their MFA this year. These MFA candidates may have entered UF as specifically photography students or painting students or ceramics students but looking at their work in this exhibition one would be hard pressed to match the candidates to their original disciplinary emphases.
Fleeting Imaginaries is an exhibition that consists entirely of mixedmedia installations that in each case make material innovative form and content to create works that allow for a space in which the ideas and constructs that shape our present world can be examined, contested, rearranged, and/or reformed.
One of the greatest pleasures I’ve had since becoming director last year is the increased capacity with which I get to interact with our MFA graduate students. It has been a great pleasure seeing this exhibition take shape from studio spaces to gallery. I am especially thrilled that we have the opportunity to document all of our students’ effort with this catalog. I would like to congratulate McKinna Anderson, India Brooks, Allison Burch, Mark-C Hilbert, Michael Hofmann, Jeremiah Jossim, Natalie Novak, and Jiangxin Wang on their tremendous accomplishments and wish them all future success.
Dr. Elizabeth Ross
Director and Associate Professor
School of Art and Art History
College of the Arts
The concept of the social imaginary was first coined by JeanPaul Sartre in 1940, later developed by Jacques Lacan, and is still used by scholars today to describe the network of normative expectations, values, and belief through which people conceive of and recognize their collectivity. In this sense the imaginary is not simply the realm of the fictive or fantastic but is a vitally real aspect of existence through which material is given shared meaning.
In Fleeting Imaginaries we are introducing the work of a group of artists exploring the visualization of these imaginaries and their assumed pervasiveness, opening spaces for questioning how they are constructed.
The exhibition presents mixed media installations featuring painting, sculpture, performance, and AI-inflected video that grapple with the paradoxical nature of a contemporary world that simultaneously isolates individuals and conglomerates masses.
In Fleeting Imaginaries I it is possible to trace an interest in how collective imaginaries influence the way we interact with and see reality. This is reflected in Jeremiah Jossim’s examination of nomadism and the American landscape; the way McKinna Anderson’s work evades the stability of material reality; in the difficulty of escape from the cycle of commodification and suffering demonstrated in Jiangxin Wang’s installation; and through the traversal of parallel worlds generated through artificial intelligence observed in Michael Hofmann’s video animation.
In Fleeting Imaginaries II the artists explore how individual spaces of recognition and regeneration can be developed within and around such collective constructions. India Brooks’ installation examines theoretical architectural spaces and their possible effect on the human psyche. Allison Burch recontextualizes concepts of development and decay in our increasingly industrialized landscape. Mark-C Hilbert’s work investigates the uncanny relationship between the self and its increasingly surveilled digital double in a technologically driven society. Finally, Natalie Novak seeks to generate space where the magical possibilities of girlhood allow for a reprieve from patriarchal restrictions. Through their ideas and unique research, these artists contemplate the (im)possibility of escape through an exploration of fleeting realities and manifested connections.
Jesús Fuenmayor and Mark Hodge
Fleeting Imaginaries I
March 24 - April 7
something I can never see the beginning of
Through a theoretical process I explore timescales of materials using a multidisciplinary approach. The installed system supposes a conversation between the realms of the ecological, architectural, and mystical by way of constructed geologic structures that model as an ecosystem. Working with a materials subjectivity to transmutation, the objects respond to processes that propose how time and pressure might inform their evolution, however unstable that may be.
Interested in their sensitivity to change, each object is enmeshed within its own material threshold. Whether it be a breaking point, boiling point, or point of tension, when subjected to seemingly invisible systems of pressure, a change of state occurs, and the material shifts and phases into an alternative form. I cannot see temperature change, but I do see its effects - boiling bubbles which indicate heat, or the formation of crystals which in this case demonstrates a decrease in temperature, and the passing of 24 hours.
something I can never see the beginning of deals with an ontological tension of being and the present moment, if there ever really is one. I am aware of my own ephemerality – TIME made all the more apparent by my use of objects that will long outlive and outlast my -blink- of experience.I live in a body that, as it grows, it also decays and eventually fails – I am relentlessly earthbound and beholden to my 100 years. But I am surrounded and fascinated by Earthly processes that vastly exceed my small scope of time, a geologic scale of time that I only glimpse in perceived tension held by inches equaling hundreds of years.
Fleeting Imaginaries II
April 14 - 28, 2023
Archi-Sculpture is an installation about the influence of architecture as sculpture on human psychology, and the effects it can have socially, politically, and environmentally. These speculative concepts are an interdisciplinary approach towards a moral landscape.
My creative process and research involve the use of intuitive choreographed performances, speculative design models, and writing. Through this process I explore the potential of creating work that combines architecture, sculpture, and landscape design. The work in this exhibition features a carefully designed mediation space surrounded by speculative designs for architectural spaces.
An important part of my practice involves using architecture and design in a speculative manner. Dunne and Raby coined the term “Speculative Design” in their book Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. Dunne and Raby say that “Speculating through design by presenting abstract issues as fictional products enables us to explore ethical and social issues within the context of everyday life.”
My speculative designs are created with cultural interactions, social paradigms, and spirituality in mind. They advocate for the reclaiming of public space for communities in order to raise awareness of environmental and social issues. They are created with the intention of sparking the public’s imagination regarding the rich possibilities inherent in public land use.
Through architectural design, my Singular Meditation space promotes the idea of spirituality as an individual experience. This space for meditation and contemplation provides refuge for an environmental experience related to the aesthetic form. Space like this is a much-needed outlet for so many in current times.
Throughout the river ecosystems in central Florida, there are immense cypress trees. Some of the oldest and largest trees have hollowed. Through natural aging, the buttress of the trees continues to support the upper portion while the center erodes away. The space left behind is the inspiration for the meditative space presented here.
Following this idea of using architecture to inspire, evoke thought, and emotion, I have created a majestic form that will hold the individual. While providing an individual, personal space, the form is open to the surrounding environment. It provides personal, spiritual space without closing off the natural world.