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The First USF School of Art & Art History
MFA Graduation Exhibition

MFAs

 

 

 

 

See the Exhibition Walkthrough at our Media Gallery

School Director’s Statement

Congratulations to the Master of Fine Arts students in this exhibition; the inaugural showing of graduating advanced student artwork at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum.

For three years, these artists have engaged our distinguished faculty and endured challenging critique sessions as well as sleepless nights preparing for semester reviews. They have been stretched well beyond their initial perceptions of what art can be and its impact on an audience.

The MFA at USF is acknowledged as a premiere program among its peers nationally. Its uniqueness resides in a demanding curriculum of studio practice and inquiry coupled with critical studies seminars in the history of art and electives throughout the disciplines of a major research university.

Faculty welcome the prospect to connect with the students, responding to new concepts and working as collaborators as well as conductors to uncover fresh dimensions in the forms, objects and images that are created. Our valued staff provides resolve and ingenuity in solving formidable problems, from bureaucratic labyrinths to one-of-a-kind projects.

The MFA program offers every graduate student the opportunity to work in any medium of materials and to select from our diverse faculty for directed study contracts. Virtually unheard of at other institutions, this open invitation to explore and discover, leads to startling and innovative results. The fruit of this philosophy toward graduate art studio studies, along with a varied student body from throughout the nation and beyond, endows this exhibition with a multivalent intensity.

The unorthodox nature of many of the artworks has generated a tremendous amount of consultation and cooperation between the Museum staff and our students. We offer our deep gratitude for assisting these artists in realizing their envisioned realities and developing this exhibition.

And, again, congratulations to our graduating MFA students. The graduate studio experience affords the time and community to expand ideas about art and oneself, and the relationship of the two to the larger world. USF has benefited from your presence and we wish you the very best.

Wallace Wilson
Director
USF School of Art & Art History


Foreword

As a nationally accredited museum within the structure of a major metropolitan University, USFCAM | Institute for Research in Art provides a crucial component to the educational process for all students, but is of special importance to the students of the School of Art & Art History. A destination for students to view the works of established and emerging artists, an opportunity to interact with artists, curators, theorists and scholars through informal talks and colloquia, and to intern and study within a vibrant cultural institution, the museum offers real-life experiences that have invaluable significance for the emerging artist. Given this context, it is also important for students to have an occasion to fully participate as emerging artists on the contemporary scene.

USFCAM is proud to showcase the first all-inclusive group exhibition of the 2007 MFA Graduates of the School of Art & Art History: Michelle Barron, Deon Blackwell, Jaime Carrejo, Shawn Cheatham, Alex Costantino, Leslie Elsasser, Andrea Ferguson, Chelsea Ann Goodwin, Kara Clark Holland, Jeff Sapsford, Larry Sheffield and Gregory Slimko, as they achieve this distinguished milestone in their professional careers. Curious, provocative, humorous, serious and sublime, this exhibition demonstrates the dedication and talent of the University of South Florida’s very own emerging artists. Congratulations to these students, the School’s faculty and staff, friends, colleagues and the community at large that support them in this first of many accomplishments.

I thank the museum staff for their thoughtfulness and collaborative spirit in organizing and presenting this exhibition, especially Tony Palms and his staff, James Rodger, Amber Cobb, Denton Crawford and Jordan Starr-Bochicchio, who designed the exhibition in consultation with Robert Lawrence, Assistant Professor, in the School of Art & Art History. Thanks also to Don Fuller who designed the signage, banner and brochure. I also thank members of the Institute for Research in Art who have extended their efforts to realize the exhibition: Margaret Miller, Director; Victoria Billig, Lesley Brousseau, Peter Foe, David Reutter, Kristin Soderqvist, David Waterman and Randall West.

Alexa Favata
Associate Director
Institute for Research in Art


 

Michelle Barron
Tampa, Florida
Bachelor of Arts, English, University of South Florida, 1982

Children, dogs and street people negotiate the loose ends of postindustrial urban neglect in spaces that suggest temporal confusion. These put-together characters mark their places in a world cobbled from Floridian vernacular and a futuristic economic meltdown.

Carport, 2006. 24 x 36 inches, oil on canvas

Barron

 

Deon Blackwell
Pensacola, Florida
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Delta State University, 2002

My work is about the human body and its processes of deterioration and re-growth. I use materials that naturally have a life span so the viewer can witness the changes.

Red Chandelier (from installation Body of Salt), 2007. salt and ceramic, 24 x 18 x 14 inches

Blackwell

 

Jaime Carrejo
El Paso, Texas
Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Texas at El Paso, 2002

Carrejo uses objects and images as a means of exploring issues of power and humanistic exchange.

Sparrow Project, 2007. mixed media, variable dimensions

Carrejo

 

Shawn Cheatham
Dayton, Ohio
Bachelor of Arts, Film Studies, University of Florida, 1997

I use video as a heuretic tool in order to examine and critique how various discourses institute and control knowledge.

Sight-seeing, 2007. video, 45 minutes

Cheatham

 

Alex Costantino
Baltimore, Maryland
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Printmaking, Kansas City Art Institute, 2002

Costantino’s MFA Final Project, in pictures and video, tells the story of a fictional band called Head Wound.

the deposed and departed, 2007. mixed media, 22 x 30 inches

Costantino

 

Leslie Elsasser
New York, New York
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design

A Fulbright Grantee to India in 2004, Elsasser’s Women in Miniature creates worlds where deities fly, monsters tumble, birds whisper secrets, monkeys are carnal, flowers illuminate, bubbles glimmer, thoughts twinkle, and circles are enchanted portals.

Out of Eden, 2006. handmade pigments and 14 karat gold on handmade paper, 8 x 9 1/2 inches

Elsasser

 

Andrea Ferguson
Manistee, Michigan
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Western Michigan University, 2004

Andrea Ferguson’s work is centered around low budget, illusionistic experiences such as community theatre and haunted houses. She is interested in the inevitable failure of such massive efforts put forth by a community and is drawn to the tenderness involved with the spectator’s willingness to subscribe to the fantasy.

Love it to Death (detail), 2007. mixed media

Ferguson

 

Kara Clark Holland
St. Louis, Missouri
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Webster University, 2000

My current photographic project focuses on the Tampa Bay area and explores the social implications of the contemporary built landscape.

Gibsonton, Florida (2007), 2007. archival inkjet print, 12 3/4 x 17 3/4 inches

Holland

 

Chelsea Ann Goodwin
Flint, Michigan
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Western Michigan University, 2003

Photographic media in my practice inform imaginatively fertile projects; where coinciding events, places, systems and animals are strung together - outside in.

Impossible Book (pages 12-23 out of sequence), 2005-07. photographic montage, dimensions variable

Goodwin

 

Jeff Sapsford
Vienna, Virginia
Bachelor of Arts, Art Studio, George Mason University, 2002

The thesis project is a reflection on my research into paranormal/conspiracy driven communities. My environments are built at a rapid, carefree pace, mirroring the way I used to build skateboard ramps as a child, and always with the magic of Disney World in mind.

My Life With Fritz, 2007. mixed media installation, 25 x 16 x 13 feet

Sapsford

 

Larry Sheffield
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Bachelor of Science, Fine Arts
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 2002

The content of my work deals with religion, sexuality and spiritual transformation in postmodern culture. It articulates my struggle, critique and confrontation with these issues created in a linear narrative.

The Final Exertion, 2007. digital print, 24 x 36 inches

Sheffield

 

Gregory Slimko
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Bachelor of Fine Arts,
Photography and Digital Media
Western Michigan University, 2003

SL series explores the idea of presence though the act of flight and observation of death. Consisting of three, man-powered vehicles inspired by aircraft design, the “video gondolas” suggest to the viewer the transformation from the physical to the metaphysical at the time of passing.

SL series, 2007. multi-media sculpture

Slimko