PERSIST: Columbia College Chicago’s MFA Class of 2017 Thesis Exhibition

PERSIST: Columbia College Chicago’s MFA Class of 2017 Thesis Exhibition

So much work went into this exhibition, and it was HELLA.

After all of the sweat, tears, and blood (can confirm–I used a hammer, so I bled,) the 2017 MFA Thesis Exhibition is UP and AWESOME.

We had our opening on Wednesday, May 10th at MANA Contemporary in Chicago, and the turn out was AWESOME. We also had photographers and artists like Jeffrey Wolin, Terry Evans, and Aimee Beaubien come to the opening. I repeat: HELLA.

It was such an awesome evening filled with celebration and accomplishment and wine. Seeing all 11 of us graduates pull this massive thing off was such a treat, and those who visited were impressed with the breadth of work the graduating class of 2017 has put out. We have installation, video, prints, and plants. We have photography about LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, about holiness, about oppression and about trauma. Childhood, memory, and imaginary pasts. We worked our tails off and what came together was a diverse show that proved just how persistent we were in our pursuit of art making.

But enough of that– have some fun photos I took of the opening!

We had a lot of fun.

Now, I was really nervous for the opening. I created an installation of a bedroom– which isn’t photography in the traditional sense, I know, crazy right?– and my work is about childhood sexual abuse, which is a difficult topic for people to encounter. I was so worried that the reception to my work would be mixed at best.

Apparently, I had nothing to worry about. The public seemed to be really engaged with my work (my bead curtain was a hit,) and all of the work I put into the installation was well worth it. I was totally insane to try and pull something this large off, and I have been pulling 80-hour work weeks this semester to make it all come together… I would like to thank my mom, my partner Mitchell, my advisors Alison Carey and Greg Foster-Rice, Jay Wolke, Kelli Connell, Paul D’Amato, God, and Starbucks for getting me through it.

I have determined that there are few things more satisfying than seeing your MFA Visual Thesis work hanging up and presented just as you envisioned it. I am so pleased that hard work can and does pay off, and that I had a support system to get me through the craziness that is my artistic vision.

So, here it is. We’re done, Class of 2017– congratulations on such a kick-ass show!