For the past two months, I have been working nonstop preparing for my MFA in Photography Thesis Exhibition at Columbia College Chicago with my six colleagues. The show opens this week (by the time this post comes out, the opening reception will have passed and I will have cried so much), and I honestly don’t know how to feel.
So many final moments have happened since my last blog post. I had my last critique in seminar, I had my LAST seminar, I turned in my thesis paper, I had an interview at the Art Institute of Chicago for an internship (that I didn’t get, but the experience of interviewing was great). I’ve worked and worked and worked to see these moments come to life, and now that they have, it’s hard to realize that it’s actually happening.
Part of the Master’s Thesis for Photography is installing the show yourself, and I thankfully had all the experience I needed from my Internship at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. The only help I needed was hanging this giant TV for my video (thanks, Max!) and that took less than 30 minutes. The whole process took about one day to hang the photos, and it went by slow yet really fast at the same time. I didn’t absorb it as much as I would have liked, but I definitely remember forgetting almost everything I learned from the museum when I went to hang my work. Something about the moment you realize it’s all about to end when you hang the work overwhelms your mind. It’s an extremely bittersweet feeling. I stood there for about twenty minutes and just stared at the space when I finished installing it. I haven’t cried (yet), but I know it will come.
This process has been so rewarding. I couldn’t have done it without my colleagues, mentors, professors, boyfriend, and our cats and dog. The photo above features work from my Body Space Image class, and the photographs on the side were made during Seminar. I also grabbed some photographs made from my colleagues while they were installing.
Talk about a beautiful display from Levi Shand. His practice involves walking, bookmaking, and installation. All of his books are hand-bound, hand-printed, and the covers are laser-printed with designs of walks that Shand has gone on throughout the city. I really enjoy how he decided to display his images in square frames with different style matting. This traditional twist is really clean and b*tches better wear gloves when they handle the bookies!
Jamie’s traditional twist is super sexy, y’all. If you come to the show—or if you came to the show—I hope you get/got close enough to appreciate that delicate detail Jamie gave to his frames. On top of hand-cutting and making the frames for his 40″ x 60″ images, they were printed on a beautiful rag paper from Hahnemüle. The cotton in the paper produces this nice texture in his images, and it compliments the texture in the leather frames very well. Get up close with these prints! The black was also a great choice. Well done, Jamie!
I’ve been waiting to see Aimée’s prints since she sent the group text an image of them packaged up a couple days ago, and when I saw this image today, I flipped! The prints look so good and the colors are amazing. They’re mounted and framed in standard white metal frames. I really enjoy how Aimée decided to hang these, because she created a frame and hanging system for them to hang in the glass window as seen above on the left. It was a great way for her to get more work in the show, since her large prints can only go one to a wall. This way, she’s displaying some hanging prints front and back. Super clever.
I definitely don’t want to give it all away, but I think it’s going to be a great show. I know we are all super anxious this week for the actual event to happen, so if we see you there (or saw you there!), then thanks for all of the support.
Last Thursday, I defended my thesis. The entire day was devoted to the graduating cohort of 2019 and the defenses of their visual theses in the Hokin Gallery before the Master’s Manifest event that was held in another building across campus.
We had two outside reviewers, Allison Peters-Quinn and Rebecca Senf. In the room with them were my two thesis advisors, Ross Sawyers and Greg Foster-Rice, and then the program director, Kelli Connell. We sat in my little room and I started by discussing a general idea of the work, process of the work, thesis research, edit/sequence, making strategies, etc. It’s a 40-minute conversation where I, the candidate, had to talk for the first 20 minutes straight up. At one point, I was so nervous that I thought that I was rambling and not allowing them to speak, when in reality I was actually just discussing my work as I was supposed to. The anticipation does that to you. It’s required that you write a 500 word minimum Visual Thesis Statement to accompany you in your defense. This statement is like an artist statement, but with more detail like the stuff listed above. I was the last of the defenders, and I heard we all did really well! We were super happy with the outcomes, and we all went the Master’s Manifest together and celebrated with the graduating MFA students across the college. The following night, as mentioned earlier, was our grand opening of the MFA in Photography Exhibition.
This is also my last post as a graduate ambassador for the Photography Department. I turned in my keys to the Museum of Contemporary Photography last Tuesday, and it was a very emotional day. Hell, this whole week I’ve been an utter wreck. I have so much to be thankful for and I am so happy that I have shared this experience with the people that I have been able to. My mentors have been such an influence on me, my practice, and my research. Thank you to every person whose changed my life during these past two years. I’m looking forward to the future, although it’s scary as hell.