APRIL 16 - MAY 1

 Opening Reception 

5–7 PM

 MFA Exhibition Statement 

The Master of Fine Arts exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum is a highlight of the graduate program in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. This annual exhibition showcases graduate research and practice and functions as a tangible thesis, an essential companion to the required written text that distinguishes their Master of Fine Arts degree. More significantly, this exhibition is an educational space that functions as an extension of the studio and classroom—a public platform upon which objects and images are positioned so as to propose arguments, ask questions and sustain dialogue. The careful crafting of these arguments and the explicit mastery of materials evidenced in these creative works reveal the intense commitment that these artists and designers have made to their chosen fields of study. This exhibition and the research it contains should not be considered as cumulative or final, rather it is a space that celebrates the transition from the classroom and the studio into the world.

Conrad Bakker
Graduate Studies Director

 Jung Eun Chang 

I create wearable objects inspired by the relationship between humans and nature, drawing from the optical illusions of natural formations, cellular structures, and viruses as well as and colorful visuals of electron microscopy.

In the studio, my work focuses on the exploration of and experimentation with materials, specifically in terms of their physical qualities and their possible combinations. I transform hot glue into three dimensional forms and dye the resulting forms. In addition to hot glue, I use found plastics, paper, wood, metal, and fabric to create assemblages that function as art jewelry. The often unexpected results lead to new discoveries.

 Huang Li 

My research focuses on the interactivity between digital information and print media using Augmented Reality (AR) and its application in printed book format. Specifically, this work envisions reading experiences in the future, when the boundary between the virtual and the physical becomes blurred and information acquisition from analog sources is enriched by online data.

My research is most evident in a recent project that involved my brother and myself collecting hundreds of sound clips over seven days that became a documentation of our daily lives. This collection of sounds is stored digitally on the Internet and accessible through a web interface. This collection of sounds, however, took the form of a physical book entitled 6 Min. It was designed as a connective platform linking the virtual and the physical.

 Michael Elwell 

Industrial designers create products that make a difference in peoples’ lives.

In no case is this more applicable than in the design of cribs. Infants are among the most vulnerable and the crib provides an important human need: protection.

Unfortunately, cribs do not always protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While there has been a significant decrease in deaths from SIDS since 1992, more than 2000 infants in the United States still die from SIDS each year. The root causes of SIDS remain unknown and it continues to harm regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Still, several risk factors for SIDS have been identified and studies have shown that infants who sleep on their backs in a safe crib are far less likely to die of SIDS and positional asphyxia.  Regrettably, not all cribs are safe enough, as data reveals that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled over 11 million cribs since 2007.

My research and practice explores the possibility that through good design and innovative materials, the crib can continue to be the safest place for infants to sleep. 

 Moonki Son 

There are many ways to approach design. My design is a process of constant discovery and development that begins from personal experience and develops through a back and forth dialogue with others. As a designer, I want to understand people more and produce designed objects that are not only products for purchase. More importantly I want to produce design that people do not throw away, but use with affection. I hope the things that I design last a long time.

 Katie Latona 

My work is rooted in domestic space and everyday activities. There has been a progression in my practice from merely working in my house, to using it as a backdrop for photographs and videos, to now using the things that happen inside my home as the materials for and the central subject of my work. This home/studio practice currently involves the collection of materials from mundane routines that happen within the home: the daily process of preparing and maintaining my body, and living in my space.

The focus of my research is on the boundaries between private life and public space, between the home and the world, between a self and the other. I am interested in how persons, objects and information travel between these spheres, spatially and relationally. These boundaries are also addressed by my labor, as the time and repetitive action needed to create the projects draws attention to the work being done outside the gallery or traditional studio space. My practice speaks to a redefinition of home space and work space: how we mark these borders in our lives, and how those markings have become increasingly messy and inexact.

 Anne Youngquist 

I am enthusiastic about design and design research as an evolving process in the development of user-product relationships and emotional sustainability. Good design not only meets the basic needs of functionality and desirable form, but fully satisfies emotional needs, making the user happy and content through interaction with the object.

For me, this begins by learning people's stories. Hearing what people have to say about the objects they interact with on a daily basis helps me discover new ways to provide a joyful experience for the user. Good design not only meets the basic requirements of functionality and desirable form, it also satisfies the user's emotional needs, capturing their imagination with meaningful products that speak to them as individuals.

My current research is focused on the design of devices for people with disabilities to overcome the associated stigma these devices carry in American culture. By addressing this issue, as a designer I have an opportunity to promote a world of inclusion and dispel negative perceptions of personal assistive products.

Through research, empathy and collaboration, my goal is to develop innovative products which create a long-lasting, emotional bond with the user. I am excited to be a part of the changing field of design and empathic design research, while enhancing the lives of end users.

 Yi Liao 

As an industrial designer, I am primarily interested in furniture design and I am intrigued by the simple but pure interaction between user and object. In my research and practice I am attempting to re-think furniture, specifically questioning the need for comfort and the creative and healthy possibilities of discomfort.

I am a firm believer in a rigorous design process where products are developed through careful definition, research, prototyping, and testing. The designed object is never detached from this ongoing narrative of research, invention and production. As a designer, I am driven to produce responsible and nonrandom products through design process and deliver this message to my audience.

 Motoko Furuhashi 

I am deeply fascinated with imperfection and the natural cycle of growth and decay. My current work highlights the tension between the geometry of human-made forms and the organic damage of urban decay. This work is associated with this sequential phase of perfection/imperfection as accentuated by the presence of pot holes, road cracks, and other forms of urban decay. The cracks highlighted along the road are a map of events that have taken place long before they were noticed. Each pot hole tells a story and is a reality in of itself. None of these imperfections are identical; each one is unique to its own history and memories. Imperfection keeps moving and changing form day to day and year to year. I want to draw attention to them, highlighting what once was unnoticed and tell their stories.

 Kerianne Quick 

I am interested in the relationship between material and source, and the expansive meanings rooted in these connections. I investigate how materials collect their identity according to their geographic origins, cultural histories, and finally as part of a descriptive inventory for the objects they become. By traveling to gather material and information I personalize the connection to the material source and attempt to make tangible that bond. I account for the journey from source to viewer, acting as a liaison, intent on bringing the two worlds closer to one another. As a result of thorough research I become expert and the work becomes a vessel for discovery, communication and understanding. Through this act I hope to discover how my role as a connector of material and histories affects the form of the object and the formulation of the role of the viewer. I attempt to inspire the viewer to consider a complex network of historical, economic, and geopolitical forces that bring an object into existence. Thus intentionally collapsing the notion that art or any designed object, can emerge from an insular creative bubble, untouched by history, culture and economy. My specific use of material is dictated by my own inability to express what the material can express with authority. As a maker, I cannot create what the material holds within it, thus I borrow the power of material to communicate. In turn, as a maker I release a form of the materials own agency that it cannot release itself. This is a cooperative act.

 Karri Anne Fischer 

Through the use of photography, video, and installation, my work explores the familiarity of space, memory, and the everyday. My interest in the everyday is coupled with my curiosity about what it means to be human and specifically I am searching for characteristics of humanness in the everyday, and asking things such as "What does it mean to be frail? What does it mean to be inconsistent? What does it mean to be afraid?". To ask these questions, I actively document mundane events and alter images in a way that encourages viewer disorientation. I also purposely create work that forces me to physically, mentally, and emotionally engage in activities that are often monotonous, obsessive, and challenging.

I am interested in inviting the viewer into a narrative that challenges their perception of time and space by altering visual elements and emphasizing repetition and duration. I want to create a real and imagined space that can be occupied physically and mentally, a space that reveals the fractured relationship between reality, memory, and documentation.

 Qi Chen 

 Anna Gutsch 

I believe that a designer works for and with their community in order to preserve and develop its culture by creating meaningful and essential products.

Through my work I am interested in making products that communicate their purpose in an understandable way to a specific target group. My background as a color designer allows me to develop this understanding since it is important to be articulate when describing colors and defining their use. Using this approach to the design process, I work with all the senses and forms such as shape, material, color, etc, in order to generate a coherent message and meaningful products for the consumer.

 Shuo Yang 

An industrial designer creates design solutions out of the problems of form and functionality using aesthetics, ergonomics and usability.

I consider Industrial Design to be more than a merging of form and function in the development of products. Good industrial design is as concerned with the situation as it is with the product. Thinking of the situation is important because it helps the designer understand the larger context that includes relationships between users and products. In this way, design is trying to enable certain kinds of experiences that can improve user’s lives.

It is my goal as a designer to create products or services that are not only creative solutions but also dynamic and interesting user experiences.

 About the MFA Program 

The MFA Program of the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to training artists and designers at the highest professional levels, offering a three-year MFA degree with specializations in Studio (formerly Painting, Sculpture and New Media), Photography, Ceramics, Metal, Graphic Design, and a two-year MFA degree in Industrial Design.

The MFA program at the University of Illinois emphasizes the development of individual or collaborative practice in preparation for careers in both fine arts and client based contexts, including gallery practice, product/media design, university research/education, public or community-based work, curatorial practice, performance or activism. Applicants are invited from a variety of backgrounds, preferably but not exclusively with BA or BFA degrees in the fine arts. MFA students at the University of Illinois are typically motivated, independent, and interested in contextualizing their traditional and non-traditional practices within a stimulating environment of rigorous interdisciplinary critique.

As a tier-one research university, Illinois offers a climate of rigorous production and inquiry by nationally and internationally recognized faculty and students. Frequent research and education partners for the School of Art and Design include Landscape Architecture, Computer Science, English/Creative Writing, Theater, Music, the Krannert Art Museum and the Institute for Communication Research. MFA students may take classes in any campus unit. The twin cities of Champaign-Urbana present many opportunities for creative cultural production and larger urban centers (Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis) are just over two hours away offering destinations for galleries, exhibitions, symposia, and other research opportunities.

The School of Art + Design makes every attempt to provide tuition waivers and stipends for graduate students in the form of specifically named fellowships, graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, and federal work- study. Teaching Assistants teach independently or with faculty for as much as two years of their time at the University of Illinois. Each student is provided with ample studio space and 24-hour access to the Schools many production facilities that include installation spaces, wood shops, computer labs, digital output labs, and a comprehensive equipment checkout system.

The University of Illinois MFA Graduate Faculty are professional artists and designers--active at the highest levels of academic, professional and creative production. Current faculty in the MFA Program include: Conrad Bakker, Luke Batten, Stephen Cartwright, Nan Goggin, Ryan Griffis, Kevin Hamilton, Patrick Hammie, Laurie Hogin, Ron Kovatch, Melissa Pokorny, Linda Robbennolt, Joel Ross, Tammie Rubin, Ernesto Scott, Joseph Squier, Billie Theide, Timothy Van Laar, Deke Weaver, Eric Benson, Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud, John Jennings, Jimmy Luu, Mark Arends, William Bullock, Deana McDonagh, Kevin Reeder, Cliff Shin, and David Weightman.

If you are interested in learning more about the Graduate Programs in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign please contact:
Conrad Bakker, Graduate Studies Director: cbakker@illinois.edu
Marsha Biddle, Coordinator of Graduate Academic Affairs: mbiddle@illinois.edu

A+D Graduate Program: art.illinois.edu/content/graduate
A+D Graduate Programs: art.illinois.edu/content/graduate/programs
A+D Graduate Admissions: art.illinois.edu/content/graduate/admissions
A+D MFA Student Organization: artgraduatestudentorganization.wordpress.com