Master of Fine Arts students present their work in the “New Faces” exhibition // The Observer


The Department of Art, History of Art and Design (AAHD) ‘s New Faces exhibit will open in the Riley Hall Gallery with a reception from 5 pm to 7 pm Thursday. It will feature the work of the department’s six first-year Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) students: Riley Fitcher, Jacob Lehmann, Joe Matty, Hans Miles, Junyoung Park and Nik Swift.

Promotional poster for the “New Faces” exhibition.

The annual exhibition is the first for artists to showcase their work as graduate students and includes pieces in ceramics, sculpture, industrial design, visual communication, painting and photography.

Professor of Painting and Drawing and Director of Graduate Studies at AAHD, Maria Tomasula guided MFA students in organizing the exhibition, which will remain open to the public until January 14, 2022.

She said she was very proud of the way the freshman cohort worked together to set up the exhibit and expressed her enthusiasm for the community of Notre Dame to see the work of these artists for the first time. times.

“Audiences can expect to see works in a wide range of media dealing with a range of contemporary global issues… from the Anthropocene to generational trauma,” said Tomasula. “Each artist [or] The designer creates works driven by ideas that drive them, but collectively the show reflects an awareness of those broader political, economic, social and environmental issues that shape contemporary life.

Jacob Lehmann – a native of Clemson, SC and a former high school visual arts teacher who aspires to work in higher education after graduating with his MFA – said he was eager to exhibit two of the multimedia works at large scale he created this semester.

“[My work] is about childhood and play, especially at the intersection of technology and the imagination, ”said Lehmann. “However, this is all done through the prism of adults. I shoot images from my own childhood, which makes the work personal. It is also a survey of how the media and imagery of childhood identity.

He sees his works as vessels that allow viewers to enter interior spaces that move forward and backward. Through the use of familiar materials such as crayons, collages and neon strings, he said he hopes to spark a sense of familiarity and awe among viewers.

“I am very happy that my father is seeing some of my work in person,” added Lehmann. “He has always been a child at heart, and for him, being able to experience these works is very special. “

Nik Swift’s project “Heartbeat Here Now” also explores themes of technology and reality. A computer science graduate from Notre Dame in 2017, Swift worked in web design consulting in Chicago before returning to college in the fall of 2021 to pursue her MFA in Visual Communication Design.

An image of the projections presented in the installation “Heartbeat Here Now” by Nik Swift

Creating his facility involved building a complex sensor and its interface, building a complex system of cables, data connections, and setting up a computer running 24/7 throughout the entire year. duration of exposure.

“[The sensor] visualizes your shape and heartbeat in an abstract, organic wash of colors and patterns [on to a projector] as well as the shape and heart rate of another person the same way at the same time, ”explained the digital artist of new media and generative from Maryland. “I’ve been playing with biological rhythms for quite some time, and this project quickly started to stand out as something that effectively balances visual intrigue with interactive elements.”

In addition to the influence of technology on her installation, Swift said the work was also inspired by her mindfulness practices and Eastern philosophy. The title of the piece refers to the famous book on yoga and oriental spirituality “Be Here Now” by the late meditation, spirituality and yoga teacher Ram Dass.

This is the first time Swift has created a project of this scale, and he said he hopes to add something of his own to it next semester with the help of artificial intelligence.

“I am very proud of the completeness of this installation,” he said. “I was able to consider everything, from the aesthetics to the interactions, including the typography and the logistics of its installation. [It was] much more fulfilling than doing a project that only exists on my computer screen or on Instagram!

Tomasula praised Lehmann and Swift, saying both artists have shown a genuine willingness to try new and experimental processes in their work on display.

“I hope the public will take away what art and design can offer – an experience of alchemical transformation that occurs when physical materials are shaped into forms that embody and disseminate ideas, experiences, hopes and other emotional states, ”said Tomasula. “Art and design can galvanize people into deeper thought as well as action. “

Keywords: Arts Art history and design department, Masters of Fine Arts, MFA art, New Faces Exhibition, Riley Hall of Art and Design


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