School of Art, Media, and Technology

Oh, the places you’ll go! Inspiration from MFA Fine Arts Alumni

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The holidays are upon us, and for Parsons students, this means more than simply the exuberant hustle and bustle of gift shopping, parties and family gatherings. Our students are not only busily wrapping up this semester’s work with shows, projects and Open Studios; many have also been lending a hand in the continuing effort to restore and relieve Sandy-afflicted neighborhoods, by volunteering, documenting, spreading awareness and even making art to support fundraising efforts.

We’re so proud of our students’ work, both inside and outside of the Parsons community, and we love to share the impressive achievements of those who’ve gone before. Take a brief respite from your busy schedule to get inspired and reinvigorated by this little “Where Are They Now?” summary of the work of recent graduates from the Parsons MFA Fine Arts Program.

“One of the best things I have done since I came out of school.”

Berlin based filmmaker, visual artist and graphic designer Azin Feizabadi (MFA ’11) calls “A Collective Memory” , part of Berlin’s “Citizens Reporting, A Collective Memory” program, “one of the best things I have done since I came out of school.” Arisen as a response towards the immediate social-political transformations in Iran, and further in the Middle East, “A Collective Memory” uses a poetic grammar to combat the three-act-narrative structure of (his)story telling. “The Epic of the Lovers: Mafia, God and the Citizens” (2009); “The Negotiation” (2010) and “Conference of the Birds” (2011) among others suggest an associative form of recording, viewing and narrating history through the cinematic and its format specific expanded media. Azin has also been involved in Berlinale – Forum Expanded 2012, and a correspondent for Video Vortex 9

It’s both fitting and fortuitous that Johannah Herr (MFA, ’09) was awarded a Fulbright to spend a year in Mongolia, as she has always been drawn to cultures perceived as more ‘congealed’ than her own American culture, particularly peoples with a defined visual language of traditional patterns and crafts. Researching and exploring traditional craft around the world therefore plays a large part of her artistic practice, especially within cultures that are facing rapid change due to globalization. Raised in a family of storytellers, Herr learned early the importance of bearing witness in the face of change and loss, and the power of humor to share in and deal with this hardship. She therefore often uses playful and colorful materials to speak of violence, struggle and separation. You can follow the colorful Mongolian chapter of her story here.

Julia Kul (MFA ’12) is a young Polish artist whose low-production, high-content, irresistibly hilarious videos were incorporated into the Postmasters’ recent exhibition, Through a glass, darkly. Kul’s work translates systems and cultures onto one another, spotlighting absurdity of easy assumptions, otherness and fitting (or not fitting) into any particular societal stereotypes.

The multimedia work of Reena Katz (MFA ’12) investigates how our bodies are interdependent, failing and empathic. Her projects take shape as installations, recordings and live performances exploring the ways in which we listen to, against and despite human violence large and small. She has done residencies at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre in Ontario and at the Flux Factory in New York

Jade Yumang (MFA ’12) is an interdisciplinary artist tackling issues of queer identity through sculpture, abstraction, installation, video, and performance. Reflecting on the expansiveness of the term “queer,” Yumang is developing three-dimensional, site-specific installation and performative work using coded bodies as a way to conjure queer sensibilities and anxieties. She has done residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist in Residence program, and Fire Island. 

The following three MFA grads and multimedia installation artists have all earned residencies at Mildred’s Lane, a rustic, 96-acre new contemporary art complex(ity) and experiment in living, deep in the woods of rural northeastern Pennsylvania. The Mildred’s Lane site is a home where the Artist/Practitioner, the Student and the Institution have collapsed roles as they attempt to coevolve with an emergent strategy. Woven into the project work is a curriculum based on creatively and experimentally living and working together. These valuable collaborations are designed to become shared experiences that hope to have transformative and lifelong effects on how artists think of themselves as practitioners functioning in the world.

PS, check out Leah Raintree’s new exhibition, American Landscape, now showing at Brooklyn’s FiveMyles.  This exhibition, on view through December 16th, features 15 artists “united through a heightened sense of awareness to their immediate surroundings seen through the lens of the American landscape; a landscape shaped by unseen socio-political forces, constantly shifting cultural paradigms, and the on-going flux of construction and destruction.”

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The MFA Fine Arts program offers: 

A two-year program committed to expanding the formal, intellectual and conceptual dimensions of emerging artists’ work. The program curriculum centers around one-on-one studio visits and group critique, theory classes to foster critical thinking, personalized classes teaching writing and research for studio practice, as well as professional practices seminars. The program additionally offers advanced practice studio electives that support the development of students’ work.

We are committed to a truly cross-disciplinary Art education. Diversity and social awareness is a foundation of our pedagogy.

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