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2016-2017 Lectures and Gallery Exhibitions

The 2016-2017 Visiting Artist Lecture Series featured Derek Larson, Kelly O'Briant, Darice Polo, Penelope Umbrico, Lily Cox Richard, Amy Schissel, Vibeke Olson, Bill Strickland representing the Deem Distinguished Lecture, Justin Ahrens, David Summers representing the J. Bernard Schultz Endowed Lecture in Art History. 

The Laura and Paul Mesaros Galleries hosted the following exhibitions: Derek Larson: Ever-Pre-Given; Kelly O'Briant: Dark Matter ... And All the Space Between; Darice Polo: Migration, Penelope Umbrico: Everyone's photos Any License; Lily Cox-Richard: Possessing Powers; Amy Schissel: #everything that happens at once; the 2017 Annual Student Juried Exhibition; and Surroundings: MFA Students Respond to their Environments. Works by MFA students include Jacob Guzan's exhibition, "An Abridged Study of the Radio Transmission Tower Landscape Surrounding West Virginia University's Evansdale Campus" and Andrew Kellner's exhibition, "High Touch." 

The  2017 Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition in the Mesaros Galleries included  students  Sabah Ahmed, Anna Beckett, Teresa Bowsher, Kevin Brennan, Charles Cunningham, Brooke Deardorff, Sidney Duncan, Kayla Garpstas, Rebecca Graham, Chris Guffey, Emily Harmon, Grant Hofmann, Rickie Holmes, Andrea Hubbard, Emma Hurley, Andrea Jimenez, Emily Londregan, Shayla Martin, Amanda Mates, Cory Mayhew, Hunter McCormick, Daniel Niess, Leslie Norris, Jared Peterson, Tessa Rahilly, Leonor Elisa Cortez Rodriguez, Jessica Rush, Brittany Schmidt, Dylan Smith, Lucas Smith, Bridget Stamp, Lydia Taylor, Caroline Wall, Joanne Yahn and Steve Zimmerman.

Surroundings exhibition Surroundings: MFA Students Respond to their Environments

Laura Mesaros Gallery, May 23 - August 18, 2016
The Mountain State provided inspiration for twelve MFA candidates and recent graduates from WVU’s School of Art & Design, who presented a summer exhibition. Titled “Surroundings: MFA Students Respond to Their Environments,” the exhibit featured authentic contemporary experiences the students have had in West Virginia. The artists, who are from inside and outside the state, reflected on their surroundings to create this diverse work expressing personal, industrial, surreal and jovial perspectives.

Derek Larson exhibition Derek Larson:  Ever-Pre-Given
Lecture on Sept. 8, 2016 | Exhibition in the Laura Mesaros Gallery, Sept. 6 - 30
Derek Larson received his MFA from the Yale School of Art and has participated in a number of national and international exhibitions and residencies. Recent shows include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Human Resources in Los Angeles and New Shelter Plan in Copenhagen, In 2014 he received the SECAC Fellowship, the David Bermant Foundation Fellowship and was featured in "New American Paintings". He is the MFA Director at Georgia Southern University, teaches in the Summer Studio Program at VCU and he is represented by the ADA Gallery. 

O'Briant Exhibition Kelly O'Briant : Dark Matter... and all the space between
Lecture on Sept. 29, 2016 | Exhibition in the Paul Mesaros Gallery, Sept. 6-30

O’Briant spoke about her current body of work “Dark Matter…and all the space between” which explores the presence of ideas that have no objective or measurable characteristics, things that are still present long after a physical entity is gone. She was recognized by the National Council on Education for Ceramics Arts as an emerging artist in the field in 2015 and her work has been included in exhibitions around the country, including a solo exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in 2015.  O’Briant teaches ceramics production methods and 3D printing technologies at WVU and researches a range of ceramic processes and materials, from coiling and pinching, to 3D modeling and printing.

Polo Exhibition Darice Polo: Migration
Lecture on Oct. 13, 2016 | Exhibition in the Laura Mesaros Gallery, Oct. 13 - Nov. 11
Polo’s work explores the history of the Puerto Rican diaspora in New York. She began this exploration using vintage photographs and 8mm film stills of her Puerto Rican ancestors as the basis for her drawings.  The exhibit also examines time and movement through the replication of film stills in her work. The playful character studies of her ancestors in New York prompt the viewer to shift their focus to the challenges of displacement and to the meaning of the symbols of freedom they encountered.  Polo is currently producing  A Wise Latina Woman , a film in which Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor serves as the catalyst for a critical discussion about the ramifications of the United States’ involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Penelope Umbrico Exhibition Penelope Umbrico: Everyone's photos Any License

Lecture on Oct. 27, 2016 | 
Exhibition in the Paul Mesaros Gallery, Oct. 13 - Nov. 11

Umbrico’s photo-based installations, video and digital media works utilize photo-sharing and consumer websites as an expansive archive to explore the production and consumption of images on the web. Her work navigates between producer and consumer, local and global, the individual and the collective, with attention to the technologies that produce these forces.  Umbrico’s work is represented in museum collections around the country in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Diego and San Francisco, among others. She is the recipient of multiple fellowship awards including the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.

Student Juried Exhibition Annual Student Juried Exhibition

Laura Mesaros Gallery, Dec. 1 - Jan. 13

The exhibition features student work in ceramics, photography, sculpture, printmaking, graphic design, painting, drawing, video and animation. Judging is a multi-tiered process that starts with a committee of WVU School of Art & Design faculty who select the pieces to be included in the show. This year, 30 pieces were selected from 150 submissions.

The students selected for this year’s exhibition are:  Emily Londregan,  Kayla Garpstas,  Shelby Rush,  Tiera Floyd,  Andrea Jimenez,  Sidney Duncan,  Kyle Irvin,  Jae Hyun, George Cho,  Justin Clem,  Heather Rios,  Justin Clem,  Rebecca Graham,  Tessa Martinez,  Dylan Smith,  Anna Beckett,  Tyler Fetty,  Jared Peterson,  Leslie Norris,  Bridget Hirak,  Leslie Norris,  Lydia Taylor,  Jacob Guzan,  Emma Hurley,  Kristy Roberts,  Patrick Bayly,  Adam  Herrick ,  Tatjana Martinez, and  Anthony Estbez.

Lily Cox-Richard exhibition Lily Cox-Richard: Posessing Powers

Lecture on Feb. 2, 2017 | 
  Exhibition in the Paul Mesaros Gallery, Feb. 2 - Mar. 3

Cox-Richard is a sculptor based in Houston, Texas. Her recent projects focus on systems and networks that are ubiquitous yet often unnoticed: the electrical wiring and plumbing in the walls, the sprawling mycelium underfoot and the goods created by cottage industries. She has been awarded an Artadia grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows and residencies at the Core Program, Millay Colony, RAIR Philadelphia and the MacDowell Colony.

In conjunction with Cox-Richard’s exhibit, the WVU School of Art & Design hosted “Old Copper Futures”, a public sculpture created from recycled industrial materials. The sculpture was unveiled in front of the Creative Art Center on Feb. 2.

Schissel exhibition Amy Schissel: #everything that happens at once

Lecture on Feb. 9, 2017 |   
Exhibition in the Laura Mesaros Gallery, Feb. 2 - Mar. 3

In the exhibit, Amy Schissel’s work confronts the current anxieties about the role of painting in the internet and information age through the development of site-specific immersive painting and video installations. It has been her long-term project to navigate through a constant technological presence in a data-driven, media-saturated culture through work that hybridizes painted and digital languages, while addressing contradictions of identity in geo-political relationships.

Vibeke Olson

Lecture on Feb. 23, 2017

In “Satellites, Lasers and Drones, Oh My! Investigating Medieval Methods Using Modern Tools,” Olsen evaluated how digital technologies, like geographic information systems and laser scanning, can give insight into, and help better understand, medieval labor processes. She  presented an on-going case study on 11th and 12th century building in the Brionnais region of Burgandy, France.  Olsen specializes in French medieval art, with a particular interest in 12th century architectural design and labor practice. In addition to this work, she has published on a wide array of topics ranging from pilgrims and portal sculpture to sensory and performative responses to late medieval devotional images. 

Bill Strickland Bill Strickland

March 2 | Deem Distinguished Lecture 

Manchester Bidwell Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer and MacArthur Genius Fellow Bill Strickland spoke on making the impossible possible. The decline of the steel industry created widespread unemployment, and Bidwell Training Center addressed the problem by offering vocational training to displaced and underemployed workers. Due to Strickland's successful track record with MCG, he was asked in 1971 to assume leadership of BTC and guide its transition to providing skills relevant to Pittsburgh's emerging market economy. Strickland's involvement in both MCG and BTC doubled the strength of Manchester Bidwell Corporation's ability to help the community. Today, Manchester Bidwell Corporation has evolved into a national model for education, culture and hope. 

Justin Ahrens

Lecture: March 16, 2017

As founder and principal of Rule29, Ahrens lives the firm's philosophy of "Making Creative Matter." Like any creative professional, Ahrens enjoys digging into a business problem and designing a strategic solution. But he gets a bigger charge out of seeing the positive impact that solution can make–for the client and for the world. Ahrens speaks the languages of both business and design, guiding Rule29's strategic and creative direction on every project. He fosters the collaborative approach that's at the heart of the firm's relationships with clients ranging from Fortune 500 brands to nonprofits to small startup companies. 

David Summers David Summers  

April 6 | J. Bernard Schultz Endowed Lecture in Art History

J. David Summers, Ph.D., Emeritus William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the History of Art at University of Virginia, presented “Michelangelo and the World.” Summers is among the most distinguished art historians of the time. He has been the recipient of two Arthur Kingsley Porter Prizes from the College Art Association and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. Summers hold a doctoral degree from Yale University and taught at Bryn Mawr College and University of Pittsburgh before joining the faculty at the University of Virginia. In 1996, Summers was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.