On Friday, July 24, MFA Visual Narrative held a graduation ceremony in celebration of the program’s inaugural class. Reflecting on the five years since the program was first conceived, department chair Nathan Fox said, “I could never have foreseen where we would be by 2015. It was unimaginable how the thoughtful insights and remarkable imaginations of the faculty and students would come to define and truly shape the program’s focus and fulfill its potential… I could not be more grateful…or more proud of their progress and accomplishments.”
Coinciding with graduation week, the department held an open studios event on Wednesday, July 22, to preview work from the department’s first and second year students, as well as gallery talks by students at its inaugural thesis show, “And Then.” The 14 thesis works on display, “unveil sharp and idiosyncratic visual language for a world they developed or discovered, and the character or characters who live there,” as described in a statement by curators and department faculty members Jonathon Rosen and Ed Valentine.
Among the projects on view are Jenny Goldstick’s This is My Memory of First Heartbreak, Which I Can’t Quite Piece Back Together, an interactive choose-your-own-adventure-style trip through the stages of a relationship. Following two figures in white silhouettes, the scenes in My Memory tell the universal story of heartache through a catalog of memory-evoking objects. Each animated scene includes staged items that can be selected to trigger intimate memories in the puzzle-like narrative.
Alison Paul’s Equinox is a nautical-themed animated short film about a solitary lighthouse watchman. Mixing Victorian-style etching with Monty Python-influenced graphics, Equinox is a paean to loneliness and the power of imagination to overcome, however briefly, an overwhelming feeling of isolation.
Eating Alone by Anna Eveslage considers the culture of eating by oneself. Whether simply out of necessity or respite, Eating Alone—complete with a dining table for viewers to sit at—captures through 23 different characters the many ways solo dining questions what it means to be alone.
Other projects include Ann Coddou’s animated sci-fi graphic novel Visionary; Nadia DeLane’s Spilt Milk, a stop-motion animated film projected onto a tiled backsplash; The Boy Who Ate Words, a “typographic expedition” and interactive narrative based game by Melissa Malzkuhn; and Craig Coss’ Angelica, a graphic novel featuring ghastly Eastern European folk tales.
For more detail on all the student thesis projects, click here.
Top photo by Gabriele Holtermann-Gordon.