Presented by MFA Illustration as Visual Essay

MFA Illustration as Visual Essay: Selections from Thesis Projects

May 25 - June 20

Illustrated graphic of MFA Illustration as Visual Essay's graduating thesis class, featuring a billboard containing a self-portrait by each of the featured artists across it.

School of Visual Arts presents “Selections from Thesis Projects,” an online exhibition of thesis projects by the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay class of 2020. Curated by David Sandlin, thesis coordinator, the exhibition will be on view from Monday, May 25, through Saturday, June 20, at galleries.sva.edu.

 

Enjoy a respite from pestilence and fear with a virtual tour that transcends time, borders, cultures and even reality with a multiverse of illustrated narrative possibilities. Visitors will stroll through nostalgic city landscapes; relive the balmy summers of yesteryear with Mister Softee as their guide; explore urban American culture from a Brazilian perspective; and join the survivors of a disaster-wracked metropolis before escaping into the utopian vision of a community of urban skateboarders.

 

See verdant, flower-filled gardens with florists and botanical experts of field and meadow, and a darker one filled with fantastical misfit creatures; hop over to an island inhabited by quirky, entertaining animals; and take a fantastical trip to rescue some childhood imaginary friends.

 

Pause in your journey to riffle through an oracle deck of divination cards and a sardonically draconian manual of behavior for children, and examine a “wonder cabinet” of human sentiments, represented by biological specimens and other natural curiosities.

 

Venture into the interior realms of perception and empathy with metamorphoses—a Kafkaesque transformation triggered by the onset of puberty, and a koan-like parable of a boy who becomes a tiger—and metaphors: surreal dreamscapes of emotions personified and graphic emblems of alienation and social malaise. Against a stark midwestern landscape, join a solitary mouse in his lonely daily routine.

 

Move toward lightness to explore the many facets of love with a prismatic display of passion in pure form and color, and uncover a mystical connection between an old woman and an alley cat that bridges this world and the next.

 

The works here represent a fraction of the output generated by this spectacularly talented group of young artists. The persistence and resilience the class of 2020 has exercised to make beautiful and significant work in the face of dislocation, self-isolation and uncertainty is both impressive and inspiring. Their achievements exemplify visual narrative’s power to both provoke reflection and uplift the spirit.

 

The MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of 21st-century media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual-art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.


Below is a sample of work from “Selections from Thesis Projects.” Visit galleries.sva.edu to view the entire exhibition.

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