MFA show brings variety to UAF gallery
Erin McGroarty / Sun Star
Samples of work created by 6 of the Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) program’s graduate students can be viewed in the Art Department gallery until Feb. 26. on weekdays from 9 a.m-5 p.m. The artistic mediums featured in this show include photography, sculpture, painting and a variety of ceramic styles.
This particular MFA show features work by students Dustin Auerbach, Jenny Chamberlain, Alyssa Enriquez, Sharon Hollensbe, Ellamarie Quimby and Junko (Yanagida) Ledneva.
The MFA program at UAF hosts several shows throughout the school year for their students to display their work in. These shows provide gallery goers with a small taste of what these students will be exhibiting in their final thesis shows.
Dustin Auerbach, 35, features ceramic stoneware and an oil painting in his body of work. Through his work, Auerbach says he hopes to “emulate the way our emotions take hold of our lives.”
His oil painting features intense swirls of color across the canvas, mimicking the “twisting, pulling and pushing [that] our emotions do on a daily basis.” This sense of raw of emotion can be seen in his ceramic stoneware as well, shown through the organic lines and dynamic use of color on the two vessels.
Jenny Chamberlain’s work features ceramics as well. These smaller pieces sport more natural tones and organics shapes as a whole. In this particular series, Chamberlain displays six clay vessels using a variety of firing techniques.
Chamberlain, 33, says her love of ceramics began in a high school art class at the age of 15.
“I vividly remember … anxiously awaiting the beginning of my first class,” she said. “Thinking I was alone, my eyes suddenly diverted to a silent corner of the art room, where a student sat hunched over his wheel, I was mesmerized by the movement of the clay and the still and silent concentration of the potter. From that moment on, I knew that clay would hold a special place in my life.”
Photography MFA student, Alyssa Enriquez, displayed three of her abstract landscape photos in the show. Enriquez spends much of her time traveling throughout Alaska to capture these unique images.
She says her work draws from her own personal history.
“When I hit the shutter I am piecing together a fragmented narrative of self,” she said. “This ‘self’ is rooted in place. I find my place through connecting with the land around me.”
Sharon Hollensbe is displaying four abstract oil-on-canvas paintings in this show. These paintings feature an intense use of color and abstract form.
“I like to create depth and movement through color, value and form,” Hollensbe said, regarding her painting style. “Color relationships dominate my interests in making abstract paintings.”
Ellamarie Quimby, 25, is exhibiting five archival pigment photo prints in this show. These images depict intimate moments in her family’s life since her mother’s diagnosis with ALS, also known as Lou Gherig’s disease, in 2014.
Quimby explained that her personal connection with this body of work has added a level of necessity to the work itself, but also presented her with with some hurdles to overcome.
“My photography has always been concerned with psychological conflict and trauma, though I’ve looked at those ideas in very different ways over the years,” Quimby said. “My interests are the same as they always have been… but they’ve taken a dramatically inward turn in the last few years.”
Junko (Yanagida) Ledneva, a graduate student in the Native Arts master’s program, presents a unique medium by painting oil-paint directly on wood. These three paintings are paired with a sculpture entitled “Self Portrait”. This sculpture is made of birch bark, artificial sinew, roots, Yup’ik drum frame segments and bear hide.
“To make art, for me, is a way of experiencing the natural beauty of the earth,” Ledneva said.
Much of her work features birch bark. Like many of the other artists in this show, Ledneva finds deep personal connection in her work. She says she enjoys using this material because it represents all three of her cultural backgrounds: Japanese, American and Russian.