Art & Design

Current Student Research

Darren Andrychuk

MFA candidate in Drawing/Intermedia
Email: dandrych@ualberta.ca

As a gay relic from the 1980s, I am interested in the changing faces of gay male culture. I have watched my cohort of friends come out and die. I have worked through that lens all of my life. I have currently completed a body of research and exploration on vertical colonialism (the act of taking over a culture through the subtle means of appropriation and reinterpretation) by examining the continual appropriation of gay roles by straight actors and the consequences of such actions. In my research I am going to address the word ‘Queer’ and it’s inappropriate use by both cultural theorists and parts of the LGBT community. This word is a slur and yet unlike any other derogatory word, people seem to feel that the word, ‘Queer’ is appropriate to use, no matter how much pain it causes to groups of people. This word, along with the word ‘Cis’, have become tools to re-enact the history of gay male oppression. These words are the words of the hegemony, and those who wish to be part of it, used to create acceptable and understandable binaries and to prune off unacceptable cultures, cultural practices and to facilitate the absorption of those willing to adhere. I hope my work will spur on other oppressed groups to question their own destinies.

Noemi de Bruijn

MFA candidate in Painting
Email: debruijn@ualberta.ca

I am dual citizen between two awesome countries! Canada and Mexico. Most of my life was spent in Mexico and art has always been my passion. I was extremely excited and privileged to move to Canada and pursue this career. My interests are in researching wildlife, particularly extinct species and the reasons for their extinction. My work deals with issues of violence, exploitation, and current balances of power between the environment, wildlife, machinery, and modern concepts of hybridity and mass production: Seeking to find the point where they awkwardly crash into each other. We have an idealized and romanticized image of what nature, wildlife, and our resources really are and I plan to high five that notion in the face. I’m fond of story telling and I look forward to developing this further as I pursue my Masters in Fine Arts. The U of A is a wonderful space where we are able to work one on one with several other creative minds and experienced artists who have worked in the field for several years. I look forward to having my own space to work in and to push myself to become better in my art practice.

Adrienne Dagg

MFA candidate in Painting
Email: adagg@ualberta.ca

I’ve spent most of my life in Toronto and Montreal, taking long breaks to live and work abroad. Urban centers have always been my home and my inspiration. My interests lie in the dynamic energy of the urban sphere. The people of cities, their relationships, their loves and lonelinesses have become the focus of my work. I have chosen to represent the lives lived in cities through representational, figurative narratives that capture individuals and groups, often in explicitly public contexts. My paintings are carefully collaged and constructed in order to connect my characters and their dramas to the viewer. My work records moments of connection, like a secret nod from a friend, an understanding, or a spark of emotional recognition shared by strangers. I use local and international conflicts to study how these moments exist for groups of people. Our fractured world, rife with discord, draws people together as much as it deepens divides. Police and protestor. Hoodlum and oligarch. It is through these dichotomous groups that society defines itself. In these struggles I find connection. Connection between subjects. Connection between myself and my work. Connection between viewer and painting. I aim to harness the full force of these conflicts and relationships as artistic subjects while I work towards my MFA at the University of Alberta. I am excited to explore this new chapter.

Daniel Evans

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: dee@ualberta.ca

After obtaining my BFA in Drawing from ACAD, my interest in narrative and storytelling led me to study English at MacEwan University, and obtain an MA in Design from the North Wales School of Art and Design. My current research explores narrative tropes and worldbuilding techniques sourced from folklore, mythology, and speculative fiction as a means of social critique. I am particularly drawn to themes of transformation, hybridity, and liminal spaces: the things Donna Haraway, in A Manifesto for Cyborgs, calls “[the] transgressed boundaries, potent fusions and dangerous possibilities...[one] might explore as part of needed political work”. Through the creation of monstrous, amalgam, and hybrid entities and spaces, I seek to destabilize hegemonic notions of borders and boundaries, wielding imaginative potential as a tool for social commentary. I look forward to working with dedicated peers and faculty as part of the University of Alberta's MFA program to further refine my artistic practice.

Luke Johnson

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: ljohnson@ualberta.ca

In my artwork, I am concerned foremost with the notion of 'the archive’, and the way in which society chooses what material is important to ‘official’ history, and what is discarded. Through processes of research, interpretation, and dissemination of materials, including historical print media, interior decor, and other ephemera, I create prints, publications, and site-responsive installation works tracing how identity is constructed and value assigned through collecting and archiving. A native of Minnesota, I received my BFA in Print Media and Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Madeline Mackay

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: mackay2@ualberta.ca

Wild land is important in my work, not because it is untouched but because when left to itself the land’s own identity becomes apparent. Wild land includes not only the physical form of land but the patterns of cause and effect, growth and decay and the subtle collisions of animate and inanimate matter that take place within it. I was fortunate enough to be part of a group that went to the Sambaa K’e Print Workshop in Trout Lake, NWT, in 2014 with Professor Gavin Renwick, and this experience of living and working in an Aboriginal community - my first encounter with Canada - has profoundly impacted my perception of the place. My time at Sambaa K’e caused me to re-evaluate the relationship between people and land and heightened my awareness of how, where the main mode of observation is either empirical or directly inherited, perception of land is richer and more complex. Direct interaction with the land discovers what is inexplicable in it and feeds this with what is inexplicable in the psyche; legends and traditions emerge that come out of the patterns of both the psyche and the external world, and the division between mind and matter can become unimportant, or perhaps non-existent. It is this space between mind and matter that especially interests me, and I hope to explore it and other related themes in depth through my studies at the University of Alberta and through further interactions with the community at Sambaa K’e. I was attracted to the University of Alberta printmaking program by the opportunity to work with faculty whose practice I greatly admire, together with the exceptional standard of both the course itself and the work produced by the faculty and students.

Angela Marino

MFA candidate in Painting
Email: amarino@ualberta.ca

I have successfully completed my Bachelor of Education at Brock University, and Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Art History at McMaster University. I am currently a practicing artist residing in Hamilton, Ontario and my artwork deals with the framework of mental illness in our society. Through painting, printmaking and drawing, my process consists of using images of the vulnerable gaze and the visceral to create a tension that may conger up feelings of loss, sorrow, happiness, and despair. I want to evoke a response from the viewer that will impact their own trepidation and recall memories and feelings that may be unsettling. I chose to come to the MFA program at U of A because I believe it would allow my growth as a professional artist to strive and facilitate the further development of my exploration into human dilemmas.

Kim McCollum

MFA candidate in Painting
Email: amarino@ualberta.ca

My work is informed by my experience working with people who have cognitive impairment and dementia.  I am interested in how our brains store memories and how the passage of time can affect perceptions of the past.  I find the fragility and plasticity of our brains fascinating from a scientific and philosophical perspective.  I want to explore how we as a society create collective memories and pass on information to preserve the past.

Currently, I am working with oil paint and cold wax medium.  Multiple layers of wax and oil paint are built up and then selectively scratched, eroded and dissolved, mimicking the natural process of erosion.  This system of addition and subtraction creates a visual history, which shows through in the complex texture of the final piece.  My process is a balance of spontaneity and control.  Carving and printmaking tools are used, providing opportunity for interesting accidents to make their way into the painting.  Usually I begin with an idea in mind, but am never certain where the painting will end up.  Like a memory, the painting almost inevitably takes on a life of its own.  I am excited to join the other MFA candidates at the University of Alberta as we learn from the faculty and each other!

Myken McDowell

MFA Candidate in Printmaking
Email: myken1@ualberta.ca

My interdisciplinary art practice is grounded in ideas surrounding narrative and the archive. My experience on an archeological dig in Jordan—trying to decipher exactly what happened to the family that lived in the Iron Age house we were excavating—felt like a giant, never-ending puzzle. A game driven not by an impetus to win, but a desire to know someone’s story and preserve it in a way that will continue to speak. Since then, I have been driven to tell stories through my work, often merging traditional methods with contemporary technologies as a means of exploring different perspectives. Inspired by haptic videos like Tharesa Hak Kyung Cha’s Mouth to Mouth (1975) and Mona Hatoum’s Measures of Distance (1988), my recent work combines intaglio and animation to examine the impact of time and distance on narrative. I am beyond excited to be pursuing an MFA at the University of Alberta, and look forward to joining an artistic community that will challenge and motivate me as I pursue my research interest in merging traditional techniques with new technologies to raise questions.

TJ McLachlan

MFA candidate in Sculpture
Email: tmclachl@ualberta.ca

In my work I focus on maintaining a material practice that is tempered by a strong theoretical background. Graduating from Emily Carr University in 2015, majoring in Critical and Cultural Practices, my research focuses on meaning-making processes, looking to find connections among disparate fields such as rhetoric, cultural theory, and the study of perception. This exploration informs my sculptural practice, which concentrates on the viewer's experience in front of the art object, intending to highlight the production of knowledge. These post-structuralist ambitions parallel my character, balancing idealism and materialism while being slightly too earnest.

Tamires Para Pedroso

MFA candidate in Painting
Email: parapedr@ualberta.ca

My interest lies in the field of experience design and affordance, particularly when it comes to incorporating new mediums into my practice (I intend to extrapolate my knowledge of digital painting into traditional painting and sculpture). This experimentation will be richly documented through a form of “backlog”, describing the methodology of my research and my feelings about the decisions I will be making in this creative path. My experience working for videogame companies in Brazil enables me to address issues of artistic expression within game production and of balancing user experience and storytelling. More specifically, giving the player a feeling of freedom to do what they want but still keeping a certain degree of control and predictability over what ultimately happens and rewarding said player in a meaningful and gratifying way. Being a gamer since I was very young, I find that games are most effective in giving the user a sense of choice - and through choice, the door to empathy can be opened. By joining the artistic community at U of A, I expect to broaden my spectrum of personal experiences, the precious fuel that drives my art-making. The odds of finding new challenges entices my artistic mind and pushes me to give out my best as both an artist and as an individual. I hope my enthusiasm can encourage my peers at the program and challenge them to push their skills and goals beyond the expected.

Meghan Pohlod

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: pohlod@ualberta.ca

My recent body of work explores traumatic memory storage through recollections triggered by image, place, and time. Edward Casey and Henri Bergson’s research on memory triggers and storage influence my investigations. Through my work I have gained insight on how this transpires biologically, which has driven me to approach printmaking in a contemporary way by utilizing nontraditional forms mirroring this effect. Working in large-scale installations allows for repetition throughout the work that takes form on and off the wall using primarily monotype and lithography. Printmaking allows for the practice of repetitive action and response to the materials at hand. The process within lithography and monotype yields imprinted mark making to encourage specific information. My beginning at University of Alberta has already begun to generate new memories and experiences that will further drive my examination of how memory's storage and effects on our bodies. I look forward to studying internationally and learning from both faculty and students.

Miriam Rudolph

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: mrudolph@ualberta.ca

I completed my BFA at the University of Manitoba in 2007. Since then, I have been working as a printmaker. My prints are visual narratives about my experiences and perceptions of different places I have been to. It is important for me to experience my surroundings very consciously, to be aware of details and to render the essence of a place in my artwork. Beneath the narrative of memories and perceptions lies the concept of my search for belonging that I experience after growing up in Paraguay/South America and living in four different countries and cultures (Paraguay, Germany, Canada, and the U.S.A.). My work shows places that I feel connected to and serves to document, to evaluate, and to remember. I use a mapping method which has a lot of symbolic meaning for the search of belonging, because maps facilitate searching, way finding, and revisiting. The flat, map-like, and layered structure of my prints allows me to build up a narrative of different experiences simultaneously. My work has moved from illustrative map forms to more narrative and metaphorical work, exploring themes of home and belonging, farewells and new beginnings, holding on and letting go. I would like to extend my personal narratives to include social commentary and to address broader themes and issues in my work. I chose the UofA for my MFA because of the Department of Art and Design's excellent reputation for their printmaking program.

Angela Snieder

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: snieder@ualberta.ca

Working primarily in printmaking, I have grown increasingly captivated by the qualities and the possibilities of this vast medium. I am drawn to the multiplicity, the repetition, the ritual – the layering, the keeping and discarding, the making and making again. In my print practice, I am interested in concepts of the sublime relating to landscape, as well as ideas of ambiguity, both in form and in subject matter. I am intrigued by ideas of micro and macrocosm, and to imagery that hovers between representational and abstract space, where the scale and subject matter are unclear. My recent works address this space through landscapes that are rendered obscure by darkness to become at times nearly indecipherable. There is a particularity within the forms, but also a generalized sense of place.

I am thrilled to be joining the group of MFA candidates at the University of Alberta, and look forward to developing my art practice alongside motivated students and faculty.

Rebecca Thera

MFA candidate in Drawing & Intermedia
Email: rathera@ualberta.ca

I identify as a feminist artist, exploring themes such as the body, the relationship between art and viewer, story-telling and subjective thought. I came to focus on embroidery in the final year of my BFA and have spent the last three years exploring embroidery and mixed media in a variety of forms, such as through fashion and sculpture. I focus on emotionally charged work, allowing the medium to evolve organically. I am excited to continue my exploration of mixed media, drawing and embroidery, while developing new ways to incorporate fibre into my practice. During my study at the U of A, I would like to continue exploring ideas of matriarchy, story-telling and subjectivity. My primary focus in art-making is to create an emotional connection between the art and viewer, which will become apparent through the communication of personal and familial stories.

Phoebe Todd-Parrish

MFA candidate in Printmaking
Email: toddparr@ualberta.ca

By combining both traditional fine-art print practices with digital techniques and installation, I try to bring different technologies, viewer experiences and artistic processes together in conversation through print media working with the technical limits and possibilities of each. My interest in language and narrative has led me to investigate the familiar act of “reading” in books and multiples and their historical (and contemporary) ties to print making processes. My work focuses on notions of communication and desire for connection in living and non-living things (present/absent, real/imagined) as interpreted through my own experiences and through viewer-work interaction. I am interested in exploring how meaning develops between imagined, invented or circumstantial connection via sensory perception; how the inner and outer world is formed or dissolved through interaction and negation (construction, reproduction and reduction). I am very much looking forward to being a part of the Printmaking area at U of A and studying in a program that is known for having alumnus and faculty that have excelled in traditional and more experimental or interdisciplinary methods of printmaking.

Joshua Wade

MFA candidate in Drawing/Intermedia
Email: jwade1@ualberta.ca

Transparency, layering, specificity of juxtaposition, ambiguity, and materiality inform and inspire my artistic activity. I am engaged with the process of progression; the physical and visual engagement that is spontaneous in the work I produce. I am fascinated with adding and subtracting, editing and modifying, which allows me to analyze the changes that evolve throughout the course of each piece. I work with a variety of materials, mixing media that sometimes is physically resistant, has unexpected outcomes, and is difficult to manipulate. I enjoy working in a series, which facilitates subtle changes; take ideas explored in one work and implement these changes in the next piece. Frequently my ideas are formed not only by my curiosity but also by my process. Each work informs and offers possibilities beyond itself for future investigation.