Art & Design

Current Student Research

Darren Andrychuk


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.

Adrienne Dagg


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.

Holly de Moissac


My practice serves as a lens to dissect and process vulnerability in personal and significant bodies. I have always been fascinated by transformation and transition; the moment where an object, environment, or body shifts from one category of human understanding to another. Alive and dead, natural and manmade, organic and synthetic are all binaries that help societies process the surrounding world; however, within a wider scope, these classifications coexist, cycle, and weave together in surprising ways. My practice explores these philosophical transformations by creating alchemic hybrids that bind unexpected aspects of human and environmental experience together, exploring qualities of loss and imperfection that are often socially excavated from view. Within the rich print community at the U of A, I am excited to utilize the University’s collections, shift my work in new directions, and develop supportive relationships with enthusiastic peers.

Daniel Evans


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.

Jamie-Lee Girodat


My practice focuses on the evolution of uncertainty within gender roles, family dynamics, and dialogues with the self. Memory preservation, chronophobia, and bodily sensations are central themes in my work. Through intuitive imagery, I explore genetics and identity, playing with the tension between unease and intrigue due to a changing environment. By considering the social norms of different generations, I investigate the trepidation and erotics of aging. The experiences of other members in my family -around childbirth, raising children, working, being married, going through menopause - vary from my experience as a young millennial. However, mapping through a time where advancing technology grants increasing control over natural body processes is both liberating and uncanny. Inspired by artists such as Louis Bourgeois, Shary Boyle, Valie Export and Kiki Smith, I delve into imagery that explores authentic and hypothetical memories among curious surroundings. Through a combination of monotype and dry point printmaking techniques, video, and animation, I attempt to create an evolutionary process with fragmented and organic forms. The professional, collaborative, creative space offered by the University of Alberta MFA program will give me the next level of training I need to push myself further. I look forward to the assortment of courses, structured stages of learning and diversity of art in the city which will help me pursue a career as an artist and educator.

Selene Huff


My current research as an artist explores the abstraction of my experiences and memory through the production of sculptures that follow the Modernist lineage. I have obtained a BFA from the University of Alberta as well as a Journeyman’s ticket from N.A.I.T. I have an affinity for materials, particularly steel. I intend to explore the connections between industrial materials and the human body. These materials can be compressed, stretched and twisted in a very similar manner to the way human skin stretches over muscles and bones as the body moves through space. Both the pieces of repurposed industrial materials I use and the human figure have angles, planes, sharp corners and rounded edges. I try to create sculptures by combining these materials into a configuration that while static, has the same movement as the human body. As a graduate student at the University of Alberta, I am exited to continue to build on the foundations laid in my undergraduate degree under the direction of Peter Hide.

Xi Jin


I’ve spent most of the young-adult life in Canada and trained in range of disciplines. Studying primarily two years in printmaking and art history, then obtaining a BFA from NSCAD University in 2017. My interdisciplinary art practice is not only generated by particular interest in linguistics, semiotics and human sciences; but also focus on material investigation and process. It is not accidental to re-think the value of language because developing the language ability for me happens all the time, which is better to utilize what I know about our physical and social experience to provide the understanding of countless other subjects. Meanwhile, inspired by such George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By (1980) that brings me ideas in exploring: metaphor can structure on understandings of our experiences of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language. Currently, working in printmaking and its displaying, particularly in coming along with experimental practice. I am passionate to take complex operations, to create multiple originals; as well as favour a cumulative approach to composition, combining diverse sources and techniques to arrive at contemporary forms and fresh narratives.

Luke Johnson


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.

Kim McCollum


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


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.

Kathleen Murray


My artwork reflects my strong inclination towards our Canadian environment. As an avid outdoors-woman, I use my own wildlife photographs for reference. The historical attachment I have to Northern Ontario has grown to become a major factor towards the development of my character. Whether my concept is environmental issues, building environmental awareness or building the re-connection between humankind and wildlife, our Canadian species have always played the biggest role within my art. My primary medium of choice is acrylic painting on wood board. While completing my HBFA, I also enjoyed experimenting in sculpture, which is why my latest works have evolved to include cast frames, enhancing each composition. Attending the University of Alberta’s Master of Fine Arts program will be an important step in my artistic career. I look forward to experimenting, learning new artist techniques, staying in touch with our Canadian art scene and experiencing an education that will diversify my direction.

Tamires Para Pedroso


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.

Stephanie Patsula


I am a totally real, not fake, absolutely legit artist: a totally real, not fake, absolutely legit artist – I am in the world. I am, in the whole, made up by my surroundings. I will collect recordings of sound and movement. I may use my body to sculpt and explore new ideas in durational performance. I accumulate objects. I may leave Things behind. This temporary collection is my ritual: exploring the fluidity of dominance and subordination. I am considering how I emerge from a natural landscape. I am discussing the intimate friction as the materials press against and through me.

Phoebe Todd-Parrish


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


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.

Jingyu Zhang


Sometimes I wake up in the morning and listen to the harsh noises from cars and machines. I wonder if this is what life is truly about. When I walk or drive I see vehicles passing by swiftly, people trapped inside these iron boxes, including myself. As an artist, I observe the world and seek connections among the things in our lives. I notice how our contemporary society seems to push us away from each other slowly, causing us countless problems with the development of technology and many other things. I have studied traditional art in China and learned to create many more objects in different styles and methods through my BFA program at the University of Regina. In my MFA program, I am interested in taking this basic competency and apply it toward contemporary issues and styles. It seems that the quality of human life is going backwards as technology develops. Many unnecessary problems are created by science and social media. The relations and conflicts between humanity and contemporary society will be a significant theme for me to present in my paintings.