2024 UAUA Exhibition

Everyone shows! The University of Arizona Undergraduate Art Exhibition (UAUA) features work by undergraduate students enrolled in classes in the School of Art through April 18, 2024.

Installed salon-style in the Lionel Rombach Gallery, the exhibition offers many students their first opportunity to exhibit their artwork in a gallery setting.

A public reception is set for Thursday, April 4, from 4 to 6 p.m.

2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition features 7 artists

Carrying on a tradition that began in 1970, seven graduate students from the School of Art will present their work in the 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition in collaboration with the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

The exhibition, “Leaving to Arrive,” with installations in UAMA and in the school’s Joseph Gross Gallery, will run from April 15 to May 10. A public reception is scheduled for May 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the School of Art’s lobby and atrium.

Featured will be the work of graduating MFA students Jacqueline Arias, Nathan Cordova, Drew Grella, Hanan Khatoun, Tessa Laslo, Anita Maksimiuk and Dana Smith.

“The Sonoran Desert: A Model for Surviving the Sixth Extinction,” Dana Smith (in UAMA)
“The Sonoran Desert: A Model for Surviving the Sixth Extinction,” Dana Smith (in UAMA)
“A Lived Experience,” Jacqueline Arias (in UAMA)
“A Lived Experience,” Jacqueline Arias (in UAMA)
“A Lived Experience,” Jacqueline Arias (in UAMA)
“A Lived Experience,” Jacqueline Arias (in UAMA)
Entrance to Joseph Gross Gallery
Entrance to Joseph Gross Gallery
“Infinity Stone: American Prawda,” Anita Maksimiuk (in Gross)
“Infinity Stone: American Prawda,” Anita Maksimiuk (in Gross)
“Imprints,” Tessa Laslo (in Gross)
“Imprints,” Tessa Laslo (in Gross)
“No Trespassing | Passing | Trespassing,” Drew Grella (in UAMA)
“No Trespassing | Passing | Trespassing,” Drew Grella (in UAMA)
“Feeling a Future Coming,” Nate Cordova (in UAMA)
“Feeling a Future Coming,” Nate Cordova (in UAMA)
Part of “Feeling a Future Coming,” Nate Cordova (in UAMA)
Part of “Feeling a Future Coming,” Nate Cordova (in UAMA)
“Sheer” Hanan Khatoun (in Gross)
“Sheer” Hanan Khatoun (in Gross)
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This annual MFA Thesis Exhibition, the culmination of the Master of Fine Arts Studio Degree, is presented during a graduate student’s final semester in the three-year degree program. During the last year of their coursework, graduates work closely with faculty to develop a body of original art to present to the public in lieu of a written thesis. The result offers visitors the opportunity to see new, cutting-edge art in a variety of mediums and styles.

“This is the next generation of artists who will be going out and impacting the discipline and thinking about what their next chapter looks like,” School of Art Director Colin Blakely said.

A look at each student’s installation and their artist’s statement:

Jacqueline Arias

  • Title: “A Lived Experience”
  • Gallery: UAMA
Jacqueline Arias

The monumental engineering feat of the Panama Canal came at great cost: 40,000 people were displaced, and their villages submerged forever. During the construction of the canal over twenty thousand men and women, brought from the West Indies, lost their lives. Decades after these tragedies, I found myself on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus, as an adoptee from Costa Rica, inhabiting foreign soil with a new identity and language. It was here where I forged a profound connection with the people and the culture of Panama.

This installation tells the story of these interconnected experiences. Utilizing rope and pulleys, I interrogate the ramifications of power structures on individual bodies and collective identities. The constructed knots reveal the ongoing legacy of imperialism. Rope and AI technologies are transformed from their roles as signifiers of power and control to find meaning and connection amid the tumultuous currents of displacement and cultural erasure. The individual strands and fibers of the dismantled rope reflect the complex paths carved by my lived experiences. My hands and body recode history both materially and digitally through embodied knowledge critiquing unethical adoption practices and labor exploitation in Panama.

“A Lived Experience” grapples with the trauma of colonial dehumanization and the yearning for reunion with one’s homeland and culture.

Nathan Cordova

  • Title: “Feeling a Future Coming”
  • Venue: UAMA
Nathan Cordova

My project considers the potential of friendship and offers a pointed critique of institutions and our consumption of their products. Friendship is slippery and difficult to maintain. There are social and cultural taboos that attempt to constrain our friendships. This is a social experiment that breaks through the isolation we all feel. What does it say about our present moment where amidst profound loneliness, we desire visceral connections with each other to problematize the limits of our individual bodies? By inviting participation, I’m asking myself and my friends to step out of this isolation and to encounter each other anew. I’m valuing critical connections over critical mass, applying force on strategic pressure points that form the boundaries of typical friendships. There is a momentary embodiment of liberation in this act, as I re-imagine what is possible.

I appropriate and re-contextualize collections of digital images of western domination gathered from the internet. This involves engaging with both the visible architecture like the skyscraper, and the supposedly invisible infrastructure, such as data centers and military drones. Anger and pleasure play an important role, offering a means of embodiment and exploration of the collection’s emotional and sensorial dimensions. Through a material intervention, I challenge notions of fixed identity and embrace the fluidity and multiplicity of human experience. This interruption utilizes an interdisciplinary process of layered blurring that transforms their symbolisms into something elemental; liquid and flame, semen and squirting, embodied presence etching sunlight and sifting blood.

Blurring the boundaries between past and present, self, and other, I invite viewers to engage these collections on a visceral level through the presence of their own reflections in black acrylic surfaces mediated by images layered with physical ejaculate, traces of our sequential self-pleasure. Remixed marketing videos from The University of Arizona and Raytheon (now rebranded as RTX Corporation) point to their mutually beneficial relationship built on endless cycles of debt and death.

All of this works together to disrupt conventional modes of perception. Challenging the rigidity of these images as repositories of meaning and enforcers of social order, “Feeling a Future Coming” reconfigures their signifiers to a point of emergence, where all futures become possible again. Reclaiming agency over our bodies and desires is a fundamental step toward liberation, contributing to a more empathetic and introspective society that questions rigid authority and embraces the beauty of uncertainty.

Drew Grella

  • Title: “No Trespassing | Passing | Trespassing”
  • Gallery: UAMA
Drew Grella

“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.”

Bruce Chatwin

I moved to Tucson during the Covid-19 pandemic when everything was shut down. I spent a lot of time roaming the desert and the town. Walking in the liminal space of the dry Rillito riverbed was especially surreal, strewn with trash, memorials, votive sculptures, and lost possessions. While my body moved through this new and unique place, my mind mapped my impressions of nature, waste, and the boundaries between public spaces and private property.

Deliberate walking is simple and beautiful. It is my method for collecting the imagery which emerges when I draw. Intuitive drawing is simple and beautiful. It is my method for revealing to me what I did not know, what I cannot put into words. In the studio, the walking body becomes the drawing body, continuing a contemplative stroll.

Hanan Khatoun

  • Title: “Sheer”
  • Gallery: Joesph Gross
Hanan Khatoun

My separation from culture, language, and family as a member of the Lebanese Diaspora has driven my desire to narrate the experience of what happens after the sensationalizing of war and displacement wears off. The struggle of forging and finding space for one’s identity both within and outside the structures of culture, religion, and family is a reality for those who are generations removed from another home. I am a second-generation immigrant from Lebanon, one of the smallest countries in the world, yet the diaspora population outside the country is larger than that within. Being removed from one place and living in another is common in an increasingly globalized and colonized society. In what ways do we create space for navigating these realities?

“Sheer” is a physical space representative of my search for cultural identity. I construct a space for navigating this self-conception using familial archives, trinkets, documents, photographs, and oral storytelling. These all hold unique language and memory, which in turn, become proof of experience. Woven together they create an identity which I embrace and push against. The act of weaving enables me to explore how disparate things often come together to make a chaotic but contained whole. The work is viewed only at a distance through a fabric cage, indicative of the structures and barriers against which I struggle to understand my multicultural identity.

Tessa Laslo

  • Title: “Imprints”
  • Gallery: Joseph Gross
Tessa Laslo

In my performative drawing and video works, I delve into the intricate web of personal trauma, investigating its impact on my body, relationships, and self-perception. The lingering effects of sexual assault has left me grappling with fragmented memories and physical scars while igniting a profound anger — an emotion that pervades my work and influences my ability to engage in intimate relationships.

The emotional and physical effects of this trauma are not portrayed as overwhelming obstacles in my work, but rather as integral components of an ongoing narrative. I revisit past abuse to illuminate the resilience and strength that can emerge from a process of artistic confrontation and self-discovery. Imprints combines cyanotype and soft pastels in large-scale drawings alongside a video installation using a twin-sized bed. I’ve opted for materials that lack any semblance of preciousness. The paper is weathered, beaten, and used; worn down by time and wear. Each crease and tear are reflections of the sense of violation that still affects my body and mind. The physicality of the paper, marked by violence, serves as a tangible manifestation of my emotions and experiences, grounding them in truth.

Anger, a powerful undercurrent in my artistic expression, stems not only from what I have experienced, but from the ongoing emotional and physical ramifications that are likely to persist throughout my life. It is a visceral response to the violation of my autonomy and the enduring consequences that ripple through my existence. This anger weaves itself into the fabric of my art, becoming both a driving force and an intense element that shape the narrative of my work.

Anita Maksimiuk

  • Title: “Infinity Stone: American Prawda”
  • Gallery: Joseph Gross
Anita Maksimiuk

As a printmaker, my work engages the symbology of migration, root-taking, rootlessness, and the urban environment. This is largely based on my experience as a first-generation American in Brooklyn, New York and beyond. Watching the city’s immigrant enclaves gentrify and lose their sense of sanctuary motivates me to document, preserve, and question the familiar through printmaking.

By creating cityscapes that deconstruct and reconfigure the iconic, I preserve both places and histories that fade along with the immigrant. As I move through this country, I keep in mind the glare of separation, the repairs I’ve made, and the fractures that remain.

“Infinity Stone: American Prawda” features primarily lithography, with screen printed elements. Historic mediums once prevalent in both fine art and advertising, these two processes challenge and contrast one another.

Methods of deletion, stencil and layer come together to form the printed image, all while honoring its ghost. These approaches allow me to subvert the traditional application of the lithography process, working the limestone surface until it becomes a source of light, color and texture. Starting with photographic images from my personal archive, I coax information out from the surface of the stone chemically. As the landscape is layered, removed and replaced, it begins to mimic the motions of an overdeveloped urban space.

I use the stone to create one-of-a-kind prints rather than producing editions. Using shifts in scale, photographic elements and a non-traditional approach to the process, I reclaim it as a tool of documentation, propaganda and mystery.

Pushing the lithograph beyond its traditional black and white, drawn image, the group of foldable posters presented here re-casts an iconic cityscape in an intimate light, worked into existence entirely by hand. Hung as banners, these images will travel, degrade, and return as I do.

Meant to be approached, the light and horizon that grounds these prints let the gaze linger while the viewer imagines, yearns, or simply remembers. This perspective alludes to an unattainable yet promising aspect of building a home, nationality and a claim to a city. The images take on an iconographic quality, representing a place that is constantly in motion. It is a horizon that is constructed over, bought, sold, and advertised as an object of desire. Here, it is reconstructed as a symbol of hope, haven, and history. It will tear but persist, both physically on paper and intangibly, within the child looking towards home.

Whether these prints become mementos or mirages, they ultimately take on the role of documents. I see my evolving work as a journey, a narrative and a documentary practice, bound within a fleeting medium.

Dana Smith

  • Title: “The Sonoran Desert: A Model for Surviving the Sixth Extinction”
  • Gallery: UAMA
Dana Smith

Since the Cambrian explosion over 500 million years ago, an astounding variety of exotic and resilient life forms have thrived and diversified throughout the world. Starting as primitive cells in a world slammed by catastrophic events, the life forms today in the rugged Sonoran Desert have developed extraordinary physical defenses key to their survival. This beautiful yet brutal desert inspired me to investigate the world of invertebrates and microorganisms, the survivors of multiple planetary catastrophes, whether gathered from a habitat in my backyard pond and examined under a microscope or encountered while roaming the desert.

Constructing oversized ceramic sculptures and drawings re-creates and interrogates the magnificent structures that these creatures have used as protection for survival. Bringing attention to these armored desert microorganisms and insects who have learned to adapt to extreme heat and long-term drought may teach us much as we enter the era of the Anthropocene. We can learn from their secrets as concern arises over our own adaptability.

I fell down some stairs

I fell down some stairs

Lyle Emmerson Jr.
Floral Arrangement

Floral Arrangement

Janessa Southerland
What Do You See?

What Do You See?

Utvista Galiante
Half Off Special

Half Off Special

Wilbur Dallas Fremont
Tailgate Party

Tailgate Party

Roger Masterson