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Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 8:41 am | Fog/Mist 52º


UCSB Exhibit Puts Creativity of MFA Students on Display

“The Long Drought” (2018) by UCSB artist Maiza Hixson.
“The Long Drought” (2018) by UCSB artist Maiza Hixson. (Maiza Hixson)

It’s said creativity has no bounds — something first- and second-year Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) students at UCSB will demonstrate in their annual Open Studio, 5-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, in the campus’s Harder Studios at Harder Stadium.

The free exhibit — titled Flagged — features diverse works representing patriotism, identity, globalization and democracy, said Maiza Hixson, an MFA graduate student and a co-organizer of the event.

Exhibiting artists are Hixson, Serene Blumenthal, Kio Griffith, Madeleine Eve Ignon, Adam Jahnke, Megan Koth, Kayla Mattes, Elisa Ortega Montilla, Andrew Morrison, Marshall Sharpe, Thomas Stoeckinger, Echo Theohar, Christopher Velasco and David Wesley White.

“Each artist contributed to the exhibition with performance, sculpture, painting and multimedia artworks that speak to these themes in both personal and politically urgent ways,” Hixson said.

“This exhibition is a catalyst for a conversation about the U.S. in relation to the larger world and contemporary culture in general.”

Open Studios offers the artists the chance to provide a behind-the-scenes window into their studio practices, Hixson said.

“As an artist, I am passionate about sharing my creative process with people and hearing their feedback on what interests them about my work,” she said.

“This back-and-forth is rewarding for me because it means that my art does not exist in a vacuum and is informed by engagement with others,” she said.

“Conversations often influence the direction of my work and so having people visit my studio might inspire me to make something new or develop an idea even further.”

What makes the Open Studios exhibit unique among art shows, Hixson said, is that it allows the public to see where an artist creates.

“The studios are where art is living and breathing and where visitors can become insiders,” she said. “They can experience and observe what it means to be a working artist grappling with the world of ideas through new materials and creative methods.”

UCSB is known for its interdisciplinary approach in science, engineering and the humanities, and the MFA artists are no exception. Many work in ways that involve algorithms, artificial intelligence, language and text, film, the humanities, environmental science and even economics, Hixson said.

“Even if you are not interested in art, you may discover something that resonates with you and your particular field of study,” she said.

“Contemporary art is relevant to almost every aspect of human thought and daily life and this is an amazing opportunity to engage first-hand with fascinating thinkers and makers shaping the visual culture of today,” she said.

Harder Studios are located beneath the bleachers at Harder Stadium, closest to Stadium Road. The entrance is on the eastern side of the bleachers; signage will be visible on the day of the show.

Ticketed parking is available in Lot 30 across the street from the stadium.

— Jim Logan for UCSB.


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