The first-ever virtual exhibitions in Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA in Visual Art program are available for viewing on Kunstmatrix, a platform for showing art online. The two exhibitions — graduating students and new/returning students — opened the week of July 20 and will remain live through September 20.
VCFA’s summer 2020 graduates are Amy Bernard, Felice M. Gittelman, Kay Leach, Kylan Sattler, Ross Sheehan, and Henry J. Simonds. On the experience of reenvisioning her thesis exhibition for a virtual format in light of pandemic, Bernard said, “When I imagined my MFA thesis exhibition and graduation, I saw it very differently from how it happened. That being said, it was a thoroughly amazing experience. We weren’t sitting on the stage, we weren’t clinking glasses at an opening reception, but we were sharing in a groundbreaking experience that was underscored with our determination and perseverance.”
VCFA has always prided itself on working hard to prepare each student for post-MFA life as a working artist. Adapting gracefully to this new reality of life for working artists is just a continuation of the path the college has paved since it launched the United States’s first low-residency MFA in Visual Art in 1991. The program’s commitment to research-based art practice helps students understand how their role as artists is critical to contemporary discourses, not only as makers but as thinkers, speakers, and cultural producers.
This summer’s virtual residency explored “Objects, Projects, and Failures,” contemplating how the biggest risks artists take in the studio or in their research are what most propel them forward. The residency featured poet/essayist Claudia Rankine as a visiting scholar, along with John Lucas, Karin Oen, and Lana Lin. Visiting artists included Cog*nate Collective, Parastoo Anoushahpour, Sheila Pepe, and Trinie Dalton.
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