MFA thesis exhibition: Steady/Retcon

MFA thesis exhibition: Steady/Retcon

Syracuse University

Shuoran Zhou, Absent, 2022.

May 3, 2022
MFA thesis exhibition
May 7–8, 2022
Opening reception: May 7, 3–6pm
Building 407
407 A Colonels Row
Governors Island, New York 10004
United States

Curated by Laura Dvorkin, Steady/Retcon features the work of 18 MFA candidates from VPA’s School of Art (studio arts and illustration programs), School of Design, and Department of Film and Media Arts.

Traditionally a literary and cinematic technique, “retcon” is the abbreviation of “retroactive continuity” and refers to a new piece of information introduced to a story that alters the interpretation of a previously established narrative. “Retcon” is not just employed in a fictional context, read in a book or viewed on a screen but experienced in the world around us. In the current climate, we are absorbing new information constantly (like it or not!), and it is challenging the way we see everything—day to day, hour to hour. Our internal database is developing at record speed. What was recognized as commonplace merely a year ago is being reexamined, and at times, by the entire world in unison. 

The artists in this exhibition are evaluating and reframing their personal histories, traditional standards of art-making and history as a whole. While in everyday life, the constant introduction of so-called “facts” and opinions appear erratic; the investigations held within the artworks in the exhibition are much more intentional, slower-paced, steady. They are careful and curious assessments removed from the web of media and into meticulously presented ideas. 

About the curator
Laura Dvorkin ’06 is the co-curator of “The Bunker Artspace: Collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody” in West Palm Beach, Florida. She has worked with the collection since 2008, managing large presentations of the collection at institutions and the exhibitions that DeWoody curates. Dvorkin’s recent exhibitions include “In The Absence of Light: Gesture, Humor and Resistance in The Black Aesthetic” at the Rebuild Foundation, Chicago, and “A Very Anxious Feeling: Voices of Unrest in the American Experience” at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia.

Artist bios
Patrick Boehmcke
 (b. 1993 Philadelphia) is a writer, filmmaker and visual artist. Using video as his primary tool, his work largely focuses on the alienation, oddity and yearning of suburban American living.

Aaron Burleson (b. 1996) is a photographer born in Hartford, Connecticut, and raised in Glastonbury, Connecticut, a suburb outside the state’s capitol.

Kevin Frazier is an artist from Chicago who is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. He received a BFA from the University of Missouri and an MFA in studio art from Syracuse University. If not in the studio you can find him hanging around the climbing gym or skatepark.

Manya Gadhok is a documentary and narrative filmmaker. Gadhok is dedicated towards telling stories that find its roots in the experiences shared with and around her family. Her work explores the themes of gender discrimination and class divide prevalent in one's society.  

Sierra Haynes (b. 1997) was born in Syracuse, New York. In 2015 she received a BFA in photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Her work deals with ideas of family, memory and childhood, by way of observing her surroundings to realize a deeper understanding. 

Jana Herman (b. 1992) is an artist working with image and text originally from Massachusetts. Her practice considers memory, forgetting and the evolution of understanding through time. 

Douglas Johnson is curious about painting, digital space, world-building, video games and always wants to see beautiful things if he can find them.  He now works at the intersection of painting and digital technology.

Tamara Quiet Storm-Jordan is an Indigenous visual, recording artist, author, and illustrator from Boston, MA. Her work is embodied in breaking down the stereotypes of what it means to be indigenous in the twenty-first century and decolonization. 

Michael Kalish (b.1964) spent his childhood outside Albany, New York. He discovered an interest in making sculpture during his first semester of college. An intervening lifetime returned Kalish to upstate New York and to the organized pursuit of his art.

Alex Kulick (b.1995) is an interdisciplinary artist working with artificial intelligence, machine learning, video projection, printmaking and installation. Using her roots in the South as thematic influence, and through the use of “deepfakes,” She explores how interpersonal, domestic and public space affect the individual. 

Xuan Liu (b. 1997 China) is an interdisciplinary artist. She works conceptually through social engagement actions and performances, which offer places for her to examine strategies of dealing with real-life struggles. 

Yanyi Liu was born and raised in Chongqing, China, a place where almost all food is spicy. Her work has a clear personal style, and each character in her illustrations has their own personality. 

Nadiya Nacorda is an artist working with photography and video. Her work explores the nuances and entanglements of inheritance(s) while considering themes of magic, affection, identity and mothering; along with Blasian feminine interiority/subjectivity. 

Valeria Chikaodile Oha was born to Nigerian parents who made sure she was exposed to their culture throughout her childhood.  Her current body of work focuses on exploring the idea that society both demonizes and fetishes the black body.

Shuoran Zhou (b. 1997 Beijing, China) makes wearable objects using mainly glass beads to address common stereotypes toward women’s social roles and aims at advocating women’s autonomy. 

Zhu Zhu grew up in a family with an artistic tradition, engged with artmaking since she was a child. Studying computer art, she now creates experimental animation and  sculptures.

Leah Bella Zinder is an artist passionate about historical crafts, including lace-making and metalsmithing.  She is involved in the local Jewish community, where she teaches young children. 

Michael Christopher Zuhorski (b. 1992) was born in Detroit. In 2015 he received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. His practice is concerned with gradual change, sustained attention and the fragile relation between seeing and knowing.

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Syracuse University
May 3, 2022

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