Art and design offer an eclectic mix for the annual graduate exhibition at Henry Art Gallery


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June 1, 2018

Ian Cooper brings elements of myth and fantasy to “Predicament”, an acrylic on canvas. The painting is part of the annual School of Art + Art History + Design Graduate Exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery.Pierre Kelley

A forest scene of a sleeping wizard. A poem occupying a wall in hand-cut letters. A design for the defense of the environment. A thin circle of wood erected at the end dragging a net like a veil. A fake “machine” filled with paper airplanes.

“A Voluptuous Surrender”, a work in acrylic, poplar, steel, concrete and LED by Daniel Hewat.jeannette mills

Art and design can amaze, inform, entertain, challenge or even gently baffle the viewer – and the annual thesis exhibition for Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design at the Henry Art Gallery reliably offers a bit of each.

The plus: A dark gallery with illuminated arches in the shape of a cathedral. An “Internet of Things” design protocol for non-serious home use. Augmented reality for the production of digital models. A dark and stormy work in pencil, graphite and ink. Large sculptures of expressed inner feelings. A collection of clothing and other items inspired by Henry’s employee handbook.

The full name is School of Art + Art History + Design’s Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design Thesis Exhibition, but it goes by 2018 MFA + MDes for short. Both are two-year programs, and these works represent the final leg of the UW journey for these artists and designers.

The 2018 MFA nominees are David C. Burr, Nate Clark, Ian Cooper, Daniel Hewat, Alex Kang, Erin H. Meyer, Christian Kōun Alborz Oldham, Katie Schroeder, and Caitlyn Wilson. Candidates for the Master of Design are Aubree Ball, Joe Costello, Emma Teal Laukitis and Christopher Seeds.

It’s the 60and year for the exhibition, as Jamie Walker, director of the art school, told those gathered for a first press look. “Watching him through the decades has been pretty amazing,” he said. “All movements, trends, styles, processes in the world of contemporary art and design that occurred during this period.”

“Design for the Wild” by Emma Teal Laukitis, whose work explores the intersection between culture and environment. This design, she said, is to educate people about a proposed mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where she grew up.Jacob Kelly

And yet, each year’s exhibition is very personal for those who exhibit their work.

“It’s one of those moments in the life of an artist or a designer that is really close to your heart,” he said, when the work, long considered in private, “suddenly becomes very, very public”.

The students received guidance and help in assembling their pieces from Jes Gettler, exhibition designer and senior museum preparator, who said the exhibition process began as early as December of the previous year and made one of his favorites.

Walker added that while these graduating student artists and designers may have had doubts along the way — a normal part of the process — they “are now seen as professionals.”

The 2018 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition will be on display until June 24 at Le Henry.


The Henry Art Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 general, $6 for seniors, and free for UW students, staff, and faculty. And it’s free for everyone on Sundays. For more information, visit

Tag(s): College of Arts & Sciences • Denzil Hurley • Henry Art Gallery • Jamie Walker • Jes Gettler • School of Art + Art History + Design


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