Elizabeth McClellan honored with this year’s UMLAUF Prize and exhibition
Wed. September 7, 2016
EchindaLabs, performance-based installation work of Elizabeth McClellan (M.F.A. Studio Art, 2016) will be featured with previous UMLAUF prizewinners in the UMLAUF 25th anniversary retrospective exhibition November 4, 2016 – January 29, 2017.
Don Bacigalupi, founding president of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and juror of the 2016 UMLAUF Prize, selected M.F.A. graduate Elizabeth McClellan as this year’s winner. In Bacigalupi’s statement, he remarked, “EchindaLabs is a complex, multi-faceted Gesamtkunstwerk by Elizabeth McClellan that reflects the extraordinary boundary-breaking creativity seen in some of today’s most advanced and cross-disciplinary art practices.” He adds, “the work operates in the nexus of art and medical science, a fertile territory staked out previously by artists as diverse as ORLAN and Virgil Wong. Complex ethical issues abound in the real world of rapidly advancing genome-editing technologies, and McClellan capably invites us in for consideration.”
When museum visitors walk onto the set of EchindaLabs, they will learn about genetic skin modifications and explore the possibilities of using viral biomes to decorate the skin through a series of videos, brochures, photographs and human interaction with the “EchindaLabs receptionist”. McClellan created the experience based on the recent innovations in gene editing technology and her fascination with its implications on politics, science and the future of our bodies.
Exhibition Opening is Friday, November 4 from 5–7pm.
Visual Arts Center to Receive Grant from National Endowment for the Arts to Support Exhibition
Tue. May 17, 2016
The Visual Arts Center (VAC) at The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded a $45,000 grant to support a multi-part exhibition by Mexico City-based artist Victor Pérez-Rul curated by Leslie Moody Castro (M.A., Art Education, 2010). This grant is part of more than $82 million approved by NEA Chairman Jane Chu to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.
“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from the Visual Arts Center at The University of Texas at Austin offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”
The VAC has partnered with UT’s Center for Latin American Visual Studies (CLAVIS) and Energy Institute, as well as the Mexican American Cultural Center for a project that will explore the human consciousness of energy systems. Between Aug. 12 and Sept. 22, Pérez-Rul will collaborate with participants in art, physics, engineering, architecture and design to create an installation that recycles solar power into kinetic and sonic energy to power an immersive and interactive environment within the VAC. In addition to the installation at the VAC, maquettes of the artist's related work with solar-powered pods that emit sound and light at night will be exhibited on the outdoor plaza of the Mexican American Cultural Center. Both installations will be on view from Sept. 23 through Dec. 10. Moody Castro will document the exhibition's open lab and inventions with a catalog and a website.
“With the gracious support from the NEA, the Visual Arts Center will provide a unique learning platform for both collaborators and audiences that is tightly linked to our mission to educate through process,” said VAC Director Jade Walker. “Having an artist and curator in residence for such a long period of time allows for important relations to be built and true experimentation to happen throughout the course of the project.”
Haley Parsa, undergraduate in Studio Art, receives UT System Regents' Outstanding Student Award in Arts and Humanities
Sat. April 30, 2016
Haley Parsa, undergraduate in Studio Art, received the 2016 Regents' Outstanding Student Award in Arts and Humanities. Only two students will be awarded across The University of Texas System. Both students will be recognized in May at the U.T. System Board of Regents' meeting.
Parsa’s work covers a large variety of mediums, gliding smoothly between them, never committing entirely to one or the other. The ways in which images or objects are embedded in and experienced within time, histories, bodies and space through repetition and documentation is a point of investigation within Parsa’s work. Repetition negates the passage of time yet each mark, unit, form, is documentation of a repeated action.
As an Iranian-American, her Persian history and her connection with it are placed under an intimate and meditative lens. Parsa challenges the expectation to identify with one culture wholly yet entertain both sides and works to situate herself somewhere in between the two. By embracing the liminality of not belonging to one side or another, Parsa is interested in how things can engage with histories and with space to transform, to become more mysterious and impactful.
This originated from a reoccurring childhood memory of my grandmother that is carried out to this day. As she only speaks Farsi, almost everything she's ever said has had to be translated to me. She would always say "you are my liver," meaning "you are my life/I cannot live without you." Not only was this phrase funny to me but it was always funny to think I feel completely connected to her even though we've never "spoken" - that I can still be in touch with my family, roots, heritage on a very intimate level despite not knowing Farsi or being "fully" Persian or being Persian "enough." I have struggled to situate and understand my place in my family and myself as an Iranian-American woman.
Aesthetically, the piece employs the same repeated letter technique used when learning a language on a fundamental, elementary level. Each letter of the Farsi alphabet is contained in an organic shape similar to bodily, liver-like parts all composing one unit.
I drew inspiration from an unlikely source: the grocery store. I took what appeared to be mangled meat or fish and distorted the image into a more abstract representation while staying true to the present values. It was important to treat each indistinguishable form with the same attention and grace. Each is rendered in a very precise and meticulous way in hand reduction (totaling 7 layers) to make accentuate the 3-Dimensionality of this seemingly grotesque abstracted image that would not normally be warranted this much attention or found as striking and curious.