you're reading...
Student Life, The Arts

Master of Fine Arts graduate students exhibit their masterpieces

Eight USF Master of Fine Arts graduate students contributed to a painting exhibition with vastly diverse themes in the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery this week.

Although all of the gallery paintings are different in technique and meaning, they are all based in conceptual art, a popular trend where ideas are the driving forces behind an artwork rather than the brush strokes or visual figures.

Here are three examples of MFA graduate student artists and their paintings:

Two in the Brush by Michael Covello

In his painting Two in the Brush, Michael Covello conveys non-representational abstraction, which none of his content resembles any real-life people, objects and other entities.

“I am not looking at the world—looking at specific elements of the world and trying to render them perfectly,” he said. “My imagery comes out of my process, so it’s about the process. It’s about the brushwork, it’s about pouring paint on a surface and letting completely abstract detached forms emerge from that.”

Covello’s painting style invites viewers to use their imaginations to interpret his art in various ways. Since Covello does not directly reference anything that really exists, his paintings can mean different things to different people.

“I am interested in how material abstract, material communication can transcend just being a blob of paint and become something else,” Covello said. “But not be something specific.”

Unnamed by Chalice Mitchell

Chalice Mitchell uses the human figure as the subject of her unnamed painting. Painted with blurred, hazy contour lines, the body looks incomplete and unclear as to gender.

Mitchell said she likes to leave her artwork unfinished in order to convey a feeling of ambiguity or something unresolved. She also noted that paint and the human body are both visceral, so combining them could evoke strong emotions.

The human body is a common theme in Mitchell’s many other artistic ventures, which include performance art and digital animation.

“Embodiment is an important issue, so I have always been drawn to the figure,” she said. “The figure is prominent in everything I do, whether it’s my own body in performance or trying to understand that kind of physicality through paint.”

With the human body as a central theme, Mitchell likes to explore dualities or dichotomies, such as between mind and body, one person and another or a male and female. She tends to eliminate the sharp boundaries or distinctions that separate the two sides and establish a fluidity that crosses over from one end to another, as can be seen with gender in her painting.

All three of Briana Phelps’ paintings at the Oliver Gallery have strong social and political messages on American war practices and consumerist culture.

“My work is more narrative-based,” she said. “There is typically a figure but it’s usually – I try to convey a story.”

War and Lace by Briana Phelps

Phelps comes from a family of veterans where her father was a Navy officer and her grandfather fought in the Korean War. She said that her grandfather was always very upset that Americans forget the Korean War, take their veterans for granted and don’t provide adequate social services for them.

For Love of Country by Briana Phelps

Phelps based two of her paintings, War and Lace and For Love of Country, on old family photographs that captured her family’s involvement in military efforts. She added certain artistic details from her own imagination to create a complete artwork that raised the issues pertaining to mistreatment of service men and women in the U.S.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:


You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Digital Bullpen on FB

Blog Stats

  • 41,014 hits

Our Reporters


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers

Powered by