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Third in series of MFA shows opens Saturday
4/23/09

Four candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art & Design at Alfred University will open their thesis shows at 7 p.m. Saturday (April 25). Work by Eliza Au, Ying Miao and Rachel Wong will be exhibited at the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery in Harder Hall, and work by Mat Karas will be shown in the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, both on the Alfred University campus.

Gallery talks by the artists will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 26, also in the gallery.

This is the third of five exhibitions by candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art & Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

Au attended the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She was previously an intern with the Kohler Arts/Industry Program and was the Artist-In-Residence with the Contemporary Crafts Museum and Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

Au deals with pattern and multiples in various media. She is interested in natural systems and how they are represented in historical rendering of the mandala and the grid. Her research is about “geometry and mathematics and how they reflect ideas of the divine.”

Karas was born in Montréal, Québec, and educated in the crafts (ceramics) and art history. Karas’ work process is based in the hand-building techniques of modeling and coil-building. These allow for design and production to overlap. “The process of making becomes irrevocably bound to meaning,” he explains.

He says most of his formal references are to “daily life’s functional objects and the processes that drive them, all day long, over and over again. The ceramic process allows for translation of tacit notions of use.” His sculptural practice is thus based in the crafts and furthermore divided between functional and representational realms.

Ying Miao is a Chinese artist who works on language and simulation. She earned her BFA at New Media Arts in China Academy of Fine Arts. She has shown her prints, artist books, videos and interactive works in China, United States, Taiwan and Second Life.

She explains her work: “Among those connected, disconnected and all the blind spots in-between, there is a state of flop where upside-down is not enough. Being a SHIFT is harder than you thought. Being a stapler is harder than you thought, too.”

Wong works primarily in installation with blown glass elements involving play, communication, and experience. Before studying at Alfred University, she graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design and was a resident in the Glass Studio at Harbourfront Centre.

“A moment may be small and infinite in its complex simplicity,” Wong say. “In daydreams, the mind wanders, in drawing, the hand wanders simultaneously, memory, thought, and action inseparable. Catching chance and spontaneity. Possibility. Meaning is flexible and ever changing, falling away and then resurfacing, repeating, revealing.”

Alfred University’s MFA program is ranked number one in the country for ceramic art and second in the country for glass art in the U.S. News and World Report Guide to the Best Graduate Schools, being released next week. Overall, the MFA program is ranked 10th in the country.