2014 MFA Thesis

Introduction from the Program Directors

Before, during and after
Simone Douglas and Andrea Geyer

Speak now, they, she, he, ze say or forever remain silent. Ideas and influences become honed as the work forges forward, gestates, lies dormant, develops, regresses, transforms. There is no clear path. At first, no clear line. At times, no end. A process of constant consideration, rethinking, attempting, self analysis, error, an exploratory, reflective inquiry until the self compass points the way, unquestionably.

Emotional undercurrents, reminiscence of political violence, color, storytelling, scripted social structures, water, urban landscapes tracing memories of disappearance, the impact of colonialism, tents, foods, the use value of contemporary art, strange intimacy among strangers, stretchers, twists and tweaks of representation, humor, sex, language, struggles of belonging, struggles of disassociation, hoodies, indexical marks, national identities, dance, political agency, symbolic inscriptions, alienations, collective memories, love, sculptural intimacies, backdrops for (post)colonial memories, the dissonance of commemoration and a body as a trace of its own path.

Artists are essential in our society. To give them the tools, the critical awareness and the needed confidence, to foster their passions, their values, their urgency and their doubt is a challenging and rewarding task in constant need of collective and responsible reflection. At Parsons Fine Arts we create a challenging and diverse learning environment for emerging artists to develop innovative material techniques, studio-based creative research and critical scholarship. We encourage them to move fluidly between solo, collaborative and communal practice. We embrace interdisciplinary approaches to making and thinking in our studios, promote our graduates to become critical and original contributors to what contemporary art and visual culture is today. Within our international student and faculty community, we actively promote a global understanding of the arts that challenges work to travel from one context to another, from one community to another, across difference and allegiance, multiple languages and symbolic systems. With this keen awareness of the community they speak from and the community they speak to, our graduates exhibit the tenacity, strength, and risk-taking required to formulate critical questions that have the potential to profoundly open up and change our politics and philosophies as well as the perception and understanding of our environment, our emotions, our politics, our world today.

Poised with this spirit, our 2014 MFA Fine Arts graduate works actively evoke and critically engage art history, cultural theory, metaphysics, visual studies, art activism, political action and public culture. Their works stand now alone, as well as they as artists stand together, as colleagues, as advocates, as antagonists, as companions, as partners in crime and as friends. For those of us who have had the privilege to come along on their journey, know very well that this is just a beginning. Before.

We thank our colleagues across the New School, Parsons, AMT, leadership, faculty and staff and our outstanding curator Niels van Tomme. As the class of 2014 joins our alumns, a new class enters, expanding this program across generations forward and backward in time. Parsons Fine Arts is the proud growing sum of our students with dissenting ideas, radical opinions, revolutionary spirit and progressive solutions. We call out for their vital and crucial voices as they enter and reverberate in the world post graduate education and as they become groundbreakers, changemakers, we listen.