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By Karen Nikos-Rose on May 20, 2019

New award in design announced this year; opening ceremony is Thursday, May 30

Excerpted from a story by Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science

An expansive exhibition by UC Davis graduate students from various arts disciplines, including English and cultural studies, opens May 29 at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art on the university campus. The annual exhibition by students in the College of Letters and Science will be on display through June 16.

Organizers also will announce, at the opening reception on Thursday, May 30, 6 to 9 p.m., the winners of the Keister and Allen Art Purchase Prize, given to an art studio student, and the new Savageau Award for a design. The exhibit and all related events are free and open to the public. More details on the exhibition and the students involved are available here.

Artists explore topical and personal issues

Student work from the disciplines of studio art, design, music, creative writing, English, art history, theater and cultural studies are included in the exhibit.

Master of Fine Arts studio art students will show a wide range of works, including paintings, installations, mixed media and sculptures, with six students participating.

Through a wall of 50 paintings, Adam Cochran explores how movies, television shows, sports, politics, and even comic books perpetuate a patriarchal, hyper-masculine ideal that has a negative impact on society and individuals.

Rachel Deane’s “The Home I Had to Live In” is a three-dimensional environment of intricate patterns, repetitive shapes, bold colors and ornamentation inspired by stories she has written about dating culture, female sexuality and trauma.

Sarah Frieberg draws on her background in science and horticulture, using soil, honey, tea and eggs to make pieces that change over time and involve high levels of experimentation and uncertainty.

Designing for immigration, voting and social awareness

Design MFA students’ projects involve political posters, elections, interactive storytelling, landscape design, and designs based on microscopic animals. Six students are participating.

Among the student work, Adriana Arriaga's project focuses on contemporary Xicana posters and how they can be used to build community. Her work tackles social justice issues and she has taken part in many community events throughout the region.

“Local Actions, National Outcomes: How Piecemeal Election Design Has Led U.S. Voting Into Chaos” by Adam Taylor employs several “voting booths” where one can learn about gerrymandering, ballot design and political candidates’ visual identity.

Persia Masoudi’s interactive video takes viewers through a fictional immigrant’s journey and adaptation to living in a new and very different place.

Work on paper
Sarah Frieberg, work on paper.

Musicians, writers, historians part of the mix

While studio art and design students’ work makes up the bulk of the exhibition, music, creative writing, cultural studies and theater students are also taking part.

Combining an 18th-century dice game with modern technology, doctoral music student Sarah Wald’s interactive project allows visitors to use snippets of music to create their own compositions.

Doctoral music composition student Ryan Suleman and creative writing graduate student Cristina Fries collaborated on a 17-minute mini-opera titled "Moon, Bride, Dogs” that will be available for listening.

Joseph Schupbach, Department of Theatre and Dance, and Joy Ding, creative writing, have jointly created “Mother-Daughter, Daughter-Mother,” an experimental piece exploring the cyclic nature and role reversals in parent-child dynamics. It will be performed May 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Pages from a graphic novel by cultural studies doctoral student Maureen Burdock will be on display. The novel, The Baroness of Have-Nothing, examines reverberations of war and displacement as seen through three generations of women across two continents. 

Jennifer Tinonga-Valle, a doctoral student in English, will present several objects and text representing her research on the long association between women’s writing and craft culture.

Art history students will speak on topics including Roman mosaics; James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s “nocturne” paintings; Philippine dress and identity; and the intersection of art philosophy and criticism. Luiza Berthoud, Graham McLean, Katharine Schultz, Caitlin Schwarz and Catharine Serou will give presentations on June 1 from 1 to 5 p.m.

A video slide presentation of the exhibitions is viewable below.