34th UH School of Art Masters’ Thesis Exhibition

The University of Houston School of Art, Blaffer Art Museum and DiverseWorks collaborated to present the 34th School of Art Masters’ Thesis Exhibition. The exhibition was presented at DiverseWorks while the Blaffer Art Museum was undergoing renovations. The exhibition features works by Danilo Bojic, Ted Closson, Sebastian Forray, Lisa Garrett, Steven Hook, Chuck Ivy, Rosine Kouamen, Natali Leduc, Emily McGrew, Abi Semtner, and M’kina Tapscott. These eleven graduating students represent five departments in the University of Houston’s Masters of Fine Arts Program; introducing Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms as the latest addition to the program with its first graduate Chuck Ivy. The 34th School of Art Masters’ Thesis Exhibition is designed to showcase individual work and to premiere its participants as professional artists who will go on to form new projects and shape the face of the art world in Houston and beyond.


Danilo Bojic and Natali Leduc are presenting environmental installations that will transport viewers into a world of their own. Leduc’s kinetic wooden sculpture manages whimsy despite its dominating size, a contraption whose construction and movement evoke the figure of the artist as amateur inventor. Bojic presents What Goes Around Comes Around, an exploration in data visualization, using sculptural installation, graphic design, and video as his primary tools.

Collectivity and collaboration inform the works by Sebastian Forray and Ted Closson. Forray commissioned five painters with whom he shares close personal ties to help produce his work, challenging what constitutes authorship and self-representation. Within the exhibition, Closson organizes a comic book convention as a mode of display and commerce in which to situate his current project, a graphic novel titled The Lorica.

Steven Hook’s large canvases play with a series of dichotomies to complicate their distinguishing qualities: order and chaos, pastoral and urban, figure and ground. His accompanying video documents his painting process while also activating it through a different medium. Where Hook’s process is heavily layered and labored, Emily McGrew’s canvases are bright, fresh and immediate, their feminine subjects painted from a combination of photography and the artist’s embellished memories.

Rosine Kouamen mines cultural nostalgia, both her own and in the broad network of Houston’s African diaspora. Her new series of photographs depict their first generation immigrant subjects as they live in their everyday surroundings, where profound attachments and familial memories lie just beneath the surface of the image. Abi Semtner is also inspired by family histories, which she translates through her obsessive, often subtle manipulations of delicate materials: cotton, embroidery thread, vintage parchment paper.

M’Kina Tapscott’s sculpture and ceramic assemblages offer careful experimentations with the promise of materials to yield new insights into questions of race,class, identity and identification. On the other end of scale and luminosity Lisa Garrett’s neon signs assert bright, custom-built graphics and lend an atmosphere of spectacle to the exhibition while her repurposed banners emphasize the role of graphic design in community making and marking. Also commenting on the viewer’s place within collective systems, Chuck Ivy’s new media work wages visual and auditory interference on clips from Inspector Clouseau cartoons using live audio from the Houston Police dispatch. The work itself is a kind of system that viewers to the exhibition physically activate with their movements.


The 34th School of Art Masters’ Thesis Exhibition is made possible by the University of Houston’s Student Fees Advisory Committee. Support for the catalog is generously provided by Cecily Horton and Judy and Scott Nyquist. The exhibition catalog was designed and produced by graphics communication students led by Associate Professor Fiona McGettigan and features an introductory essay by Jenni Sorkin, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Houston.


The UH School of Art, has MFA in Art concentrations in Painting, Sculpture, Photography/Digital Media, Graphic Communications and Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms (IPEF). Built into each of these concentrations is the ability to extend outward and into the vast resources of a premier research institution. The MFA program integrates the university and the city of Houston as an extended classroom, in a fundamentally multidisciplinary platform.

On View

April 28 - May 12, 2012


4102 Fannin St, Suite 200
Houston, TX 77004 (map)


Danilo Bojic

Ted Closson

Sebastian Forray

Lisa Garrett

Steven Hook

Chuck Ivy

Rosine Kouamen

Natali Leduc

Emily McGrew

Abi Semtner

M’kina Tapscott