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John and June Allcott Gallery: EUREKA!

November 12, 2015 @ 8:00 am - December 11, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

Opening Reception: 12 November 2015, 5:30-8 pm

Eureka: the moment of inspiration, innovation, peripety, shift. In the graduate art studio, this moment unites exhilaration and fear. The Aha! moment may come from experiments with new materials, techniques, or narratives, or from reimagining and reassessing what, why, and how things are made. Letting go of the familiar is frightening—but when we do it, we make space for reinvention and flux. Eureka! will exhibit works by two dozen of UNC’s MFA in Art alumni, showcasing their graduate school turning points alongside their current work.

Curator Jina Valentine says, “This exhibition highlights the transformations artists undergo during their graduate school years. Often these two or three years of concentration involve a metamorphosing of both the maker and the work. You go into grad school to shake things up, pare it down, and start over again, and refine the process and vision.”

“The ‘formative years’ spent in MFA programs afford artists the opportunity to dialogue with peers about their works and lives, to access all the resources afforded by the university, and perhaps most importantly, to re/focus their attentions on their practice while shielded from the influence of professional motivations or considerations (galleries, grants, residencies, etc),” Valentine notes. “And so the work that is produced reflects that freedom to experiment and to take risks in a way that is quite different from what’s often created outside of this bubble.”

“Returning to the premise of the show, I was curious to see what elements or essences of that work still resonated in the newer works produced by our alumni. The work resultant of these aha moments may be ugly or awkward, but inspires a different sort of creation than that which came before. So while its style, overall concept, or subject matter might not be carried over in toto into one’s professional career, the essence of it is still very much present.”

Not only does the exhibition feature student work; Valentine’s Curatorial Practices class will assist with the selection of the artists to be included in the show and the works to be included, and will collaborate on the curation and installation of the works in the gallery.

This is the first visual art show ever to feature in the Process Series. Artistic director Joseph Megel says, “The Process Series’ focus has always been on the performing arts, but our close relationship with the visual arts is ever present. This is a great opportunity not only to celebrate the power and talent of our alumni but to close the gap between visual and performing arts and explore the transdisciplinary process of creation.”

The opening reception will include an artist/advisee interaction at 6 pm, organized by Jina Valentine’s Fall 2015 Curatorial Projects course.

About the MFA in Art

The primary mission of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of North Carolina is to prepare graduate students for careers as professional artists. The secondary mission is to prepare graduate students for teaching positions. MFA students work to develop the practical skills necessary to execute their creative work while refining the intellectual content within the work. Whether students create art within traditional disciplines or transgress disciplinary boundaries, the faculty expects them to engage in meaningful work with personal significance. The department is interdisciplinary so that students work with faculty members in all disciplines. We believe students need to explore the concepts that motivate their work in the most appropriate genre and media, and the faculty is committed to working with each individual to find the most appropriate means of articulating her/his ideas.

About Jina Valentine

Jina Valentine is an Assistant Professor in the Art Department at UNC. She is currently teaching Curatorial Projects class which will be collaborating with her, the artists, and the Art Department on the alumni exhibition Eureka!. Jina received her MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She has exhibited widely at such venues including The Drawing Center, Marlborough Gallery, and the Studio Museum in Harlem (NY). She has been an artist in residence at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (ME), Sculpture Space (NY), Santa Fe Art Institute (NM), and will be in residence at Project Row Houses (TX), the Frans Masereel Centrum (Brussels), and the Joan Mitchell Center (LA) next spring. She is currently a fellow of the Open Sessions program at the Drawing Center (NY), and is consulting curator for Elsewhere Museum’s Southern Constellation Series residency (Greensboro).

About the Process Series

Dedicated to the development of new and significant works in the performing arts, The Process Series (Joseph Megel, founding artistic director) features professionally mounted, developmental presentations of new works in progress. The mission of the Series is to illuminate the ways in which artistic ideas take form, to examine the creative process, to offer audiences the opportunity to follow artists and performers as they explore and discover and by so doing to enrich the development process for artists with the ultimate goal of better art and a closer relationship between artists and audiences.

About the Institute for Arts and Humanities

The Institute for the Arts and Humanities is a faculty development center in the College of Arts and Sciences. The IAH supports UNC faculty at every career stage, funding individual and collaborative research, showcasing faculty work, developing faculty leaders and teachers and facilitating the formation of collaborative, interdisciplinary communities that promote intellectual exchange.

Artists in the exhibition

Lydia McCarthy
Antoine Williams
Gesche Würfel
Isabel Cuenca
Chris Musina
William Thomas
Izel Vargas
Minjin Knag
Lauren Salazar
Travis Donovan
Mijoo Kim
Damian Stamer
Jason Osborne
Tracy Spencer Stonestreet
Kyle Bravo
Jessye McDowell
Eric Pickersgill
Katie Mixon
MJ Sharp
Cat Manolis
Jessica Dupuis
James Cicatko
Emily Beck
Ali Halperin

Admission: Free

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm

Institute for the Arts and Humanities:

The Process Series:


November 12, 2015 @ 8:00 am
December 11, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category: