Erica Prince at The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts

Erica Prince, an MFA Candidate in Painting, is participating in a major juried show of MFA Candidates at various regional institutions which explores the role of art education while asking the question: What does it mean to have an MFA?  You can see the Exhibit at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, Delaware from this Friday, October 7 through February 5, 2012.  Admission to the center is free.

From the official description of the exhibit: In contrast to an exhibition that seeks to find the next Art Star, Masters of the Visual Universe explores the constellation of artistic mediums, concepts, and practices rotating around 2011. Drawing upon themes of mastery in art, Masters of the Visual Universe probes the notion of art education, aesthetics and display. Conventionally, Masters of Fine Arts programs train graduate students to gain control of a particular medium such as painting or sculpture, and monumental thesis exhibitions like biennials strive to showcase the “best” examples of art under a particular theme. Such traditions in art have long been critiqued through a postmodern lens, yet these practices still persist in the art world and academia. Masters of the Visual Universe questions whether educational mastery in and of art is still a fact or a science fiction relic in the eyes of many young artists today. The exhibition also queries if an MFA Biennial can adequately reflect an awareness of all of the art being made in MFA programs in this geographic region. The viewer is asked to form his or her own opinion of educational traditions and museological practice today. Masters of the Visual Universe explores how recent graduate students and MFA candidates approach aesthetic traditions in ways that go beyond the creation of precious objects to mine the gallery of ideas as a free and galactic space.

Mollie, a curatorial intern at the DCCA, interviewed Erica about her work, and posted it on the DCCA blog.  Here’s an excerpt from the blog:

Q: tell me a little bit about the ideas behind your work and what you hope to convey to your audience. How would you describe your art to someone who had never seen it?

EP:A lot of the ideas behind my work are focused around the idea of the utopian society. I think it’s important for art to be able to explore utopian ideals because that’s the only place they can exist. The primary piece that I am showing, Permission Granted, has 35 images in a grid installation. It contains imagery of architecture, landscape, invention, monument, celestial bodies, alchemical devices, etc. …..

Q: How has the MFA influenced your development as an artist and as a person?

EP:I’m still in the midst of it so it’s hard to have a completely clear perspective. It’s given me the opportunity to focus on my work without having a billion distractions. It has allowed me to figure out what I’m truly interested in, and I’ve started pursuing these things more intensely. I’ve developed a lot of respect for different types of work that I was never interested in before. When I came to Tyler I thought I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like, what was good and what was bad. But now, I am more curious about the wiggly line between “good” and “bad”. I’ve discovered that what I like and don’t like might be a little less concrete than I thought.

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