In memory of Greg Ploetz, widow creates scholarships for Studio Art students
Fri. May 29, 2015
In memory of Greg Ploetz, Deb, his widow, will create the Greg Ploetz Art Scholarship for students in the Studio Art program to be awarded annually for the next ten years.
Ploetz was a Longhorn football player and alumnus of the Department of Art and Art History. He received his BFA in Studio Art in 1972. Ploetz was awarded a prestigious scholarship, given to the best art student, to attend a residency in Maine. Greg went on to receive an MFA in Studio Art in 1975 from the university.
“Art was his true love and passion,” said Deb.
Greg taught art and coached football in high schools and colleges for over forty years. In 2009 he left his last teaching position in Aledo, Texas.
“He was the most brilliant teacher I’ve ever known,” Deb told The Dallas Morning News. “He did such a wonderful job getting his point across.”
A three-year letterman at defensive tackle, Ploetz helped the Longhorns claim three Southwest Conference Championships in 1968, 1969, and 1971. In those three seasons, Texas posted a 28-4-1 record (19-2 in the SWC) and finished the season ranked among the Top 20 each year.
Ploetz was a starter for the 1969 National Championship team and played in Texas’ "Game of the Century” national-title winning victory over Arkansas with a hairline fracture in his ankle that year. After sitting out the 1970 season, Ploetz returned to the Longhorn team in 1971 and went on to earn All-Southwest Conference honors.
Greg passed away this May after suffering for more than a decade of complications from dementia and frontal lobe damage. On May 24, a celebration of life for Greg was held at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
He leaves behind his wife, Deb, and two children, Erin Ploetz-Cherkassky and Beau Ploetz.
Greg’s life and challenges have been chronicled in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Denver Post, and The Dallas Morning News. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Greg Ploetz Art Scholarship. For information on giving to the Ploetz scholarship, contact Andrea Keene 512/ 471–9270.
Q+A with Bryan Martello, MFA candidate in Studio Art
Thu. May 28, 2015
"I am interested in subverting the history of 'straight' photography, one predominately made by heterosexual men. I use the camera as a tool to lie, exaggerate, and conceal. In my staged photographic montages, I hijack the authority of advertising tropes. My photographs explore androgyny and question gender roles enforced in advertisements by juxtaposing traditionally masculine elements with those traditionally feminine.
The production of my photographs occurs entirely in my studio; I take on the role of a laboratory technician, a toucher of objects. I create fictions that are low-tech and DIY. I am drawn to synthetic materials for their efficient and commonplace qualities. The objects are identifiable but derailed from their prescribed function. The pathetic becomes glamorous."
Describe your background.
Bryan Martello: I moved to Austin two years ago to begin my Studio Art graduate studies. Before moving here, I was living in Boston where I’m originally from. I got a BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art, and then worked for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts for a few years.
Why did the Studio Art program at UT Austin appeal to you?
BM: I was drawn to studying at UT Austin for many reasons. The biggest was the work that was associated with the program — from both students and faculty. I was impressed and familiar with many of the faculty and wanted to work closely with them. Once I visited the MFA studios, I also was impressed by the current graduate student’s work and felt like this was a community I wanted to be a part of.
Your work can be humorous, familiar, and disconcerting — sometimes all at once. Would you describe how you decide what to portray?
BM: In my work, I look to hijack the authority of advertising tropes. I’m very interested in the affect my images can have on the viewer, which is often why I use humor, the familiar, and things disconcerting. There is a dark humor in the work that is on one hand funny and on the other hand really uncomfortable. There is an awkwardness to the objects I make that is integral to my work.
You're wrapping up your second year in the graduate program. What has been the most dramatic change in your process?
BM: I think the most dramatic change in my process since beginning here at UT Austin has been the use of my studio. My entire process revolves around the studio, and it is where all the objects are made and all the photographs are taken. As a result of that, I’ve been more interested in materials and the overall materiality of the photograph itself.
What has been the best thing about being in Austin?
BM: The best part of Austin, especially for a graduate student, is that it’s a really easy and fun city. There is enough going on to keep the city interesting and exciting, but there is also a lot of time and space available which makes art making easier than in other cities.
Martello was recently awarded the Martha Leipziger-Pearce Endowed Scholarship in Art and the Graduate Named Endowed Fellowship from the Graduate School. Martello also received the William and Bettye Nowlin Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Photography in 2014 and the Russell Lee Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Photography in 2013.
Q+A with Rachel Stuckey, MFA candidate in Studio Art
Thu. May 28, 2015
Describe your background.
Rachel Stuckey: I'm a third generation Austinite who grew up enthusiastically participating in my high school film literacy course, Center for Young Cinema classes, and youth events at SXSW and Austin Film Festival. I spent the first couple years of my undergraduate studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design's film program and finished at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Experimental Film program, which is where I received my BFA. While in Boulder, I worked for the International Film Series and First Person Cinema, an avant-garde film showcase that has run since 1955. I also taught an after school video art class hosted by Boulder LGBT Pride and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I moved back to Austin to do freelance film and video work and establish Experimental Response Cinema, a volunteer-run micro cinema.
Why did the Studio Art program at UT Austin appeal to you?
RS: After several years of work and study in exclusively film and video environments, I wanted to expand beyond the relatively small community of experimental cinema for my graduate studies by working in a mixed-disciplinary program. Transmedia's video/digital media/performance hybrid approach, nestled within a larger studio art program, along with the department's awesome faculty, UT's research resources, and the media arts community in Austin — UT was a perfect fit. I also hope to teach, so having the opportunity to TA has been wonderful.
You're wrapping up your second year in the graduate program. You've been working on a new project, Welcome to my Homepage!. How does this work depart or act as a continuation of your previous video work?
RS: Welcome to my Homepage! is a net.art project that, unlike my single-channel video works, is changing all the time. It's an expanding cyber-dwelling that begins with the recognizable layout of a house and reaches further and further into the abstract ether of the web. It houses smaller video works and other digital art works as I make them and is also hyperlinked with projects I've made on New Hive and Tumblr, meaning unsuspecting users of those sites could encounter a doorway that routes them into the Homepage!.
It's part memory palace, part drafting board for new ideas, part net experiment. Homepage! also features a residency program, Welcome to my Guest Room!, where interested visitors can sign up to do whatever project they want in the attic space. Recently I've been using elements from Homepage! for a narrative video installation, T0WARD CY83RGN0S1S, that explores ways net-culture can manifest offline as technological occultism and internet-borne disorders.
You recently had an exhibition at Hello Project in Houston. What did you learn from the experience?
RS: Jon Hopson, Hello Project's director, approached me with the idea of building a show around a single-channel video work I had made. It was a nice push to start thinking more spatially about my video work in a very practical way, which has since influenced my practice in general. The installation included a single channel video, It Takes All Sorts, projected on an entire wall with surround sound audio that located the viewer in the middle of patronizing conversations, medical tests, and intercom announcements. Across the room were a collection of looping videos on monitors and arrangements of gaudy artificial flowers featured in the video, dimly lit in deep purple and hot pink.
Do you have any other shows coming up?
RS: I'll have a new projector performance in the New Media Art and Sound Summit in Austin on Thursday, June 11, and It Takes All Sorts will be screened in an experimental film event curated by Dani Leventhal at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York, this August.
Rising sophomores look back on their first year at UT Austin
Wed. May 20, 2015
"My favorite thing about UT Austin thus far is the size of the Department of Art and Art History. By the end of the year, all the freshmen faces become recognizable, and it begins to feel like a small Twin Peaks-esque town."
— Guneez Ibrahim (BFA candidate in Design)
"My favorite experience from this year has definitely been going on the Holy Week trip to Antigua, Guatemala. On our second day there, we were on a walking tour of the town, and we walked past a shop playing Livin' On A Prayer by Bon Jovi.
I said, "Bon Jovi?"
Jason Urban turned around and said, "That's basically our life this week."
So, even though his comment didn't make perfect sense to everyone that heard him, one of the themes of our week became livin' on a prayer for sure."
— Kendall Bradley (BFA candidate in Studio Art)
"My favorite experience during my first year at UT Austin was visiting the BOT Greenhouse with my drawing foundations class to sketch. The light was really beautiful in the early spring, and it was nice to discover a new part of campus."
— Abbie Weller (BA candidate in Art History)
“One of the best things about coming to UT Austin is being able to interact with people in all disciplines. It really helps you to approach your own studies from a unique perspective.”
— Seth Murchison (BFA candidate in Studio Art)
"Probably my weirdest, yet funniest, experience during my first year was when I was walking back to my dorm late at night and came upon two guys trying to film a skate video in a street intersection. The guy being filmed was very slowly going across the intersection while the other guy was clumsily skating in front of him and filming. Both of them were wearing sunglasses, khaki shorts, weird hats, dress shirts, and ties — and looked barely conscious."
— Madalin Beavers (BFA candidate in Visual Art Studies)
AGREE TO DISAGREE: 2015 Studio Art MFA Thesis Exhibition reviewed in the Austin Chronicle
Tue. May 19, 2015
AGREE TO DISAGREE: 2015 Studio Art MFA Thesis Exhibition was reviewed in the Austin Chronicle.