Department of Art and Art History News

Ultraviolet exhibition highlights artwork and curation by alumni

Wed. April 29, 2015

Ultraviolet, on view at MASS Gallery, includes work by Ezra Masch (MFA in Studio Art, 2012), Tim Schmidt (MFA in Studio Art, 2011) and Amy Yoes. The exhibition was organized by Scott Proctor (MFA in Studio Art, 2007).

Recently, Ezra, Tim, and Scott answered our questions by email.

Scott, why did you decide to include Ezra, Tim, and Amy in your group exhibition Ultraviolet? What draws you to their work?

Scott Proctor: Tim and Ezra had the studio next to mine for a couple years at Artpost on Cesar Chavez. During that time I was able to see them develop as artists while learning a whole lot from them both. Time passed and we moved to opposite sides of the country.

I started to think about the sculptures they made while we were neighbors and the new work I have seen since they’ve moved from Austin. What excites me about their work and its evolution is how both artists give movement and life to inanimate objects and spaces using sound and light and/or the suggestion of sound and light. They create sculpture that is not kinetic by nature, but avoids being still.

Then I was introduced to the work of Amy Yoes, a Houston-born NYC artist that was using light and image in a totally different way than Tim or Ezra. Alluding to the unseen or exposed, these three artists have a similar interest in creating experiential works that use different approaches to technology to activate objects and space.

silouette of person in doorway of dark room with blue projectin on wall
Ezra Masch, Speaker Projection, 2013, 4-channel sound composition, amplifiers, reflective mylar, digital projector, 11 x 20 x 12.

How has your work changed since you completed the Studio Art MFA program? Ezra, you recently did a project at the Icebox Project Space that is similar to your thesis project. Tim, you were casting concrete speakers.

Ezra Masch: I started working with sound, specifically using musical instruments, while I was in graduate school at UT Austin. We were right across the street from the Butler School of Music, and I was always taking breaks to play piano in the practice rooms. At a certain point, I realized that I was spending more time at the piano than I was in studio, so I decided to bring music into my art practice. I developed the drum project for my final review. I wanted to create an immersive audio-visual experience that connected the instrument to the performance space and challenged the musician to play with light and space, as well as sound. The project has continued to grow since then.

Tim Schmidt: The biggest difference for me between the work in my MFA thesis — specifically Historic Façade — and my current work is scale. The scale of the current work is definitely limited by the size of my studio, which I also use as a fabrication shop. Some of the work in Ultraviolet was actually made in my apartment in Brooklyn before I got a studio.

rectangle of plexi in front of flourescent lights causing black circle reflectio
Tim Schmidt, Spot Collider, 2015, found glass, vinyl, fluorescent tubes, wiring. Photo by: Scott Proctor

Tell us about your work in Ultraviolet.

EM: My project at MASS Gallery is different from my recent project at the Icebox Project Space in Philadelphia. It uses pre-recorded sound from jet engines. (The idea grew out of a previous collaboration with Alex Braidwood, a sound artist who I met at a residency in Iowa.)

The projections show the movement of a material's surface caused by air from the speakers. There's a relationship between the air pressure of the engine, the air from the sound system, and the movement of the image. I designed a two-channel audio loop that shifts the activity of sound and light back and forth from one side of the room to the other. I will continue to work with musical instruments, but I am enjoying this other approach to the audio-visual experience as well.

TS: This new work is derived, at least in part, from the work that I was making at UT, in that I’m thinking about the energetic or even metaphysical qualities of architecture and materials. The speakers were more of a muting of that energy, like Han Solo stuck in carbonite.

If I had the space, I would still want to cast everything in concrete, but living within the Brooklyn allotment of space helps to calm that urge. I do have a car, but I’m still imagining hauling bags of concrete on the subway.

Ezra, after you finished the MFA program, you moved to Philadelphia. What informed your decision and how did it impact the work you were making?

EM: I grew up in Philadelphia. When I moved back, I did so to be closer to my family. But I have found that the art scene is really strong here too. At first I was doing custom woodwork in historic Philadelphia homes, and that really influenced my ideas at the time. I had joined an artist-run gallery space called Tiger Strikes Asteroid, and we were invited to create a project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We produced an alternative audio guide to the museum, with a variety of sound-based projects by different gallery members. My contribution was a non-fiction narrative piece utilizing the museum grounds as a backdrop. It was a great experience to participate in this project, because it presented a challenge to try something new. It was also a way in which I could respond to being back home.

I’ve been involved in curating shows and exhibiting my own work at the gallery for a couple of years now. And I have been teaching at the Moore College of Art & Design as well. Philly has been good because there are lots of opportunities to show, and there's a really vibrant community of people doing exciting things.

Tim, how have you been spending your time since you left Austin and how has that informed your practice?

TS: I moved first to Chicago to be close to my family and got a job as a project manager for an architectural metal shop where I made a lot of very fancy things for very wealthy people, like shelf brackets that were $1000 a piece. When I took the job, I was a person that knew how to build things. When I quit after about a year, I was a legitimate metal worker.

Then I started my own business which began as an art-handling and crating business and became more of a design and fabrication shop. I made custom furniture and had some really good clients. I then moved to New York to work for an artist, which was a great experience, though I’m more comfortable working for myself, so a few months ago, I restarted my design/fabrication business.

I’ve also traveled to Vienna a couple of times, biked from Venice to Lubljana, Slovenia, rode bikes with a bluegrass band (and all of their instruments including upright bass) across Michigan and halfway back, and hiked the Andes in Peru.

Travel and design have always been influential to me, and now that I share a shop space with several designers, I am looking for ways to incorporate furniture and design into my practice as an artist. I used to compartmentalize art and design, but I’m becoming more and more intrigued with the place where the two meet. I’ve also been influenced by all of the things to do and see in New York and Chicago.

What was it like coming back to the Austin? Do you miss anything in particular?

EM: I miss my friends most of all. And the sunshine. And the food. I had such a good time on this recent visit, installing the show at MASS Gallery. Artist-run spaces are doing big things in Austin, and I'm so happy to be a part of it. My goal is to visit more often.

TS: Austin is a special place. I hope that I always have a community there, because I probably found more justification in being an artist there than I have felt anywhere else.

It is such a talented, supportive, and unpretentious community that is filled with people who create a rad art scene that wouldn't exist otherwise. Even with all of the changes that Austin and the university have gone through since I left, it still feels like home. I do wish I could have been there to take advantage of those new sculpture studios though.

Ultraviolet is on view at Mass Gallery through May 2, 2015.

Associate Professor Carma Gorman lectures at Interrogation intellectual property rights: fashion and design conference

Fri. April 24, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Carma Gorman presents a lecture entitled, Why post-war American businesses embraced corporate identity design, at the University of Leeds. The lecture is part of the conference, Interrogating Intellectual Property Rights in Fashion and Design on June 12, 2015.

Alumna Rachel Simone Weil collaborates with Rhizome

Fri. April 24, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Founder of FEMICOM Museum, Rachel Simone Weil (MFA in Design, 2014) works with Rhizome to preserve work by Theresa Duncan. The project and work was featured in artnet news.

Sandra Fernandez presents work at Arte Giappone

Fri. April 24, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Assistant Professor Sandra Fernandez presents work in an exhibition, Integrations, at Arte Giappone in Milan, Italy. The exhibition will be on view April 23 – May 8, 2015.

Assistant Professor Jeff Williams' exhibition is what is reviewed by Glasstire

Fri. April 24, 2015

metal sheet with green fuzz hanging on hallway wall
Photo: Sandy Carson

is what is, on view at The Courtyard Gallery through May 2, 2015, features work by Jeff Williams. The exhibition was recently reviewed by Glasstire.