Department of Art and Art History News

Stephennie Mulder interviewed on the Texas Standard

Mon. May 4, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background
 

Associate Professor Stephennie Mulder spoke to the Texas Standard about the destruction of Islamic art in Syria and Iraq.

Natalie Anciso participates in group exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art

Mon. May 4, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background
 

Natalie Anciso (BA in Studio Art, 2008) exhibits work in The House on Mango Street: Artists Interpret Community at the National Museum of Mexican Art. The exhibition will be on view  April 17 – August 23, 2015.

Melissa Murray presents work at Not Gallery

Sat. May 2, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Alumna Melissa Murray (BFA in Studio Art, 2012) presents new work in a solo exhibition, Sub, at Not Gallery. The exhibition opens May 2, 2015.

Leslie Moody Castro, curator-in-residence, at CentralTrak presents I Should Have Been a Pop Star

Fri. May 1, 2015

woman holds up blank poster in front of her body and partially covers her face
Photo credit: Hueso sin Huesito Productions, Jesus Garcia, and Armando Miguelez, 2015.

Leslie Moody Castro (MA in Art Education, 2010) presents I Should Have Been a Pop Star: Evaluating Value as curator-in-residence at CentralTrak. Castro's residency will take place April 18 – May 16, 2015.

The press release states: 

The exhibition will exist within the conceptual framework of a series of articles in The Dallas Observer titled "I Should Have Been a Pop Star: Evaluating Value." In these weekly articles she will reveal her own struggles with value in the industry, as well as interview pertinent characters and voices that can offer insights into visual culture and how it is valued.

Visual Arts Center Director Jade Walker interviews alumnus Jared Steffensen, featured in Torque and Axis at The Courtyard Gallery

Thu. April 30, 2015

print of yellow red and green u shapes on blue hanging against wall and floor
Untitled (Quarter Pipe Doubles), 2013, photo paper

Jared Steffensen was born in Fairfax, Virginia. He earned a BFA in Intermedia Sculpture from the University of Utah in 2002 and an MFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2006. Steffensen seemingly joins disparate realms through geometric abstraction. He was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant in 2006. His work has been exhibited throughout the US, as well as in Mexico, Germany, and The Netherlands. He is currently the Curator of Education at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He recently answered questions from Jade Walker, director of the Visual Arts Center, by email.

Jade Walker: After graduating, what did you do and what informed your decisions in the studio?

Jared Steffensen: I moved to Providence, Rhode Island to work for a furniture designer/cabinetmaker for a year after leaving Austin, then moved back to Salt Lake to teach at the University of Utah. I eventually started working at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in the education department.

I still had some things to resolve with the work I was making during school, so I focused on that until around 2011. Much of that work was centered on my relationship to place — specifically Salt Lake City and how to better understand what my relationship to the city was.

In 2011, I shifted from thinking about place in a geographic sense to place as it relates to architecture. I’d say skateboarding influenced that shift. The way in which skateboarding teaches you to see and interact with your surroundings based on how you move through or use them and the endless possibilities provided by that act. I also re-examined the objects and obstacles created to facilitate that movement. In a way, I think that I’ve always approached art making in this manner, but now I’m open to the connection to skateboarding.

JW: How do you negotiate/combine your formal ideas about art with your life-long passion for skateboarding?

JS: I think there is a fair amount of cross over between the two. I see similarities in their cyclical nature, the specific language developed to describe aspects of each community, how that language may not always be understood by people outside that community, and the learning from failure.

For me, it’s about finding the places where they overlap and using those overlaps to inform my work. Whether its constructing architectural forms that have a relationship to both skateboarding and minimalism, recording indexical marks created by skateboarders interacting with those forms, how the body informs and responds to that interaction, or repurposing found objects used for skateboarding.

image of wood ramps in corner with double blue lines showing skateboard track
Corner Pocket, 2012, wood and vinyl.

JW: Much of your past work focused on geographical places. How is the work you have created for Torque and Axis similar or different?

JS: It’s a mix of both, but geography — in a straight forward sense — is less important now or better yet, less noticeable. It’s hard to get away from it, though. I think living in the mountain west; the mountains were always looming over you, always in your field of vision. They act as walls that can keep things out and keep things in and that informs the culture and the people that exist within it.

By moving back to Salt Lake City and reconnecting with old friends that also continue to skateboard into their 30’s and 40’s, my work became focused on that all aspects of that community. It’s a community shaped by the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains, both physically and psychologically. The community has intense local pride and a pride in the connection to previous generations of skateboarding (some of them, including myself, are pushing 30 years on a skateboard). That connection to the past and its reemergence in the present is what the new work for Torque and Axis examines.

JW: You are a curator and an educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City. Can you talk about how your day job and your studio practice intersect?

JS: This may be a short and simple answer, but my museum education experience influences my studio practice which, in turn, influences my curatorial practice. I see crossovers in many aspects of my “separate” art careers.

JW: You're about to open Torque and Axis at the Courtyard Gallery, what other upcoming/recent projects do you have?

JS: Back in March, I had some photographs at the Spring/Break Art Show during Armory Arts Week and I collaborated with another Salt Lake artist, Christopher Kelly, on a project called It’s Going To Take Some Getting Used To. At the end of May, I’ll be in a two-person exhibition at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah with Svavar Jónatansson.  

JW: What advice would you give to graduating MFA candidates?

JS: Keep making. Find a community (whatever that means to you) and actively be part of it.


Torque and Axis opens May 7, 2015 at The Courtyard Gallery. The exhibition will be on view May 7 – September 26, 2015.