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Associate Professor Shawn Meek has been recognized with an award for his 2020 work Rose Code, by The One Club for Creativity. Rose Code earned a Silver Award in the category of “Out-of-Home / Experiential & Installations,” and is being exhibited at The One Show, a prestigious exposition in advertising, design and digital marketing. For 40 years, The One Club has had a rich legacy of honoring some of the most groundbreaking ideas, created by some of the most remarkable minds in creativity.
Specializing in UX/UI design and front-end web development, Meek is a designer who also codes; building from concept to completion. Having always been drawn to rose windows “for reasons unexplored,” Meek was fascinated by the structural mastery and craftsmanship of these detailed objects. He found himself tracing the pattern in these physical objects and asking himself, “How can that be coded?”
Rose Code’s purpose centers upon the idea of creating highly detailed and visualized forms utilizing code as a solo medium. As a digital installation, users are drawn into a curated space driven by code (HTML5 & CSS3) that is visually generated onto two opposing walls with the creation of the rose window displayed in the center. Conceptual unity is realized by intersections of auditorial cues referencing repetitive religious systemic underpinnings, patterns of code in continual progress and rose window form creation.
“I am a tourist of my personal faith, a weekend window shopper for salvation,” Meek ruminates. “Religion, after all, is just an organized system, isn’t it?”
Associate Professor and Communication Design Program Coordinator Peter Miles Bergman is a conceptual artist, printer, publisher, and the founder and Special Agent in Charge of the Institute of Sociometry, an international art and communications cooperative. Bergman formed the group in 1995 after selecting the term “sociometry” — which is “the quantitative analysis of individuals and their relationship to groups” — from the dictionary. Or, in Bergman’s parlance “guerilla sociometry”, which does not conform to the rigors of math or science! In collaboration with his partner in art and life, Heather Link-Bergman, former Communications Manager at the MSU Denver Center for Visual Art, their “Institute of Sociometry” is spotlighted in the current Museum of Contemporary Art Denver exhibit Citizenship: A Practice of Society. As a survey of politically engaged art, in response to political events and the current climate, as well as recent art world trends, the exhibition posits art making as a critical civic act, and runs from October 2, 2020 – February 14, 2021.
Our newest full-time faculty member, Assistant Professor Yunjin La-mei Woo is a socially-engaged artist and a cultural-studies researcher. Born as the granddaughter of a Korean shaman, her artistic practice is informed by her research on various notions of humanness and how such notions intersect with issues of power, gender, class, and ethnicity. Her creative work ranges widely from installation to video, performance, sculpture, writing, and participatory projects. Woo has exhibited, published, and presented her creative work and research in various venues both internationally and nationally. She earned her BFA and MFA from Seoul National University, South Korea, and is currently working on her PhD dissertation in Communication and Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. You can find more about the material structures that Yunjin has built here.
Alumni and Associate Professor Carlos Frésquez was born and raised in Denver, and earned his BA from MSU Denver and his MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has exhibited his artwork in most U.S. states and in ten different countries, including China, Spain, Chile, Brazil, Czech Republic and Russia. Read the recent interview with Frésquez published on page 8 in the Winter 2019 edition of Collage Magazine.
Professor Abendroth is a founding member and regular contributor to the international design network, SEED®: Social Economic Environmental Design where she is a co-author of the SEED Evaluator design assessment tool and a reviewer for project certification. She currently serves on the SEED Advisory Board and was the recipient of the Award for Leadership in Public Interest Design.
Assistant Professor Natascha Seideneck earned her graduate degree from School for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with an emphasis in photography and digital media and has been a visual artist for over 25 years. In addition to her photographic practice, she also engages in site-specific work that includes commissions for DIA, CSU’s Behavioral Science Building and Marriott Hotel. Recently, she co-curated Gravity of Perception at the CVA, on view now through March 23rd, and is also showing works at Art of the State 2019, at the Arvada Center through March 31st.
Natascha Seideneck recently appeared in gallery shows around Colorado including the exhibit “Art and Conflict” at the Arvada Center; her work was a part of the “Waterline” show at the Center for Visual Arts; and also she had a solo show at Seidel City titled “After Nature: The Age of the Anthropocene.”
Seideneck was featured in 100 Colorado Creatives in Westword.
Jessica Weiss, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – Art History, Theory, and Criticism, presented a paper, titled “Castilian Legacy and Juan de Flandes’s Miraflores Copy,” at the International Colloquium “Flandes by Substitutuion: Copies of Flemish Masters in the Hispanic World (1500-1700)” sponsored by the Royal Institute of Cultural Heritage (kik-irpa) in Brussels, Belgium.
Matt Jenkins, Associate Professor – Integrated Media, showed his work The World’s Largest PDF in an international juried exhibition on Conceptual Art at the CICA Museum in South Korea and presented the same work at the American University in Paris for the Arts in Society conference.
Rachael Delaney, Professor – Art Education Coordinator, was honored at the 2017 Colorado Art Education Association fall conference as the Art Educator of the Year. Colleague Dale Zalmstra reflects, “I have known and at times worked with Rachel over a number of years. As an elementary art teacher, I have been the cooperating teacher for her student teachers. I know from the students what the priorities and focus are in their art education classes. I know the efforts Rachel has made to mentor and facilitate the growth of her students. I know she has a very high standards and high expectations for her students. She calls for their best in ways that both inspires and motivates them as they grow in understanding and confidence.”
Jade Hoyer, Assistant Professor – Printmaking, staged an exhibition, “Recurring Dream” at the VAE in Raleigh, North Carolina, an installation responding to the poetry of Katie Byrum. Byrum’s poem, “To the river house” addresses the comfort and limitations of the poet’s Kentucky hometown. Hoyer created installations of tiny suburban houses on individual turf plots which reflects Hoyer’s upbringing in the Rust Belt.
Hoyer was part of a group exhibition, “Homeward,” which toured to five venues, including the University of Guam and Arts University Bournemouth, UK. The works were also collected for the archive at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Georgia. In the words of the exhibition curators, Mariana Smith and Michael Litzau, the exhibition reflected how “the transition from one’s heritage has a direct influence on how we live and experience our world. Sometimes this departure is traumatic and directly impactful. For some, the journey became lost and is barely influential. Sometimes we know our familial homeland by hearsay or fantasy. By moving, a part of who we are is lost but another part is gained by who we become.”
A two-person exhibition, “Homemakers,” also featured Hoyer at the Demo Project in Springfield, IL in December 2017. The work, created in collaboration with artist Tatiana Potts, explores the notion of home, the immigrant experience, and domestic space.
Additionally, Hoyer staged a solo exhibition in November 2017 in Bel Air, Maryland at Harford Community College. Her work, “First and Next” uses classroom materials to address educational opportunity. She also delivered a lecture to Harford Community College students. One piece in the exhibition incorporated the art of MSU Denver Art students.
Jillian Mollenhauer, Ph.D., Associate Professor – Art History, Theory, and Criticism, presented papers at the Association for Latin American Art Triennial Conference: Art at Large: Public and Monumental Arts of the Americas, at the deYoung Museum, San Francisco; at Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in Orlando, Florida; and at the 2nd Annual Research Colloquium for the Rocky Mountain Pre-Columbian Association, Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
In 2017 Dr. Mollenhauer presented “Identifying the Quintessence of Olmec Centers in Formative Olman,” in the session, “Quintessential Places: Analyzing the Character of Pre-Columbian Sites” at the 2017 Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Shawn Meek, Associate Professor – Communication Design, presented a paper entitled ‘Fonts of My Family: The Fleeting Craft of Cursive Writing’ at the 2017 Hawaii University International Conferences on Science, Technology & Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Education (STEM/STEAM) in Honolulu, along with publishing in the conference proceedings. Meek was honored by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) American Web Design Awards 2017. His work, Boyan Slat: UX/UI Design, was published in this annual showcase of the best websites, microsites and apps nationwide. This same work was also awarded a Silver by the One Club for Creativity Denver’s 2017 Annual Show.
Summer Trentin Ph.D., Assistant Professor – Art History, Theory, and Criticism, presented a paper titled “Reconstructing Antiquity: Alternative Research Projects in Classical Art and Archaeology” at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (https://camws.org/meeting/index.php) at the University of Waterloo in Kitchener, Ontario. She also authored two articles, one with illustrations by an MSU Denver student, related to her research on domestic decoration in Roman Pompeii.
This work is a collaboration between Johnson and the chef in consultation with KSQ Architects. The piece explores the explosive flavors and textures of fresh foods and spices. The design originates in the upper left corner of the niche where a plate gradually morphs into to fiery spices, lush flora and bursts of pleasure. In a sense, the plate becomes an explosion of colors, flavors, and textures.
Photo: Zest; 2016; Porcelain; 5.5’x 8.5’x 6”
Photo credit: Wes Magyar
Join us in getting to know our faculty and staff through this relay interview series where the person being interviewed gets to choose and interview the next interviewee. The interview questions and format are also chosen by each interviewer for diversity.
Yunjin Woo: How does your work relate to the everyday? I’m thinking about your work in general with special attention to projects like One Hundred Famous Views, Invisible Labor, or Cleansing Emmanuel’s Bathroom. How do questions of labor, power, and memories come into play in your dealings with the everyday?
Anne Thulson: I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and I leaned towards narrative, metaphor and images. I was steered towards art with a capitol A. I’m sure the school guidance counselors thought, ‘Where can we put her?’ By the time I figured out that the Artworld was compromised by money, grandeur, and celebrity, I was well into my senior year of college and already accepted into an MFA program. I felt trapped but moved ahead anyway. In that program, a guest critic, Suzi Gablik, lectured. She championed art outside of Modernism and the Artworld. I remember sitting in my chair and feeling as if she was throwing me a rope and an escape map. I love her for it. I finished my degree, but with a heightened conscience and an escape plan. Since then, I discovered many artists who were pursing the same workaround. How do you make art and a living wage and work towards poetry and justice? These justice-driven poet-teachers are my community, including my colleagues at MSU Denver.
Even though I made transient, time-based art, I still wanted to make physical paintings. Why do people continue to represent what they see and think in a picture? What is a picture? Those are questions I will always love and never fully answer. I paint as a way to find out.
In One Hundred Famous Views, I painted pictures of Denver alleys because they are significant-insignificant places that people inhabit and know. Alleys are like so many acts people do every day. We pretend they don’t matter, but bit by bit, they make up most of our lives. With this in mind, I wanted to lovingly attend to them. Painting by hand is one way to lovingly attend. Brushstrokes are caresses and the body of the painter stays at an intimate proximity of the canvas while they paint. Painting is not about me making my mark or gesture or expressing myself. It is more about matching the act of painting with my act of attention with the layers of memory people bring to an alley or any mundane space. Those spaces resonate collective memory. So, on my usual walks I started photographing parts of alleys. Each painting represents a specific photo and site with odd additions like theaters and floating houses. The titles include the street names and allude to other associations as a way to acknowledge that the mundane and poetic exist together. The title of the series references One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, the 19th century prints by Hiroshige. Again, I’m interested in the notion of fame. Why do we need things to be famous? What makes a view famous? These were the last paintings I made specifically for a traditional exhibit in an art gallery. The opening and the sale of the work were not my favorite part of the process. I don’t know why, but it didn’t make any sense to me. I left the gallery soon afterwards.
Since then, I continued to read and think about painting. I came to a decision that I would still paint, but not as a professional act. I would paint as I do any non-professional practice in my life, like yoga or walking or cooking or gardening or reading fiction or being a mother. All these back-alley activities are extremely significant, but invisible on my resumé. This is when it gets interesting. Once you leave the professional realm, you are a “Sunday painter” or a “minor artist” or a “hobbyist.” I thought that was funny and I was ready to claim the titles. Still, it wasn’t exactly a great fit. I continued read and think critically about painting in a way the hobbyist doesn’t. So, I’m in a no-man’s land. There is no spot to put people who make art informed by criticism and history, but do not participate professionally in the Artworld. This seems especially true for people who make paintings, the art medium with the most capitalist baggage. What a strange place to be! Without a gallery and sales, I had to consider where the paintings as objects would go after I made them. So, I started painting even smaller canvases and I decided to give them away.
With this thinking, I made the series, Invisible Labor, with the intention to give these paintings to my children who now are grown and have walls of their own. I painted images from photographs that were significant to them. Traditional “women’s work” includes the invisible labor of archiving family memories. This is the hobbyist’s task. Within this space, I still wanted to apply an informed painting process to these very unprofessional, domestic paintings that will land on domestic walls. I was informed by the ideas of art historians Norman Bryson and Peter Geimer: various levels of the mundane, genre painting, and the question of truth in photographs. As the hobbyist, I gave these to my children. As an informed painter, I put them on my website, whose purpose is for me to start a conversation with others (like this one).
Alongside painting, I’ve maintained a post-studio practice for years. I try to do one a year. For instance, a colleague and I did performance together for a faculty exhibit at the Emmanuel Gallery. We discussed the hierarchy of our university. Who empties our trash cans every night? Who makes our photocopies? Who cleans our bathrooms? We decided to do a piece about the invisible labor in the gallery where we were exhibiting. That led to taking on the bathroom cleaning duties of the university maintenance worker during the duration of the exhibit. As I mopped the floor in that bathroom, I was suspended in an odd state between the mundane and poetic. It was a good fit.
Yunjin Woo: I would like to talk further about the politics of the strange space you occupy between the Artworld and the everyday. The same space, which is far greater than the exclusive room in which famous artists gather, is occupied by varied individuals and groups as you note—not only hobbyists but also informed artists, women, children, students, people of color, ethnic minorities, etc. Their creativity, which can be highly informed, is often dismissed, and as a result, their work occupies this liminal space between the professional art galleries and the domestic/instructional rooms. The latter is then often deemed preparatory, transitional, and thus inferior to the former. Their art may be called scribbles, decorations, or folk art. Yet, art educators are often primed to train students to aspire to the grandeur of the Artworld, which reinforces the hierarchy within the art school that closely mirrors that of the Artworld. How do you navigate this challenging paradox as an artist and educator in your work with children or students?
Anne Thulson: For college pre-service art teachers, I try to demythologize some things that tenaciously cling to K-12 art education: the inspired genius, modernity, the universal language of form, the limited time span of art normally used in K-12 curriculum (from 1800-1950), the Eurocentric “top forty” artists, and cultural appropriation.
When I’m teaching children, I try to create a democratic classroom where all makers and thinkers are equal and where all kinds of making and thinking exist together equally. I have them examine primary sources. I facilitate frequent conversations about ideas. I model thinking and curiosity. I try to help them make connections between poetic thinking and the everyday. After giving them lots of robust things to see and think about, I offer them prompts and/or materials for them to respond. Some of these prompts are more teacher directed and some are more student directed. I try to keep a balance. I’ve found that young children are very open to the subversive and conceptual nature of contemporary art, often more than teenagers and adults are. So, it is really wonderful to teach art to children and to work with art teachers.
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