When MSU Denver Professor Carlos Frésquez began painting murals in Denver’s Chicano neighborhoods in the 1970s, he was looked down upon by the larger city community.
Today, murals are everywhere – and treasured throughout the city – as testimony to “what’s going on right now,” he said.
“I call murals ‘walls with tongues’ because that’s what they’ve been all along,” he said. “It’s a way to instantly communicate and document a time. And voice your opinion.”
This summer as Frésquez, a Metropolitan State University of Denver alumnus and professor, embarked on teaching his popular Community Painting: The Mural course, he was forced to adapt the collaborative process to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here, Frésquez and his MSU Denver students show how they came together to paint a new mural while staying physically apart.
“It’s another way to learn and teach this process,” Frésquez said, “and it’s been a positive challenge. It forced me to rethink how to teach.”
Story by Amanda Schwengel, MSU Denver RED
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
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