The Department of Art & Design hosts a Lectures Series that consists of artist talks, panel discussions, and classroom demonstrations, that support the Art & Design curriculum and the University Gallery.
Seven Easy Steps
An exhibition of Virtual and Other Realities by Andy Fedak
Curated by Misha Rabinovich, Associate Professor of Animation + Interactive Media
November 9 – December 21, 2022
Live lecture via Zoom
November 9 at 1:20 p.m.
The UMass Lowell Department of Art & Design is honored to present Seven Easy Steps, an exhibition of artwork by Andy Fedak. This cutting edge exhibition includes a stereoscopic film and an interactive Virtual Reality installation.
Andy Fedak is an animator and experimental filmmaker working with image, sound, and computer graphics on projects that blur the line between contemporary art and the Hollywood blockbuster. Dealing with subject matter of social unrest and anarchist utopias, Andy utilizes photorealistic computer generated elements to open a space of creativity that would otherwise be impossible due to cost, size, or public safety.
Andy is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the California State University, Fullerton. He received his BFA from New York University and his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His work has been shown at the LAXART in Los Angeles, CA, the Palace of Fine Art in Mexico City, The Luckman Gallery in Los Angeles, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, The Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA, and other venues in Europe and the Americas.
“Skin Might See” An Artist Talk by Lucy Kim
Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022
What You See Is Not What You Get
By Claire Barliant
“Once you see it, you can’t un-see it,” Lucy Kim is saying. We are standing in her studio in Watertown, looking at her four most recent paintings, which will be on view in an exhibition titled “Skin Might See” at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The “it” Kim is referring to is a pattern composed of kitchen knives that have been cast in resin. The resin casts then become the surface for the paintings. The paintings are so deftly made, and intricately composed, that the knife surface is obscured by the image. Each painting is wildly different: Leaves of Three features lush green vines—poison ivy—interspersed with black-gloved hands. Silhouettes consists of finely wrought wood grain, onto which there is a shadowy outline of a person’s profile. (Whether it is a shadow, or a shape burnt into the wood, is difficult to determine.) A third composition, Over, Under, Around, and Through, is a picture of a bolt of dusky brown satin, voluptuously rumpled. The final painting in the series, Distinctions, is perhaps the oddest and most difficult to describe: an image of a thumb is printed on a metallic-green disc, which lies on a larger, copper-colored disc, which lies on yet a third disc colored dark brown, and beneath that is a crimson field onto which the shadow of the circles is cast.
Given these fascinating pictures, it is easy to understand how one might not immediately “see” the knife surface, yet Kim is correct: once you see it, you can’t un-see it. For one thing, from a purely technical standpoint, the paintings are exceptional: in order to create the illusion of one continuous, flat surface, Kim had to paint around the sides of each knife, a feat that requires immense dexterity and patience.
Yet it is the conceptual problem presented by the paintings that is the real pleasure here, if one can call a paradox pleasurable: the logical side of our brain wants to follow the path that our vision has laid for us. What do the knives mean? If you combine knives and satin, what are we, as viewers, supposed to understand? Or knives and wood? Or knives and metal discs?
Kim has been credited in the past with creating a noir atmosphere through her extraordinary ability to conjure shadows and harsh light. Knives and poison ivy, which is being tended to by a black-gloved hand? This could be a commentary on pain, or punishment, or suffering. But in the end, the equation doesn’t compute. There is insufficient information here to make the interpretative leap.
Kim’s paintings present viewers with a MacGuffin. A MacGuffin, as defined by Alfred Hitchcock, who popularized the concept, is a device that kickstarts the real story. This storytelling device would never be resolved.
The classic example is Janet Leigh, in Psycho, who has just committed theft and is on the lam. Yet this seemingly major plot point is hardly a blip in the real story of Psycho, which is ultimately about a madman who murders people while dressed as his deceased mother. A MacGuffin could be the theft of secret documents, or money, or the discovery of a secret—a MacGuffin is whatever is needed to set us on the path of the real story. As Hitchcock told Francois Truffaut, “the logicians are wrong in trying to figure out the truth of a MacGuffin, since it’s beside the point.” In fact, story in general was beside the point for Hitchcock. The story was of less importance to him “than the overall visual impact on the screen, once the picture is completed.”
This is the real accomplishment of Kim’s work—aside from her astonishing technique, compelling subject matter, and the provocative casts of knives—the work is constantly thwarting our desire for resolution, for truth. The “true” image, if it exists at all, is always shifting, always just out of reach. Ultimately Kim’s work interferes with our rush to find resolution, to finger the murderer, to pinpoint the cause—and that interference is itself the point. We want stories to explain our world, to give us satisfying endings, to reassure us that things correspond to our point of view. Yet this is rarely, if ever, the case. The interference Kim creates may, in fact, be the real “it.” Once you see it, you can’t un-see it.
Skin Might See includes the first gallery showing of Kim’s Knife Paintings, as well as work from her Auto-Synthetic series. Kim is a visual artist who uses mold making and illusionistic painting to create hybrid objects that navigate the borderlands between painting and sculpture. She describes mold making and casting as a “sculptural surrogate for photography.“ In both bodies of work there is intrigue in the tension between skin and cast surface. Curator Julie Poitras Santos wrote that in Kim’s oeuvre “the surface skin competes for visual primacy with the three dimensional form,...“ These startling integuments often seem at odds with the kitchen accoutrements and other structures that lie beneath, creating a frisson and a place of interrogation between media and meaning.
Kim holds an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale School of Art and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has shown at the ICA in Boston, MA, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the ICA at the Maine College of Art & Design in Portland, ME, and the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum in Lincoln, MA, to name just a few. Kim is a recipient of many awards including the Creative Capital Award, ICA Boston’s James and Audrey Foster Prize, Artadia Award, MacDowell Fellowship, Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, Hermitage Fellowship, and Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship. From 2018-2021, Kim was an Artist-in-Residence at the Broad Institute, and she is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Boston University.
Claire Barliant is a writer based in Cambridge, MA. Over the past two decades, she has written about art for several publications, including Apollo, Artforum, Art in America, Icon, The New Yorker, and Modern Painters (where she also worked as an editor), among others. During the pandemic, she began making comics, one of which was published in the New York Times Book Review. In 2021, she received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College.
"Breaking the Silence" An Artist Talk by Yuliya Lanina
Monday, April 12, 2021 via Zoom.
UMass Lowell Art and Design is delighted to have Yuliya Lanina give an artist talk where she will take us on a visual journey through her paintings, animations, performances, robotics, and animatronics. She will share her unique perspective of being a Russian refugee, how she sustains her art practice, and her recent Fulbright project exploring intergenerational trauma of the Holocaust.
Yuliya Lanina is a multimedia artist whose work bridges traditional media with new technologies, such as video, robotics, Virtual Reality, and performance – often combining them all. Born in Moscow, Lanina arrived in New York as a political refugee. There she established herself as a pioneering artist on the cutting edge of combining digital technologies with the handmade media. She creates alternate realities in her works—ones based on sexuality, trauma, fetishism, and identity.
Lanina’s honors include Fulbright (Vienna, Austria), Headlands Art Center (CA), and Yaddo Colony (NY). Exhibitions include SXSW (TX), Seoul Art Museum (Korea), SIGGRAPH (Japan), 798 Beijing Biennial (China), Cleveland Institute of Art (OH), Museum Ludwig (Germany) and Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia). Her recent solo show at Xposed gallery on New York’s HighLine was viewed by more than 1,000 people per day over three weeks. Lanina lives in Austin, TX with her husband and twin daughters. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice at the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies at The University of Texas at Austin.
Lisbon based bio artist Marta de Menezes
Marta de Menezes is a Portuguese artist (b. Lisbon, 1975) with a degree in Fine Arts by the University in Lisbon, a MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture by the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leiden.
She has been exploring the intersection between Art and Biology, working in research laboratories demonstrating that new biological technologies can be used as new art medium. Her work has been presented internationally in exhibitions, articles and lectures. She is currently the artistic director of Ectopia, an experimental art laboratory in Lisbon, and Director of Cultivamos Cultura in the South of Portugal.
- November 26, 2019: Andrew Yang
- October 23, 2019: Jonathan Monaghan
- November 7, 2018: Nick Capasso
- October 24, 2018: Eric Rosenbaum
- March 22, 2018: Robert Michael Smith
- April 6, 2017: Angela Washko
- October 19, 2016: Jeremy Bailey
- April 6, 2016: Paula Gaetano Adi
- March 30, 2016: Russ Pope
- March 23, 2016: Chaz Maviyane-Davies
- March 2, 2016: Vitaly Komar
- February 11, 2016: 1975, featuring Anida Yoeu Ali, LinDa Saphan, and Amy Lee Sanford
- March 2, 2015: Kristen Gresh, She Who Tells a Story (access limited to UML community)
- February 12, 2015: Sean Downey
- October 3, 2012: Calculated Chaos: The Art of Blue Q
- April 4, 2011: Lily & Honglei: New Media Art
- October 25, 2011: Lynda Barry
- October 25, 2010: David Macaulay