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Art + Design

College of Arts and Humanities

Current MFA Students

Drew Liedtke


The inorganic world often displays characteristics we categorize as human or can imply that it could be alive. Humans are compelled to find meaning in their existence, and through this personification, our environment fills with lively creatures and spaces.

All matter in the universe, with some specificity, is composed of the same elements. The human and inorganic worlds abide by the same laws of physics. Agents acting on us change or enhance or composition. Those agents give us strength. They strain us to the point of failure. They exploit our faults. They overcome and destroy us.
Other times there is no reaction and we go about our lives as if nothing has happened. 

These works reference a common architectural form: the brick. These sculptures are composed of refractory ceramic materials and glass formulated to provide a specific amount of strength after the trial of firing. The process of heating exposes any weakness developed during construction. Simultaneously, the heat strengthens the molecular structure of the materials where, upon cooling, they cannot be unbound.

It is said that specific materials have a voice. My intention is that the viewer recognizes that if we can find commonality with the human and inorganic worlds, then reacting empathetically in our personal lives may not be as difficult as we may perceive.


Jacqueline Trujillo


My current work is centered on the concept of familiarity and how we recall, preserve, and store memories.

I began by creating symbolic portraits of family members that I have lost. I wanted the imagery to be of something that reminded me of who they were instead of what they looked like. To accomplish this, I chose meaningful artifacts that trigger memories linked to them. I decided to use non-specific locations to allow the viewer to interact with their own memories prompted by the imagery.

Through meditation and concentration our memories can be recalled quicker and more accurately. The process of applying paint has become my own sort of meditation and it gives me the time and focus to be mindful of the memories I am trying to preserve. By building up the pictorial space with small drops of pigment, the image looks fragmented but still composes a larger idea. This process also alludes to the numerous amount of memories that can build up a single image whether they are connected to each other or composed of entirely separate thoughts. When I recall a memory there are areas where the image is more clearly defined while certain details are vague. This is why some parts of these paintings are detailed and other areas fade.


John Giesin








I am interested in the relationship between the outer shape and the inner volume of the vessel. I enjoy that when clay is soft it allows the form to show my touch and I strive to express this quality in my work. Altering the soft clay provides me an opportunity to convey both a sense of movement and the moment when it was made. I want to create a sense of balance between the tight, symmetrical nature of functional pottery and the loose, gestural marks I create. These gestural marks enhance the space inside the form, creating variations along the inner wall of the pot that then interact with the space inside the vessel. The volume and shape of the inside of the vessel is then mimicked in the surface of the form. I hope to create a loose, organic surface that engages the viewer and asks to be touched as well as viewed. The sense of touch is very important and is able to convey things that sight alone cannot. For this reason, the tactile quality of my pots is very important to me as I create interesting surfaces for the user to feel and hold in their hands.


Brock Jensen


The Brute

An exploration of the self.

The moment between exertion and recovery; when fueled only by one’s animalistic and primordial subconscious—one begins to understand how the separate domains of power, dominance, and sexuality, when combined as one element, develop a duality of our conscious and teach us the ephemeral, intra workings of our own identities.

The Brute lives in this world. The Brute lives in our world. The Brute covers its powerful body in the Earth’s clay. Though its ears are covered, it hears its mind enter a world that is methodically senseful. Though its eyes and nose are covered, it trusts its body to enter a world that reconstructs psyches and teaches self about self from self

The Brute is not an allusion, but a portrait of the moment between exertion and recovery; the performance of our most animalistic and primordial subconscious, coinciding not with the way things are supposed to be, but with the way things have to be.


Matthew Wenz

Graphic Design

Matthew’s work is characterized with a style that evokes playfulness and sense of humor balanced with earnestness. Meaning and messages are conveyed in his art using simple design elements with subtle details to create unique graphics that tell stories. Designing is like problem solving, and like language the graphic arts is a way of communication. Matthew conceptualizes design solutions specifically to portray the desires and needs of every client and project. He is influenced by the cultural, social and natural environment from history to speculations of the future. Matthew finds inspiration and beauty in all possible surroundings, from industrial landscapes of the past to serene and desolate scenes from planets yet to be explored.


Jeremy Irvin


Jewelry is not only functional but wearable in everyday life, providing the opportunity for work to be worn and seen, as pieces become a part of their wearer's identity.  Whether a piece symbolizes marriage, provides a narrative, or exists simply for the sake of beauty, it is worn to be seen.  This act of ornamentation allows it to come into itself as art, as it is best able to be viewed and appreciated when worn.  This philosophy of jewelry is the basis for every piece I create.  Regardless of what materials or techniques I may use, I focus on a unique yet functional beauty.

This body of work utilizes acrylic glass as an exploration of form, technique, and material.  I was Initially attracted to this medium due to its light weight, durability, and strong translucent properties and have integrated it into jewelry which, while recognizable in form, is distinct in approach.  My goal with this work is to push the boundaries of conventional jewelry aesthetics while still remaining tethered to the discipline's tradition.  The forms are created to appear simple in order to further emphasize the unique aesthetic which the acrylic provides.  Each piece is created with the relationship of the wearer in mind in order to create art which is minimalist in design, but sculptural and sophisticated in execution.


Aveline Layne


Through interacting intimately with nature, and learning to truly cherish and respect all that the earth has to offer, the work became about relating reverence for the earth to others. By using the medium of clay, I communicate with trees as well as the land that surrounds me in my work outside. These moments, during which I work to be deeply connected to my surroundings, are vitally important to the immediacy of the work. Through the memory of the clay, a preservation and a map of what is at stake is created. These maps serve as a background to all of the essentials in our world that we have grown to take for granted. These necessities are now burned out and relate an unfamiliar negative, bringing their loss into the foreground. It is never clear what these forms once were, as it is lost in the relief that remains - perhaps an indication of all that will remain if we continue on the path we are treading. The sculptures are intimations as well as imitations, uniting the preservation of the earth with the loss of fundamental elements to our livelihood. They reveal what we are already losing, leave us with a poor simulacrum, and cause us to question what should be held as valuable in our world.


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