A Note from Jamie Walker
I am delighted to introduce you to the thesis work of our 2016 class of graduate students in art and design. The annual School of Art + Art History + Design MFA and MDes Thesis Exhibition is the crowning and most public manifestation of our graduate students’ research. The Henry Art Gallery, the leading contemporary museum in the Northwest, was host to the much anticipated opening, which was a lively celebration culminating in a well-deserved opportunity to unveil and reveal their work. The Henry has long been essential in realizing the educational mission of the School and we are grateful to the Director, Sylvia Wolf; Lead Preparator, Jes Gettler; and the rest of the Henry staff for their outstanding support of this exhibition.
Less than two years ago, these fourteen MFA and MDes candidates arrived in Seattle from diverse regions in the U.S., China, and Germany, eager and somewhat apprehensive to begin the as yet to be discovered challenges and rewards of graduate school. Right from the start, they engaged with their coursework and dedicated themselves to their studio practice. Presentations and critiques were punctuated with times of individual thought and quiet reflection while simultaneously being challenged and supported by faculty, staff, visitors—and perhaps most importantly—each other. Their studio practice has been replete with inspiration and obstacles, doubts and revelations, questions, questions, and more questions.
The visualization of their thesis is tangible evidence of each student’s creative, academic, and social interests and concerns. We applaud the determination and excellence evinced by the students’ work, which has been nourished by their time at the University of Washington. As these artists and designers navigate the next stage of their journey, they carry with them a sense of achievement and assurance that will serve them well in their future endeavors. On behalf of the School of Art + Art History + Design, congratulations to the class of 2016!
Director, UW School of Art + Art History + Design
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair of Art
A Note from Sylvia Wolf
The Henry Art Gallery was founded as Washington State’s first art museum in 1927 by Seattle entrepreneur Horace C. Henry, on the principle that art stimulates inquiry, fosters knowledge, and builds healthy communities. Today, the Henry is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the research and presentation of contemporary art. We engage artists to consider the museum as a studio or laboratory for creativity, and our exhibitions and programs invite audiences to push the boundaries of traditional thinking. In all that we do, we live our mission: to advance contemporary art, artists, and ideas.
For decades, the Henry has partnered with the University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design in hosting its Master of Fine Arts (MFA) + Master of Design (MDes) Thesis Exhibition. Our presentation of the MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition is a hallmark of our commitment to supporting artistic innovation and a culture of creativity campus-wide. We serve as a cultural resource and training ground—opening our doors and resources without charge—for over 65,000 students, faculty, and staff.
The museum actively participates in the academic life of University students by offering jointly-developed courses, student internships, practicums, and work study opportunities, and we collaborate with over 20 academic departments and 10 other units across campus. The Henry encourages access to, and research of, the 25,000 objects in our permanent collection through our Eleanor Henry Reed Collection Study Center, the only facility of its kind in the region, where visitors can study from original works of art.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduates in art and design. For many students, this has been their first experience working with a professional museum staff and crew. Special recognition goes to Jes Gettler, Henry Exhibition Designer and Lead Preparator, who has worked with students throughout the year to develop their installations and realize their visions. Thanks also go to our colleagues at the School of Art + Art History + Design, in particular Jamie Walker, Director; and members of the faculty for partnering in this initiative.
But above all, we thank this year’s graduates for making the art and design that is the subject of this exhibition and for sharing with us this important juncture in their lives. We applaud them for their educational achievements and wish them the very best as they launch their careers.
Congratulations to the 2016 recipients of the School of Art+ Art History + Design’s Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design degrees!
John S. Behnke Director
Henry Art Gallery