Northwestern University 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition: What am I to do with a weak mirror?
@ Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Dr, Evanston, IL 60208
Opening Thursday, May 4th, from 5PM - 8PM
On view through Sunday, June 18th
Layan Attari, José De Sancristóbal, Cory Perry, Eshan Rafi, Katie Revilla, Isaac Vazquez — 2023 Master of Fine Arts degree candidates — present their thesis projects and conclude their residencies in the Department of Art, Theory, and Practice at Northwestern University. The 2023 thesis exhibition is accompanied by programming and a publication.
Layan Attari (b. 1990, Kuwait) is an artist whose practice is concerned with the permeable landscapes of the natural and the unnatural. She is interested in locating the origins and implications of different conceptions of nature and how they manifest within urban spaces, primarily in the Middle East. Currently based out of Chicago and Sharjah, her practice spans various media including photography, sound, and moving image. Attari’s work has been featured in several group exhibitions including Branding Conflict at Space 204 Gallery, Nashville, TN (2022); Total Landscaping at Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi (2021); Forming Outlines at Fikra Studios, Sharjah (2020); Plant, Animal, Mineral at Art Dubai, Dubai (2021). She has participated in the Campus Art Dubai 8.0 residency program (2020), Fikra Designer-in-Residence (2020), and is a recipient of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship, in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design (2018-2019). She received her BSc in Multimedia Design from the American University of Sharjah in 2011.
Isaac Vazquez (b. Cleveland, Ohio, the unceded territory of the Erie, Kaskaskia, Mississauga nations) is an artist whose work seeks new ways of discernment, and the disruption of perceptions formed out of histories, and archives. Born into a working class Puerto Rican and El Salvadorian family, his practice refers back to a kind of hauntology; a failed phantom within the everyday produced by images and records. Isaac received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2018, he attended the Berlin Now! Studio Residency, and has also been a recipient of the Christine Millon Memorial and Smith Grants from SAIC, and the Paschke Grant from Northwestern University. Isaac has curated and exhibited in Chicago, in venues such as The Yards Gallery and Sullivan Galleries. Currently, Isaac is collaborating with José De Sancristobal in a curatorial project titled Reference:.
Eshan Rafi (b. 1986, Lahore) is an artist working in performance, photo-based installation and video. Their works deal with the intersection of political events and personal archives, often staging the impossibility of representation. Rafi is an alumni of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, and has participated in residencies at Fondazioni Antonio Ratti in Como, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art in Berlin, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, among others. Their work has been exhibited, performed and screened internationally including at SummerWorks Lab, Toronto; Sharjah Film Platform, Sharjah; M:ST 9 Performance Art Biennale, Calgary and neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin. Rafi’s artistic practice rests on a history of community organizing in queer of color communities, including working in collectives to develop decolonial and anti-racist pedagogies. Over the past several years, they have participated in anti-surveillance and hacker spaces including at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit and Chaos Computer Congress in Leipzig. Their work has been extensively supported by the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, as well as by the generosity of queer and BIPoC communities.
José De Sancristóbal (b. 1995, Monterrey) is an artist that explores the interplay between narrative and image-making processes, examining how these interact to construct meaning and shape perception. Employing photography, video, film, and installation, he delves into the personal and inherited stories that frame our sense of self beyond the confines of a single lifetime. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Universidad de Monterrey, during which he also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. He has been a Fellow of the Young Creators Program (Jóvenes Creadores) from the National Fund for Culture and the Arts in Mexico, and was awarded an acquisition prize for the 2nd edition of Nuevo Leon’s State Art Award. He is the recipient of the Graduate Research Grant and the Paschke Grant at Northwestern University, and is currently a Fulbright-García Robles Fellow. His work has been exhibited at Casa Del Lago, Mexico City; Biquini Wax, Mexico City; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; FF projects, Monterrey; Festival Internacional Santa Lucía, Monterrey; City Surfer Office, Prague; Glassbox, Paris; among others. He co-directed Malteada La Vida, an artist-run space in Monterrey, from 2017 to 2019, and is currently collaborating with Isaac Vázquez in a curatorial project titled Reference:.
Katie Revilla (b. 1994, San Francisco, the unceded homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone) is an artist who combines personal narrative, magic realism, and the proximity of specific events to translate installation and performance based work. She stages detailed assemblages to create an experience that is not historically factual, but rather a fragmented journey through systems of belief, value, and reconciliation. Her work has been shown throughout the U.S., and included in exhibitions at Southern Exposure, SF; Root Division, SF; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; New Wight Gallery, LA; Knockdown Center, NY; Printed Matter, NY; among others. Revilla has been published in KQED Arts, East Bay Express, UC Berkeley Arts+Design Issue 02, and ONX Season 03. In 2017, she received a BA in Art Practice and the Lauren Krikorian Award from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2019 she was an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, a recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship in 2020, and attended ACRE Residency in 2021.
This exhibition and the associated events are co-organized by the Department of Art Theory and Practice and the Block Museum at Northwestern University. Support provided by the Norton S. Walbridge Fund; the Myers Foundations; the Jerrold Loebl Fund for the Arts; and the Alsdorf Endowment.
Image courtesy of Cory Perry, 2023.
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