Georgia State University MFA Student Exhibition Makes a Strong Statement at 2016 Aqua Art Miami

Posted On December 8, 2016
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Congratulations to Georgia State’s Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design 3rd Year MFA graduates for another successful showing at the 2016 Aqua Art Miami Show – the school’s 6th consecutive year!

The students represented the MFA visual arts program with an impactful, thought-provoking presentation, Creative Maladjustment, a title coined by guest essayist, Sarah Workneh, Co-Director, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.




The five-day fair reported impressive attendance with more than 11,000 collectors, curators, art advisors, artists and museum professionals. The graduates embraced the experience by engaging and making connections with an art world mix including Chief Curator Mark Scala of the Frist Center in Nashville, Sven Eisenhut, Founder and Director of Photo Basel, Kristian Anderson, Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Lisa Wolfin of Art! Vancouver (Canada’s Largest Art Fair), Brigitte Mulholland of Jane Lombard Gallery (NY), Director Laura Hathaway of Hathaway Gallery (ATL), Christian Rex Van Minnen of Gallery Poulsen (Copenhagen), and Cameron Kitchen, Director at the Cincinnati Art Museum, et al.




While MFA exposure and real-world experience are at the core of the Welch Aqua Art Miami program, more than a dozen works were acquired including paintings by Larkin Ford, Joe Hadden and Elham Masoudi, ceramic/DVD works by Rachael Ballard, and photographs by MFA photo graduates, Tyler Mann, John Prince and Ben Lee, among others, as well as follow-up with potential collectors and exhibition leads.

According to the Graduate Director, Associate Professor Craig Drennen, “The Georgia State room received numerous compliments, both in terms of the quality of the work and the installation of the pieces. We were told many times again that our booth was the strongest room at Aqua.”

The exhibition reflected the recent cultural climate which Workneh stated:

“The creative maladjustment that underlies the work of all nine of these artists can be found in their collective resistance to strict formalism – to engage narratives that tell real stories – that take the America that has become so boiled down to headlines and slogans, and infuse it with the real struggles we face. They present stories that not only refuse to lay flat, but through truth, vulnerability, and exploration refuse to be taken at surface value.”



The participating 3rd year graduate students included Rachel Ballard, Larkin Ford, Joseph Hadden, Michelle Laxalt, Ben B. Lee, Tyler Mann, Elham Masoudi, John Prince, Kathleen Sharp.  The exhibition catalog design and website were created by Bryan Perry, with writing contribution by MA Art History graduate students Genevieve Milliken, Ariana Yandel, Ceallsach Crouch, Cynthia Farnell, Samantha Long, Jill Jantosciak, Lauren Cantrell and Anna Dobbins.

The Welch MFA exhibition at Aqua Art Miami continues to raise the bar as a creative and experimental showcase for emerging contemporary art. Next up, the MFA grad students shift focus to thesis mode this spring.

2016 Welch Aqua Catalog


For the Aqua Art Miami wrap-up release, please click here.

Application deadlines for MFA Studio and MA Art History is January 17, 2017. MAEd application deadline is April 1, 2017. Please click here for more information.