The Walter Darby Bannard Archive

Catalog essay (1998)

Catalog Essay, University of Miami MFA Exhibition, Lowe Museum, Spring 1998.

Since we radically expanded our graduate program and began regular open critiques some years ago, our graduate students have become the vital center of our program. The eleven artists in this show have been especially lively and demanding, and the show they have given us reflects this splendidly.

I can't recall any recent MFA exhibit in which the work so clearly shared certain contemporary interests while remaining so original in the treatment of these interests. Some characteristics seem like the property of the group: figuration, loaded subject matter, an emphasis on "play" in various forms, references to personal history and the use of political and sexual irony. On the other hand, the actual approach, or art-making method, is, in each case, quite individual; there are broad expressive differences between digital and painted surfaces, abstracted and representational figures and gently whimsical and forcefully satirical treatment, and there is a stunning variety of traditional and unusual materials, put to work in surprising ways. This is an exhibition of vigorous work by talented artists dealing with the themes of our time. We anticipate with pleasure the art they will make in the coming years.

Once again we are grateful to the Lowe Museum for the use of their elegant new space and to the Jacobs family for their generous contributions to our graduate program.