Art News

CAG Exhibition: Protests, Proclamations and Celebrations

Protests, Proclamations, and Celebrations: 
Sharon Hayes

Part Two of Four Acts




Artist Sharon Hayes is part of our four part exhibition, Protests, Proclamations and Celebrations. She addresses ideas of romantic love, queer theory, activism, and politics. Incorporating recordings, speeches, songs, and letters along with her own writing, she describes her practice as “a series of performatives rather than performance”. She will be participating in an artist talk and opening reception from 5 pm to 7pm on Monday 25th in the Art Building at UCONN. Please join us for refreshments and conversation with the artist.


Ricerche: Three, 2016, Film Still


Fingernails on a Blackboard: Bella, 2014, Video Still 


We Cannot Leave This World to Others, 2014, Video Still


Ricerche: Three, 2016, Installation Shot


Protests, Proclamations, and Celebrations: Shen Xin

Part One of Four Acts



Shen Xin delivered an artist talk to the UCONN community followed by a reception at the Contemporary Art Galleries. Shen also met with the graduate students for individual critiques. 


Installation view of Shen Xin’s Escape Forms: Prologue, 2016 and Provocation of the Nightingale, 2017. 


Still from Provocation of the Nightingale, 2017


Shen Xin speaks at the Thomas J. Dodd Center

Artist Talk: Nathan Fox

Nathan Fox, an award-winning illustrator, held two talks and a public critique for UConn students on February 19th.  He is co-creator and artist on THE WEATHERMAN and is Chair of MFA Visual Narrative, a low-residency graduate program in visual storytelling. He works with clients such as NYTimes, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Wired, Scholastic, MT, Nike, and more.


nathan fox flyer

Tim Saternow Lecture on Watercolor Painting

Tim Saternow joined us at the Arena Gallery on February 19th to discuss watercolor painting.

watercolor painting lecture

Tim Saternow is an American painter whose watercolors explore the lost and forgotten areas on the edges of the urban scene. His paintings encompass the industrial streets of New York City, to the empty lands of Joshua Tree, California, to houses of Provincetown, MA. Tim got his BFA at SUNY Purchase in New York and his MFA from Yale University. Formerly, Tim was a Professor both at Carnegie-Mellon University from 1992 to 1996 and here at UConn from 1996 to 2006, where he taught graduate level Theater Design and Art Direction. When Tim was in his MFA program, he wasn’t taught how to create watercolors even though he was expected to use it as a medium and in film– this inspired him to teach it here at UConn when he was a professor. He loved creating watercolors so much that he decided to move to New York City to work full-time as a painter.

Tim came back to UConn on Tuesday, February 19th to talk to our MFA students about his journey as an artist, the process of creating his watercolors, how he mounts his work, and how to navigate the world of residencies and gallery showings post-MFA. His creation process begins with him making a value sketch that focuses on the light and dark, and negative and positive aspects of the scene. If the sketch interests him at this level, he moves forward to create a finer detailed sketch, then a colored sketch, and then the watercolor itself. When he makes the transition from colored sketch to watercolor, he first creates a grisaille (a gray monochrome painting). With the aim of deconstructing the image so as to not duplicate a photograph, he then splashes water and bursts of color on the painting. He works with those splotches and adds more local color until he feels like it’s done.

Tim has a series of work called PARK—  each watercolor was of different parking garages in New York City and had the work ‘park’ somewhere in the painting. He advised the MFA students to market their artwork in terms of a theme, showing PARK as an example. He said the theme could even be the medium used to create the artwork, but that typically having a theme is the best way to get people interested in showing your work at galleries.  He also advised them to focus on forming connections with others, as this was how he got to show work in many of the galleries his work has been in.

Tim’s work is so stunning and unique. Our MFA students were able to see his paintings first-hand and have the opportunity to ask him questions that resonated with where they’re at in their artistic careers. Thanks Tim!


Tim Sadernow Image

Tim Sadernow Image

Tim Sadernow Image

Artist SHEN XIN Talks with UConn MFA Students

Artist Talk


Shen Xin, the current artist featured in the Protests, Proclamations & Celebrations exhibition in
the Contemporary Art Gallery, visited an MFA seminar to allow time for the graduate students to
ask questions about her artwork, the processes behind it, and her career path. Their dialogue
covered a range of topics, one of them being her transition from MFA to post-MFA to life as a
professional artist as that resonated with the graduate students. She also spoke on how her
work has changed since being out of school, how she casts people for her videos and the
fluidity of her movie making process. She touched on some of the personal challenges that
she’s faced as an artist, how she handles negative comments and critiques about her work, how
to navigate and seek out funding, and highlighted the relationships she’s formed through her
work. She expressed her passion for teaching in the future and mentioned that she has a gallery
in Shanghai.


Please join us for the opening reception of Prismatic, a reflection on transgender and non-binary experience, on February 18th from 6-8pm in room 109 of the Art Building! This IDEA Grant will be on display in the VAIS Gallery from February 18th to the 22nd


prismatic flyer

Perspectives on #MeToo 


Thursday February 7, 12:15-1:45 pm 
Branford House, UConn Avery Point

This will be a discussion among UConn students, faculty and staff about sexual violence and consent.It will be offered in conjunction with a gallery installation featuring the work of UConn graduate student Jeanne Ciravolo, and is based on UConn’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life’s “Encounters” reflective, structured dialogue model. This discussion will include a variety of experts: representatives from Safe Futures, UConn’s Counseling and Mental Health Services and UConn’s Women’s Center.

Lunch will be served.

Artist Talk: Shen Xin

February 7th
9am to 11am
Dodd Center Konover Auditorium

Shen Xin

Shen Xin was born in Chengdu, China and currently is living and working in London
and Amsterdam. She graduated from La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore and
earned her MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

Provocation of the Nightingale , 2017 and Forms Escape: Prologue , 2016, are two of
Shen Xin’s exhibited multichannel media works that are complex and profound, and
require time and concentration to decipher. Both works avoid linear narrative and the
use of irony, for Shen Xin does not want to restrict viewers’ freedom to make their
own assumptions. “It’s a very sensory experience when things are complex because
you have to be open. That’s why I want to move away from irony because I want to
explore how to be even more engaged with that ability to open up space when
viewing the film.” You are continually challenged to assess how you come to believe
and form opinions about something. For Shen Xin, that something is connected with
notions of love, suffering, emotional pain and spirituality along with afflictions of
contemporary capitalism’s relationship with power and how Buddhist philosophy and
everyday life interconnect.

CAG Event: Protests, Proclamations and Celebrations

Gallery Exhibit: Proclamations, Protestations, and Celebrations
Exhibition Dates:
Shen Xin (January 28 to February 8)
Sharon Hayes (February 25 to March 8)
Zou Zhao Xi Xi (April 1 to April 12)
Christian Falsnaes (April 22 to May 3)

What unites the four artists in CAG’s exhibition project is their use of live performance, interaction with the audience, notions of ritual and group mentality, speeches and singing employed for didactic recitation along with facets such as crowd incitement and persuasion.

About the four artists:

Shen Xin:
Shen Xin was born in Chengdu in 1990. She is currently living and working in London and Amsterdam. Shen Xin graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore in 2012 before she went on to earn her MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2014. Through images and events, Shen explores emotions, value judgements and ethics that circulate through individual and collective subjects. Her recent solo exhibitions include half-sung, half spoken at Serpentine Galleries, London (2017); Strongholds at Lychee One, London (2017); At Home at Surplus Space, Wuhan (2016); and Shoulders of Giants at Senate House, London (2015). Her work was featured in group exhibitions at the New Museum Triennial (2018); The New Normal at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2017); and Frontier at the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai (2017). Shen was awarded the BALTIC Artists’ Award in 2017. She will take part in the 2018–19 artist-in-residence programme offered by Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam.

Sharon Hayes
American artist Sharon Hayes uses photography, film, video, sound, performance, and text to interrogate the intersections between the personal and collective sphere. Her deeply affective and queer approach to history and politics draws particular attention to the language of twentieth-century activism as well as drama, anthropology, and journalism.

A professor of fine art at the University of Pennsylvania, Hayes’s work has been shown at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Documenta 12 in Kassel, and the 55th Venice Biennale, as well as in the most prestigious museums around the world. Her re-examination of protest, speech, and history is one of the most powerful reflections of the complexity and the urgency of our times.

Zou Zhao
Zou Zhao was born in 1989 in Fujian, China. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, with a BA in Fine Art, and completed her Masters degree in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2014. Her work has been shown in London at various venues, including the Camden Art Centre (2013), the UCL Art Museum (2013), No Where art space (2014), the Chinese Visual Festival (2014) and at Double Vision: Oversees, Chinese Women Invitation Exhibition 2014, He Xiang Ning Art Museum, China. She has also co-curated The Strange Impression of seeing things for the first time at the Art Pavilion in 2013 in London, and was the recipient of the Berenice Goodwin Award for Performance from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2013.

Christian Falsnaes
Unsuspecting exhibition visitors become part of Christian Falsnaes’ performances. In his work, he deals with the notions of ritual and group mentality, including himself and the role of the artist. What happens when people – especially those who are used to the rituals and dynamics of highly codified social fields such as the art world – have to give up control? Falsnaes employs directives to underscore the significance of individual will, turning the reactions of his audiences into material for their own self-reflection.

Artist Talk: Sibyl Kempson


Sibyl Kempson


Sibyl Kempson’s plays have been presented in the United States, Germany, and Norway.

She launched the 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr & Perf Co in 2015. Productions include Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag (Abrons Arts Center, NYC), Public People’s Enemy, an adaptation of Enemy of the People, (Ibsen Awards and Conference in Ibsen’s hometown of Skien, Norway), Sasquatch Rituals (The Kitchen, NYC) and 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, a 3-year cycle of rituals for the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District of NYC, begun on the Vernal Equinox in March 2016, recurring on every Solstice and Equinox through December 2018.

Other current projects include true pearl, a new opera with David Lang for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston premiering in October 2018 and The Securely Conferred, Vouchsafed Keepsakes of Maery S. premiering in NYC in 2019.

Kempson is the recipient of a 2018 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for American Playwright at Mid-Career. She is also a 2014 USA Artists Rockefeller Fellow and a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow. She received four Mondo Cane! commissions from Dixon Place between 2002-11. I Understand Everything Better, with David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2015, the same year her play Fondly, Collette Richland, penned for Elevator Repair Service, premiered at New York Theatre Workshop.

Her plays are published by 53rd State Press, PLAY: Journal of Plays, and Performance & Art Journal (PAJ). MFA Brooklyn College under the instigation of Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. She teaches and has taught experimental performance writing at Sarah Lawrence College, Brooklyn College, Victoria College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne, and the Eugene Lang College at the New School in NYC.

Facebook event:

Sendak Young Illustrators’ Prize 2018


In conjunction with the CT Children’s Book Fair hosted by UConn and Barnes and Noble, our undergraduate students studying Illustration participated in the Maurice Sendak Young Illustrators’ Prize program.  Participants were treated to an individual critique of their works by professional illustrator Doug Salati.  Salati was a 2015 recipient of The Maurice Sendak Foundation’s Sendak Fellowship.


Congratulations to the 2018 Prize winners:

First Place: Hal Tedeschi

Second Place: Aberdeen Taylor

Third Place: Hayley Joyal

Honorable Mention: Gillian Partyka


Visiting Artist: J. R. Uretsky

J. R. Uretsky

J.R Uretsky

Visiting Artist Presentation

Thursday, November 1, 2018, 3:30pm

Artist Presentation – Storrs Campus, Art Building, Room 222

J.R. Uretsky weaves performance, video, puppetry, and sculpture into emotionally charged, affective artworks that shift seamlessly between autobiography and fiction. Uretsky’s work confronts viewers with expressive confessions that test the bounds of comfort, personal space, and acceptable presence. The characters that emerge through her performances are relatable yet also alien and non-specific, forging an ambiguous space where emotion is the remaining constant.

J.R. Uretsky curates independently and is a performing artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues in New York, Los Angeles, Finland, and Germany. Her work was included in the 2013 DeCordova Biennial at The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. She has also performed and exhibited at Art Basel Miami, FL, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Rhode Island School of Design Museum as well as the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Uretsky’s work has been published in print, online and video journals such as Headmaster Magazine, Gaga Stigmata, Big Red & Shiny, and ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art.

The Aggressive Love Project

The Aggressive Love Project (2011-2013) featured in 2013 deCordova Biennial, curated by Lexi Lee Sullivan,  DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA—a series of video documentations and sculptures from site-specific performances—explores the darker side of generosity through acts of invasive gift-giving.


bro puppetry and video showcase


Bromance was a performance that used puppetry and video to showcase white, male anxiety through interviews with men. I relocated interviewee’s stories from their white, male bodies to a strange, non-gendered object. Bringing the “Bro” into a conflicted body that is queer because of its multiplicity, fluidity, and failure.


feeling feeling exhibition


Feeling Feeling a collaborative exhibition by Emmy Bright & J.R. Uretsky showed at the Distillery Gallery in Boston from September 8 – October 14, 2017

Feeling Feeling: a series of dubious choices, earnest efforts, collaborative installations, missed opportunities and new works on paper, wall, and in time.

Artist Talk – Tiziano Lucchesi and Gloria Marco Munuera of ISI Florence

Tiziano Lucchesi (artist and fresco restoration specialist) and Gloria Marco Munuera (artist and photographer) from ISI, International Studies Institute in Florence are coming to the UConn Department of Art and art History. For those students who are interested in our Education Abroad, UConn Florence Studio Art program, this is a must see. Tiziano Lucchesi will be talking about the process of making and restoring fresco, while Gloria Gloria Marco Munuera will be presenting some of her own photography work. The presentations are scheduled for next Tuesday, October 16, from 3:30-5:00 in the art building. Room TBA, so come to the Pit to orient.

Image information:

Tiziano Lucchesi, fresco resturation

Annunciazione di Rodolfo del Ghirlandaio, XVII c.


Gloria Marco Munuera

Ashes 1


UConn’s MFA Art Sale is Live: Support the Next Generation of Artists

UConn’s annual MFA Art Sale is live! The sale, which supports MFA thesis exhibitions in New York City, offers a range of 2D and 3D work by faculty, current graduate students, and alumni, all at affordable prices. Drawn from the interdisciplinary studio art program, the work spans a breadth of media, including photography, painting, ceramics, screen printing, lithography, illustration, and performance documentation. The MFA Art Sale runs continuously, with special promotions offered around the holidays.

UConn’s MFA Art program supports a broad range of art making including painting/drawing, installation/performance, photography/video, printmaking, and sculpture/ceramics. Its international faculty and superior facilities in a rural environment are centrally located in Southern New England for easy day trips to New York, Boston, Providence, Hartford, and New Haven. The three-year program culminates with an exhibition in a New York City gallery and a thesis exhibition in UConn’s William Benton Museum of Art.

Visit the sale and subscribe for updates at

Discovery Day for Prospective Students at Storrs

School of Fine Arts: Discovery Day for Prospective Students at Storrs

Monday, November 12, 2018
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Observe and participate in classes, workshops, presentations, and exhibits for a unique opportunity to explore what it is like to be a student in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut in one of the four exciting artistic disciplines: Art & Art History, Dramatic Arts, Digital Media & Design, and Music.

Parking is available in the North and South garages and the Storrs Center Parking Garage (located on Royce Circle) for a nominal fee.

Register at

For more information:

Open House: Join Us Sunday, Oct. 21st!

Meet with Dean Anne D’Alleva for the School of Fine Arts Dean’s Welcome 
Von der Mehden Recital Hall
10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Then meet with faculty in a round-robin Q & A to explore our Degree options, Areas of Concentration, see student work, discuss career paths in Art and Art History, tour facilities, and more!

Department of Art and Art History
Arena Gallery, Art Building

10:30 am – 1:00 pm

We look forward to seeing you!

MYTH: Paintings by Kamar Thomas, MFA ’16

Exhibit Dates
Oct 1 – Dec 7, 2018

Artist Reception
Fri, Oct 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
prior to performance by Kathleen Battle, soprano & Joel Martin, piano 
Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey

Jorgensen Gallery
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
2132 Hillside Road
On the UConn campus in Storrs, CT
Gallery Hours
Due to classes scheduled in the Jorgensen Gallery, hours for fall 2018 are: 
MWF 10am – 12pm
Tues  10am – 4pm
Thurs  1pm – 4pm
Prior to performances and during most intermissions. 


Kamar Thomas is a fine artist from Port Antonio, Jamaica, currently Adjunct Faculty at the University of Connecticut. He graduated with a Master’s in Fine Art at the University of Connecticut in 2016 and a BA from Wesleyan University in 2012 where he became interested in how people present themselves, the masks they wear, and the differences between who/what is presented and how people really are.


King Midas is a mythical king from way back when who only wished for one thing: gold. He did what kings do and asked the Greek gods for him that wish. They did. With his new power, he touched a knife and boom: gold. He touched a fork: solid gold. He touched everything he could and became the richest king ever. He called a feast to celebrate his new gold-touching status. This was a feast to remember complete with a long table, giant turkey leg and stuffed pig with an apple in its mouth. When Midas reached out to eat that turkey leg, as soon as he touched it: gold.

This is a problem. Gold is hard to eat, even harder to digest and tastes terrible. Midas’ only daughter saw how sad he was and gave him a hug to cheer him up. As soon as he touched her: solid gold daughter. 
The richest king ever, couldn’t eat, killed the only family he cared about 
and starved to death. Sad story. Or was it?

I have made some of my favorite paintings to look at the same problem King Midas faced: becoming who you want to be and paying for it. Everybody has that problem. These large portraits intend to show how much contradiction there is and yet attempt to be beautiful. 
I am interested in how flexible and unfixed identity is.

Co-sponsored by the H. Fred Simons African American Cultural Center, celebrating 50 years at UConn