Regular Style

This is an online exhibition of current national and international regular graduate students working within the visual studio arts. Regular style is a tongue-in-cheek phrase for illustrating that our daily practices, and the work that results, are too complex to be distilled into a single adjective. This exhibit will present work produced by current graduate students and reflect our shared experience.

MFA students from the University of Montana: Anne Yoncha, Jesse Blumenthal, Dean Leeper, Zach Williams and Montana State University: Jon Bashioum, Tori Burchill and Megan Sprenger

Fall 2019

Video Submissions

‘i touched this water, this water touched me’ by Maggie Schmiegelow
Ohio State University
JUROR SELECTION, by Zach Williams

‘Little White Boat’ by Zhizi Wang
University of Western Ontario
JUROR SELECTION, by Jesse Blumenthal

‘Until Your Nose Bleeds’ by Marie-Pascale Lafreniere
Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Juror Statements

“What a great afternoon working with colleagues from University of Montana and Montana State University to jury this show. I enjoyed this window into questions other current MFA students are investigating across the country, and the opportunity to reevaluate my own studio and research practice–why  we make, and why it matters.

One piece in particular stood out to me–Greenie-Gray by Kim Jeongmyo. I wanted to walk around the work and look at how the painting is held up by its steel frame, see how the painted surface changes on each side, see what’s reflected in the glass. It reminded me of a vitrine, a place to carefully store something and observe it later. Today, we are overwhelmed by capacity for collecting and instantly accessing a glut of information. What does it mean to make observations, to deal with data? How does the act of observing and analyzing bring us closer to the things we study–and how does it further distance us from experience and engagement?”

Anne Yoncha
University of Montana 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate
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“”My selection for Juror’s Choice reflected my curator’s desire for variety. I feel that video is a medium that was underrepresented in this exhibition. This work reflects on the mechanics that have entered our vernacular since the smart phone. From the pinch and swipe to the small black cursor this work explores the information age in an irreverent but intelligent manner and adds depth to this exhibition.” 

Jesse was raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He attended UMass Amherst earning a BFA in Sculpture in 2007.  He is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts Candidacy at the University of Montana in the class of 2019. Jesse’s work explores the Anthropocene by reflecting on the strains of the spaces between man and his environment. As an artist living in the west for the majority of his adult life, his recent work explores industrial materials and consumer technology in interdisciplinary arrangements that reflect on the natural environment.”

Jesse Blumenthal
University of Montana 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate
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“I choose Lauren Steinert’s print “Untitled” for my juror’s choice award. I was immediately drawn to this work for its simplicity and formal qualities. There is a quiet meditative quality to Steinert’s work, which displays a sense of focus, awareness and study, as well as an openness for interpretation. I find harmony within composition and color palette Steinert has picked to work with. I enjoy the inviting nature this print provides the viewer and believe it’s well deserving of a Jurors Choose Award. Congratulations Lauren Steinert!

It was an amazing opportunity to be apart of the jurying committee for this years MFA Exhibition Online “Regular Style.” I am fortunate to have joined fellow University of Montana as well as Montana State University MFA students in putting this show together. It’s a privilege to be able to see what type of work is being made by other MFA candidates and have the experience of what it’s like to be on the jurying side of an exhibition. This year we had over 300 submissions and many very strong applicants. Thank you to all who applied and congratulation for Top Place Awards and Juror’s Choice Awards. Thank you for sharing your work with us!”

Dean Leeper
University of Montana 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate
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“My juror’s choice pick went to Maggie Schmiegelow’s video piece entitled “I Touched This Water, This Water Touched Me”. During the jurying process I began to reflect on the works submitted and tried to see myself as the artist. I tried to feel what the artist was feeling while they were making the work, and what inspired them to create it. There must be a spark, or some yearning that stirs an artist into the act of making. Making something about something. I immediately fell into Schmiegelow’s piece because I not only felt a semblance of what they were feeling but the piece also connected me back to a bygone time of my own.

The piece revolves around a figure clasping and rubbing a block of ice while a hypnotic chant plays over it. The words are gently spoken like a daily affirmation one may make as they take a morning walk. The words are not spoken with a bombast for others to hear but rather a soft lilting group of phrases meant for no one else but the slowly dissipating block of ice.

I was reminded of a magic my sister and I would partake in as children. We would take a cube of ice in our hand and pour salt over it. Squeezing the cube tightly we would run around the outside of our house three times as quickly as we could, all the while the salt and ice burned against the palm of our hands. I can still recall the stinging of my hand as water dripped between my fingers. Once we completed the laps around the house we would open our hands to reveal the water that remained of the cube. The shapes of the water resembled letters, those letters were the initials of the person we were to marry one day.

Schmiegelow’s piece “I Touched This Water, This Water Touched Me” reminded me of the curious relationships we have with banal objects, the expectations and responsibilities we put in them. We personify them, we trash them, and we cherish them. As I watched the piece and reflected on what Schmiegelow might have been thinking, as the ice dissipated and the water ran between her fingers. I thought it couldn’t be more different than what I was thinking, and that is good, that is a sign of a good piece of art.”

Zach Williams
University of Montana 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate
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“It was eye-opening to see the vast range of work graduate students are making across the world. With the grand amount of impressive submissions, it was challenging to narrow the pool down to fifty. Even more challenging was agreeing and compromising with the other 6 jurors on the panel. It was an honor to serve as a juror for the 2018 MFA Online Exhibition and more importantly, it was an exhilarating experience.

Of the hundreds of submissions, the work of Krysta Ragan, Bracelet Urn, stood out for its remarkable fabrication, immense craftsmanship, and intriguing narrative. It is a compelling union of two very different functional objects. When closed, this work functions as a beautifully crafted bracelet that would easily elicit conversation. Secretly, the wearer can carry the remains of a loved one as the urn compartment is hidden. I find the construction from sterling silver to be symbolic of the value of ashes it holds. Bracelet Urn is a strong work for an artist at any level and therefore won my jurors choice.”

Tori Burchill
Montana State University 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate
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“My Jurors Choice award goes to Brittany Sparks, “Internal”. I greatly appreciate the quality of tight craftsmanship in this piece, as well as the artist’s choice in materials. The artist united materials in an innovative way to create a new form of perception into what the “internal” world could be. I found that this work drew me in by the multiple simplistic small forms, combined with the warmness of the oxides on clay in comparison to the stark contrast of the metal behind it. There was something that I found interesting in how the modular forms could create a very thought-provoking piece.

It was a great pleasure to be a part of the juror process with the University of Montana MFA Grads, as well as my fellow MFA peers from Montana State University. I greatly appreciated being invited to participate in this extraordinary experience. It was such an exciting challenge to narrow down the great works that were submitted. The diverse and unique pieces makes me honored to be a part of the ever expanding art world. Thank you to everyone who submitted to this show, you have truly inspired me.”

Megan Sprenger
Montana State University 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate
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