Andrew Bearnot (MFA '17) is a materialist: he thinks with and through the substance of things. Informed by a background in material science (BS, Brown University) and glass (BFA, Rhode Island School of Design), Bearnot explores moments of transcendence in the everyday. After completing his undergraduate degrees, Bearnot helped establish and coordinate the Brown/RISD Dual-Degree Program. He was awarded fellowships from Fulbright and the American-Scandinavian Foundation for research on glass-making traditions in Sweden and Denmark. While completing his MFA at UChicago, Bearnot received a Graduate Collaboration Grant from the Arts, Science, & Culture Initiative for his ongoing project Molecular Movement.
Jan Brugger (MFA 2017) She received her BFA and Certificate in Dance from the University of Wisconsin in 2009. She was also educated by the cities of San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia. Her recent work considers the screen’s influence on the human body and mind, and how we cope with the divide between our physical and digital selves. Through sculptural installations and digital video content, she turns the viewer into a static object, reversing the subjective roles of human and object. A viewer frozen by the work becomes objectified, while the physical and digital objects are elevated to a lifelike status in the mind of the viewer. In this way, she emphasizes how humans bring objects and screens to life, often at the expense of the human.
Hanne Graversen (PhD student, Department of Art History) An advertising strategist turned art historian, Hanne Graversen's research focuses on the relationship between postwar art and its built environment. Her dissertation project explores the ways in which artists engaged with the construction of the US Interstate Highway System across a range of media and sites. She holds a BA in French and an MA in Film Studies from University College London, as well as an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby's Institute of Art, London. She is the recipient of the 2016 Schiff Foundation Fellowship for Critical Architectural Writing and the 2017/18 Mellon Sawyer Seminar “Urban Art and Urban Form” Graduate Fellowship.
Kelsye Turner (PhD student, Department of Anthropology) researches post-industrial labor in the Rust Belt region of the United States, and her fieldwork is based in Gary, Indiana. Her research engages concepts such as ruination, the spatiality of race, redevelopment through artistic practice, alternative forms of labor such as metal scrapping, and distributed health and toxicity. Her work asks, what emerges after industrial ruin? How do the inherited materials of the past construct the social present? How does one dream of the future? Kelsye received her BA in Anthropology and International Studies from the University of Chicago. Her Master’s thesis looks at the relation of art and urban renewal in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago.
Max Guy (MFA '16) is an artist based in Chicago, who typically works with multimedia installation, and print media. His current work involves the triangulation of three recurring intellectual interests—Japanese Aesthetics, Media Theory and Necropolitics – in order to respond to existential crises, ethical and moral dilemma. He has performed and exhibited at DEMO Project, Springfield, IL; Prairie, Chicago; AZ-West, Joshua Tree National Park, CA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Signal Gallery, New York, NY; Ghost, Deep River, CT; What Pipeline, Detroit, MI; Federico Vavassori, Milan and the Manila Institute, New York, NY. Max co-hosts Human Eye, an occasional podcast on art and life, with artist Miranda Javid. He has collaborated on curatorial projects such as Szechuan Best, Spiral Cinema, and Rock512Devil in Baltimore, Maryland, and the mobile curatorial collective Pluto. He received his MFA from the Department of Art, Theory and Practice at Northwestern University in 2016. He currently works as Program Assistant at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.
Dan Miller (MFA '16) is an Australian artist living in Chicago. In recent years he has produced—always within a context of collaboration or co-conspiracy—installations, sound works, performative interventions in public space, experimental writing, and an evolving art space and archive in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood known as The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food. The essential problems that motivate his work are the institution of art and the institution of the artist.
Taykhoom Biviji (MA '17, Arts Administration and Policy) is originally from Mumbai, India, and now lives and works in Chicago. Currently, he is the Research Associate for Oaks of North Lawndale: Enduring Promises, an initiative by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago along with community members to reforest the North Lawndale neighborhood. Taykhoom is driven by justice, empowerment, and change. He has a background in film and television and has worked with a television channel, museum, and a travel outfit. In 2015 he earned a Masters in Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archaeology from St. Xavier's University-Mumbai.
James Pepper Kelly (MAVCS '17) is a transdisciplinary artist who makes social spaces, video projections, and text pieces. He researches in archives and with publics, with the goal of exploring the social intersection between text and lived history. Kelly recently completed a residency through the Springfield Art Association that explored the city's political imaginaries by way of the fake news of Abraham Lincoln & the utopian visions of "the singing poet" Vachel Lindsay. As an arts writer, Kelly has written for ArtSlant and the Bad at Sports Blog, edited for Chicago Artists Writers, and been commissioned by the Hyde Park Art Center. As an arts organizer, he has worked with Chicago nonprofits Filter Photo (as Co-Founder & Managing Director), Latitude Chicago (as Executive Director & Treasurer), and Chicago Artists Coalition (as Interim Professional Development Director). In the fall of 2017 he looks forward to taking part in the Terrain Biennial. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and is originally from rural Virginia.
Melody Williams is an artist, educator,and researcher in art-based and community research, and collaborative events and projects. Williams draws from her practice in writing, printmedia, and fiber arts to build arts programming for young people and adults based on community input. After receiving her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2007), she worked as Studio Director with Project Onward, a study and gallery for Chicagoland artists living with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. Recently, while in the Masters of Arts in Art Education program (SAIC), she worked as Graduate Research Fellow for Continuing Studies Youth Programs, developing administrative practices, and teaching for youth audiences at SAIC’s satellite location in Homan Square. Williams continues to research teacher practices, engagement programming, and arts administration from a holistic perspective.
Robyn Mericle (PhD candidate, art history) is an artist and art historian based in Chicago. She received an MFA in Electronic Intermedia from the University of Florida, where her thesis show investigated the relationship between animals, visual culture, and the nature of scientific knowledge. Her current research interests explore how issues of gender, race, and ecology are presented and distilled in early twentieth century cinema and photography. Underlying all these activities is a deep concern with how humans view other animals and the natural world, and how these views have led to current ecological crises, including climate change. Mericle is an Instructor of Art History in the Fine and Performing Arts department at Loyola University, and she is also the co-founder of a local artisanal pickling company, Central Pickling.
Liz McCarthy (MFA '17) combines photography, sculpture, and performance to explore themes around the materiality of human bodies and their complicated physical and psychological relationship to a material world. Through research and studio intervention, she explores how different materials develop meaning through use and origin, and how physical performance can be used as an agent to re-inscribe meaning. Her work has been included various group and solo exhibitions nationally at galleries such as ACRE Projects, Heaven Gallery, Calvin College Gallery, Roots and Culture, Mana Contemporary, Gallery 400, and Threewalls. She has visited as a resident artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts, ACRE, High Concept Laboratories, and Banff Centre.
Nellie Kluz (MFA, Moving Image ’17) Working in video and using curiosity, observation and analysis, Kluz records and interprets various locations and communities—focusing on social interactions and aesthetics, belief systems and material realities. Her movies have screened at places like the Full Frame Film Festival, Festival de Popoli, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival, the Maryland Film Festival and Rooftop Films. Originally from upstate New York, she graduated with a BA from Boston University and just completed an MFA degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago.