80 Washington Square East, NYU

MFA Thesis II

MFA Thesis II

April 23 – May 3, 2014

Project Space

MFA candidates in the Studio Art program work alongside faculty, visiting artists and art professionals to create a series of group shows, which are displayed at 80 Washington Square East. 

Azi Amiri 
Sofi Brazzeal 
Samantha Fretwell 
Tyson Robertson

“Azi Amiri is an artist as well as a storyteller of sorts, skillfully weaving tales and images from her past and present together with those of her home country, Iran. Equal measures of passion and compassion seem to propel her multifaceted practice; her paintings, sculptures, and works on paper all elide the borders between the political and the personal, often reclaiming the feminine as a solidly muscular social and cultural counterforce. Inside the intimate spaces, she creates for her viewers, the acts of loving, longing, weeping, and grieving become potent actions rather than soft or pitiable states — all beautiful proof of human resilience, and of life’s sometimes painful stronghold over the living.”
-Jennifer Krasinski

From all the areas of shadow, I drew a nocturnal universe / I draw attention to one of those lacerations -- horrible, for I shall provoke them despite the danger -- by which beauty was revealed to me. / I drew the most disturbing image so that my anxiety might grow / The hero...is lovingly drawn...almost always nude or obscenely dressed / to draw to himself the most unexpected, the most unhappy situations. / Realizing that it was through me that he had to act, I attached myself to him sure of drawing strength from the elementary and disorganized power that shaped him / a genuine bandit, capable, and by himself alone, of drawing me, almost carrying me, into that frightening world from which I believed he had emerged. / In the street, if he drew me to him, with his arm as if to embrace me, a brutal push of the same arm would shove me aside./ He draws his strength from the certainty of his right to occupy this conquered furniture /And the strength I draw from it, is meant only to ruin me and save him. / A few women drew up and some men. A circle gathered around us. A fight seemed inevitable. / The mother drew him to her/ I went back to the museum several days in succession and stayed for hours in front of the books, drawing as best I could. 
*13 lines torn from A Thief's Journal by Jean Genet
“The glossy, giddy sculptures of Samantha Fretwell trade in what could be called “the Americana dream.” Her cardboard cutouts are crafty hybrids of party favors, holiday kitsch, boardwalk tchotchkes, and other plastic delights, all camera-ready and waiting for your close-up. Fretwell’s work opens up narrative spaces both real (here) and imagined (there), as well as recast viewers as tourists visiting the strange and 
slippery somewhere her installations construct. Even as we stand among the sculptures, we can’t be sure we’re in the right place for seeing the art. Is it the object? The cutout? The photograph the viewer takes? If the answer remains hidden, we can at least enjoy the view.”
-Jennifer Krasinski

"At the heart of Tyson Robertson’s personal photographic and sculptural practice is an ongoing search for the self, an exploration that openly maps the ways in which identity is formed, performed, and documented. In Robertson’s work, the self-portrait appears in many different guises. A cellphone selfie, a snapshot for a family album, a set of gold fronts, or a coveted object all capture and contain the projections of Robertson’s I, as well as connect him to larger cultural narratives about the never-ending confusions, refusals, and fabrications of one’s true origins. The artist also deftly weaves a tender message throughout his body of work; although we’re our own creations, the self will always remain the trickiest medium to master."
-Jennifer Krasinski