UMLAUF Prize 2016 & Retrospective
FEBRUARY 16 - AUGUST 20, 2017
This year’s UMLAUF Prize 2016 & Retrospective exhibits artwork produced by each previous Prizewinner alongside the 2016 Prizewinner. Awarded annually to an outstanding MFA graduate student, the Prize celebrates and fosters the careers of young artists from the University of Texas at Austin, where Charles Umlauf taught for 40 years.
Holly Fischer was the first Prizewinner in 2004. Her Pandora combines figural and botanical forms to produce a strikingly sensuous sculpture, apropos the duplicitous mythological figure of the same name. Fischer’s work comments on deeply held cultural characterizations of female archetypes. 2015 Prizewinner, Gracelee Lawrence, evokes similar cultural mythologies of femininity in her reclining nude fountain, in which she places a pineapple where neoclassical figurative sculpture is expected. In know who you are at every age, Lawrence renders a high relief human arm with indistinguishable gender association. Working through a lens of abjection, Ryan Hawk addresses themes of corporeality and agency in his video installation displayed in the 20-foot shipping container in the front of the Museum.
Mark Schatz’s Heir Apparent belongs to his series of sculptures made through a layering process that reflects the effects of natural forms subjected to heat, wind, and water. Schatz evokes the struggle between humankind and nature. Each of Adam Crosson’s 75 individual photographs are close range images of holes in the sand or bubbles on the surface of water—natural, transitory formations that Crosson likens to the aperture of a camera itself.
Katalin Hausel hand draws brightly-colored two dimensional representations of architectural spaces to construct her perspectival Dispositional Fairytales. Stephanie Wagner’s colored pencil lithograph abstractions reveal forms emerging from tightly packed circles rendered with mechanical precision.
In the front gallery, 2016 Prizewinner Elizabeth McClellan brings the immersive world of EchindaLabs® to the UMLAUF, a theatrical experience that works like a “choose your own adventure” activity. McClellan merges theater, film, and performance to realize her invented reality where visitors are invited to take ownership of their bodies in ways previously never conceived – by utilizing viruses to manipulate human DNA for purposes.
This exhibition exemplifies the collaborative spirit of the UMLAUF Prize. The predominant unifying thread between these artists is work that disrupts expectation. Be it cultural myth, traditional construction, or genetic capabilities, each artist illuminates access into remote viewpoints.