Washington Post review of "2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition"

Maryland MFAs 

By Mark Jenkins

May 6, 2018 

Nature, industry and technology contend and sometimes dovetail in two sets of work by University of Maryland MFA students. In a dimmed Stamp Gallery, “Media Lux” includes Gina Takaoka’s perforated box, which emits starry dots, casting a milky way on the wall. Among the organic forms are the bubbly, leafy shapes of Irene Pantelis’s projection and the wooden spikes worn as a sort of cloak in Monroe Isenberg’s performance video. Mason Hurley translates moire patterns — the wavy effect caused when two similar grids overlap — into witty steel sculptures and a chamber where visitors can actually enter the oscillation. Shades of white, black and gray monopolize the palettes of the three artists in the University of Maryland Art Gallery’s “MFA Thesis Exhibition.” Jessica van Brakle combines drawing, collage and archival photos to evoke water and memory. Beki Basch’s mountain photos are the most direct representations of nature, but she also abstracts natural objects such as branches. Hugh Bryant’s seemingly battered steel sculptures evoke monumental water damage, and two of them incorporate volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens. These asymmetrical constructions hint that man and nature are forever out of balance.