Exhibitions 2023: 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Exhibitions 2023: 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition
2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Tuesday March 28 – Saturday, May 13, 2023

2023 MFA Exhibition postcard front

Exhibiting Artists

Ellery Ekleberry
Alexandra Danielle Landry
Azin Majooni
Jeff Smudde

View the Online Exhibition


Saturday, April 1, 3-5 pm
AHA! Night Reception with Artist Talks: Thursday, April 13 at 6-8 pm
University Art Gallery, Crapo Gallery, Gallery 244, Star Store Campus, New Bedford 

Invited Guest Critic Lectures

Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Senior Curator at the ICA Boston 
Thursday, April 13, 10:30 am

Ed Panar, 2022 Guggenheim Fellow in Photography
Thursday, April 27, 10 am

Related Articles

Art Beat: Graduate students present spectrum of work at UMD's MFA thesis exhibition - 
Don Wilkinson, Contributing writer

Greetings from Dean Jenkens

I am very pleased to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the four students—Ellery Ekleberry, Alex Landry, Azin Majooni, and Jeff Smudde—who are graduating this spring from our MFA program. As we always do, we celebrate this milestone with an exhibition of our students’ work, and I am excited to be able to share this show with all of you. The work in the 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition represents the culmination of three years of exploration, experimentation, successes, some failures, and lots of patience and hard work in several different media. We see in the galleries the happy result of this journey; what we cannot always see is how far these students have come in their art from the time they first moved into their studios in the Star Store Campus. This exhibition celebrates their accomplishments, while the degree we are awarding them recognizes the whole of the voyage they are so successfully completing.
To Ellery, Alex, Azin, and Jeff: Thank you for this magnificent show. You have each been an important part of the CVPA community, and we will miss you as you move on to your next adventures. As much as this seems like a culmination, it is also the beginning of what we expect will be long and fruitful careers as artists, no matter in what directions that might take you. I hope, too, that you will always consider yourself part of CVPA, that you will stay in touch, and that you will share your journey forward with us and the students who will follow in your footsteps. Congratulations, good luck, and hooray to all of you.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have made this exhibition possible. Viera Levitt, our Gallery Director, always brings us such stunning shows, and she has done it this year with the great assistance of Paula Erenberg Medeiros for the online exhibition and Michelle Bowers and her students for the design of this catalog and other visuals—thank you all. 
Many thanks to Assistant Dean Jessica Fernandes Gomes for all her behind the scenes work that made this exhibition possible, graduate director Suzanne Schireson, graduate thesis advisors Rebecca Hutchinson, Anthony Fisher, Elena Peteva and Thomas Spencer Ladd, and all the incredible members of the graduate thesis committees. Finally, thank you to Gallery Assistant Chris Diani for taking some of the photographs and assisting with this catalog and to Lin Dong for her patient support.

I acknowledge the dedication of our faculty who have nurtured these students throughout their time at CVPA, and for the many efforts of all the staff that work so hard to support students and faculty.  

Finally, thank you to our MFA students’ family and friends—your patience and enthusiasm has been essential to their ability to focus on their studio work and classes.

Lawrence Jenkens, Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, UMass Dartmouth

Notes From the Gallery Director

Once a year, the first floor of Star Store Campus comes alive with the exhibition of candidates for the MFA degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts. There are always surprises and unexpected connections between work, media, the campus, and the art. The exhibiting students Ellery Ekleberry, Alexandra Danielle Landry, Azin Majooni and Jeff Smudde welcome the visitors with ceramic, textile, painting, prints and handmade paper sculptures, as well as photography. Each of these artists shares an insight of what they are thinking about, feeling and exploring as artists and as sensitive human beings. They care about the world that surrounds us all and try to find a place in it while capturing what is beyond – creating a reflection to be noticed, felt, and understood. 

Ellery Ekleberry’s objects of comfort combine ceramic and textile in newly created environments that are soft and inviting, full of color and desire to embrace and balance the unbalanced world to make it a better place for all of us. Alexandra Danielle Landry is a keen observer of her surroundings, which happens to be the interior of the Star Store, with somewhat lonely scenes of the things frozen in time, expectantly, filling the background with the buildings in Downtown New Bedford bathing in brilliant light. 
Azin Majooni’s work tells a story of water, women, and culture she brought with her from Iran where she was born. It is a sensitive and thoughtful exploration of water scarcity and resiliency through the patient use of handmade paper that opens up to deeper, unexpected dimensions. With his photographs and photo book, Jeff Smudde shows us moments in space and time, empty spaces, memories, and horizons. 

Please join me in congratulating this group of talented artists as we send them off from CVPA into the world they are waiting to conquer. 

Viera Levitt, UMass Dartmouth Gallery Director