Tell Me I'm Pretty


March 28–April 27, 2013


Artist List

Augustina Droze, Candy Girling, Bobby Gryzynger, Heather Kurdyla, Liza LaBarge, Julie Rozman, Mark Synder, Joshua Unikel, and Su Yang.


An exhibition of work by nine first-year MFA students from the Department of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo will open on Thursday, March 28, 2013, with a public reception from 5 to 7 pm at the UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, Second Floor Gallery. The exhibition presents an exciting array of subject matter and media that informs contemporary practice today. These artists engage in painting, sculpture, video, photography, performance, and a host of new digital technologies to explore the richness of the imagination and the diverse possibilities of experience. Some artists in the exhibition look inwards to the mind, which harbors unspoken fantasies and fears, while others make strange familiar phenomena from Times Square to annual trout migrations to a prescription slip. All these artists, however, convey their unique visions within a cultural environment defined by a vast array of forces, including the Internet, urbanity, and humanities’ relationship to nature. The exhibition features the artwork of Augustina Droze, Candy Girling, Bobby Gryzynger, Heather Kurdyla, Liza LaBarge, Julie Rozman, Mark Synder, Joshua Unikel, and Su Yang.

Artist Bios

Augustina Droze works primarily as a public artist and muralist, as well as a painter. Droze is familiar with large-scale public art through her work in mural projects, mixed media installations, and sculptures. With over 12 years of experience in the industry, she has worked extensively with architects and designers nationwide during every phase of a project. Droze has worked with a variety of public art agencies including The Chicago Public Art Group, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, The Indianapolis Arts Council, Cleveland Public Art, numerous municipalities as well as large corporations including the Forbes Company. She also recently completed a large-scale mixed media mural in Nagpur, India on the façade of a government complex.

Heather Kurdyla was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated with a BFA in Photography from New Jersey City University. Kurdyla experiments in photography, printmaking, and installation. Her work invokes the ideas of obsession and preservation with installations of collected ready-mades. She blurs the lines of reality and imaginary by investigating artifacts with a vanishing past. Kurdyla forces the viewer to speculate if these curated objects once belonged to a factual being or if they are a part of a fictional narrative she has fabricated.

Candida Girling was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to Canada as a child. She studied Art and Industrial Design in Canada, Scotland, and Denmark and is a founding member of Loop Gallery in Toronto. Her recent exhibitions include interactive installations Marcovaldo’s Bench at 401 Richmond St. in Toronto for the 2011 Nuit Blanche, Simply Breathing at Loop Gallery in 2012, and the Berlin drawing exhibition entitled Toronto/Berlin 1982-2012. Her recent work takes inspiration from Italo Calvino’s poetic interpretation of urban life. Within The Sad City examines the juncture or disjuncture of urban and natural forms and structures.

Bobby Gryzynger is a multi-media artist from Madison, Wisconsin. He received his BA in film and media production from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His practice has included narrative and experimental video, animation, media installation, algorithmic/digital art, and kinetic sculpture. His recent work explores the politics of digital image circulation and the intersections of old technology and new media.

Liza LaBarge’s large-scale charcoal drawings depict strange dramatized scenes constructed through realism in conjunction with surrealism. The work utilizes art historical references and emotional psychology with a primary focus on women. She is from Norwood, New York, and obtained her BFA through SUNY Potsdam.

Julie Rozman‘s creative practice is driven by her long-standing interest in experience, and at present by her deep affinity for the water. Her work tends toward a minimal and subtle visual aesthetic, poetic language, and a meditative, if not glacial, pace. She writes, “I am possessed of an intensely inquisitive and sometimes frenetically-active mind; I do things and make things to let me slow down, and ultimately invite others to do the same.” Julie has spent nearly her whole life in proximity to one or another of the Great Lakes. She was raised in the Cleveland area, earned a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2004, then stayed in Chicago to practice architecture. Family photographs date her first sailing experiences to the early nineties.

Mark Snyder received his BFA in studio art from Alfred University in 1996 with concentrations in sculpture and performance art. He is comfortable working in mediums as diverse as photography, painting, steel, gold, ceramics, kinetics, and digital media. His photographic assemblages have been shown in Boston and New York City and published in Leonardo Magazine. His solo show during the 2001 CyberArts Festival in Boston was singled out and well received by the Boston Globe. The central elements of Mark’s work are the body, the mind, and distress; often using references from bondage, capital punishment, and torture to expose those things we keep hidden.

Words, language, and communication. Through text-and-image, text-as-image, and multimedia art, Joshua Unikel‘s work aims to investigate a demanding space between the meaningful and the meaningless, between the representational and the physicalized, between “surface and symbol” as Oscar Wilde put it. Born in Pittsburgh, Unikel earned his BA in English and graduated summa cum laude from Hobart College. After working as a graphic designer and communications editor, he earned his MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa. Currently, Unikel serves as the assistant editor of the Seneca Review. His creative writing has appeared in or is upcoming in [PANK], TriQuarterly Online, Sonora Review, The Normal School, Drunken Boat, Fugue, and kill author.

Su Yang majored in lacquer art at Tsinghua University in China where she also learned sculpture, glass art, and graphic design. Her father taught her anatomy and traditional oil painting techniques, and she learned painting both from masterworks as well as painting from life. The masterworks she copied include works by Lucian Freud, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Giorgio Morandi, among others. Since graduating from Tsinghua University, she has taught courses in China in Anatomical Figure Drawing, Color Theory, Basic Drawing, Basic Painting, and Portrait Drawing and Painting. Her current immersive painting encloses the viewer in a night scene of Times Square.


The UB Art Gallery is funded by the UB College of Arts Sciences, the Visual Arts Building Fund, and the Seymour H. Knox Foundation Fine Arts Fund.