April 24–May 8, 2021
American composer Stephen Sondheim once said, “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” The graduating students of the University at Buffalo Department of Art MFA program express that sentiment in the continuation of their exhibition, Chaotic Good.
In March of 2020, the same students worked with curator Tina Rivers Ryan on their first-year exhibition, but the COVID-19 crisis forced the exhibition to close the day it was planned to open. In an expression of how we’ve simultaneously come so far but also find ourselves in almost the exact same place, these artists will hold their MFA thesis exhibitions in the same gallery, under the same title.
Through two phases (March 27–April 10 and April 24–May 8), visitors are invited to bear witness to both the beauty and challenge the artists have found in one of the darkest times in recent history, as well as the rawest of emotions this past year has conjured up. Life, in the simplest of terms, is chaotic; the past year has proven just that but through it all inspiration and art prevail.
Olivier Delrieu-Schulze (Ulysses Athwen) is a curator and multi-disciplinary artist. He holds a BA in Cultural and Interdisciplinary Studies from Antioch College and studied as a Dean’s Fellow in the Media Study MFA program at the University at Buffalo. He is currently an MFA candidate in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Art. His artworks have been shown at Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar, Germany; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore; Herdon Gallery, at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio; Wolf Kino, Berlin; the Burchfield Penney Art Center; University at Buffalo Art Galleries; Big Orbit Project Space; and Squeaky Wheel in Buffalo, NY. He has performed with Steina (Vasulka), Tony Conrad, Genesis P-Orridge, Fingers Cut Mega Machine, JETengines, Reactionary Ensemble, and 404 Error, among others. He is the founding member of Trans Empire Canal Corporation (TECCORP), a Buffalo-based collective responsible for the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s multi-year project Cultural Commodities: As Exhibition in Four Phases, informally referred to as the “art barge.” In 2015 he was designated a “Living Legacy Artist” by the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Jason Contangelo makes photographs. Based in his hometown of North Tonawanda, NY his work centers on the photographic process itself, dissecting and blurring the lines between digital, analog, and vice-versa. He’s fixated with naturalistic forms; trees, water, bodies, underlying patterns of life, and consciousness. Yet, through various interventions into the photographic process, through introductions of chance and entropy, these forms lean into an abstraction that denies the primacy of the human ego as a basis of perception. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the North American Lutheran Seminary, he is currently an MFA candidate at the University at Buffalo, graduating in the Spring of 2021.
Leanne Goldblatt is a New York-born and based artist. Originally from Westchester, NY, Goldblatt is currently studying at her alma mater, the University at Buffalo where she received a BA in Studio Art before pursuing her MFA candidacy in Visual Arts. Goldblatt has been a member of recent group exhibitions held at the Center for the Arts, Amherst (2020), and The Print Club of Rochester (2019), as well as curating the 15th Annual Animation Festival at the Albright Knox Art (2019).
Originally from Lawton, Oklahoma, Karis Jones is an MFA candidate and instructor of record at the University at Buffalo. They received their BFA cum laude in Painting from The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Jones’ work primarily lives in the strange world of watercolor figuration and hand-drawn animation. Their work has been exhibited and screened across the United States and Canada.
Tanner Petch is a candidate for the MFA program in Studio Art at the University at Buffalo. He holds a BFA in Fine Art from the University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art and Design. He’s shown at a variety of locations around Michigan and produced illustrations for publications including scientific papers and the Index Press.