Visual Arts

New Work, New Venue for UH MFA Thesis Show

One has been contributing to Houston's potent art scene for years with his mixed-media surprises. Another is soon off for the Pacific Northwest, where he hopes to put the finishing touches on a graphic novel.

Chuck Ivy and Ted Closson are two University of Houston artists who will be exhibiting works at the "2012 MFA Thesis Exhibition." In all, 11 about-to-graduate Master of Fine Arts students will be showing off their talents at DiverseWorks for the two-week show. (Yes, DiverseWorks, because UH's Blaffer Art Museum is still undergoing a massive renovation.)

Ivy, who's no stranger to the Press, was recently dubbed one of Art Attack's 100 Creatives. He'll also be the first person at UH to graduate in the school's recently created Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms (IPEF) program.

"New Media art is a moving target, as the definition of 'new media' changes so rapidly with new technologies. I have background in music, photography and computer programming so under the IPEF umbrella, I try to combine those interests and skills in varying amounts in my work," says Ivy.

Ivy's work for this show will include footage from the 1960s-era The Inspector cartoon, which, the artist explains, "has been distorted by a program that I wrote. The sound from a police scanner monitoring [Houston Police Department] dispatch frequencies is fed into the computer and the video clears up in reaction to the amount of radio activity."

Meanwhile, Closson will soon tack up a MFA diploma in painting, though he hasn't really been doing much of that during his studies.

"I've written and drawn large portions of a graphic novel during the course of my program," explains Closson. "I haven't picked up a brush to paint since about my second semester as I draw my pages digitally on the computer. Many comic artists have begun to work this way as it accelerates the production process, which can be quite time-consuming."

Closson's final college hurrah will include a miniature comic book and zine convention space as well as a presentation of The Lorica graphic novel "featured alongside 13 other artists and creators who work in the same medium," says Closson. "The goal is to invoke the atmosphere of the convention within the gallery as a way to contextualize the work within the space."

While Ivy plans to continue his creative existence in Houston, Closson is heading back to Seattle, where he'll hang with family and friends and finish that graphic novel.

The University of Houston's "2012 MFA Thesis Exhibition" hangs from April 28 through May 12 at DiverseWorks, 1117 East Fwy. An opening reception takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Regular gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, check out the DiverseWorks website.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen