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With more than 30 majors, 30 minors and 13 graduate programs in visual arts, performing arts, design and liberal studies, UArts develops alumni who are not only leaders in their disciplines, but also creative thinkers able to succeed in any path they choose.
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Often these works that are made from an impulse can actually influence the larger trajectory of an artist’s work, or establish collaborations that spark new pathways.
– Miwa Matreyek
Otherworldly multimedia artist Miwa Matreyek brought her live performances, which combine her own shadow silhouette in interaction with her own animations, to University of the Arts March 27 and 28. She also led a masterclass, presented a demo and delivered an artist’s talk.
This World Made Itself—staged with Myth and Infrastructure in the Arts Bank the evening of March 27—is a visually and musically rich journey through the history of Earth, from the universe’s epic beginnings to the complex world of humanity. Matreyek’s animation is colorful and bright, and her performance evokes harmony with the natural world. She is excited by the various forms of new life emerging from Earth’s depths and the center of the universe. Point-of-view shots of feet walking on a beach immerses viewers in the scene, making them feel as compelled and exhilarated as she is. This connection makes the struggle between nature and humanity all the more haunting, as it destructively creeps its way into the performance later on.
In Myth and Infrastructure, Matreyek traverses ocean-scapes and cityscapes as she explores the creativity and the dreaming we can find in our own domestic spaces. It evokes a sense of ethereal weightlessness: Matreyek crafts her performance to reflect the act of flying or swimming, which could be interpreted as a form of imagination. She becomes a part of her detailed landscapes, using dual projection to weave in and out of scenes, threading herself between buildings in the city, and interacting with creatures of the sea.
Numerous influences had an impact on Matreyek’s artistic approach. As an MFA student at Cal Arts, she began the Experimental Animation program thinking she would work in animation after graduation. Instead, the inspiration Matreyek found in numerous media sparked work that encompasses interactive performance: puppetry, theater, multimedia, music and even critical perspectives of her films from artists in other disciplines pushed her art in a more varied direction.
“I feel it’s important to also have a way to show work that allows for work-in-progress and one-off experimentation,” she says. “Often these works that are made from an impulse can actually influence the larger trajectory of an artist’s work, or establish collaborations that spark new pathways.”
Her student workshops continue providing inspiration, both to Matreyek and participants. “These workshops try to foster impromptu problem-solving, play and experimentation,” she says. “The groups present their performances, and we discuss what kinds of discoveries were made in the process and what future avenues of inquiry they might pursue to expand upon their work.”
Impromptu problem-solving, play and experimentation were exactly what happened during her masterclass. Students were split up into small groups comprising a variety of majors—Animation, Dance and Theater, for example—and were given white fabric, paper, cardboard boxes and projectors. The rest was up to their imaginations. They had only an hour and a half in which to create performances. An ad-libbed performance utilizing projection as a transportation to space kicked off the presentations at the end of the class. One group crafted an immersive projection box, in which viewers could lay down and stargaze as the silhouettes of hands made the sun rise and shooting stars dart across the sky. The last group combined experimental animation, dance and layers of fabrics and textures to tell a story through movement. At the end of the day, the students were excited to continue experimenting and utilizing projection and performance in the future.
“I am interested in making students engage physically with media with their bodies and materials, to find moments of storytelling and transformations that can be investigated and pushed further,” she explains. “There is a sense of ‘you won’t know until you try’ that leap-frogs out to ‘what if I try this … or this?’ [That sense] engages students in playful experimentation and cross-disciplinary collaboration.”
Matrayek’s visit was a part of a series of pop-up events staged over two weeks by UArts’ forthcoming Center for Immersive Media, or CIM, which will be dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture and human-computer interaction. Further funding was provided by the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy.
Alex Da Corte BFA ’04 (Printmaking & Book Arts), widely recognized as a rising star in the art world, has been selected to participate in the 2019 edition of the prestigious Venice Biennale.
The theme of the world’s oldest biennial is "May You Live in Interesting Times," curated by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London. It will feature work from 91 countries in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city center of Venice. Five countries will be participating for the first time: Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Da Corte is a conceptual artist who works in painting, sculpture, installation, and video. He uses surreal imagery and everyday objects in his practice and explores ideas of consumerism, pop culture, mythology, and literature.His work often involves bright colors and crisp advertising imagery, and cameos by pop-culture figures like a fake version of Eminem played by the artist himself. His exhibitions have been staged in top New York galleries and museums across the globe.
Da Corte has worked on a number of collaborative projects with other visual artists, writers, and musicians including fellow UArts alum Jayson Musson BFA ’02 (Photography).
This year’s Venice Biennale, according to its curator, Rugoff, "will no doubt include works that reflect upon precarious aspects of today’s existence, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the 'post-war order.' But let us acknowledge at the outset that art does not exercise its forces in the domain of politics."
Rugoff also says the exhibition will be immersive and interactive, "engaging visitors in a series of encounters that are essentially playful, taking into account that it is when we play that we are most fully 'human.'"
Julian King ’15 (Vocal Performance) conquered the blind auditions for NBC’s hit singing competition The Voice. During the auditions, hopeful contestants perform out of sight of the judging panel, who rely only on what they hear to decide whether or not they want to invite contestants to join their respective teams.
For his audition, King sang “All Time Low” by Jon Bellion and immediately won over both Adam Levine and John Legend, with Legend beating out Levine at the last moment for King as his team member.
In 2014, UArts alum Matt McAndrew ’13 (Vocal Performance) had a spectacular run on season 7 of The Voice, finishing second as a part of Levine’s team. Since them McAndrew has toured with Maroon 5, Nick Jonas, Andy Grammer and the Plain White T’s, and he continues touring nationally.
Tune in to The Voice on NBC, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST, to follow King’s journey.
Photo by Tyler Golden/Courtesy of NBC
News & Events
UArts Craft & Material Studies Program Director and international fibers artist Mi-Kyoung Lee has collaborated and worked with the International Opera Theater and director Karen Saillant to create Opera Shim Chung, the first Korean story translated into Italian opera. The project has inspired support from Philadelphia, Korea, and Italy.
Mi-Kyoung states, “We have many collaborators and supporters, including Art Tolerance, Emmanuel Korean School, Korean Children Music Choir in Philadelphia, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Hanbok Advancement Center in Korea to support to the event program.”
An Opera Shim Chung preview event will take place in conjunction with the 100-year celebration and anniversary of the Korean Liberty movement. The International Student program at UArts will also have a citywide student group exhibition called “Independence,” which will celebrate this historic movement and will be part of the Opera Shim Chung preview.
The opera will premiere in Citta della Pieve in Italy this August, alongside a Korean Cultural Festival sponsored by the Citta della Pieve Business Association. Additionally, a Korean cultural festival is being organized to take place in Philadelphia next year, and the opera is planned to be performed at The Kimmel Center, Seoul Opera House, and Seoul Art Center in Korea in June 2020.
As part of this massive project, the Crafts Department recently welcomed Korean Hanbok masters to the UArts campus for a master workshop (pictured above). Students worked with the two Hanbok professionals to create their own versions of this traditional garb.
The Opera Shim Chung preview event will be held on March 1st from 5pm to 7pm in the Gershman Y.
Ana Ortiz BFA ’93 (Theater), who previously starred in the series Ugly Betty, has landed a supporting role as FBI profiler Susan Sampson in the new ABC series Whiskey Cavalier. The series, starring Scott Foley (Scandal) and Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), is an action and romantic comedy about government agents who oversee a group of spies.
Ugly Betty garnered 18 Emmy Award nominations and won a Golden Globe. Ortiz followed up her five-year Ugly Betty run with Devious Maids, a comedy-drama series that ran for four seasons on the Lifetime network.
Most recently, she’s guest-starred on the ABC TV hit series How to Get Away with Murder, produced by Shonda Rhimes, and Black-ish. In 2018, she also provided voiceover work for the animated Disney film Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Whiskey Cavalier premiered Feb. 27, 2019, and airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
About the image
Ana Ortiz BFA ’93 (Theater) plays Susan Sampson, an FBI profiler, in Whiskey Cavalier. Following an emotional breakup, tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (code name: Whiskey Cavalier) is assigned to work with CIA operative Frankie Trowbridge (code name: Fiery Tribune). Together, they must lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world—and each other—while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics, on the season premiere of Whiskey Cavalier, airing WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27 (10:00–11:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Larry D. Horricks)
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