Visiting Artist Series

The Visiting Artist Series is a supportive endeavor to provide the public and MECA community with invaluable dialogue and exchanges of ideas within creative disciplines. It is our mission to extend this dynamic engagement between diverse voices of young and established creatives currently working in Art, Craft, Design, and academic areas of cultural production. It is our mission to contribute towards an amplification of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ voices through a balanced program which extends beyond the collective faculty and student population.

While in-person speakers are on hold, MECA's Visiting Artist Series is dedicated to providing an increase of remote lectures, and unique student interactions. Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.

MECA is pleased to introduce The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series, dedicated to areas pertaining to sculpture and new innovations, established by a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose. Events listed below with ** are part of this series.

All lectures will be hosted via the Zoom platform using the following login information:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://meca.zoom.us/j/85121481527

Meeting ID: 851 2148 1527
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+13126266799,,85121481527# US (Chicago)
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To download Zoom, click here.

Shoplifter (Hrafnhildur Arnardottir)**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Monday, February 8, 5:00-6:15 pm
Via Zoom

Hrafnhildur Arnardottir | Shoplifter, image by Rio Gandara

Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir is one of Iceland’s leading contemporary artists, based in New York. Working with both synthetic and natural hair, her sculptures, wall murals and site-specific installations explore themes of vanity, self-image, fashion, beauty and popular myth. For Shoplifter hair is the ultimate thread that grows from our body. Hair is an original, creative fiber, a way for people to distinguish themselves as individuals, and often an art form. Humor plays a large role in her life and work, sometimes subtly, but at other times taking over. Shoplifter represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2019 and her installation Chromo Sapiens opened at the Icelandic Pavilion in May 2019 in Venice, Italy.

Artist Website: shoplifter.us

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Tory Fair and Mary Miss

Thursday, February 18, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Tory Fair, Portable Window, 2020

Tory Fair in conversation with pioneering environmental artist Mary Miss.

Portable Window premieres Tory Fair’s recent video, photography, and sculpture that frame new perspectives in collaboration and landscape. Inspired to steward some of the seeds that pioneering feminist Mary Miss planted as a sculptor in the 1970s, Fair opened an intergenerational dialogue with Miss and is guided by her priorities: “Breathing space, human scale, and first-hand experience,” suggesting that art has the ability to give back and empower these fundamental rights. Framing space usually helps to formalize composition, but these works frame in order to destabilize and disorient. The landscape tilts and turns. Through generating conversations, happenings, and videos Fair’s playful work opens up several platforms to listen and learn in an unprecedented time of pandemic anxiety and cultural upheaval
Tory Fair: Portable Window is organized by Director of Exhibitions Julie Poitras Santos with Assistant Director Nikki Rayburn.

Artist Website: toryfair.com/home.html

Funded through the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at MECA


Cristóbal Martinez

Lecture presented in conjunction with Resilience Week at MECA
Thursday, February 25, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Con Frascos Embrujados, Five Channel Interactive Sound Installation, 2017

Cristóbal Martínez has dedicated his life and career to interdisciplinary collaboration in contemporary art, and continues his work as an artist within the aforementioned groups. In collaboration, he and his fellow artists position generative metaphors to aestheticize and mediate complexity at locations of dromological, spatial, social, cultural, political, ecological, and economic anxiety. Martínez aspires to make poetic an idea-driven, propositional and self-implicating art that imagines sites of contest, controversy, conflict, and consequence into places of public pedagogy, curiosity, and conversation. His efforts, through collaboration, are to catalyze artistic generative inquiry and expressions for building, recovering, circulating, and connecting knowledge, meaning, and memories. By creating work that aspires to render legible our human dilemmas, social amnesia, taboos, fears, desires, and hungers, he challenges members of societies to venture to overcome the innate human penchant to oversimplify the world, ourselves, and each other. Martínez describes his work as immersive environments that elicit incompatible states of being within singular experiences. He argues that sensing the world through this embodied complexity reveals the incongruences that reflect and lie within our places, memories, amnesias, behaviors, actions, knowledge, beliefs, ideologies, assumptions, choices, philosophies, relationships, and worldviews.

Artist Website: https://cristobalmartinez.net/Enter.html

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Kori Newkirk**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Monday, March 1, 5:00 - 6:15pm
Via Zoom


Kori Newkirk, image by Sharon Suh

Kori Newkirk creates artwork using a poetic combination of images and objects to address issues of place, economy and politics. Born in the Bronx, raised in Cortland, New York, and based in Los Angeles, Newkirk is known for the tension he creates between the narrative weight of his materials (such as pomade, pony beads, newspaper clippings) and larger strategies of formal abstraction. Newkirk's practice opens up a dynamic conceptual space where science, history, memories and socio-economic truths freely collide with artistic practice and visual pleasure. As such his materials and technical strategies are often an uninhibited combination of the traditional and unusual. Newkirk was the subject of a ten-year survey exhibition entitled K_o_r_i_ N_e_w_k_i_r_k 1_9_9_7–2_0_0_7_ _at the Studio Museum in Harlem, which traveled to the Pasadena Museum of California Art. In 2006 Newkirk was included in the Whitney Biennial as well as the Dakar Biennale. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Artist Website: robertsprojectsla.com/artists/kori-newkirk

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Mores McWreath

Thursday, March 4, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Mores McWreath

Mores McWreath is a performance based video artist that uses the form and language of commercial advertising to critique the fundamental state of American social and political life. The world of their videos is inhabited exclusively by their white hetero cis-male body twisted, multiplied, split, and digitally altered to the point of rupture. McWreath’s goal is to use humor and entertainment value to entice a viewer into a process of identification that leads to deconstructing positions of privilege. By excavating the artist’s own fears and desires perhaps they can help counteract the regressive politics of the moment.

Spot 1155 These Lands, 2018, video

Artist Website: www.moresmcwreath.com/

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Monument Lab - Dr. Paul Farber**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Lecture co-presented with the Portland Society for Architecture, Maine Section of BSLA, and AIA Maine
Monday, March 8, 5:00 - 6:15pm
Via Zoom

Dr. Paul Farber

Paul M. Farber is Director of Monument Lab. He also serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania. Farber's research and curatorial projects explore transnational urban history, cultural memory, and creative approaches to civic engagement. Farber is author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall. He is also co-editor with Ken Lum of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (Temple University Press, 2019), a public art and history handbook designed to generate new critical ways of thinking about and building monuments. He also currently serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design.


Farber’s Monument Lab is the inaugural grantee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s “Monuments Project,” a $250 Million initiative aims to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces, including Monument Lab’s National Monument Audit and the opening of research field offices throughout the country. Farber was included on Dell's inaugural #Inspire 100 list, a group of ""world changers"" who use technology to empower social change.


Farber earned a PhD and MA in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Artist Website: https://monumentlab.com/


Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Rami Ismail

Thursday, March 11, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Via Zoom

Rami Ismail

Rami Ismail is a Dutch independent video game developer and spokesperson within the video game industry on the topics of diversity and reaching out to game developers from developing countries. He co-founded the studio Vlambeer with Jan Willem Nijman in 2010, where among games they have developed include Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, and Nuclear Throne.

Artist Website: www.ramiismail.com/

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Johannah Hutchison, Executive Director International Sculpture Center**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Monday, March 15, 5:00 - 6:15pm
Via Zoom

Johannah Hutchison

Johannah Hutchison brings an arts background and over 25 years of business and non-profit sector experience to her role as the Executive Director of the International Sculpture Center (ISC). Hutchison joined the ISC in 2004 and set to bringing the organization into an environment of increased stability to be able to support the sculpture community. Hutchison forges alliances with working sculptors, students, and diverse arts organizations to increase community and engage artists and arts professionals in a dialogue to advance the art form and grow the ISC’s alliances with other arts organizations, forge strategic partnerships, and expand the support system for sculptors internationally. Johannah is a connector, collaborator and community leader dedicated to expanding the network for anyone interested in sculpture.

Image courtesy of the International Sculpture Center,Publisher of Sculpture magazine, Hamilton NJ.

Artist Website: sculpture.org/

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Marcus Williams

Thursday, March 18, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Marcus Williams

Marcus Williams is an American Illustrator and the creator/artist behind Tuskegee Heirs and Super Natural comic book projects. The “Young Heroes” line exists due to multiple conversations Williams had with black parents that come to comic conventions with their young children and complain of not having enough black or ethnic characters to introduce to their kids. Williams makes a conscious effort to create art that reflects those young individuals. “In most cases, they may or may not know of all the great ethnic characters that are in comics, so I’m re-imagining those characters as “young heroes” to better connect with those young readers.”

Tuskegee Heirs, comic cover

Artist Website: marcusthevisual.com

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Michael Jones McKean**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Monday, March 22, 5:00 - 6:15pm
Via Zoom


The Ground (detail), 2017, copyright Michael Jones McKean.
The Contemporary, Baltimore, USA
60 x 16 x 15 ft | 18 x 4.9 x 4.5

Michael Jones McKean’s (b. Micronesia, lives/works US and France) work explores the nature of objects in relation to folklore, technology, anthropology, and mysticism. His work engages an interest in deep time, timescales and their collapse, in the process decentering anthropocentric registrations of events, distances and meaning. Through his working process he challenges stable definitions such as real and replica, natural and synthetic, past and future, employing media as diverse as ancient meteorites, primitive textiles, of the moment technologies, raw clay, psychotropic medicines, and prismatic rainbows. Michael Jones McKean is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship. McKean’s work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. McKean has taught in VCU’s Sculpture + Extended Media Department since 2006.

Artist Website: michaeljonesmckean.com

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Nyeema Morgan

Thursday, March 25, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Nyeema Morgan

Nyeema Morgan is a Chicago based, interdisciplinary artist whos practice is inspired by philosophical conflicts in our everyday encounters with images, objects and information. Referencing familiar artifacts like recipes, book pages, fables and canonical artworks, Morgan reflects on personal and cultural economies of knowledge. Her conceptually layered works, ranging from large-scale drawings to sculptural installation and print based media, raise questions about how we articulate and construct meaning within a complex system of socio-political relations.

Soft Power, Hard Margins. (1964) (detail), 2020, mixed media.

Artist Website: nyeemamorgan.com/

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Tracy Fullerton

Friday, April 2, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Tracy Fullerton

Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer, professor and director emeritus of the USC Games program. Their research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola and Walden, a game, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond which was named “Game of the Year” at Games for Change 2017 and “Developer Choice” at IndieCade 2017. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook used at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment.

Walden, A Game, 2017

Artist Website: tracyfullerton.com/

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Gary Ambrose - Sculpture and Color: Logical, Poetic and Contradictory**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Monday, April 5, 5:00 - 6:15pm
Via Zoom

image courtesy
of Gary Ambrose

Ambrose is an Emeritus Professor at Maine College of Art and hold a BFA in Sculpture and BA in Psychology from The University of New Hampshire, where he studied color theory with John Jagel, a minimalist painter who had directly studied with Joseph Albers at Yale University. Those color studies created an experiential learning environment that is part of his life and practice today. Maine has provided opportunities for Gary to discover a more direct connection between observation, form selection, and intellectual content that is fresh and immediate. Ambrose work has been included in exhibitions at Bowdoin College, The College of The Atlantic, The University of New Hampshire, The Farsnworth Museum, and The International Sculpture Center in Hamilton, New Jersey. Ambrose is a recipient of a NYNEX Grant for Excellence in Teaching.

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Doug Bosley

Thursday, April 8, 5:30 - 6:30pm
Via Zoom

Doug Bosley

Douglas Bosley is a mezzotint printmaker and illustrator whose detailed imagery and dynamic lighting lure viewers into a narrative world of their construction. Their work imagines a future version of earth where the familiar environment has been eclipsed by engineered ecosystems and mechanical creations that have run amok. Central to this fiction are colonies of micro-robots called Auxons. The joyous and curious nature of these ‘creatures’ plays counterpoint to a more serious investigation of the conditions that have produced them and the world they have inherited.

Revival, mezzotint, 2018 / Modern Crab Adventures Fantastic Planet,
book cover, 2019

Artist Website: dougbosley.com/

Funded through the generous support of the Gene R. Cohen Charitable Foundation.


Janine Antoni**

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Series
Monday, April 19, 5:00 - 6:15pm
Via Zoom


I touch your listening, Janine Antoni, 2019

Janine Antoni is a visual artist who was born in Freeport, Bahamas in 1964. She received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is known for her unusual processes. Her body is both her tool for making and the source from which her meaning arises. Antoni’s early work transformed materials like chocolate and soap and used everyday activities like bathing, eating, and sleeping as sculptural processes. She carefully articulates her relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states that are felt in and through the senses. In each piece, no matter the medium or image, a conveyed physicality speaks directly to the viewer’s body.

Antoni has been featured in numerous international biennials including documenta14, the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, the Johannesburg Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial, the Kwangju Biennial, the Prospect.1 Biennial in New Orleans and the SITE Santa Fe Biennial. Antoni is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1998), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award (2011), Creative Capital Grant (2012), and Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2014). Her most recent major exhibition, "I am fertile ground," was presented at The Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, NY in 2019. Antoni currently resides in New York and is represented by Luhring Augustine
Gallery, New York, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco.

About the image: Mixed media gilded with 24 karat gold leaf, installation view of "I am fertile ground" in the Catacombs at The Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY (September – November 2019) © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. Photo: Christopher Burke.

Artist Website: janineantoni.net/

Funded through a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman '08 and Carole J. Friedman, in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose.


Header Image: Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic, Visiting Artist Lecture 2016, Photo Credit Kyle Dubay ’18