MAINSITE OU MFA Thesis Exhibition 2011

2011 OU MFA Thesis Candidates are Samantha Dillehay, Mark Zimmerman, and Michael Elizondo.
Please join us at MAINSITE Contemporary Art in welcoming these 3 wonderful artists Friday April 8th for an opening reception from 6-10pm as part of Norman’s 2nd Friday Circuit of Art.
Exhibition Dates: April 8th-May 7th, 2011
Thesis Defense Date- (open to the public) Friday April 22nd- time tba

…Michael Elizondo-
A native of Oklahoma, Michael Elizondo Jr. is currently pursuing a MFA degree with an emphasis in painting at the University of Oklahoma and received his BFA from Oklahoma Baptist University. Elizondo has been offered a Graduate Research Assistant appointment with the University of Oklahoma and is instructing the introduction courses of painting for the remainder of the 2010-11 academic year.
After earning his BFA in 2008, Elizondo received several scholarships to further his educational experience in the studio arts. Within his time at the University of Oklahoma he has taken part in-group exhibitions including winning first place in the N.A.W.O.M.P juried art show at the Jacobson House. Elizondo was also selected to be one of two-featured artist of the 2010 holiday seasons at the Jacobson House and is anticipating receiving his MFA May of 2011.

Culturally based oral narratives that communicate the beauty, as well as, the devastating historical events linked to my family bloodlines inspire me to artistically express a narrative continuing into a vibrant present and a wonder for the future. Visually articulating, both, the animate aesthetics referenced from my cultural background and the echoes of historic trauma, the artwork has become a journey drifting between optimism and skepticism perspectives.
Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with the rich effects oil paint and the mediums have to offer. Learning the processes of these effects stimulate my interest to experiment with thick impasto surfaces created with a cold wax medium and a number of paint thinners that provide a sheen glaze. Constantly lured by the dynamic colors of my inspirations, I utilize this process to acknowledge devastation but remain focused that our contemporary existence is the liberating factor that prevents distracting concepts of being constrained.

Samantha Dillehay-
Samantha Dillehay was born in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee. She spent her youth being brought up as a proper southern lady, but she quickly discovered that being a belle is not exactly her thing. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2007 with her B.F.A. Currently she is living in Norman, Oklahoma where she is pursuing her M.F.A. with a concentration in Film and Video Art. Her work meditates on sexuality, gender, and feminism in reaction to personal experiences of her youth.

As an artist, I explore various media, from video to sculpture, to express my concepts. My work poses questions regarding the very nature of tolerance in society by confronting areas of uncertainty with humor, metaphors and suggestive materials or motions. Where is the line for personal censorship? I toy with these thresholds, and often find myself pushing them further in exploration.
This dichotomy of personal censorship versus crossing an unspoken threshold is the main focus within which my work meditates. The juxtaposition of two opposing views creates an uncomfortable tension that allows for contemplative moments of introspection.
With my work, I am asking my audience to consider their own morals, to potentially coax themselves into a state of acceptance with what they see. It plays on both sides of the lines that thinly divide things such as pleasure and pain, or love and hate. By questioning the viewer’s ideals of what is right or wrong, or what is or is not appropriate, I create a dialogue with the audience that centers on subject matter often considered indecent or taboo.

Mark Zimmerman-
Born in rural Oklahoma, Mark Zimmerman is an award-winning photographer who has worked in editorial and commercial photography for the past 20 years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography in 1993, and received a Masters in Education in 1999, both from the University of Central Oklahoma. In 1994, he started full time at UCO as the director of instructional photography, responsible for the upkeep of the darkroom and studio equipment and teaching students the basics of the darkroom. He has worked as a freelance editorial photographer for the Associated Press, The Tulsa World, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and other major publications.

For the past four years, Mark has worked as an instructor for the University of Central Oklahoma, where he teaches traditional and digital courses in photography. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma and will graduate in May 2011.

I started creating work about aging and impermanence after my eight-year-old son asked me about death. Like many people, I have always looked at death as a taboo topic for discussion. My work explores the impermanence of existence; a reminder that people, places, and things decline, decay, and die out with the passage of time.

I use my art to display issues of aging, time, mortality and death. Some of my photographs are only developed in the darkroom, skipping both the wash and fix during the process. Exposure to ‘everyday light’ allows the photographs to change with the passage of time.

My work represents a 21st Century Memento Mori (Latin for ‘remember you must die’). I invite the viewers to contemplate their existence and to remember that nothing on earth is permanent.