Design Studies MFA grad student wins important fellowship

MFA student Emily Adams

Described as “…a talented artist who is unafraid to mine difficult terrain”, Emily Adams was honored today by the UW-Madison Arts Institute with the David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts . The award provides support for women graduate students to facilitate the chance to present their work in a public forum which is a critical element of their student experience.

Emily received her undergraduate degree several years ago and has come to SoHE with the kind of enthusiasm and energy that’s infectious – she is intent on making every moment count. Now into her third year Emily’s work addresses issues of women’s rights and freedom, and her interest in gender politics.

 “Autonomous Tangle opened earlier this year and was described as “ambitious” and “resounding success” by many.

Indicative of her creative drive, Adams created an installation that explores her interest in the treatment of women, particularly in the media. A fringed curtain of sensuous red velvet dominated the gallery. Upon the curtain were printed (using a technique known as burnout or devoré) portraits of women from a bygone era. On an adjacent wall hung a large collection of vintage sterling plates, bowls and platters. Applied to each silver piece were photo transfer images of female nudes dating the early 1900s. Sometimes the women appear to have intricate tattoos due to the decorative etching upon the vessels. The silver is tarnished and spotted, the imperfections showing through the applied images. The ornateness of the silver vessels, typically used on formal, elegant occasions is in sharp contrast to the images of the women. They likely would have been social outcasts (or at least considered very bohemian/artist types) and never invited to such a fancy gathering for to pose in such a manner would have been shocking and highly illicit at the time.

Viewed today there is a sense of beauty and mystery as well as bittersweet sadness to the works.

Congratulations Emily.

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