Hero Ready: 2019 Studio Art MFA Thesis Exhibition

May 10 – 25, 2019

Through a broad range of disciplinary practices, the artists in Hero Ready introduce questions of analysis, subjectivity, agency, and power. What constitutes an art object, and how do we make this distinction? How does art impact our thinking and why? How is our attention held when we look—by whom, and toward what?



Nima Bahrehmand (b. Kerman, Iran, 1985) received his B.F.A. in 2012 at The University of Kerman, Iran and his M.A. in 2013 at the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. Approaching media art from a sculptural perspective, Bahrehmand investigates the manipulation of forms through the execution of a simple instruction or action, drawing attention to low-frequency movements and small gestures. Upon completion of his M.F.A. at The University of Texas at Austin, Bahrehmand will continue his media art research as a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Stephen-Bernard Derek Callender (b. Brooklyn, NY, 1991) is a Caribbean Afro-American artist whose work investigates the embedded data of objects, and how the process of archiving constructs a narrative around them. Callender’s work has been exhibited internationally in the US and Trinidad; he is also one of the first African-American artists to show work in Guangzhou, China.

Matthew Cronin (b. Beverly, MA, 1991) received his B.F.A. with departmental honors at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Cronin approaches issues of disconnect, fracture, and absence through a reimagining of interior spaces. Crafting lies to tell a truth, he doctors his images using both analog and digital methods. Cronin’s work has been shown throughout the United States and Canada in cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Vancouver.

Sarah Fagan (b. Shelton, CT, 1985) received her B.A. in English and Fine Arts from Stonehill College in North Easton, MA and a post-baccalaureate certificate from the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, OR. She has attended several artist residencies, including a year-long residency at the Umbrella Arts Center in Concord, MA in 2016. It was there, up the road from Thoreau’s Walden Pond, that walking and collecting became a part of her practice.

Brooke Frank (b. Myrtle Beach, SC, 1993) was raised and attended college in South Florida before moving to Austin, TX, where she is an M.F.A. candidate in Painting at The University of Texas at Austin. She has completed artist residencies at IS Projects (Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2016), Art Farm (Marquette, NE, 2016) and the Jaffe Center for Book Arts (Boca Raton, FL, 2016), as well as the Arts Administration Fellowship at the Girls’ Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale.

Ariel René Jackson (b. Mamou, LA, 1991) received her B.F.A in Fine Arts at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Jackson explores temporal mark-making through the process of transforming personal and communal archives. Material remnants of a legacy of farming, healing and black epistemology throughout the African diaspora function as a guide for continued research.

Mark Kovitya (b. Pittsburgh, PA, 1978) received his B.F.A in Sculpture at The Ohio State University in 2017. His work incorporates refuse and discarded industrial materials, transformed by degenerative processes, to make sculpture and installation addressing the uncertainties that exist in the arbitrary distinctions comprising boundaries.

Ling-lin Ku (b. Taipei, Taiwan, 1984) received a degree in Law and a B.F.A. in Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016. Through digital fabrication, she plays with both immaterial data and tangible materials, combining daydreaming and fetish with language play and mundane, everyday objects. On top of her sculpture, installation, and animation work, Ku also has a secrete love for making miniature objects.

Renee Lai (b. Los Angeles, CA, 1992) received her B.A. with Honors in Studio Art and English at Dartmouth College in 2014. Lai works in painting and drawing to explore barriers as a metaphor for many other things—private property, ownership, belonging, security, and fear. She has exhibited in New York, NY, Austin, TX, and Hanover, NH.

Wyatt Ramsey (b. South Boston, VA, 1989) received his B.F.A. in painting and printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ramsey is an artist performing the role of the painter as a metaphor for failed virtuosity. Mining art history, he conflates traditional clichés with critical theory to point to the narcissism of virtue signaling in the pursuit of personal ambition.

Shanie Tomassini (b. Montreal, Canada, 1991) received her B.A. at the University of Québec in Montreal. Her sculptural work is driven by the transformative properties of her surroundings, focusing on the surface as both a physical and philosophical space. She is the recipient of the 2018 UMLAUF Prize and has presented solo and group exhibitions in Texas and Canada.


design by Juliana Castro for 2019 MFA thesis catalogue, UT Austin

View the Exhibition Catalogue

Back to top