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sen-exh-13-waraksa-workingSocial expectations and self-image. Do cosmetics take on a levitating life of their own?

Would you lose your top among spinning sculptures? Be the first to experience products that bring compassion to everyday life?

Answers to these questions and more were discovered at the MIAD 2013 Senior Exhibition, which opened Gallery Night, April 19, 5 – 9 p.m., and closed May 11. Generously supported by BMO Harris Bank, gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

bmo-logo-webFeaturing the work of more than 140 seniors, Milwaukee’s most exuberant exhibition of emerging talent included Alumni Thesis Scholarship recipients Hayley Eichenbaum (Integrated Studio Arts) and Marissa Waraksa (Sculpture), who integrated performance in their multidisciplinary work; five students who reimagined a gallery space; and designers who expanded on the empathy, compassion and user experience that defines their work.

sen-exh-13-eichen-levitate-webEichenbaum created a living commentary on female narcissism, and the strain to fit into society’s definition of ‘woman,’ while struggling to arrive at a satisfactory self-image. “Pilot” – which “careens through the potentials of sculpture, design, engineering and live performance” – features a vanity set that simulates a spaceship control panel and levitates cosmetic objects.

Waraksa, influenced by a strong music and dance background, combined explorations in wood, video and performance to create “A Reaction.” Highlighting the surfacing patterns of the human experience, she performed by spinning with an array of fine hardwood tops, ranging in height from a half inch to four feet.

sen-exh-13-sprecher-fabric-webStudents whose installations interact uniquely with space collaborate to reimagined MIAD’s East Gallery. Ashley Sprecher (Printmaking) formatted her space with retail in mind so that viewers could engage with her work. “Arrows” features a collection of hand-dyed fabrics on furniture and pillows with pattern work and wallpaper created using traditional printmaking techniques. Sprecher will continue her work full-time designing home collections for Kohl’s Corporation after graduation.

The influence of MIAD’s yearlong collaboration with GE Healthcare, “The Compassion Project,” was prevalent in many Industrial Design students’ projects. Expanding on design’s empathic focus on the user experience, for example:sen-exh-13-pearson-sketch

  • Alex Boese created a self-reliant and portable chemotherapy dispensing device.
  • Sarah Geraldson focuses on reusable, hygienic feminine care devices and cleaning systems for Third World countries so that girls aged 12 – 16 do not have to drop out of school.
  • Brett Pearson fostered the dignity of women while creating a functionally appropriate mammography gown.
  • Sean Simmons created a mobile, hands-free, nebulizer medication dispensing system.
  • Michael Stilp designed hanging hospital beds for Third World use based on indigenous materials.

Representing MIAD’s largest major, Andrew Coyle (Communication Design) created KnoFolio, a portfolio-building platform that allows artists and designers to create a free studio, take online courses and participate in critique. The veteran of four internships while at MIAD and owner of his own company [], Coyle will continue full-time freelance work for startups in San Francisco after graduation while also pursuing KnoFolio.

As part of the senior exhibition, the college held its third annual MIAD Define Day – April 24 – for campus-wide inquiry and discussion into the seniors’ journey and the MIAD experience.

Gallery Night also featured nearly 60 Integrated Studio Arts students in MAM After Dark: Black and White, 5 p.m. – midnight. From freshmen to seniors, students collaborate to create works of art for this one-night-only event, and participants can test their own skills in interactive artmaking with MIAD alum Daniel Fleming ’10.

Seniors were available Gallery Night, April 19, 5 – 9 p.m., to discuss their work with the public, and during Gallery Day Conversations, April 20, 1 – 5 p.m., for more intimate discussions of their capstone projects. View work from this impressive exhibit on flickr.

View images from the MIAD 2013 Senior Exhibition.
View images from the MIAD 2012 Senior Exhibition.
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Top image: Marissa Waraksa uses a lathe to sand one of her tops
Second image: Hayley Eichenbaum’s levitating cosmetics
Third image: Detail of Ashley Sprecher’s fabric
Fourth image: Brett Pearson’s mammography gown