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Last Friday, Dec. 6, the Master of Fine Arts students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas held an open studios night. Andrea Heerdt dropped by to find out what they’re working on. She caught up with five of the program’s 12 MFA students and asked them to describe their current work. The biographical notes we included here are condensed versions of student bios provided by UNLV.
Aaron Cowan earned his BFA from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and co-founded and directed the visiting artist residency for ARC in Chattanooga. His work explores themes such as psychology, play, labor, desire, masculinity, and violence. He scouts thrift stores and junk yards, reclaiming car parts, broken tools, and worn sports equipment and making them into softer expressions as actions against the hierarchies of gender.
Fawn Douglas is a member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe with a degree in Global Studies from the College of Southern Nevada and a BA in art from UNLV. She’s a community organizer who works on environmental issues, and she’s played a part in the conservation of Standing Rock, Gold Butte National Monument, and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Her works include murals and performances, and she aims to shine light on race, class, and gender to ask what it means to be Native in contemporary times.
John McVay combines printmaking, collage, sound and video. His areas of research include Las Vegas, contemporary consumerism, American culture, ideology, nostalgia, and the spaces between high and low culture. He earned a BFA in printmaking with a minor in art history from Arizona State University.
Cida de Aragon
Cida de Aragon has lived in the UK, Germany, Australia, and Brazil. She has a degree in architecture from the University of São Paulo, a master’s in computing in design from Middlesex University, and an MA in photography from Goldsmiths College. She works in installation, video, and photography, exploring themes such as urban migrants, homelessness, identity, place, and the integration of media art into public space.
Erin Drew—who’s fascinated with DIY processes, class issues, and the line between education and entertainment—is the creator of the art-centric talk show Putty. She earned her BFA in sculpture from Herron School of Art and Design in her hometown of Indianapolis.
Peter Mengert earned his BFA from UNLV in 2010. He’s had several solo and group shows in Las Vegas. He has also worked as a freelance caricature artist for the last 20 years at the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. He explores themes such as myth, the uncanny, and the sublime. He is a nominee for the Dedalus Foundation Award for Painting and Sculpture.