First Year Juried Show

Curatorial Statement

I am excited and proud to be a part of MICA's 1st Year Juried Show. Curating its sixth iteration has allowed me to explore the graduate programs from a new perspective and presented me with the opportunity to reflect on the diversity each program offers beyond my previous MICA experience as a student. 

Initially researching each artist and their work virtually, it became evident during our studio visits that many graduate artists are investigating similar ideas through their work. The main themes analyze the human body and its relationship to society and the physical earth, finding that artists pushed to reflect these ideas in their work through various modes. 

With these ideas in mind, the pool of finalists became apparent, and the exhibition began to take shape, each program and artist offering a new way to explore these themes. 

With Body and Earth explores each artist's desires to go beyond everyday life and address our physical connections to the earth. Some works present land as material that reflect transferences on our cultural identity and heritage, while others consider the negotiations we encounter within changing environments. 

Through painting, sculpture, installation, and new media, this pool of artists disrupts ideas that the human body is separate from its environment, asserting that mother nature and the human body are intrinsically linked. Artists working in this way reveal how this connection informs personal perceptions and at times allude to the broader human experience. 

Up close photo of an old tree stump with new growth with greenery and native outdoor plants around it + Enlarge
Growth Digital Photo on Canvas
people in caves + Enlarge
Cave People 2022 Oil stick, oil paint, gold leaf, leafs, wires, and tv parts on canvas 60 x 80 x3"
The Journey of Finding the Apple by Hanzhang Mao + Enlarge
The Journey of Finding the Apple 2021 Watercolor, colored pencil, brush pen 25.4cm*17.8cm
This piece's title is "Well, I can't I will walk slowly and be careful not to drown." It's an oil painting on canvas, and its size is 60 * 48 inches. The theme color is grayish muted yellow. There is a muted yellow figure in the center + Enlarge
Well, I can't I will walk slowly and be careful not to drown 2022 Oil on canvas 60*48
Yellow flowers are blooming in the center on a green background, and green clouds at the top. Diamond and star shapes surround the flowers and a thin gold line travels from the bottom of the picture, around the flowers, and up into the clouds. + Enlarge
Green Wish 2021 oil on canvas 40 x 40 inches
Tan rectangular cloth with a seam down the middle. Contains imagery of a backyard vegetable garden in a darker brown tone. The cloth has frayed edges and is displayed on a white wall using small tacks. + Enlarge
Little House on Settle 01 2022 Cotton and Black Walnut 52 x 69 in
Green plastic tray is suspended from the ceiling with four plastic sculpture silhouettes cut out. Lights are pointed at the objects creating two shadows on the wall. + Enlarge
Plastic Still Life 2022 Plastic Tray 17in x 12in x 3in
Orangey, pink nude figure with a red bucket hat laying in a landscape of grass. The marks surrounding the figure are energetic and sporadic. The white ground of the canvas is peeking through. + Enlarge
I'll Lie Here For Now and Daydream 2022 Oil Paint and Oil Stick on Canvas 30 in x 40 in

About the Curator

Rhea Beckett is a curator and fifth generation educator whose practice centers knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Rhea is an adjunct professor of African American art history at Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee) and Trinity Washington (Washington, DC). She is the Founding Director of Black Artist Research Space (BARS), a hub for creativity, scholarship, and imagination located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rhea Beckett received her BA in Art from Fisk University and her MFA in Curatorial Practice from MICA.

She is a classically trained pianist and vocalist who sings in four languages, and was a member of the Grammy Award-winning Fisk Jubilee Singers from 2009-2013.