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.
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.