Published March 25, 2021


show poster.


American composer Stephen Sondheim once said, “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” The graduating students of the University at Buffalo Department of Art MFA program express that sentiment in the continuation of their exhibition, Chaotic Good.

In March of 2020, the same students worked with curator Tina Rivers Ryan on their first-year exhibition, but the COVID-19 crisis forced the exhibition to close the day it was planned to open. In an expression of how we’ve simultaneously come so far but also find ourselves in almost the exact same place, these artists will hold their MFA thesis exhibitions in the same gallery, under the same title.

Through two phases (March 27–April 10 and April 24–May 8), visitors are invited to bear witness to both the beauty and challenge the artists have found in one of the darkest times in recent history, as well as the rawest of emotions this past year has conjured up. Life, in the simplest of terms, is chaotic; the past year has proven just that but through it all inspiration and art prevail. 

Group Graduate Thesis Exhibitions

PART 2: MARCH 27–APRIL 10, 2021

Felipe Shibuya (born 1987, São Paulo, Brazil) studied Ecology and Nature Conservation at the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil, where he earned his Ph.D. Currently, he is an MFA candidate in Studio Art at the University at Buffalo, working at the intersection between biology and art. Felipe is also a laboratory teaching assistant at the Coalesce: Center for Biological Art. In his scientific-artistic research, he always highlights the visuality of nature, such as the colors and shapes of bacteria. Shibuya’s work has been exhibited in the United States, Canada, Portugal, and Germany, and has citations published in magazines such as National GeographicCitylab, and Ecology.

John Santomieri is a plant-based, media artist practicing in Buffalo. His work integrates art, horticulture, and theory to conceptualize nonhuman representation and the interrelationships of human ecology. He is influenced by professional work in horticulture and public gardening, and his study of urban sociology at Tulane University, and the University at Buffalo where he received his BA and MFA, and SUNY Niagara where he received his AAS degree in horticulture.

Based in Buffalo NY, Dave Mosier (DaVideo Tape) is an MFA Candidate in the University at Buffalo Department of Art, where he is currently teaching Time-Based Concepts while taking programming and filmmaking courses in the historic Department of Media Study. Mosier is a New Media Producer at Open Signal: Portland Community Media Center in Portland, OR, and is a member of several collaborative artist groups. Previous residencies of note include Signal Culture’s Toolmaker, Researcher, and Artist Residencies (2014-2019), Houseguest Residency (2017), SPACENESS Residency (2018-2019), and the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Leland Ironworks Residency (2019). Mosier received the Golden Spot Award from the Ford Foundation in 2019. His work has been included in the Covid-19 Special Edition of Cornelia magazine, and he has exhibited worldwide including screenings at Limbo, Limbo Limbo, London, and on various cable access channels and at film festivals throughout the United States including the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR; Out of Sight, Seattle; University of Oregon’s Habitats curated by Jeff Jahn, Portland, OR; and the University at Buffalo Art Galleries curated by Tina Rivers Ryan.

Sara Zak is a candidate in the Studio Arts MFA program at the University of Buffalo. She holds BFA in Fine Arts, BA in Art History, and MA in Multidisciplinary Studies from Buffalo State College. Zak has paintings in the Burchfield Penney Art Center and Roswell Park Cancer Center collections. Solo exhibitions have been held at Peter A. and Mary Lou Vogt Gallery, Canisius College, Buffalo (2019); Castellani Art Museum, Lewiston (2016-17); and Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, Buffalo (2014). Zak has been awarded recognition from the Sustainable Arts Foundation (finalist) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA Mark program).

PART 3: APRIL 24–MAY 8, 2021

Olivier Delrieu-Schulze (Ulysses Athwen) is a curator and multi-disciplinary artist. He holds a BA in Cultural and Interdisciplinary Studies from Antioch College and studied as a Dean’s Fellow in the Media Study MFA program at the University at Buffalo. He is currently an MFA candidate in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Art. His artworks have been shown at Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar, Germany; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore; Herdon Gallery, at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio; Wolf Kino, Berlin; the Burchfield Penney Art Center; University at Buffalo Art Galleries; Big Orbit Project Space; and Squeaky Wheel in Buffalo, NY. He has performed with Steina (Vasulka), Tony Conrad, Genesis P-Orridge, Fingers Cut Mega Machine, JETengines, Reactionary Ensemble, and 404 Error, among others. He is the founding member of Trans Empire Canal Corporation (TECCORP), a Buffalo-based collective responsible for the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s multi-year project Cultural Commodities: As Exhibition in Four Phases, informally referred to as the “art barge.” In 2015 he was designated a “Living Legacy Artist” by the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

Jason Contangelo makes photographs. Based in his hometown of North Tonawanda, NY his work centers on the photographic process itself, dissecting and blurring the lines between digital, analog, and vice-versa. He’s fixated with naturalistic forms; trees, water, bodies, underlying patterns of life, and consciousness. Yet, through various interventions into the photographic process, through introductions of chance and entropy, these forms lean into an abstraction that denies the primacy of the human ego as a basis of perception. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the North American Lutheran Seminary, he is currently an MFA candidate at the University at Buffalo, graduating in the Spring of 2021.

Leanne Goldblatt is a New York-born and based artist.  Originally from Westchester, NY, Goldblatt is currently studying at her alma mater, the University at Buffalo where she received a BA in Studio Art before pursuing her MFA candidacy in Visual Arts.  Goldblatt has been a member of recent group exhibitions held at the Center for the Arts, Amherst (2020), and The Print Club of Rochester (2019), as well as curating the 15th Annual Animation Festival at the Albright Knox Art (2019).

Originally from Lawton, Oklahoma, Karis Jones is an MFA candidate and instructor of record at the University at Buffalo. They received their BFA cum laude in Painting from The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Jones’ work primarily lives in the strange world of watercolor figuration and hand-drawn animation. Their work has been exhibited and screened across the United States and Canada.

Tanner Petch