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2016 Stamps Alumni Exhibition

Between career, family life, and the incredible creative projects Stamps alums always seem to have in the hopper, it can be hard to find time to reflect on all the forces that came together to get us where we are today.

But when we do, gratitude hits like a tidal wave and compels us to take action. At least it did for Alumni Show Committee Co-Chair Matthew Zivich, Professor of Art at Saginaw Valley State University and Stamps BSDes '60.

“The memories that I cherish the most from my undergraduate days are mostly about being a student in Ann Arbor, living on campus, the diversity of the student body, and attending a wide variety of academic and art courses,” Zivich said. “Over the years, I've noticed how U-M has contributed to society in many different areas to an extent that is difficult to ignore. I wanted to be part of that and felt that as an art alumnus, the Alumni Show was my chance to give back.”

As part of the annual Alumni Show Exhibition duties, Zivich, his two fellow exhibition co-chairs - Kris Peterson (BFA '87) and DuWaine Hoy (BSDes '66) - and 12 committee members selected the theme for the 2016 Stamps Alumni Exhibition: Horror Vaccui, oftentimes known as “fear of empty spaces.”

Stamps School Dean Guna Nadarajan at the July 22 exhibition reception.

“The committee prefers themes that are somewhat mysterious,” Zivich said. “This serves the dual purpose of stimulating the creative minds of the alumni artists, while at the same time not creating an unintentional hurdle for the artists that may discourage them from participating.”

Elysia Borowy-Reeder, Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), was brought on as juror for the 2016 show, selecting 69 alumni works for a curated exhibition. “One can't help but be struck by the conceptual strength of work produced by Stamps alums,” Borowy-Reeder said. “The work selected for the 2016 Stamps School of Art & Design Alumni Juried Exhibition addresses the idea of Horror Vaccui in ways both explicit and conceptual, embracing and rejecting the notion that emptiness is a concept to be feared.” Borowy-Reeder selected three grand prize recipients (awarded $500 each), alongside 10 honorable mentions:

Grand Prize Recipients

  • Melis Agabigum - When you told me to “Go Long,” I should have asked “How Far?”
  • Susan Moran - Black Hexagon
  • Matthew Zivich - Overboard
Melis Agabigum - When you told me to “Go Long,” I should have asked “How Far?”

Honorable Mentions

  • Sarah Brennan - The Process of Forgetting
  • Brent Fogt - Untitled
  • Jack Lardis - Icarus Ascending
  • Juliana Lew - This is why I'm so tired (This is why we're so tired)
  • Tad McKillop - Death
  • TJ O'Keefe - F/G
  • Michael Sevick - Self Portrait
  • Sarah Wiideman - Untitled I & II
  • Robin Wilt - Figuring it Out
  • Katelyn Wollet - Alone

“Every year, the alumni show exhibits a wide variety of styles, media, and scales of art works that is very impressive and often exceptionally surprising,” said Zivich. Juror Elysia Borowy-Reeder agreed, adding, “It's absolutely worth experiencing, especially if you're out and about during Ann Arbor Art Fair this year.”

The 2016 Stamps Alumni Show is on view in the Argus II building in downtown Ann Arbor (400 4th St) through August 6, 2016. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 12 pm - 7 pm. During the Ann Arbor Art Fair (Thursday, July 21 - Sunday, July 24), the gallery will have special hours on Sunday, July 24 from 12 - 7 pm.

For more information and an online gallery of work, visit: the 2016 Alumni Exhibition page.