MFA Thesis Exhibition Opening: Age of Consent

On Thursday, April 30th, the Block Museum hosted the MFA Thesis Exhibition Opening. With nearly 200 people in attendance, the evening was a huge success. Creatives from all over Chicago came to celebrate the works of Angela Lopez, Laura McGinn, Emily Cruz Nowell, William Schweigert, and Rambod Vala in their exhibition, Age of Consent.

In a majority of contemporary societies, the age of consent is the legally mandated age at which a person can autonomously participate in consensual sexual activity. Arriving at the age of consent generally coincides with arriving at the age of criminal responsibility as well as the age of majority, at which time an individual is held fully accountable for their actions and decisions. The five artists in this exhibition, Age of Consent, take full responsibility for their actions and decisions.

Lopez, McGinn, Cruz Nowell, Schweigert, and Vala presented a culmination of the course of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree at Northwestern. To learn more about the five artists, continue reading below:


Angela Lopez
The prince of darkness, night, the black death, shadows, black cats, the devil’s beast, nightmares, etc. The eye’s pupil is a black hole that recedes directly into the brain. Fear of losing the eye ignites a “violent obscure emotion.” The familiarity and confoundedness inherent in the mysteries of darkness, black animals, black plagues, and that which disrupt what you thought you knew, is how reality is tested, and phenomena is possible. Scratching satisfies, while increasing the desire to scratch more. The body senses and interprets this information beyond that which we are consciously aware of. There is a lack of physical and political control over our own bodies. They operate beyond our will, affected internally by what happens externally and vice versa.

Laura McGinn
Laura McGinn’s work embodies protective forms of withdrawal and non-participation. She makes darkness visible through fluorescence. Her installations and paintings utilize physical and chemical properties of paint and phenomenological effects of light to explore the boundaries between our bodies and the environments we inhabit.

Emily Cruz Nowell
Cruz Nowell employs architecture and musicology to make scores for sound installations.
Through demonstrations that subversively punctuate the relevance of public aesthetics and its causal relationships to desire, formality, identity, and normativity; she investigates how our intersections with built environments, music, and other folkloristics are veritable to our experience of life.
Into this mix Cruz Nowell interposes vocal music, often using her own voice, in full recognition that it is through our personal involvements with expressive elements of culture that we may experience immediate linkages to what humanity craves or fears the most.

William Schweigert
William Schweigert is an artist working in various visual medias. Throughout the run of the exhibition William will be participating in a gift exchange. Visitors are invited to bring a bouquet of flowers (ideally tulips) in exchange for an artwork.

Rambod Vala
“I walk through thoughts and stories. I move from one spot to the other in order to remove and replace thoughts from mind to a time-based media file. I move from one country to the other in search for love. I share too much information. Since my eyes transferred some data to my mind and stored them as memories, I remember that there has always been a conversation about going abroad in my family. I wonder why?” — Rambod

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