2019 MFA thesis exhibition kicks off with evening reception at The Block

Every year The Block hosts the Master of Fine Arts degree candidates in the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University for a spring exhibition—in which MFA candidates present their thesis work, concluding two years of intensive artistic development. This year’s thesis exhibition, colorless green ideas sleep furiously., is accompanied by events, programming and a publication conceived by the graduate artists—shai-lee horodi, Hyun Jung Jun, Jessica Frances Martin, and Hamilton Poe.

Jessica Frances Martin, Brooke Touch Your Mirror, 2019, Marker, crayon, pencil, and stickers on paper

On May 2, The Block hosted a public opening reception for the MFA candidates in the Alsdorf gallery, where their exhibition is currently on view. The reception gave attendees a firsthand look at these new bodies of work. The exhibited art is in various mediums, ranging from paintings, prints, sculpture, to video and linen. Lane Relyea, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art Theory and Practice, gave remarks praising the strength of the graduating class. The mood was celebratory as the artists discussed their work with visitors.

Installation view of Jessica Frances Martin’s Hands Touching Through the Mirror

The 2019 MFA exhibition will be on view at The Block until June 23.

About the artists

shai-lee horodi was born in 1993. She received her name in 2016. Her works are not about – and this text is not about them. Her native language offers no good translation for the word about.

Hyun Jung Jun (b.1989 Seoul, South Korea) currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where she received her BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Through various mediums including installation, sculpture, photography, drawing and performance, Jun’s work explores the relationship between body and landscape (culture, society, and nature) in everyday life. Jun’s work has been included in various exhibitions across Chicago and has participated in the Alchemy residency in Ontario, Canada and the Vermont Studio Center residency in Johnson, VT.

Jessica Frances Martin’s painting practice is figurative, focused on women and the environments they exist in. How as they merge with their environment they have more power over their image and the world they inhabit. With a particular focus on narratives of fantasy, interiority, girl culture, and processes of transformation. Martin received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011.

Hamilton Poe (b.1986) studied Chinese and Visual Art at Bennington College. Poe’s art questions aesthetic structures based on claims of ‘genius’ that are commonplace in the reception of art by engaging with the quotidian ephemera of daily life: the materials and experiences that are not recognized as a part of artistic practice. He has shown work at Cranbrook Art Museum, The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Hyun Jung Jun’s table and long bread and pasta
Installation view of shai-lee horodi’s video I am Free Free am I


The exhibition publication, colorless green ideas sleep furiously., can be purchased at The Block Museum of Art for $10.




This exhibition and the associated events are co-organized by the Department of Art Theory and Practice and the Block Museum at Northwestern University. Support provided by the Norton S. Walbridge Fund; the Myers Foundations; the Jerrold Loebl Fund for the Arts; and the Alsdorf Endowment.

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