UW News

May 30, 2019

Design, art thesis projects fill Henry Art Gallery for eclectic annual exhibition

UW News

A skeletal house-like structure of thoughtfully gathered parts, a room suffused with horizontal stripes, lush oil paintings of ravaged landscapes, intimate portraits in pencil, an interactive statement on plastic-addicted consumer culture …

"Spoiled Landscapes - Ocean," an oil on canvas by Baorong Liang is seen through a gap in Brighton McCormack's house-like structure "Fully Furnished" (in video above) at the 2019 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery.

“Spoiled Landscapes – Ocean,” an oil on canvas by Baorong Liang, is seen through a gap in Brighton McCormack’s house-like structure “Fully Furnished” (in video above) at the 2019 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery.

And more: Art meets information with a toolkit for preparing college lessons, a mashup of woodworking and augmented reality, a way to remember and document the city’s disappearing spaces, a fabric piece remembering the victims of gun violence — and more.

The annual thesis exhibition by graduating art and design students with the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design reliably brings together the dreamy and the practical to cohabit at the Henry Art Gallery. This year’s exhibit features the work of 10 artists and 11 designers, and will be at the Henry through June 23.

“The range of work can be any thing from a small drawing to a large scale installation — it’s a really large mix,” said Jes Gettler, the Henry’s exhibition designer and lead preparer, who worked with the students to display their projects to best advantage in the museum. “It’s such a fun show, and it’s special treat to see everyone helping each other out through the process.”

The show’s full name is the School of Art + Art History + Design’s Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design Thesis Exhibition, but it goes by 2019 MFA + MDes for short. These works represent the last step in the UW journey for these talents, who will go on to become teachers or pursue art and design professionally or pursue related fields.

Jamie Walker, professor and director of the school of art, praised the students in brief remarks to press and friends before a May 24 exhibition preview. Calling the Henry “one of the most beautiful spaces on campus,” he said the artists and designers employ “careful attention to the use of space and scale” in the exhibition.

“This year, almost all of the students seemed very aware of how they are presenting their work in the space that they were selected to use,” he said. “They’re really trying to figure out ways to communicate ideas that they are passionate about.”

The 2019 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition will be on display through June 23.


The Henry Art Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 general, $6 for seniors and free to UW students, staff and faculty. And it’s free to all on Sundays. For more information, visit https://henryart.org/.

  • Video by Kiyomi Taguchi, UW News