UMBC Visual Arts Department

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The Department of Visual Arts carries out UMBC’s mission as a dynamic public research university. Our diverse, internationally acclaimed faculty are committed to guiding future artists and design professionals to think independently, work imaginatively, and implement creative solutions to real world problems. By providing an environment of collaborative research and interdisciplinary learning, we enable experimentation across media. Our BA, BFA and MFA curricula equip students to push beyond disciplinary parameters as they move skillfully between technologies, processes, and modes of thinking.


The department seeks to become an international model for art and design programs within a public research university that stresses cross-disciplinary activities. We envision students as agile, flexible thinkers and civically engaged leaders in a rapidly changing world.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 66
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    (ISEA, 2023) Moren, Lisa; Bachvaroff, Tsvetan
    “Under the Bay” is an augmented reality project where anyone can use their cell phone like a microscope and reveal invisibilities in our world and marine life. When they do a series of animated stories between humans and non-humans emerge. Images, sounds, and stories are affected by live data streamed in from sensors located in the largest estuary in North America. Sensors in the Chesapeake Bay relay live pH, oxygen, temperature, etc. (figure 9). Similar to the water itself, color, speed, audio fluctuate with the water and marine life, making “Under the Bay” a datadriven narrative with eight scenes that tell a story of a world beneath the marine surface, and the exciting but frail health of estuaries and oceans worldwide. The two projects discussed here, “Under the Bay” (2022) and “What is the Shape of Water?” (2020), are part of Lisa Moren’s series of cross-species artworks aimed at diminishing human-centered exceptionalism. The collaborations began in 2019 when Lisa was the inaugural Artist-in-Resident at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET). There, she met researcher and marine biologist, Dr. Tsvetan Bachvaroff (Tsetso) and the two immediately shared a like-minded vision to develop a project that exemplified phenomenal exceptionalisms in microorganisms. In this paper we argue that novel strategies in nature emerge when a complexity of matter is intermingled with conditions of differentiation. We explain and identify differentiation in art and architecture, symbiosis in biology, and the “wobble” in physics as core principles for new forms and creative strategies to emerge. The outcome is focused on the unusual and significant diversification of dinoflagellate microbe’s in the Chesapeake Bay and oceans worldwide. Tsetso directed the live organisms, science and data analysis for the augmented reality project. Stories are written and told by Lisa, who produced and art directed the animation and AR scenes. The sound score is by electronic composer Dan Deacon. Dr. Marc Olano led the software engineering and development with John Boutsikas, for the AR app in IOS and Google Play.
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    The Space is a Body and You Are In It: a collaboration
    (2023-01-01) Kroll, Anna; Rosskam, Julienne; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    The Space is a Body and You Are In It is a collaboration between Chlo� Engel and Anna Kroll exploring collaborative imagining. Consisting of The Game and Game Space, booklets of reflections and a silent video projection, these many elements combine to examine the possibilities and impossibilities of shared realities and the multitudes of ?We.?
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    (2023-01-01) Aleinikova, Elizaveta; Bell, Kathryn; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    The Chapel of Imagination is a multimedia installation and an artist?s self-portrait subverting and reimagining the layout of the traditional Eastern Orthodox Church and Russian folktales through a mix of animation, projection mapping, and sculptural objects.
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    Dear Dhaka...
    (2023-01-01) Hossain, Fahmida; Cazabon, Lynn; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    Dear Dhaka? is a multimedia installation consisting of two works, 'Under Construction' and 'Aborodhbashini,' emanating from the artist's experience living in Dhaka as an urban citizen and a woman using concrete, cotton Sharee, fabric, and audio-visual video projection.
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    Crazy in Louvre: How Beyoncé and Jay-Z Exploit Western Art History to Ask Who Controls Black Bodies
    (Frieze, 2018-06-29) Smalls, James
    An art historian explains what the Carters’s takeover of the Paris museum says about art, race and power
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    James Smalls on Here is a Strange and Bitter Crop
    (Space Studios, 2018-09) Smalls, James
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    Creative Challenges in AR \\ Urban Life
    (2020-09-12) Moren, Lisa; Barr, Chris; Grenier, Émilie F.
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    Artists panel What is the Shape of Water?
    (2020-10-03) Moren, Lisa; Bachvaroff, Tsetso
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    Always-Already Absent Present: On Trauma and Materiality
    (2022-01-01) Rezaei, Alieh; O'Dell, Kathy K. O. D; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    In Always-Already Absent Present: On Trauma and Materiality, I explore linguistic experience and its effects through my art practice working with organic materials. My story started with a painful car accident. Later, aspects of that trauma were repeated when I realized that being outside my mother tongue, the same traumatic accident was occurring � this time, leaving its mark on my tongue. This theses provides perspective on the concept of death, expanding the notion to the fundamental connection of human beings with nature and the intermediation of language. Living in a language other than my mother tongue, with its constant mandate of translation, has forced me to navigate the following issue: Humans do not have direct access to nature. Rather, this connection is murdered by language. In my artistic practice, I examine this barrier through the formation of waste, the abject, and the language of excrement.
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    (2022-01-01) Eken, Sylvia Antoinette Maria; Re, Margaret; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    Cities are more than their visible attributes; they are a metaphor for living and change. A city consists of multiple internal and external structures creating underlying social, economic, and physical patterns that constitute a network. I explore how networks function dynamically and non-hierarchically, generating new dialogues as they expand like rhizomes. Maps are not objective representations. Transformation: An Interplay of Life, Culture, and Heritage, my installation, uses maps to chart and reshape boundaries, creating places from which new meaning emerges. I invite visitors to walk through and experience this multifaceted space that intertwines and honors multiple viewpoints and histories. This space, which originated from my own story, becomes a shared space. I claim a connected life that recognizes the individual but simultaneously asks the individual, a node, to identify, communicate, and value others and their experiences equally. The only way forward is through an informed, entangled future.
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    Transgender Euphoria: Puerto Rico's Queer Exaltation
    (2022-01-01) Reynolds, Foster Luis; Sharp, Sarah G; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    Transgender Euphoria: Puerto Rico's Queer Exaltation is a two-part installation that depicts the spiritual connection between the island of Puerto Rico and its Transgender inhabitants through the visualization of a multi-generational queer narrative. By abstracting Caribbean seascapes, parts of the Flamboyán tree, chest scars left behind by gender-affirming surgery and coquí frogs through an array of mediums, the ecology of Puerto Rico and the Trans body overlap and create a multi-sensory place wherein visitors may witness the euphoria of Transgender Puerto Ricans.
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    Sub Rosa: La Casa de Beatriz Cabrera
    (2022-01-01) Crabb, Monique; Sharp, Sarah; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    Sub Rosa: La Casa de Beatriz Cabrera is a multimedia room installation representing a conversation taking place between a mom and daughter exposing family lineage, the role of caretaker, and motherhood. The visitor enters through curtains lined with dried roses on the two long sides of the room, and either walks around or sits on a bed in the center. At the two short ends of the bed are the only solid walls, each of which displays a wall-size quilted mask. Through the eye openings of each mask, visitors see video footage of my mother's eyes and my eyes searching, evoking in the viewer the feeling of entering someone else's dream. At every turn, there is the sense that everything represents something else.
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    Post US
    (2022-01-01) Droneburg, Paul Adam; Bell, Kathryn; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    At the beginning of most post-apocalyptic movies, there is a prologue�a quick cut to a series of newscasters talking in dismayed voices describing the events that led to the tragedy, flashing images of war, climate change, protest, social collapse, etc. We are now living through that prologue. At any moment, the screen may go black, then unveil a wide establishing shot of our new post-apocalyptic world. POST US is a comparative examination of our world and an apocalyptic projection of it, exploring just how close we have come to the end times.
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    Creating Knowledge with the Public: Disrupting the Expert/Audience Hierarchy
    (MIT Press, 2022-08-22) Meringolo, Denise D.; Boot, Lee; Johnson, Denise Griffin; O’Neill, Maureen
    This essay provides both a philosophy and a case study to define, analyze, and explore community-centered public history practice. In its ideal form, communitycentered public history practice strives for equity and inclusion. It is service-oriented. It is often future-focused. On the ground, in real time, community-centered public history practice requires constant recalibration, humility, and active collaboration that can be challenging for academically trained scholars to fully embrace. The coauthors share their experiences and impressions in order to highlight both the difficulty and the value of this work.
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    UNDER THE BAY: An Augmented Reality Project
    (2021) Bachvaroff, Tsvetan; Moren, Lisa; Deacon, Dan; Olano, Marc
    “Under the Bay” tells the story of a world beneath the surface of the Chesapeake Bay and really all estuaries and oceans. In this augmented reality project a user can point their cell phone at the water — or anywhere in the world — like a microscope and see and hear the hidden invisibilities under the Chesapeake Bay. When they do, a series of stories between humans and non-humans emerge told by artist Lisa Moren with music by electronic composer Dan Deacon. Directed by Lisa Moren and marine biologist Tsvetan Bachvaroff, the team worked with software engineer Marc Olano to develop the project.
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    don't look, don't look
    (2020-01-01) Voos, Amelia; O'Dell, Kathy; Visual Arts; Imaging and Digital Arts
    don't look, don't look enacts and embodies the entwining communal, generational, and familial remnants and echoes of my family's rural farming community in Glen Gardner, NJ. I am crafting new iterations of land-based rituals through acts of present memory. The works center on place as the keeper and amplifier of that memory, and on my family, and the remnants of what was, as the entangled threads strung between space and time. This theses acts as a collaboration between my grandparents and myself, and between nature and history; it is in this collaboration that the tendrils and connections between my grandparents' and my own bodies, memories, and histories begin to emerge.