By Emily Thibodeau Contributing Writer
Artist and activist Katrina Majkut recently visited UMF’s Emery Art center to share her art that “explores social traditions and their impact on civil rights.”
Katrina Majkut utilizes the cross stitching method to accentuate the status and hard work of women in society. (Photos by Emily Thibodeau)
Majkut’s work is on display in the Mantor Library and can be found on the Mezzanine. The series is made up of birth control methods, as well as other products associated with feminism. This is part of a series Majkut has been working on since 2010.
Majkut specializes in cross stitching, a form of sewing in which X-shaped stitches are formed into a picture.
“Cross- stitch is considered a low-end art, which is an unfair stereotype in contemporary art,” Majkut said.
Majkut was picked out of over 40 applicants from to be part of the “Art on Campus” program. Ann Bartges, chair of The Art on Campus Program committee said Majkut was unanimously chosen by the
IUDs and a NuvaRing.
committee as “she does not try to get a specific response, but her goal is to get the conversation going,” as well as the fact that she can publicize “something such as a tampon in her art.”
Majkut got into cross-stit
ching when her mother taught her around age eight because “she was teaching me a part of my Ukrainian heritage.” Part of Majkut’s heritage is to learn skills to run a household at a young age.
“Those roles are extremely physical,” Majkut emphasised. Majkut uses cross stitch as a comparison and to representative to the physical labor expected from women.
Majkut has spent hours, even years working on each cross stitch piece. Majkut’s goal is to be “Intersectionally and medically honest” with her work, adding that, “if I don’t understand an object [medically] I refer to [Doctors].”
One piece discussed in the art talk was a Rape/ Sexual Assault kit cross stitch. “The rape kit opened up my eyes to how violent the process [of filing a report] is,” Majkut said. “I think this is the work that is just a response to who I am as an artist and person.”
A question from the audience was if Majkut had any advice for upcomin
A pregnancy test and birth control. Majkut strives for medical honesty and accuracy.
g graduate art majors. Majkut said to “create a defined schedule for art, block time, start to build an art resume now, get used to talking to people. Rejection is high in this field and the art world is a numbers game.”
Avery Boucher, a freshman at UMF, attended the talk as a requirement for a digital imaging class. Boucher commented, “I think what she is doing is definitely new and different. I think as a feminist she has quite a unique way of expressing herself.”
After her talk, Majkut held a workshop where students could learn how to cross stitch. Bartges said, “Students were surprised by how long it takes” to create a cross-stitch pattern. This gave students an idea on how much work and labor is put into each cross stitch piece.
Majkut has recently written a book called The Adventures and Discoveries of a Feminist Bride: What no one tells you before you say ‘I do’. Majkut’s goal with this book was to “create dialogue around what it mean to be a woman.” The book invites readers to join Majkut’s personal journey through experiences with weddings and opinions on wedding traditions.
For more information on Katrina Majkut, please visit katrinamajkut.com.
By Jessica McKenna, Contributing Writer
Artist Shane Cynewski stands next one of the sculptures from his body of work “Investigating Undesirability Through the Unmonumental.” (Photos by Jessica McKenna)
A semester’s worth of hard work came to an end on April 13th with the opening of the Senior Art students’ Thesis Exhibition, “Five to Nine.” The sun slowly disappeared from the sky over the UMF campus casting a faint blue shadow as four of UMF’s Senior artists made their way down the tarred pathway to the small art gallery near the green. The artist entered the compact gallery where their names were printed on the wall brightly lit by a spotlight for all to see. Each floor was a mixture of different artists creations using various media to convey their work.
For Senior artist Gabrielle Ganiere the exhibition signals an end to her journey at UMF. “This is my last big thing,” said Ganiere. “I do have a symposium talk about my artistic process but this is the pivotal moment.”
Ganiere’s work stood out amongst her peers as her media consisted of pantyhose, trash bags, yarn and other fabrics that brought a softer tone to the exhibition. Each piece embodied a creature of sorts with some invoking memories of childhood stuffed animals or beloved pets, while others made spectators think twice before they took a step closer. “I want them to be confused on how they feel,” said Ganiere, “Do they want to get close or stay away, I like to see people’s expectations of each piece.”
A pink mattress laid against a wall with plastic milk jugs, a wooden chair, and a blond wig attached to the once familiar object. Artist Shane Cynewski’s body of work made spectators feel as though they had entered a home but the everyday items they encountered had changed.
“I used sculpture as my media and domestic objects, so items you could find in a home,” said Cynewski. “The reason I use those objects is I try to inverse the desirability of them.”
Each sculpture turned household items into unknown objects to the viewer with a changed purpose. Cynewski and his classmates had been preparing for the show since the fall of 2016 starting with senior seminar. “We wrote our thesis in the fall and then started working on our body of work,” said Cynewski. Each Senior spent their spring semester finishing their body of work, participating in faculty critiques every few weeks and writing press releases and artist statements.
As the crowd grew larger the artists were surrounded by friends, family, and professors sharing words of congratulations and acknowledgments of a job well done. Spectators moved from piece to piece at a glacial pace taking in as much as they could trying not to miss any part of the artist’s message. UMF President Kathryn Foster spoke with an artist in the middle of the Emery Community Arts Center flex space, and followed her to a piece of work to delve into the meaning and the artist’s process. “It’s thrilling to see the culmination of so much thought, hard work, and creativity!” said Foster.
The exhibition continues through May 13 in both the UMF Art Gallery and the Emery Community Arts Center showcasing the works of the six senior UMF artists.