MA, MFA Thesis Exhibitions Open at UM Gallery Of Visual Arts

March 21, 2014

MISSOULA – Thesis exhibitions by Master of Fine Arts graduate students Claire Melli and Scott Miller and Master of Arts graduate student Ellen Walden will be on display April 10-23 in the Gallery of Visual Arts at the University of Montana. An opening reception for the exhibits will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in the gallery. All events and exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Melli’s exhibition of abstract paintings “Aporia” uses vivid color, frenetic line and ambiguous space. The term aporia refers to a problem for which a solution has not yet been identified. These works suggest the psychological reverberations of anxiety and tension without pointing to specific subject matter.

Miller’s photographs are inspired by the 17th century Spanish genre of still-life paintings of fruit, vegetables and game known as bodegon. Rather than depicting food images, Miller focuses on items from curbside donation boxes and other methods of “freecycling” in his exhibition, “From Mean to Free: Contemporary Bodegones.” These assemblages of relinquished objects are presented as “mementos mori” of consumerist culture.

“Otherness Empowered” by Walden examines notions of body image. In her large-scale photographs, she challenges the notion of the perfect, idealized body in classic nude photography and replaces it with one that society considers less desirable and unattractive. Through the use of scale and black-and-white photographic techniques, the images communicate a sense of empowerment and dialogue that questions the notion of the perfect body.

The Gallery of Visual Arts is located on the first floor of the Social Science Building. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by appointment on Monday.

More information about the UM School of Art is online at




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Contact: Cathryn Mallory, director, UM Gallery of Visual Arts, 406-243-2813,