UM Gallery to Display MFA Thesis Exhibitions

March 24, 2015

Crista Ann Ames, “Blind Strife of the Entwined,” 2015, stoneware, graphite and felted wool, 56”h x 150” w x 30”dMISSOULA – Master of Fine Arts graduate students Crista Ann Ames and Tyler Nansen will present their thesis exhibitions April 9-23 in the Gallery of Visual Arts, located on the first floor of the Social Science Building at the University of Montana. The opening reception for the exhibition will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

In the exhibit “this tale is told out,” Ames creates life-size ceramic sculpture of people and animals that explore personal mythology and storytelling. She often incorporates felted, dyed and spun wool in her sculptures. Raised on a small sheep farm in Washington state, Ames draws on her own experiences to explore pastoral life, animal husbandry, women’s craft and fertility. 

Ames also is inspired by fairy tales and mythology. Through the layering of mythology, iconography and personal narrative, Ames explores how our own animal nature relates to the ways we establish and sustain personal relationships. In bridging the gap between myth and experience, she uses her artistic practice to create new stories that tell contemporary tales of trauma, joy and womanhood.

Nansen’s exhibit, “More is the Same,” features sculptural work inspired by architecture, landscape and human perception of place. Nansen, who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, notes long car trips taken with his family through the American West as a major source of inspiration for his art. During these travels, he became intrigued by vast vistas framed by the car window. 

Nansen’s exhibit offers contemporary interpretations of the landscape through stark, human-scale minimal sculptures. The use of materials, including wood, glass, concrete and paint, reinforce concepts of human relationships with landscape and architecture.  

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