Crit Lab AltMFA November 12-15, 2020

The Crit Lab AltMFA
An Alternate Critical Community for Working Artists

The First Crit Lab AltMFA will be Virtual

Founder Patricia Miranda & Co-Director Gaby Collins-Fernandez.

Faculty include Jonathan Van Dyke, Nicole Archer, Caroline Wells Chandler, Meena Hasan, Shervone Neckles, Lucinda Bliss, Amy Theiss Giese, Jason Stopa, Chris Kaczmarek, Andrea Kantrowitz, Angie Brew.

Meet the Faculty!

Cost and registration info HERE.

Full Schedule below.

The Lab is excited to announce the first Crit Lab AltMFA, a 4-day intensive focusing on visiting artist lectures, interactive virtual collaborations, and faculty-led group critique. Building on the language and rigor of the Crit Lab, AltMFA expands this critical community of noteworthy contemporary art topics and discourses. AltMFA is designed for working artists at every level and background, with or without a degree, who are serious about their work; artists hungry for critique and lively, in-depth discussion.

The full, four-day experience is built to be intense, cumulative and immersive. You will have exclusive access to all of the programming and content of the weekend; you will also, and perhaps more importantly, undergo an experience akin to a residency. The sustained contact of artists thinking and creating together over time generates unexpected connections where new ideas are born and flourish. This magic links us as a community and nurtures our individual practice.

One of the primary reasons I developed AltMFA is to invite exceptional artists and thinkers to broaden the dialogue already happening in the Crit Lab. I am thrilled to introduce this faculty, including Gaby Collins-Fernandez as co-director of the weekend. Over the course of 4 days, participants will hear from artists and thinkers including Jonathan van Dyck, Caroline Wells Chandler, Meena Hasan, Nicole Archer, and Chris Kaczmarek; will share their work in small group critiques with these and other faculty including Jason Stopa, Lucinda Bliss, and Amy Giese; and will engage in collaborative drawing and walking art works.

In 2020, instead of a pandemic hiatus, artists reached out to emphasize how committed they are to their practice, and to communities like The Crit Lab which support this work—the safe, brave spaces in which we build meaning. In a tumultuous year, art has been a solace, a space where the uncertainty and loss can remain unfixed, unrepaired, and present in a zone of grey ambiguity that doesn’t require an answer. That can live in the questioning. A space of rumination, where grief can meditate on its own mourning.

In this space, we rethink priorities, habits, politics. Can art offer a call to action, a respite, a sense of pulsing fecundity when fear and anxiety are so heavy in the air? Can we find ways to share these questions in our artwork? The Crit Lab Alt MFA is a space for working artists to come together in radical optimism and rigorous dialogue, in an act of hope over destruction.

director, Patricia Miranda


Program: Check back often for updates. 

NOTE: Exact times and activities subject to change.

Select Crit Lab Faculty are available for private consultation and critique.

More info soon.

Thursday November 12, 6-8:30pm

Intro and welcome

Crit Lab Founder Patricia Miranda & Alt MFA Co-director Gaby Collins-Fernandez

Gaby and Patricia will open the AltMFA program, with introductions and shared images from all participants, in a lively discussion format.

Friday November 13

9am-10:15 Lecture: Grief and Mourning in Contemporary Art; Patricia Miranda

image: Patricia Miranda, Seeing Red installation

10:30am-1pm Critique: Small group critiques: 4 artists led by Critic. All invited to observe.

Critics: Lucinda Bliss, Jason Stopa

Lunch 1-1:30pm

1:30-2:45pm Gaby Collins-Fernandez

Baroque Folding in Contemporary Expressive Form
an exploratory argument about the function of folding and repeated imagery in the Baroque, as well as its relevance to contemporary art. Originating in ideas in her own artwork and studio practice, Collins-Fernandez discusses a range of sources, from protein folding to pop music, Instagram trends, and current artworks, in relation to the logic of Baroque imagery and its dual emphasis on ecstatic expressiveness and historical lineage.

image: Gaby Collins-Fernandez

2:45-5:15pm Critique: Small group critiques: 4 artists led by Critic. All invited to observe.

Critics: Gaby Collins-Fernandez, Amy Giese, Patricia Miranda

5:15-6:30pm: End of day Simultaneous Drawing + Discussion

Saturday, November 14

9am-10:30 Keynote: Jonathan VanDyke

New York-based artist Jonathan VanDyke will provide an intimate look at his studio process, especially his hybrid approach to investigating the intersection of painting and performance. The lecture and discussion will include insights into the diverse range of art historical references he folds into his work, including Renaissance paintings of wounded Saints, 19th century American quilts, and expressionist painting. VanDyke will discuss the complexities of making paintings with collaborators, and the unusual ways in which he installs his work in exhibitions globally, including the recent survey Queer Abstraction at The Des Moines Art Center.

image: JVK How to Operate in a Dark Room

10:30- 1:00pm Critique: Small group critiques: 4 artists led by Critic. All invited to observe.

Critic: Nicole Archer, Gaby Collins-Fernandez

Lunch 1:00-1:30pm

1:30-2:45pm Lecture: Dr. Nicole Archer

Pattern Recognition

Pattern Recognition considers a wide range of contemporary art practices that all pivot around the ways that "patterns" work to stabilize our notions of ourselves and others, while they also coincidentally work to queer, or jam, normative ideologies of gender and sexuality.

2:45-4 Simultaneous Drawing with Dr. Andrea Kantrowitz & Dr. Angie Brew, Thinking Through Drawing founders

4- 6:30pm Critique: Small group critiques: 4 artists led by Critic. All invited to observe.

Critic: Jonathan Van Dyke, Meena Hasan

6:45-7:30 End of day recap discussion group

Sunday, November 15

9-10:15am Shervone Neckles

Artist Lecture

Neckles will speak about her interdisciplinary practice which draws inspiration from the duality and transitional nature of her Afro-Caribbean American identity.

image: Shervone Neckles, Give and Take Installation

10:30am-12:30pm Chris Kaczmarek: Zoom Walking Project

12:45-2pm Meena Hasan:

Artist Lecture/Studio Visit discussion

image: Meena Hasan; from Tipu's Tent, spiral top, acrylic, Tyvek and Flashe on Okawara paper, 2020

Lunch 2-2:45pm

2:45-5:15pm. Caroline Wells Chandler

Artist Talk and Simultaneous Drawing

image: Caroline Wells Chandler

5:30-7:30pm AltMFA Celebration / Zoom Drawing / Walking Presentations / Discussion / Cocktail Party!

The Sunday Walking Project and Drawing Collaborations will culminate in permanent digital artworks  and catalogue authored by participants and led by Chris Kaczmarek, Caroline Wells Chandler, Andrea Kantrowitz and Angie Brew.

AltMFA Master Class
Painting on Camera

December 5 & 12, 2020

Two 4-hour sessions with the our keynote - the extraordinary Jonathan VanDyke!

Space is limited. See info below.

Jonathan VanDyke
Painting on Camera Master Class

Painting on Camera: Playing with painting in an era of distance

December 5 & 12, 2020, 1-5:30pm

includes a 30 min break

Cost: $300
$275 for AltMFA registrants. for Space is limited.

Since at least the postwar period, we have associated painting not only with completed, painted “objects,” but with the way paintings are made, and with how that making is pictured. The process of painting continues to be recorded, documented, and mythologized. While aligned in the US especially with "action” painters like Jackson Pollock and “stain” painters such as Helen Frankenthaler, this emphasis on painterly process happened globally and with a diversity of practitioners. In our current period of pandemic and distance learning, the way we capture and picture our artistic processes has taken on new resonance.

This two-part workshop reviews the history of modern and contemporary painting in relation to the camera. Participants will be guided to explore how their own conceptions of painterly process have been affected by images of painters at work and by the “performance” of painting. In Part One of the workshop, we will unpack the diverse and global history of painting as action and performance since 1950. How does this history effect our sense of ourselves as artists, even in ways we do not notice, and what has been left out of mainstream conversations? After this session, participants will experiment with documenting their process via the camera (using the basic technology of a smartphone), while trying out novel ways of making their work. During Part Two, we will discuss and review the documents of these experiments. As we conclude, each participant will fashion a list of ideas, sketches, and methods that will contribute to their studio practice moving forward.

The Crit Lab is a safe brave space where artwork and ideas are shared in vulnerability and full confidence. All people and artworks are welcomed and respected as they are. In The Crit Lab we make space for one another through radical listening. No harmful language or actions of any kind towards people or artwork will be tolerated. The Crit Lab reserves the right to block any participant who does not respect and abide by these rules.

Alt MFA circle image: Alexandra Rutsch Brock, detail