Arts & Culture

Creating Spaces: Massart’s MFA BLR Thesis Exhibition


Every summer, MassArt’s Boston Low-Residency MFA program presents an exhibition on the works of its Masters candidates. This years presentation, the MFA BLR Thesis Exhibition- open from July 30th thru August 8th- is showcasing the culmination of unique bodies of work from 12 artists in the final year of their Residency.

Independently, the artists have each crafted their own style in varying degrees of mediums- sculptural works of fabric and stitched craft hang in some exhibition rooms while hollow metal and wire forms rise from the ground in others; painted wooden clouds float heavy before ethereal landscapes; installations explore the relationship between sound and human while others distort the spaces we call home.

Yet, despite the variety of works presented, the paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, objects and more unique to the 12 individual artists (and vastly different from each other in medium and style) exist harmoniously in the BLR Thesis Exhibition. Some are connected by the universality of their themes: exploration of family structures and domestic spaces, the act of storytelling and the malleability of memory. Others are connected in their addressing of contemporary issues related to social injustices, creating space for feminist voices or standing to face oppressors.

The creation of space by various artists- be it space for contemplation, space for escape, space for exploration of memory, space for discussion- invites visitors to find their own space in the BLR Thesis Exhibition. Below are a few of the artists whose bodies of work create and explore space in the show.

“Hollow metal forms repeat in space, slide, float, dance.  Fixated on the experience of forging hollow metal tapered forms—anticlastic speculums, I have created space for contemplative play”- Julia Luteran


Rachel Rizzo, Can’t Connect (Colorado Sky)

Rachel Rizzo, Can’t Connect (Colorado Sky)

Rachel Rizzo

Rachel Rizzo is a New England native who grew up and spent her teenage years feeling most at home with nature or hidden in the realm of drawing and painting. She is currently an artist and organizer in Boston’s DIY art and music community and a full time Visual Art Educator at a Boston Public School.

Rizzo’s thesis work explores digital spaces such as the internet and social media and their ability to interfere with or enhance personal relationships. She reproduces symbols of the digital age so as to reflect some of the images produced when she steps into the safety of the digital realm of “instant gratification and simple binary responses.” Rizzo explores physical and virtual spaces both to remind us of their superficiality and acknowledge the internet’s potential to create valuable connections with other people around the world. In Rizzo’s own words, “the labor of painting these images on canvas allows me to revisit the tension between the virtual and physical moment in all its’ messiness, beauty and vulnerability, and be forced to sit with it, analyze it, turn it into contemplative work instead of escaping into superficial, or fleeting and finite feelings that the internet provides.”

See more of her work at


Leslie Fandrich, Part-Bodies, Soft and Stuffed

Leslie Fandrich is a Canadian born & raised artist living in Warwick, NY with her husband and two children. Besides having work exhibited in galleries throughout greater New York and Utah, she is a member of the Orange County Arts Council and regularly participates in the Open Studio Tour and local art events.

Fandrich uses materials and processes like clothing, blankets, fabric, stitching and sewing to “connect to the notion of a craft object as a signifier for deep psychological memories of mothers and mothering.” The “heart of her practice,” she says, “explores the boundaries of the female body and its relationship to others and domestic spaces.” The uncanniness of her objects and displacement of body parts creates space for questions about the complex nature of the body despite its physical thresholds, while “the material choices for her objects stand in opposition to a patriarchal tradition in art and make more space for a feminist voice.”

See more at

Taryn Pizza, The Root of SIlence

Taryn Pizza, The Root of Silence






















































Taryn Pizza is multimedia artist and arts educator based in New Jersey. She has been an art educator since 2013 and her work has been exhibited around New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Denver.

Pizza’s works deconstruct and recreate the narratives of familiar spaces, with a particular interest in the spaces we consider home and the family structures built within them. She questions “the reliability of emotion and interrogates the stability of memory” by constructing installations which make the familiar unfamiliar. These spaces, in suggesting false securities, raise questions about our emotions and their ability to affect time and space. “My intent,” says Pizza of her thesis work, “has been and continues to be to uncover truths, or rather non-truths, of various times, experiences, and relationships as we cautiously tread through the various spaces of a home.”

See more at

Laura Ganci

Laura Ganci is a multi-disciplinary artist and musician born in Hartford, Connecticut. Her work has been exhibited around Connecticut and Massachusetts, and she has worked with youth organizations to create large scale murals. She is also a leading member of the Boston-based band American Echoes, which has toured 15 U.S states.

Ganci creates visual and audio based installation works to explore the human relationship to sound while addressing personal history. Layered and narrative sound installations invite visitors to explore spaces of consciousness and memory as well as our relationships to each other. By using family recordings, her thesis work is an act of preservation for her family and a meditation for herself on her personal fears. The core of her installation is vulnerability, and it is based on her own comforts- existing as so because she believes it is the need for comfort that connects us. She invites others to “contemplate and dwell upon their own experiences of connectedness and impermanence.”

“I’ve learned that the best way to preserve my memories is by giving them away.” -Laura Ganci

See more at



MassArt’s MFA Boston Low Residency Thesis Exhibition will be on view July 30th thru August 8th at the college’s Design and Media Center, located at 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, August 2nd from 6-8 pm.

Featured Artists:

– Leslie Fandrich

– Keith M. Francis

– Laura Ganci

– Julia Luteran

– Hama Pertab

– Briana Pierce

– Taryn Pizza

– Colleen Quinn

– Susan Rice

– Rachel Rizzo

– Kat Taylor

– Rob Trumbo

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