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The 2nd Annual USF School of Art & Art History
MFA Graduation Exhibition

April 25 – May 24, 2008
USFCAM East Gallery

MFA Graduates:
Katherine Barnes
Lauren Blackburn
Mark Cannariato
Sean Erwin
Allen Hampton
Adam Kitzerow
Nikki Pike

The exhibition features Masterís research project work by Master of Fine Art candidates in the USF School of Art and Art History. This exhibition gives the graduating students an opportunity to have their work viewed by the public, as well as University faculty and colleagues, in a professional environment.

The USFCAM is pleased to host a group exhibition featuring the work of graduate students of the USF School of Art and Art History. Artists include: Katherine Barnes, Lauren Blackburn, Mark Cannariato, Sean Erwin, Allen Hampton, Adam Kitzerow, and Nikki Pike. Working across diverse media, the MFA students’ artworks will provide an opportunity for engagement and review by the community, as well as professors and colleagues, in the professional environment of the museum.

School Director’s Statement
Congratulations to the Master of Fine Arts students in this exhibition; the second showing of graduating student artwork at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum.

For three years, these artists have engaged our distinguished faculty and endured challenging critique sessions as well as sleepless nights preparing for semester reviews. They have been stretched well beyond their initial perceptions of what art can be and its impact on an audience.

The MFA at USF is acknowledged as a premiere program among its peers nationally. Its uniqueness resides in a demanding curriculum of studio practice and inquiry coupled with critical studies seminars in the history of art and electives throughout the disciplines of a major research university.

Faculty welcome the prospect to connect with the students, responding to new concepts and working as collaborators as well as conductors to uncover fresh dimensions in the forms, objects and images that are created. Our valued staff provides resolve and ingenuity in solving formidable problems, from bureaucratic labyrinths to one-of-a-kind projects.

The MFA program offers every graduate student the opportunity to work in any medium of materials and to select from our diverse faculty for directed study contracts. Virtually unheard of at other institutions, this open invitation to explore and discover, leads to startling and innovative results. The fruit of this philosophy toward graduate art studio studies, along with a varied student body from throughout the nation and beyond, endows this exhibition with a multivalent intensity.

The unorthodox nature of many of the artworks has generated a tremendous amount of consultation and cooperation between the Museum staff and our students. We offer our deep gratitude for assisting these artists in realizing their envisioned realities and developing this exhibition.

And, again, congratulations to our graduating MFA students. The graduate studio experience affords the time and community to expand ideas about art and oneself, and the relationship of the two to the larger world. USF has benefited from your presence and we wish you the very best.

Wallace Wilson
USF School of Art and Art History

As a nationally accredited museum within the structure of a major metropolitan University, USFCAM | Institute for Research in Art provides a crucial component to the educational process for all students, but is of special importance to the students of the School of Art and Art History. A destination for students to view the works of established and emerging artists, an opportunity to interact with artists, curators, theorists and scholars through informal talks and colloquia, and to intern and study within a vibrant cultural institution, the museum offers real-life experiences that have valuable significance for the emerging artist. Given this context, it is also important for students to have an occasion to fully participate as emerging artists on the contemporary scene.

USFCAM is proud to showcase the exhibition of the 2008 MFA Graduates of the School of Art and Art History: Katherine Barnes, Lauren Blackburn, Mark Cannariato, Sean Erwin, Allen Hampton, Adam Kitzerow and Nikki Pike, as they achieve this distinguished milestone in their professional careers. Curious, provocative, humorous and serious, this exhibition demonstrates the dedication and talent of the University of South Florida’s very own emerging artists. Congratulations to these students, the School’s faculty and staff, friends, colleagues and the community at large that support them in this first of many accomplishments.

I thank the museum staff for their collaborative spirit in organizing and presenting this exhibition, especially Tony Palms who is responsible for its design in consultation with Robert Lawrence, Assistant Professor, in the School of Art and Art History. I also extend my thanks to Denton Crawford, Vincent Kral, R.J. Romero and Danielle Conkling, for their assistance with the installation of exhibition, and to Don Fuller for his design of the signage, banner and brochure. I also thank members of the Institute for Research in Art who have extended their efforts to realize the exhibition: Margaret Miller, Director; Shannon Annis, Julie Ayers, Peter Foe, David Reutter, David Waterman and Randall West.

Alexa Favata
Associate Director
USF Institute for Research in Art



Katherine Barnes
Centralia, Missouri
BFA, Missouri State University, 2003

My work is about the process of building up and breaking apart space to construct the act of looking and remembering. I am interested in the elusive moments when a detail catches your eye, a ray of light grabs your attention, or a memory is evoked, if only for a few seconds, before it disappears. The paintings’ spaces teeter between abstraction and representation as a metaphor for the desire to preserve an experience as it is disappearing.


Lauren Blackburn
Birmingham, Alabama
BFA, University of Montevallo, 2004

My recent work explores the destabilization in the fixed image of the photographic object. Specifically using photographic portraiture of my father, I open new visual strategies with facial recognition as a repeated visual motif. In these new drawings and prints, the emphasis on mark making is a means of gaining an image from source and familiarity. On a broader scope, my work connects to a specific human desire for evidence of memory in experience. Negative space, place-markers, and an idea of ownership serve as a receptacle for the viewer’s individual application and understanding.


Mark Cannariato
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
BFA, Louisiana State University, 2003

My work animates rituals, deities, and tropical environments, composing a bizarre experience for everyone.


Sean Erwin
Palm City, Florida
BFA, Stetson University, 2004

My work revisits my Catholic history with an audacity that attempts to demystify rituals and behaviors that I have subconsciously adopted through their social legitimization.


Allen Hampton
Birmingham, Alabama
BFA, University of Montevallo, 2004

My work focuses on my desire for self-knowledge and an overwhelming need to deal with constant disappointment. As they say in Alabama, “God doesn’t give with both hands.”


Adam Kitzerow
Long Valley, New Jersey
BFA, Maine College of Art, 2004

My work is not modernist or expressionistic; it is not narrative or representational; it is not formalist or conceptual. I believe it can be all of these things and none of them. It is both funny and mean, well crafted and sloppy, beautiful and ugly. It exists to be interpreted and investigated, conflicts itself every chance it gets, and will both confuse and confound the audience.


Nikki Pike
Colorado Springs, Colorado
BFA, University of Colorado Denver, 2002

Gardens in Roam is a sequence of projects designed around social engagement. These projects investigate value systems as the intersection of people and plants. The Children’s Home, Sweetwater Organic Farm, Grass Roots Organic Cafe, Worm’s Way, and Whole Foods will gather to engage the museum audience.