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MFA Thesis Defense: Kelly Ciurej

March 24, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Art Building, The Art Gallery, UHM

MFA candidates from the Department of Art + Art History, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), concurrently present new and engaging works that demonstrate each artist’s caliber of ideas, skills, awareness of the global context within which art is created and circulated, and critically engaged artistic practice. The artists, the titles of their exhibitions, and their areas of specialization are:

Kelly Ciurej, Artificial Sweetener (photography)

Hannah Day, The Grove (printmaking)

Jan Dickey, cover the earth (painting)


Hannah Day, Friday, March 17, 2017, 1:00 p.m.

Kelly Ciurej, Friday, March 24, 2017, 1:00 p.m.

Jan Dickey, Friday, April 7, 2017, 1:00 p.m.

EXHIBITION SUMMARY of Artificial Sweetener, an installation of digital prints by Kelly Ciurej:

"Artificial Sweetener" is an exhibition that explores psychological “stickiness.” With this project Ciurej explores the misrepresentation of images as truth. The installation consists of approximately fifteen photographs at larger than life scale, in a combination of found family photographs, recipes, and staged performative studio photographs using sticky material such as sugars, food dyes, candies, pastries, processed foods, etc.


Artificial Sweetener is both an exhibition and an exploration of psychological “stickiness.” In these photographs, I exploit food materials that are largely glutinous—candies, pastries, and sugary treats—to study certain spaces of the mind that are internalized from familial experiences. The substances I manipulate are often heavy, sweet, sugar-based confections, widely used in processed foods as well as within the household setting for baked goods. They express both excess and absence, as these particular substances are the epitome of “junk foods,” high in additives and artificial sweeteners, but provide no value to the human body, often even causing it palpable harm. This material serves as a stand-in for an inescapable, smothering stickiness of the emotional spaces I am investigating through photography. The "Artificial Sweetener" installation is a way to visually explore and re-contextualize the shifting systems that are present within a nuclear family—to question an assumed knowledge of the past and the invented realities we often create for ourselves and for others.

Ticket Information
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 - 4:00; Sunday 12:00 - 4:00. Closed Saturdays. Mar. 27, Kuhio Day. Spring break Mar. 27–31, by appointment. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Parking fees may apply.

Event Sponsor
Art + Art History, Manoa Campus, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Sharon Tasaka, (808) 956-8364,,

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