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2024 Clarvit Research Fellowships Announced

January 25, 2024 Art | College of Arts and Humanities

two performers tangles in a green sculpture

Announcing the 2024 Clarvit Research Fellowship recipients.

The Department of Art is pleased to announce that Professor Charlotte Richardson-Deppe, and MFA candidates Kenneth Hilker, Jill McCarthy Stauffer and Margaret Walker are the recipients of the 2024 Clarvit Research Fellowships. This award—the result of generous support from the Clarvit Family—provides critical support for our faculty and graduate students to engage in new methods and modalities of research, giving them the time and resources to undertake ambitious new trajectories within their respective fields of creative research.

The Clarvit Faculty and Graduate Student Research Fellowship is made possible through the generosity of the Clarvit Family, and aims to foster new uses of creative technology within the University of Maryland and to aid in the professional development of faculty and graduate students within the Department of Art, as described in the mission statement of the fellowship:

"The creation of new knowledge in the arts does not usually come from commonly sourced techniques; this is doubly so where technology intersects with the arts. Oftentimes, works of creative technology involve the invention of entirely new and novel visual media, which can create a significant barrier to entry for artists. This fund will provide opportunities for faculty and students in need of time and resources to create new works of creative technology in the arts and design and will help recruit graduate students to the Department of Art MFA program.”

More information about each recipient is below:

Professor Charlotte Richardson-Deppe:

two performers tangles in a green sculpture

"As a queer feminist artist, my work asserts that soft sculpture is social practice. I use brightly colored reclaimed clothing to create bold and eerie tubular sculptures. By stitching together bodily forms and offering them to the public as interactive and wearable performances, I facilitate community meditations on interdependence and care. In March 2024, I will be the artist in residence at the Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland. I will utilize the gallery as a studio, design lab, and performance venue to create wearable and installation-based works of soft-sculpture performance. I will collaborate with undergraduate and graduate students as well as UMD faculty and staff across multiple areas of campus—the Departments of Art, Theater, Dance and Immersive Media as well as Studio A and the Stamp Gallery. In this project, I will present an hour-long work of soft sculpture performance. This expands on my previous works of shorter soft-sculpture performance, allowing me the opportunity to create a more sustained and fully produced work of performance rather than shorter pieces. Six performers will interact with my wearable soft sculptures, set within larger soft sculptures installed in the gallery. The audience will also participate and interact with soft sculptures at key moments in the performance. The wearable soft sculpture performances will include works similar to my previous works of Blue, Yellow, Green and Red. The installations will evoke my previous works of Pants and Black."



MFA Candidate Kenneth Hilker:

a sculpture of wood and metal by Ken Hiller

"In my final year as an MFA student at UMD, I am embarking on a thesis project that presents a new challenge and an opportunity for artistic growth. My vision is to create a sculptural installation consisting of 8-10 freestanding, interlocking modules, crafted from repurposed materials. This project, which continues the sculptural exploration I began in my second year, aims to push my practice in a new direction, blending wood and metal sculpture with subtle audiovisual elements. The integration of sound and light into these sculptures is intended to deepen the viewer's experience of space and form, fostering a more immersive interaction with the artwork."

MFA candidate Jill McCarthy Stauffer:

3-D prints of aquatic fossils on a black background

"I use a wide range of media to explore the relationships between memory and place, absence and mourning, and the power of connections between people and places across space and time. I primarily reference natural spaces in my work, using the environment as a metaphor for transformation, growth, cycles of death and the hope for restoration. As I begin to look forward, I have ambitious plans to build upon and further develop my current body of work relating to coastal ecosystems, culminating in a large scale, illuminated, kinetic and site specific sculptural installation. The Clarvit Research Fellowship is a uniquely well suited opportunity for me to access the resources, space and expertise to initiate this project. Employing photogrammetry, 3D printing, laser cutting and Gaussian Splatting, my research will explore the memory of experiences at the beach as warped through digital processing and manufacturing—the things we are left with after destroying the natural experience of the world. I am interested in the futility of trying to recreate something we already have, the shortcomings of the imitation as a call towards preservation."


MFA Candidate Margaret Walker:

a multi-layered photograph on translucent fabric

"I’ve always been drawn to the narratives of family in my art—the close, fulfilling relationships and distant, uncomfortable ones alike.

I am a reflection of my mother. Side by side our 24-year-old faces blend together behind bits of wide smiles and high cheekbones. Educated and opinionated, we navigate life with intentionality. Like her, I prefer to sit on the floor, and we both reply to strangers with an upbeat 'awesome.' We exist similarly in the world. I find both comfort and pride in our similarities. Over the past five years, I’ve explored my relationship to my mother in my art. I navigate the layers of our similarities and differences through the layers of photographs and textiles, finding grounding through this practice.

As I continue to reference moments from the past with imagery grounded in the present, the project will build on previous photographic textile work, using print technology to confront layered narratives of family relationships with layers of images, medium and material.

I would like to continue to grapple with the comforts, discomforts, similarities and differences of these relationships and the ideas and values of family. The Clarvit Fund would allow me to travel to explore these themes in person."