MFA Student Selected As Jurors Choice

December 3, 2018
head shot of Maggie Schmiegelow

MFA student Maggie Schmiegelow's art work has been selected as ’Jurors Choice’ the annual MFA Online Exhibition titled “Regular Style”. 

Regular Style is an online exhibition of current national and international regular graduate students working within the visual studio arts. Regular style is a tongue-in-cheek phrase for illustrating that our daily practices, and the work that results, are too complex to be distilled into a single adjective. This exhibit will present work produced by current graduate students and reflect our shared experience.

“My juror’s choice pick went to Maggie Schmiegelow’s video piece entitled “I Touched This Water, This Water Touched Me”. During the jurying process I began to reflect on the works submitted and tried to see myself as the artist. I tried to feel what the artist was feeling while they were making the work, and what inspired them to create it. There must be a spark, or some yearning that stirs an artist into the act of making. Making something about something. I immediately fell into Schmiegelow’s piece because I not only felt a semblance of what they were feeling but the piece also connected me back to a bygone time of my own.

The piece revolves around a figure clasping and rubbing a block of ice while a hypnotic chant plays over it. The words are gently spoken like a daily affirmation one may make as they take a morning walk. The words are not spoken with a bombast for others to hear but rather a soft lilting group of phrases meant for no one else but the slowly dissipating block of ice.

I was reminded of a magic my sister and I would partake in as children. We would take a cube of ice in our hand and pour salt over it. Squeezing the cube tightly we would run around the outside of our house three times as quickly as we could, all the while the salt and ice burned against the palm of our hands. I can still recall the stinging of my hand as water dripped between my fingers. Once we completed the laps around the house we would open our hands to reveal the water that remained of the cube. The shapes of the water resembled letters, those letters were the initials of the person we were to marry one day.

Schmiegelow’s piece “I Touched This Water, This Water Touched Me” reminded me of the curious relationships we have with banal objects, the expectations and responsibilities we put in them. We personify them, we trash them, and we cherish them. As I watched the piece and reflected on what Schmiegelow might have been thinking, as the ice dissipated and the water ran between her fingers. I thought it couldn’t be more different than what I was thinking, and that is good, that is a sign of a good piece of art.”

Zach Williams
University of Montana 2019 MFA Thesis Candidate