Call for Writers and Open Submissions ~ 2015 Graduate Catalogue

The Department of Art at the University at Buffalo seeks submissions of short writing in two categories. Our Call for Writers requests 1500 word essays engaging the work of one of our graduating MFA candidates. The Open Submissions requests short essays, literature, or poetry that relates to one of the four thematic categories featured in the catalog. Please see details below.

Call for Writers:
Each year, the graduating MFA candidates team up with a writer who critically responds to their thesis work. The writers receive samples of the MFA candidate’s past and current artwork and are asked to engage with the artist either through studio visits, email or Skype. This will be the eighth year of the Graduate Catalog publication. The catalog will showcase images from each thesis exhibition along with the accompanying article about the work. The Department of Art conceives of the Graduate Catalog as an opportunity for producing a collaborative project between artists and writers, offering a platform for both to share their practice with the arts community at large. This year, the Editorial Board is looking for writers who have a MA/PhD or are currently enrolled in a MA/PhD program with a focus on critical writing (e.g. visual or cultural studies, women’s studies).

If interested in participating, please visit our catalog website where you will find links to the MFA candidates’ sample work and artist statements: For more information, please contact us at We will be making decisions on writer/artist teams February 20th so please reach out prior to this date if interested in writing about an artist’s work.

Open Submissions:
The 2015 Graduate Catalogue will feature four themes culled from the MFA thesis work. As such, the Editorial Board is looking for scholarly essays, creative writing or poetry under 1500 words relating to one of the following themes. Deadline for Submissions: March 15th

Abjection and Mortality: What are abjections of the self? Is it ever possible for the self or society to reconcile these abjections? In what space are abjection and mortality imbricated? When do they diverge? Is the act of abjection always a form of mortality? In this section of the catalog we are looking for submissions that deal with the interconnected relationship between abjection and mortality. As a disruption of social and cultural constructs, abjection and mortality are methods that the artists in this section utilize to question issues around queerness and blackness in contemporary society. In addition to working with the aforementioned themes, we also seek submissions concurrently investigating: Afro Futurism, the body, poststructuralism, phenomenology, imperialism and a wide range of sex organs (including, but not limited to, dicks, vaginas and boobs).
Defacement and Opacity: In the Opacity & Defacement section, we welcome submissions that offer variations interpretations and extensions of these themes. Possible topics include portraiture in an expanded field; the face and faciality (in the Deleuzian sense: face as emergent machine or assemblage); masks and masking; various forms of visibility and invisibility, readability and illegibility, especially in relation to ontology; perceptual distortion; mediation; obscurantism (political, academic, artistic, etc); surface and depth; the inaccessibility of memory; the aesthetics of blur and the hazy or unfocused image; beauty/symmetry and its discontents. What is the political function of defacement, and how does it function in realms like protest culture or religious veiling? What is the relationship between the face and the “interface” of digital media? Is the face a necessary component of communication? Of humanity? Is there a non-human face? What philosophies of the face have emerged from contemporary art?
Presence and Mediation: The artists in this section are interested in phenomenologies of sense and presence. How are entities – material or immaterial – felt and communicated with? How does the body impress and interface with its digital or concrete surroundings? How is material, digital or ethereal presence sensed and perceived? What role does mediation play in communication? What are the effects of imagined, desired, ghostly spaces to our corporeal selves? Topics nested under this theme may include, but are not limited to: consciousness, perception, the body/self, the unknown, interfaces, transcendent spaces, communication, biofeedback, relationality, distance and proximity, intimacy, presence/absence, phenomenology, ontology, hauntology, synaptic stutters, chance encounters, connection/disconnection and digital beings.
Intervention and Environment: What types of meanings are acquired through interventions into natural and cultural environments? If cultural, is the intervention an inquiry into why a contemporary societal construct exists? If natural, does the intervention examine forms or patterns found in a specific geographic location? The interventions by the artists in this section, pose questions regarding the symbiotic relationships between people as a means for fostering critical dialog about cultural or natural constructs. In the Intervention & Environment section, these artists are considering topics such as: social practice, conversations about identity, femininity, representation, authenticity, visual literacy, social justice, site-specific, the sensorial, public engagement, revitalization, cross cultural dialog.

The 2015 Graduate Catalogue will be disseminated in its final form to public museums, universities, arts non-profits and other applicable arts institutions, both nationally and internationally. Additionally, this catalogue will build upon previous years through the development of a PDF format, thus making the publication digitally distributable across broader networks of the art world.