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Photographer Drew Nikonowicz Fuses Old and New Technologies to Unite Fiction and Reality

Just one year since receiving his BFA in photography from the University of Missouri, Drew Nikonowicz has produced a prolific body of work that many would consider an accomplishment for photographers ten years his senior. In 2015, still an undergrad, the photographer snagged the coveted Aperture Prize for his series This World and Others Like It, and recently completed a one-year residency at Fabrica Research Centre in Italy. 

Nikonowicz' mysterious, yet clearly defined practice explores aspects of fiction, reality and the history of photography. He shoots mostly large format black and white film, something unheard of for many photographers born after the creation of Photoshop. He imbues them with a current twist, often combining them with computer generated photographs to unite historic and contemporary technologies. At first glance, his pictures evoke early photographers like Ansel Adams and Edward Curtis in their monochromatic attention to the vastness of the American landscape. But while Adams and Curtis presented an optimistic, often idealized picture of promise and opportunity, Nikonowicz paints something a bit darker, layered with science fiction. I spoke with the photographer about his recent series This World and Others Like It, and its subchapter Notes From Anywhere. 

Interview by Jon Feinstein

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Traveling Basketry Exhibition to Open in Columbia

By Jordan Yount

Basket weaving, or simply basketry, is one of the most ubiquitous and oldest forms of craft making in human civilization, with some of the oldest known baskets dating back nearly 12,000 years. Early basket makers used materials close at hand, such as grass, wood, even animal remains—which decay over time without proper preservation—so much of the early history of the craft has been lost. The craft itself, however, has survived and evolved over time, from simple, utilitarian baskets made for carrying food, water, and other necessities to the abstract, sculptural artistry of contemporary basketry. The long history of basketry in America is the subject of a new exhibition opening Jan. 28 at the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology.

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Philosophy Can Provide Guidance in an Individual’s

Search for Meaning

By Melody Galen

[This interview was previously printed in the Department of Philosophy Communiqué, and it is being run in this newsletter with permission of that department.—Ed.]

Alumnus Rick Ross, BS ’91 chemistry, BFA ’91, MA ’97 philosophy, received the College of Arts and Science Distinguished Alumni award this past winter for his achievements in his profession. He also earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Ross took some time to answer our questions about how his studies in philosophy have influenced his life.

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The Art of Photography

MU Alumna is Director of Photography at Major Magazine

By Jordan Yount

The director of photography for National Geographic became interested in photography while majoring in printmaking and graphic design in the MU Department of Art.

“As part of the printmaking courses, I started to do photographic transfers for intaglio etchings,” says Sarah Leen, BA ’74. “I wanted to use my own photographs, so I started making images. At that time there was no photography sequence in the art department, but one started while I was a student. Oliver Schuchard started the photography program, and I took his classes and learned a variety of photographic techniques. That’s where my interest in photography began.”

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The Quiet Man at the Easel


Artist, MU Professor Left Lasting Legacy

When Jerry Berneche was a child, he and his brother were roughhousing in their Indiana home when a sewing needle that inadvertently had been left on the carpet sank into his kneecap. When the injury to his knee ballooned, his parents took him to a children’s hospital in Indianapolis, where doctors warned they would have to amputate the young boy’s leg. His mother, Cora, refused to consider such a radical step and inquired about new drugs she had heard about; the treatments saved her son’s leg, although his knee would continue to bother him throughout his life.

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