UND School of Graduate Studies Blog

Happenings at The School of Graduate Studies at the University of North Dakota

TGS’s Matt Anderson finds his artwork in new campus building

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I was told by our new co-worker, Eric, that one of my drawings is on display in UND’s new education building. So I went to check it out.

To put things in context, I graduated with my MFA from UND in 2009. Instead of a thesis, MFA students are required to have an exhibition. Mine included six digital drawings and two animations. The department of Art and Design decided to purchase the drawing/print Adaptation to include in their permanent collection. During the last two years I was aware the department was showing my drawing in various places, but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity and time to see it again.

After Eric told me about it, I wanted to go right away. But for some reason, I was a little nervous to go by myself, so Anna and Evan agreed to come with me. Anna’s our Receptionist, if you’ve called The Graduate School you’ve probably talked with her. Evan’s our Graduate Director of Admissions. (He thought it would be a good idea to bring the camera.) We weren’t quite sure where the drawing was, so we started on the first floor and worked our way up. As we were walking around I was humbled to think that my drawing is among so many other amazing art works. We passed Peter Kuper’s This is not a pipe…, Kim Abeles’ Pile, and many others.

On the third floor, we spotted Adaptation. What a strange feeling to see it again. I spent hundreds of hours working on that drawing. Hundreds of hours spent drawing and listening to music, audio books, or just hearing the scratching of my pen on the computer tablet. Hundreds of hours spent arguing in my head with the questions I knew would inevitably come from my peers and professors. To see the drawing again was kind of like meeting an old friend. There was something familiar yet foreign.

Matt and Anna find Matt's Adaptation on display in the new Education building

I realized that I don’t know every line of the drawing any more. I don’t see all the mistakes and I don’t see all the little hidden pieces of “creative genius”.  I just see my drawing. And in that moment I’m still learning. I remember the chair of my committee, Professor Patrick Luber, telling me I would probably contend with the ideas I leaned in graduate school my entire life. Yep. In a very positive way, I’m still reflecting and learning from my grad school days. I turned to Evan and Anna, and not meaning to sound cliché said, “I couldn’t have done this without everyone else.” But it’s not a cliché.

There is no way that I would have grown as an artist, student, and person without all of the people that made up my graduate school experience. I’m so very thankful for the opportunities that were presented to me by the community that makes up the University of North Dakota.


I am also very grateful for the support I have received from the North Dakota Museum of Art. The day after I finished this blog I received notification from the NDMOA that they would be showing their print of Adaptation in their upcoming Nov. 29th – January 15th exhibition Winged Shadows: Life Among Birds.


Written by School of Graduate Studies

November 28, 2011 at 7:10 am

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