The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

AETHER MFA Thesis Exhibition

AETHER is an MFA thesis exhibition that combines the departments of painting, new media and ceramics, featuring the work of artists Kevin Mercer, Gabriel Ibias and Brooks Oliver. Containing large scale installations, sci-fi models and virtual reality settings, the show presents the idea of an ethereal space, between the real and the imaginary. AETHER is on display in SoVA's Edwin W. Zoller Gallery through April 4, with an opening reception March 31, beginning at 5 PM.

Gabriel Ibias

Gabriel Ibias is a self taught 3D artist, who has been working in the animation field for approximately ten years. He has participated in numerous projects for broadcast and advertising, developing 3D models and virtual experiences. Gabriel's work consists of interactive experiences and computer generated graphics that explore the idea of places and spaces as memory containers, focusing on the emotion these memories evoke and the possibility of sharing these personal experiences through art.

Gabriel's latest piece, M.F.A. focuses on the creation of a virtual space that will act as a container of his experiences as a graduate student. Using Virtual Reality, the piece places the viewer inside the artist memory space

Kevin Mercer

I tell stories pitting ordinary people against extraordinary odds. My work adopts the model of mid-century science fiction in order to highlight the disruption of the banal in everyday life. Paintings, prints, found materials, and wooden approximations of fantastical and real-life objects mingle in space, providing the viewer with simultaneously true and false events.

They Sure Did, a mixed-media painting by Mercer, depicts the transformation of a common man into an uncanny, extraterrestrial spectacle.

An unsuspecting suburban landscape is visited by a creature from above in Mercer's diorama, The Neighborhood is on Fire: She Done it, Alright

Brooks Oliver

Greatly influenced from growing up as an amateur magician, I strive to create illusions within my ceramics.  My goals being to make the viewer question their assumptions regarding ceramic vessels, to construct a context around how the viewer perceives what vessels, and to generate a moment where belief is suspended.  

I became interested in ceramics because of the universality and familiarity of the ceramic vessel.  Everyone is familiar in some regards to ceramic vessels and how they function.  This universality serves as an entrance point into my work.  

I am a MFA in the Ceramics department.  Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, I received my BFA in Ceramics at Southern Methodist University, taught at a high school (Jesuit College Prep of Dallas) for a year, then completed my Post Baccalaureate studies at Syracuse University in Ceramics before coming to Penn State.