Two Graduate Students Present MFA Exhibitions March 20

The UA Department of Art and Art History presents the Master Fine of Arts thesis exhibitions of two graduate students, Ryan Akers and Will Henry, March 20-27, 2023, in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery, Woods Hall, on UA campus. A reception will be held Thursday, March 23, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. when school is in session. Check out the album of installation photos of the exhibition on

Ryan Akers

The Artists

Ryan Akers is a graduate student in painting with an assistantship. About his MFA exhibition, titled “PYLE ON,” he writes, “Using a variety of materials like recycled cotton, textile, felt and found wood, I create installation-based work that explores how we experience shape, color, form, and objects in space.” His painting, Penteco$t, was selected for the Director’s Award in the biennial 44th Montgomery (Ala.) Art Guild Museum Exhibition. Akers received his BA from The University of Alabama in 2020 with a degree from New College in Interdisciplinary Studies (Literature, Art, and Society).

Will Henry is a graduate assistant with a primary concentration in printmaking and a secondary in photography. Henry writes in his artist statement: “This show is a homage to my first ever exhibition, from 2017, Out Getting Ribs. It is a quiet reclamation of myself and my agency, as a marginalized person, to create space for myself in the world and to explore concepts of my own marginalization through introspection and desire. 

“This body of work is a celebration of my marginalized looking and reflects ideas of healing, indulgence, and Queer erotic freedom through the act of looking. Capturing a body in space—to isolate it and highlight it simply for its beauty and construction—creates the possibility of visual intrigue. By sequestering the body in this way, feelings of intimacy are provoked between viewer and viewed, and allows both to view and indulge in a body that is not the others. In this act of rapturous understanding, one can heal themselves from invisible norms and exceptions of society through eroticism, desire, lust, curiosity, and Queer salvation. Queer salvation occurs in no space and in no time; it is a form of denial and rejection of the past, present, and future. Queer salvation can transform experiences into something that inspires, excites, and heals.” 

Henry received a BFA in studio art from the University of Montevallo with concentrations in photography, graphic design and printmaking and a minor in art history.

The Sella-Granata Art Gallery is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. Hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. when school is in session. The gallery is located at 109 Woods Hall, 7th Avenue, on UA campus in Tuscaloosa and admission is free and open to the public. Visitors are welcome, although not required, to wear face coverings inside the gallery.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.