Debuting a progressive new format for the school’s annual MFA in Fine Arts graduate show, California College of the Arts (CCA) will present its 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition as a four-part series of showcases to be hosted at off-campus art venues and launched over the course of four weeks between March 15 and April 23. The exhibition and related events are all free and open to the public.
The presentation series, formerly conceived as a single exhibition installed on CCA’s San Francisco campus, breaks with previous iterations by offering this year’s 39 graduate students the experience of mounting work in public, professional gallery settings and in focused exhibitions with fewer artists, allowing greater appreciation of individual work.
The three off-site venues—all located in the burgeoning Potrero Hill/Dogpatch arts district surrounding CCA’s main campus—includeFused Space, founded and directed by CCA alumni Yves Béhar and Jessica Silverman; the Perry Family Event Center, located adjacent to the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art; and the soon-to-open Minnesota Street Project, founded by Deborah and Andy Rappaport, where CCA’s MFA show will be part of the complex’s inaugural slate of exhibitions.
Diverse Work Addresses a Range of Topics and Approaches
Organized by writer, critic, and CCA faculty member Glen Helfand,with assistance from fellow CCA faculty members Shaun O’Dell, Ranu Mukherjee, and Maria Porges, the exhibition features work in diverse media—painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, video, performance, and social practice—and addresses a range of topics, styles, and methods in contemporary art practice.
“Our revamped approach to the graduate show folds into the MFA curriculum the experience of presenting artwork publicly and introduces graduating artists into the dynamic structures of the art world,” says Helfand. “It also gives wider audiences a chance to plug into the local art community in a new way.”
Staged earlier than other MFA shows in the Bay Area, during the middle of the semester rather than at the end, the new model also allows for more and deeper critical evaluation from CCA faculty and outside arts professionals.
“Through a related course on exhibition-making, students learn how to present their art in a more real-world scenario, tailoring projects for specific venues and better preparing them for future challenges and successes,” says James Gobel, chair of CCA’s MFA program.
Open House / Open Studios on April 3
Art lovers can explore each show as it unfolds or make a day of it with a full immersion on Sunday, April 3, when CCA will host simultaneous open houses at all three venues. These special viewing hours coincide with CCA’s annual Open Studios day, when both graduating and continuing MFA students open their on-campus studios to the public.
Also new to the program this year, an exhibition catalogue featuring artwork and writing by all of the graduating artists will be published at the conclusion of the shows and available in May during commencement festivities. The publication will be designed byGeoff Kaplan of General Working Group and produced by Colpa Press.
PART 1 — PERRY FAMILY EVENT CENTER
March 15 through April 3, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, March 17, 5:30–8 p.m.
Exhibiting artists: Angela Berry, John Boychuk, Garth Fry, Rebecca Hall, Kathryn Ian, Sarah Lee, Gilda Posada, and Ying Zou
Themes of Latina identity are addressed in Gilda Posada’s merger of language and printmaking.
Sarah Lee presents a giant, mutated turtle sculpture and an epic, allegorical painting on themes of colonialism and ecological catastrophe.
Works by Rebecca Hall and Garth Fry delve into material explorations that respectively touch on a geological approach to glitter, and notions of building.
Kathryn Ian brings to the gallery an atmospheric multi-channel video.
Location: 350 Kansas Street, San Francisco; Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; special viewing on Sunday, April 3, 1–6 p.m., following Open Studios.
PART 2 — MINNESOTA STREET PROJECT
March 18 through April 3, 2016
Closing reception: Saturday, April 2, 4–6 p.m.
Exhibiting artists: Nicole Lian Aponte, Paulina Berczynski, Lorenzo Cardim, An-An Chen, Benjamin Cirgin, Poppy Coles, Sarah Farahat, Tomahawk Greyeyes, Evan O’Neal Kirkman, Kristin Landowski, Brian McLaughlin, Mary Mocas, Kimberlie Moutoux, Kolbe Roper, Lauren A. Ross, Jennifer Shada, Utah Snyder, Latosha Stimage
Works by Sarah Farahat, Tomahawk Greyeyes, and Latosha Stimage address political and social themes.
Ben Cirgin explores notions of architectural space through ceramic objects.
Mary Mocas and Jennifer Shada take on dialogues in contemporary painting.
Poppy Coles and Utah Snyder plumb new directions in conceptual strategy.
In addition, video works by artists in all four exhibitions will be on continuous loop in the gallery complex’s state-of-the-art screening room.
Location: 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco; Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; special viewing on Sunday, April 3, 1–6 p.m., following Open Studios.
PART 3 — FUSED SPACE
March 23 through April 5, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, March 31, 5:30–8 p.m.
Exhibiting artists: Jamee Crusan, Nicole Lavelle, Carolina Magis Weinberg, Ben Quinn, Elizabeth Russell, Lindsay Tunkl
Fulbright fellow Carolina Magis Weinberg presents a range of works that weave together colorful mass-produced materials into meditations on Mexican folk art.
Nicole Lavelle offers a stylized lecture project, which is told utilizing an installation of live plants. Lindsay Tunkl presents a series of interactive works created to examine humanity's emotional connection to the end of the world.
Location: 1401 16th Street, San Francisco; Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; special viewing on Sunday, April 3, 1–6 p.m., following Open Studios.
PART 4 — PERRY FAMILY EVENT CENTER
April 12 through April 23, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, April 21, 5:30–8 p.m.
Exhibiting artists: Iesha Anglin, Abraham Chan, Benjamin De Kosnik, Mars Jupiter, Amanda Walters, Kay Whitchurch, Nuola Zeng
From Amanda Walters comes darkly comic representations of lost-bird flyers posted in her hometown.
Ben De Kosnik presents conceptual interventions that engage with structures of finance and incendiary substances.
Kay Whitchurch debuts new abstract paintings and subtle spatial interventions.
Location: 350 Kansas Street, San Francisco; Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.