Past MFA Art Thesis Exhibitions

Marton Robinson: Tecnologías Deculoniales

Exhibition on view: May 6 – 12, 2018

Born and raised in San José, Costa Rica, artist Marton Robinson has an inter-disciplinary background informed by his studies in both physical education and in art and visual communication. His current studies investigate modes of communication and translation—of history, culture, and identity—that challenge popular culture’s representations and assumptions, particularly nuances present in the Afro-Latino experience that deepen the critical discourse of works in the contemporary African diaspora.

Exhibition on view: April 11 – 18, 2019

In his MFA thesis exhibition, noé olivas used printmaking, sculpture, and performance to continue his ongoing meditation on the poetics of labor. Works on view draw upon personal belongings and cultural symbols to consider the ways that labor is performed, contested, and made invisible.  The exhibition’s title, Que sueñes con los angelitos, was drawn from a phrase layered with meaning. It can be used to wish sweet dreams to a sleeping loved one or can equally serve as a protective prayer against negative energy. For olivas, the phrase is also an ode to Los Angeles–a city where mentors, friends, and angels have guided him and nurtured his artistic practice.

Exhibition on view: May 24 – Jun 2, 2019

In her MFA thesis exhibition, Star Montana returned to her family’s photo archive as a means of reflecting on the importance of spaces through time passed. Through a restructuring of various points in time, Montana brings forward a story of personal loss, sorrow, and growth—all in light of a hopeful future. She reflects on the histories documented by her grandmother and mother, mirroring their narratives in a carefully arranged array of portraits and landscapes.

Johnny Forever Nawracaj: This Body Can’t Be All There Is

Exhibition on view Mar 13 – 18, 2020

Joachim Forever Nawracaj is a nonbinary Polish-born multidisciplinary artist working primarily in performance and video. Their practice weaves surrealist narrative through vivid, animated video and often drag-inflected performance to explore labour and loss with a particular investment in these themes as a part of queer and trans cultural production. Forever/Nawracaj’s MFA thesis show, entitled This Body Can’t Be All There Is, explored the material precarity of the contemporary built environment.

Exhibition on view Aug 1 – 9, 2020

Casey Kauffmann is an artist whose digital and drawing practices address the contemporary performance of self as it relates to femme representation, social media, and reality television. Her digital works comprised of GIFs, videos, and still images, are rooted in collage practice and the classical net art process of the online search, aggregation, and manipulation of “poor images.”

Exhibition on view Jul 2 – 10, 2021

Imperceptible: machine, animal, plant, stone, skull imagines becoming not as a transitory state, but as a condition. Working in sculpture and video, interdisciplinary artist Hings Lim dilates objects and technologies in order to explore interrelational subjectivities beyond the dialectics of self and other, human and nonhuman, and culture and nature. In this body of work Lim rethinks apparatuses, testing the bounds of materiality and performativity as a means of meditating upon the unfathomable past and the elusive future.

Exhibition on view May 5 – 14, 2022

Los Angeles-based artist Jessica Taylor Bellamy explores the tension of living at the edge of a precarious paradise. Primarily working with oil painting, Bellamy also incorporates screen printing, animation, and video installation into her practice. Her work functions as collages that intend to deconstruct idealist narratives by exploring the political, social, and ecological implications of a false promise of paradise and false notions of progress.

Exhibition on view: Mar 25 – Apr 1, 2023

This exhibition focused on two cultural phenomenons: mistranslated Chinese character tattoos on western bodies and poorly translated English T-shirts in Asia. Jiayun Chen calls this, “the poetics of failure”. It all started with the artist’s fascination with cringe-worthy Chinese tattoo images on the internet. The Chinese characters are mostly misspelled or mistranslated. This thesis exhibition highlights those failures in translation between languages and symbols; using ceramics, installation, and drawings to consider translation as a central action that flirts, bonds, and reflects the relationship between cultures.

michon sanders: All I have to do is stay Black and die

Exhibition on view Apr 22 – 29, 2023

Artist’s Statement:
“In this exhibition, I explore and express my unique experience and perspective of Blackness. It is my intention to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that exist in our society around Black identity and highlight the humanity that is often overlooked.”