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Figure Eight: MFA Thesis Exhibition

Not on view
4/28/2018 - 5/27/2018
Organizing institution: Mills College Art Museum

The MFA Exhibition features work in a wide range of media––photography, sculpture, installation, performance and video––created by the emerging artists of the Mills College MFA in Studio Art Program. Students showcase a final body of work produced as the culmination of their graduate experience. This year’s presenting artists are Zach Cotham, Mattson Fields, Jess Garcia, Jared Gruendl, Alex Hamilton, Hannah Perrine Mode, Amy Nathan, and Dane Singh.


Alex Hamilton deconstructs the mechanical and chemical processes of analog photography. Equal parts alchemist and archivist, Hamilton frees technologies from their original purpose to build apparatuses and devise experiments that propose new methods of seeing. Applying these tools to minor occurrences, the radically simple is made visible and fixed as artifact.

Amy Nathan applies pressure to images and language to crack them open, make them tactile, and distend them into an expanded space. This scrutiny is her starting point for sculptures that incorporate visual puns and physical onomatopoeias: line becomes edge becomes surface, traversing a borderline of two and three dimensions.

Dane Singh works through traditional media and formats to explore the dark and heavy emotions of an unwell mind. Using plaster, oil paint, and charcoal, Singh creates non-representational images that evoke a sense of melancholy for an event that has past.

Drawing upon scientific research, Hannah Perrine Mode uses the Earth as both material and subject for storytelling. Mode works across mediums to bring the vastness of geologic time to a human scale, and explores spaces for intimacy and empathy within that juxtaposition.

Jared Gruendl is interested in performance; in performing for their self. In their own words, I’m just a faggot fagging out. Gruendl uses images (their own and others) as a reference or departure point— images dripping off of paper onto screens. When Gruendl gets too bogged down they listen to Cher sing: I can feel something inside me say/I really don’t think you’re strong enough.

Jess Garcia offers the audience a one-to-one exchange of keepsakes: items that contain stories and experiences. Garcia allows a personal creation to take on a life of its own through others. Sentimental objects share human presences.

Mattson Fields casts, constructs, and suspends objects that become porous, and permeate their surroundings, in order to explore notions of conformity and camouflage. HVAC fans create vacuums that tether cellophane between walls, bowing listlessly. Barbell discs re-cast in foam change pressure relative to their environment and call weight into question.

Zach Cotham creates impossible architectural plans using ink drained from blue ball-point pens. Cotham’s plans are made in response to sculptures created with common materials culled from contractor waste and objects that litter city streets. The realized work functions as psychological space that is both personal and corporeal.


2018 Mills College MFA Exhibition Opening Reception
Saturday, April 28, 2018 | 6:00-8:00 pm 

Hannah Perrine Mode
Tending to the System
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 12-1pm (May 2-26)
Hannah Perrine Mode will be tending to her installation on a bi-weekly basis: recycling meltwater by refreezing it into ice sculptures, making new clay slabs to replace the eroded versions, and adding the old clay slabs into the physical calendar in the gallery. These sessions will be open to the public, and Hannah will be available for questions – and welcomes conversation – throughout the process.

Jared Gruendle
Cher: The Farewell Screening
Friday, May 4, 2018 7–9pm
Danforth Lecture Hall
Reflecting Jared Gruendl’s amazing 25+ years as the ultimate Diva, Living Proof: The Farewell Tour presents Jared at the peak of their sparkling, glittering, show-stopping powers. Filmed before an ecstatic crowd, the performance originally aired as an NBC special. It touches every level of Jared’s incredible career—each of their triumphs in music, TV, theatre, and movies. Living Proof: The Farewell Tour is not only Jared’s concert swan song, but also their most successful tour ever out of more than 150 shows performed for more than 1.5 million fans in North America alone. Once and for all, Jared is “living proof” that real talent not only endures but conquers.

Hannah Perrine Mode
Art Talk + Geology Walk
Saturday, May 19, 1-3pm
Meet at MCAM main entrance
Join Hannah Perrine Mode and Dr. Kristina Faul for a walk around Mills campus, visiting sites where Hannah harvested clay for her thesis. Along the way Professor Faul will discuss Mills' unique geologic setting in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the formation of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks on campus, including the clays used in Hannah's work. She will also touch on human interactions with the environment on campus, focusing on the acid mine drainage problem in Leona Creek. Hannah will share how geology has intersected with her art practice – from the Bay Area to Alaska and back again – and the role that art can play in communicating scientific research to a larger audience. The walk will end in the Ceramics courtyard, where Hannah will lead a clay-digging and refining demo. This participatory event is informal and conversational – questions and comments are welcome throughout!

Exhibition Images (56)

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