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2020 Mills College MFA Exhibition

Not on view
6/26/2021 - 8/1/2021
Organizing institution: Mills College Art Museum

After being postponed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, our rescheduled 2020 MFA exhibition presents the work of the 2020 MFA graduates from Mills College's esteemed Studio Art program. Featuring Cristine Blanco, Genevieve Rae Busby, Lucciana Caselli, Crystal Gwyn, Megan Hinton, Emma Logan, Yétundé Olagbaju, H. Esmé Park, Emily Villarma, and Hannah Youngblood. Presented as a group exhibition in MCAM's historic main gallery, the rescheduled 2020 MFA exhibition showcases current work from each graduate, curated by museum director Stephanie Hanor and Mills College's distinguished studio art faculty. Commanding a range of strategies—photography, sculpture, installation, performance, video and more—these emerging artists venture into fresh conceptual and material terrain, confronting critical subjects such as environmental justice, sexual expression, identity, healing, and our relationships to food.


Cristine Blanco is an interdisciplinary artist who works in sculpture, video, and installation. Her works take environmental justice, the precarity of resources, and familial story as her starting point. Inspired by her grandmother’s home in the Philippines, she explores the impact of rising sea levels and considers how human connectivity and adaptation are essential to recovery and transformation. Through repetition, reenactment, and reconstruction, Blanco processes and makes sense of a constantly evolving world by documenting personal and global changes.

Genevieve Rae Busby creates work that explores the interconnectedness of our material world, both natural and human-made. Throughout her practice, she insists on the importance of examining the everyday things that populate our world, of considering the strange agency of objects, and our fraught - but also delightful - material relationships. Caught in delicate gouache strokes or suspended in resin, her objects and paintings bring the stuff of our frenetic, contemporary world into focus, offering opportunity for critical reflection and wonder.

Lucciana Caselli moves with play and the awareness of light’s beauty in mind as she depicts fleshy waves of glitter, creating views of fractured rainbows while fallen spheres of pigment on paper form simulated astral planes. Often giving rise to laughter, the work comes from a deep desire to create experiences that facilitate healing, connection, and the awareness of being present.

Crystal Gwyn is an artist working in new media, sculpture, and performance focused on the lasting impacts of the Industrial Age. In pausing the unfolding tensions between architecture and natural resources, she presents diminished geologies, domestic comforts, and production by-products as relics of sub natural phenomena.

Megan Hinton assembles materials in painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography to reassemble personal and public narratives. Hinton pulls from the vernacular world of materials while simultaneously gesturing towards the painterly process. By way of using castaway and forgotten materials they offer entry into an uncanny balance between beauty and ugliness, the real and abstract.

With a heavy research and process driven practice Emma Logan uses organic mediums like clay, wool, and paper to make sculpture and installation work. The tactile nature of these chosen mediums is an important link to her areas of focus: geographic identity, land use, agriculture, and our varied and sometimes complicated relationships with food. Equally as important for her work is engagement with the viewer through touch, sound, smell, and taste.

Yétundé Olagbaju utilizes video, sculpture, action, gesture, and performance as through-lines for inquiries regarding Black labor, legacy and processes of healing. They are rooted in the need to understand history, the people that made it, the myths surrounding them, and how their own body is implicated in history’s timeline.

The world is a veil and the veil is on fire; the body is an organ of omnivorous sight—this hex against sin/salvation dichotomization centers H. Esmé Park’s praxis as an art witch. Via lens based media she documents her experiential research at the interstices of narrativity and transgression; through the weaving together of the resulting material, she crafts immersive performance rituals designed to convey the visceral sense of terror and ecstasy that accompanies moments of self-transcendent wonderment.

Don't worry, because she's finally here! The political, satirical, surreal Emily Villarma makes drawings, paintings, mixedmedia sculptures, and video to tickle your sweet, little heart and delight your big, savory brain. She's not a cannibal, so check out her fine art!

Hannah Youngblood engages the ins and outs of BBW dykery and sexual expression. Exploring camp, American Christianity, and relationships to food.


Virtual Opening Reception
Thursday, July 1, 2021, 6–7PM
This virtual event will include a 360-degree virtual gallery walkthrough accompanied by commentary from the artists, followed by group discussion.

Jay DeFeo: A Legacy at Mills College
July 14, 2021, 12–1:30PM
An art professor at Mills during the last decade of her life, Jay DeFeo’s priority was to support young artists entering the profession. In addition to establishing The Jay DeFeo Foundation, the Artist’s will endowed the Jay DeFeo MFA Prize at Mills College: a monetary, juried award given annually to one or more graduating MFA students in Studio Art. This program celebrates the legacy and impact of Jay DeFeo at Mills College through a panel discussion among past Jay DeFeo MFA Prize winners, James Gouldthorpe (1995), Betsy Schneider (1997), Nomi Talisman (2003), and Yétundé Olagbaju (2020). Moderated by Mills College Art Museum Executive Director Stephanie Hanor.

Exhibition Images (21)

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