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Murmurations: 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Not on view
4/22/2023 - 5/28/2023
Organizing institution: Mills College Art Museum

Murmurations, the 2023 MFA thesis exhibition, presents the work of graduating MFA candidates with concentrations in studio and book arts. This year's featured artists are Yaminah Abdur-Rahim, Nana Aforo, Courtney Griffith, Andrea Guskin, Thad Higa, Tianzong Jiang, Lyn Patterson, and Jordan Kaleonohe Siangco.

Presented as a group exhibition in MCAM's historic main gallery, Murmurations showcases a final body of work from each graduate, curated by museum director Stephanie Hanor and the college’s distinguished studio art faculty. Commanding a range of strategies—painting, sculpture, installation, video, and more—these emerging artists venture into fresh conceptual and material terrain, inviting the viewer to contemplate mythology and the sacred, mourning and recovery, and our perception of reality.


YAMINAH ABDUR-RAHIM uses experimental video, performance, and sculpture to honor mystical practices in everyday Black American life. Her work situates Afrodiasporic mythology within the specific geographies and histories of the San Francisco Bay Area.

NANA AFORO’s multi-disciplinary work spans painting, music, and video. His work explores themes of our common humanity, interpersonal relationships, and our relationship to nature in the face of modern pressures towards separation.

COURTNEY GRIFFITH uses destruction as a creative tool, tangling, burning, and tearing materials that easily scar, like rope, wood, and paper. Sourcing charcoal, driftwood, and sand from California coastal ecosystems, she creates large scale drawings, sculptures, and performances that work with the poetic cycles of damage and restoration to create space for mourning and recovery.

ANDREA GUSKIN works across photography, sculpture, and painting to create art in which the familiar converses with the existential. With interests in quantum physics, ancestral archives, and Buddhist practice she transforms everyday domestic materials–spices, funnels, foil, thread–to explore our relationship to the vast, from microscopic particles to deep space.

THAD HIGA works with artists' books, concrete poetry, printmaking, collage, typography, and graphic design. His current work looks at the relationships of identity ideation, the commodification of the individual, and mass information access through technology.

TIANZONG JIANG’s film/video, durational performance, and installation investigate cultural identity, language, Buddhist philosophy, and meditation practice. Using humor, absurdity, ambiguity, and absurd contradiction, he provokes questions about the perception of reality.

LYN PATTERSON explores sacred altar spaces in order to pay remembrance to collective identity making and communal memory. Her books and print work showcase the power of knowing one’s ancestors and highlight how the fabric of our families can be deeply ingrained in our shared histories.

JORDAN KALEONOHE SIANGCO’s oil paintings and sculptures forge expansive abstract worlds that give form and flesh to the intangible. His fluid gestural forms materialize, decay, and evanesce to highlight the interconnectivity between creation and degradation. Corporeal forms undulate through grotto-like spaces to create a balance between the uncomfortable and serene.


Opening Reception
Saturday, April 22, 2023

An Afternoon of Art, Workshops, and Performance
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Attendees can visit the exhibition and chat with the artists about their work, enjoy a hands-on natural dye workshop led by Yaminah Abdur-Rahim, create their very own cyanotype spice portrait with Andrea Guskin, and experience The Weight of Absence, an intimate performance piece from Courtney Griffith.

Exhibition Images (63)

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