The second annual Bay Area MFA Show showcased the work of graduating Master of Fine Arts students from the five leading MFA programs in the Bay Area. By bringing these works together, we saw connections between the artists and their treatment of the themes of identity, community, and ritual. This exhibition gave the GTU an opportunity to explore the impact of new art and new ways of thinking about the sacred.
This exhibition represented the culmination of years of rigorous refinement of each artist’s process and style. All five artists dealt with the topics of identity, community, and ritual. Be it time-lapse photographs of drying clay; a carved triptych of the female form, or sculptural ephemera of a new religious movement, the works on display showed how art is imbued with spirituality from its conception to its final form.
This exhibition featured the work of the following graduating Master of Fine Arts Students:
Whitney Humphreys | San Francisco Art Institute
Whitney Humphreys’ art predominantly takes the form of collage. These paper-based works are often monumental in size and deal with themes of femininity and the construction of identity. Her current work critiques our frequently harmful relationships with the ever-present technology in our lives.
Shirin Kalatbari | San Francisco State University
Shirin Kalatbari’s work draws on such media as photography, painting, sculpture, sound, and video to create immersive environments that cast critical light on ongoing repercussions of colonizing forces.
Heesoo Kwon | University of California, Berkeley
Heesoo Kwon is a project-based artist whose brightly colored, avant-garde sculpture evolved into the new religion Leymusoom, which confronts the degradation of women. Kwon works in sculpture and new media, illustrating her own conversion from “the religion of the patriarchy” to feminism.
Palija Shrestha | California College of the Arts
While primarily a painter, Palija Shrestha incorporates installation and performance into her artistic practice as tools for negotiating her own spirituality and identity within a framework inspired by Indian English scholar Homi K. Bhabha’s post-colonial critical theory.
Katie Swan | Mills College
Katie Swan is a sculptor, painter, and photographer whose work highlights ritual and the body. Her favored medium is clay combined with honey, ashes, metal and rust, allowing her organic work to evolve, sometimes from one piece into another.
This exhibition is the collaborative result of a Spring 2019 course offered by the GTU’s Center for the Arts & Religion. It has been co-curated by Luke Bruggeman (MA student, GTU) and Rachelle Syed (PhD student, GTU/Center for Dharma Studies), under the direction of Lydia Webster (Assistant Curator, CARe).