MAY 5–JUN 2, 2019

SHELF LIFE: 2019 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Rebekah Wilson Smith
Rebekah Wilson Smith

Rebekah Wilson Smith


Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce Shelf Life: the 2019 Mills College MFA Exhibition, on view from May 5-June 2, 2019. The annual MFA exhibition presents the work of graduating MFA candidates from Mills College's esteemed Studio Art program. This year’s featured artists are Wyatt Hall, Lacey Johnson, Daniel Lulu, Harlee Mollenkopf, Michael Pedersen, Sarah Player Morrison, Claire Rabkin, Lindsay Rothwell, Zack Sumner Schomp, Katie Swan, Tashi Wangdhu, and Rebekah Wilson Smith.

Presented as a group exhibition in MCAM's historic main gallery, Shelf Life showcases a final body of 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 spirituality, identity, memory, technology, and power.


Wyatt Hall
Wyatt Hall presents a sequence of photography, appropriated images, and creative writing. The installed works investigate personal narrative and authorial voice through romantic symbolism and allegory. Using a variety of display strategies, Hall questions the presence of images and objects in relation to and association with the viewer.

Lacey Johnson
As Above, So Below is an installation comprised of music videos exploring the artist’s belief systems. Queer Elders become divinity, a Magic 8 Ball toy becomes a divination tool, and a karaoke sing-a-long invites participation in an incantation spell.

Sarah Player Morrison
Sarah Player Morrison

Sarah Player Morrison


Daniel Lulu
Using digital drawings, animations, and live performance, Daniel Lulu explores lineage and cultural hybridity through a dualistic lens of nature and technology. Through the accrual and overlapping of artistic influences, cultural traditions, and personal and collective histories, Lulu contextualizes his own lineages within a contemporary setting.

Harlee Mollenkopf
Harlee Mollenkopf approaches skin as a site for reconciling the division between body and mind. She experiments with figuration by tracing perceptual drift, recording the shedding of both panties and skin peels, and distorting images of her body. By representing herself through various levels of abstraction, she reveals her process of existential self-discovery.

Michael Pedersen
Michael Pedersen uses seemingly fantastical technology to present the mundane, and uses mundane objects to enter fantastical worlds. Pedersen explores the fuzzy area between virtual spaces and physical places and where the lines between them collapse.

Sarah Player Morrison
Sarah Player Morrison uses photography and video to examine the codes of gender performance in specific spaces. She is interested in the gestures, postures, and clothing that make up a legible identity and how these can be disrupted and refigured.

Claire Rabkin
Claire Rabkin gathers people and stories to perform collective experiences of desire, shame, and power. Symbolism, allegory, myth and poetry are organizing frameworks for building simple choreographies that interact with sculpture and site to tell timeless stories about urgent forces.

Lindsay Rothwell
Using the language and tools of architecture, Lindsay Rothwell explores the passage of time and our relationships to the spaces where our lives unfold. Rothwell considers the room as an extension of the self and the architectural model as a container for human memory.

Zack Sumner Schomp
Zack Sumner Schomp is interested in the image’s ability to compress, expand and transmit time through a frozen moment. Moving between isolation and a willingness to share, Sumner Schomp believes that within this world of chaos, there are moments that remind us we are not alone.

Katie Swan
Katie Swan uses materials to feel the passing of time and draw us into the physicality of the present moment. Her work is a reflection and meditation on the marks we leave behind as we seek a greater understanding of the cyclical and futile nature of materiality and life itself.

Tashi Wangdhu
Tashi Wangdhu makes process-based abstract painting to explore his personal experience of contemporary political realities, such as the current refugee crisis, to heighten awareness—his own and ours—of the urgent situation happening around us.

Rebekah Wilson Smith
Rebekah Wilson Smith creates sculptural assemblages from found objects to examine working-class white nostalgia and domestic culture, playing with down-home, religious and capitalist values. Transforming craft supplies, “grandma sweaters,” and homey decor through occult tropes, she calls attention to the frightening dimensions of seemingly benign things, intentions, and affects.