APR 28–MAY 27, 2018

Figure 8: 2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Jared Gruendl, Cher: The Farewell Tour (video still), 2017.
Jared Gruendl, Cher: The Farewell Tour (video still), 2017.

Jared Gruendl

Cher: The Farewell Tour (video still)

Mills College Art Museum is pleased to announce Figure 8: 2018 Mills College MFA Exhibition on view from April 28-May 27, 2018. 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.

Alex Hamilton, As Seen On TV, projection installation, 2018
Alex Hamilton, As Seen On TV, projection installation, 2018

Alex Hamilton

As Seen On TV, projection installation

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.