Tactics, Works, Terms, Forms, Statements

May 4 through May 13, 2018. Open hours daily, 12-8pm.
MFA Thesis Exhibition
Curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions, International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) with Alison Kuo, Program Coordinator, SVA MFA Fine Arts department.
371 Broadway, Manhattan
Opening reception: Saturday, May 5, 6-10pm
Closing program of performances and talks: May 12, 5-8pm
Tactics, Works, Terms, Forms, Statements presented thesis projects by the graduating students in the SVA MFA Fine Arts program, exhibited at 371 Broadway in Tribeca. The culmination of two years of work, research, and collaboration, the exhibition brought together 27 artists from 13 countries. Before everything else, art school—a place where knowledge is produced and common threads are constructed—is a commitment to time. Every day, artists share conversations, thoughts, materials, labor, space and even meals. With this in mind, the exhibition is conceptualized as the seven days in a week. Each section of the exhibition was a marker of time, organized according to mythological and cultural readings of the days of the week. The included works spanned a multitude of genres and concerns, and make visible the complex and nuanced circulation of ideas that collectively informed them during the past 84 weeks of the program.
On May 12 from 5-8pm a closing program featured a curator and artist-led exhibition walkthrough with Pedro Mesa Lievano, Josh M.G. Yates, Rina AC Dweck, Jihyun Lee, Hanna Washburn, Anh Thuy Nguyen and Sabrina Puppin, as well as performances by Franklin Cain-Borgers, Victoria Healy, Michel Karsouny and Shohei Kondo, Henry Sekimotto and Regina Viqueira.
Installation photos by JSP Photography









Élan Cadiz, class of 2018

Real estate and rising rents in New York City are a never-ending hurdle for many of the city’s inhabitants. In this work, Cadiz deals with her own past difficulties with housing. Representing the bureaucratic mazes she navigated through, the artist visualizes moving all her property into storage after receiving an order of eviction, and her frustration in becoming another statistic. Plywood is an anchor in the work, as it is generally used as the floorboards in storage units and also to board-up the windows of dilapidated buildings.

Pedro Mesa Lievano, class of 2018

"Paydrow" is the phonetic spelling for the common pronunciation of  “Pedro” by English speakers. A work about cultural and linguistic translation as well as the gaps in between the transmission of knowledge, the formal structure of Pedro dovetails Mesa Lievano’s larger body of work on concealment and absence. 

Regina Viqueria, class of 2018

A sculpture with a hose reel gone awry as its main support structure, Yes Machine imagines a world without breaks from labor. Theme parks, entertainment centers, and luxury resorts create social conditions that produce highly controlled spaces for leisure. Yes Machine points to a new model for free time—a “jobcation,” where guests stay at a resort merely to maintain a square patch of artificial lawn.

Victoria Healy, class of 2018

Healy renders a frenetic dystopian future in Vision City: Spacebox 1000, a stop motion video set in a nowhere-town in the year 2167. Interconnected human and nonhuman characters orbit through the town’s architecture in the video, travelling in a universe that lies ahead but is deeply impacted by our conflicted present. 

Hanna Washburn, class of 2018

The cut-up and recombined clothing-sculptures of Washburn bring to mind the work of artists such as Lee Bontecou, Eva Hesse and Yayoi Kusama. However, Washburn departs from these artist’s concerns by utilizing feminine floral patterns and pastel colors, reminiscent of domestic suburban kitsch. According to the artist, the lumpy physicality of these modest floral patterns defies the typical perception of femininity as simple and pretty. 

Saya Hanawa, class of 2018

Hanawa is interested in the internet as an omnipresent force in society. She has long engaged in Second Life games, where players create avatars in order to to enact a multifaceted virtual life. 2013/2/12 brings the artist’s online life into reality, and depicts her own avatar alongside three virtual friends, all of whom have designed themselves to be high school classmates. Avatars can travel by walking, flying, teleportation and by vehicles. Here, they are engaged in a fast and furious bicycle race, with accompanying dialogue.

Jasmine Lee (Sid and Geri), class of 2018

Lee’s installation appropriates replicas of  ancient columns used to support ceilings without the use of walls. Similarly, here the columns support a world-without-walls, one in which an uncanny embodiment of love is actualized in virtual and public space.

Shohei Kondo (left), Michel Karsouney, class of 2018

Kondo’s work addresses sexuality and death through the lens of Pop Art, the flatness of Minimalism and the tradition of Japanese Rinpa paintings. He is interested in the movement and circulation of lines and space in the work, more than the figures themselves. Zen practice, and its ideas about emptiness and balance are also formally and conceptually echoed in his work. 

Karsouny’s paintings are made by sheer physical force. By removing both figuration and narration, the artist focuses on shape, color and form. His athletic approach to mark- making is perceptible even upon first glance.

Jamele Wright, Sr., class of 2018

Migration histories and African-American music are deeply influential to Wright’s practice. The study of people in public space, and the ebb and flow of daily life finds its way into Wright’s constructions that are fashioned from red clay as well as traditional patterned cloth used in African ceremonies and celebrations.

Franklin Cain-Borgers, class of 2018

During the opening reception, Cain-Borgers staged a four-part performance in which seemingly-ordinary actions took place. Concurrently, a person quietly sang and danced, another tripped while walking up the gallery stairs, a third handed out pamphlets on the street, and the last performer listened by phone to the person singing from an off-site location. The remnants of these understated gestures—a small blue light, a sweater, and a box full of packing peanuts—can be found throughout the exhibition space.

Rina AC Dweck, class of 2018

Using a plastic readymade clothing hanger as a starting point, Dweck has placed and arranged highly discordant materials into its pockets. The artist aims to conjure numerous connections through this juxtaposition—the organic to the synthetic, authenticity to artificiality and the past to the present. Many of the components employed are directly related to the female experience such as hair and steel wool. By subverting the typical use of these objects and by making them unrecognizable, the artist rejects widely perceived standards of beauty.

Jasmine Huang, class of 2018

This futile maze reminds one of childhood games, before digital forms of play superseded the non-digital. Handcrafted and oversized, the viewer is invited to move the steel ball through the work, although the game is designed to be unwinnable.

Henry Sekimotto, class of 2018

A live performance during the opening reception took place in which Sekimotto literally and symbolically restored a crack in the sidewalk outside the exhibition space by skating over it and sealing it with with Bondo putty.  

Mengfan Bai, class of 2018

Observations of the everyday are the focus of Bai’s paintings. The end is the beginning is the end depicts a section of a small window that the artist noticed while walking in the city. With a subdued approach, Bai creates paintings that both recognize and further obfuscate the ordinary and overlooked moments that make up daily urban life.

Anh Thuy Nguyen, class of 2018

Two metal stands of differing heights are attached to broken pieces from a single Vietnamese aluminum platter. The individual parts do not precisely connect when placed together, but are instead joined by a hand-casted, intestine-like silicone cord. During the opening of the exhibition, two male performers repetitively circled around the stands and moved them to different locations, while remaining firmly distanced from each other.

Sanjina Azad, class of 2018

As a third-cultured individual, Azad was raised in Saudi Arabia by Bangladeshi parents. This in-betweenness has led her to consider identity in much of her work. In this surreal painting, a veiled male bride is depicted with two cats, troubling the tradition of marriage and gender roles in society. It also expresses Meowism, a religion the artist invented that worships cats while commenting on the impact of religion our lives.

Alicia Smith (left), Jihyun Lee (right), class of 2018

Descent into Mictlan is a performance that draws forth Mictlan, the Aztec afterlife. In Mictlan, the body undergoes a process of sublimation in which it loses everything it had in life in order to become a part of the afterworld. In the video, Smith performs as a turkey vulture, her own celebratory metaphor for this process. Choreographed by Muscogee Creek contemporary dancer Maggie Boyett, the music was composed by Jason Brown with assistance from Two-Spirit Cherokee drummer Wade Blevins. 

Re-portal contemplates exits and entrances, by way of a modular installation formally reminiscent of a spaceship or time machine. In Lee’s construction, familiar elements of domesticity and childhood abound—handmade dolls, toys, a fish tank, moving images and furniture—that effortlessly contribute to the evocation of viewer’s own memories. Moving, rolling and falling through time, and the recollection of the past, is echoed throughout the work’s dynamic and interconnected components.

Jing Han, class of 2018

This austere LED light joins two parallel walls and changes the viewer’s perception of the entire space around it. By illuminating architectural characteristics of the gallery that might otherwise be overlooked, You See is at once material and immaterial. 

Isabel Llaguno, class of 2018

A  third of women globally have experienced sexual or physical violence. The Red Hood Project is a multi-part project in which the artist cathartically deals with her own childhood trauma as a rape victim. She both reconstructs and performatively embodies the character of Little Red Riding Hood from the well-known fairy tale. A strong metaphor for her experience, the story provides an account of a young girl in danger. In the video, Llaguno battles images of her abuser imprinted on numerous balloons, and according to the artist, the performative element of the work acts as a ritual of liberation, and a process of destruction and poetic justice.



Sabrina Puppin, class of 2018

Puppin’s work is deeply informed by her own reality and by abstraction as a phenomenon of perception. According to the artist, her constructions negotiate between structure and surface, with the structure as the static and analytic (rational) component and the painted surface as the energetic and spontaneous component.

Anthony Cady, class of 2018

The shadows of distorted human figures and anthropomorphic shapes hover in this video, and reflect Cady’s background as a maker of leather embossed wearable objects. Haunting and enigmatic, the video points to the potential for clothing to extend our capabilities or identities.

Juna Lee, class of 2018

Lee’s painting methodology is entwined with chance. She uses random layering and numerical algorithms to produce her work, and accepts that her self-defined system has contradictions and limitations. In doing so, she hopes to align art-making with the chance encounters that make up life, thereby disentangling the sole reception of work from the artist as an individual.

Roberto Vega, class of 2018

slant of light is a subtle intervention that replicates and reveals the architectural imperfections of the exhibition space. By joining two of the building’s columns with a thick red line and mirrored marks, Vega uses the gallery itself as raw material for his poetic gesture.

Hasita Kamlesh, class of 2018

According to Kamlesh, Temporal Projection maps the artist’s thoughts in a slowed-down timescale. The video renders cubic line-by-line constructions that represent her own internal process of forming and completing a thought.

Josh M.G. Yates, class of 2018

A panoply of references shape Silent Speak. From ritual and occult practices to conspiracy theories, mind control and declassified information, Yates weaves together a troubling portrait of collective memory and myth. Mapping layers onto the surface of the canvas, the presented countercultural information is formally concealed, as it has often been throughout history.