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Five Star: The 31st Annual University of California at Berkeley Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition
May 12 through May 27, 2001
On May 12, 2001, an exhibition of works by candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of California, Berkeley, will open at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Five Star: The 31st Annual University of California at Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition continues the tradition of collaboration between the University of California Department of Art Practice and the Berkeley Art Museum. Every spring for the past three decades one of the museum's galleries has been devoted to a selection of new work by Master of Fine Arts graduates. The students are provided with the valuable experience of participating in a museum show, while giving the community an opportunity to see work by some of the most exciting and promising new artists to emerge from the Bay Area. Five Star brings to the museum works by artists Keith Boadwee, Loretta Bozyng, Tia Factor, Cynthia Imhoff, Kirsten Bahrs Janssen, Geof Oppenheimer, Lisa Ann Perez, Scott Rankin, and Claudia Valdes. These students will present work in a wide range of media, including photography, painting, found-object sculpture, and installation.
"This annual exhibition of work by MFA graduate students is a highlight of the strong relationship between the UC Berkeley Art Museum and the campus," says Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator and curator of this exhibition. "Five Star provides a exceptional opportunity for MFA students to present their work within a professional museum context, and to a wide and diverse audience that includes their fellow students."
The Master of Fine Art degree at UC Berkeley is a two year course that emphasizes concentrated studio work in the areas of painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, new genres and digital media. The program's aim is to broaden the visual, intellectual and aesthetic faculties of students in their pursuit of careers as dedicated and serious professional artists, instilling in each student a creative vision rich enough to transform common sight into uncommon insight. Only seven to nine students are accepted into the course each year from over one hundred applications.
This year's MFA exhibition presents a remarkable array of work. Kirsten Bahrs Janssen's sculptural installation Days of sunshine in a native Californian's life is dedicated to her mother. Bahrs Janssen calculated a precise mathematical relationship (one yard equaling one day) between a spool of golden thread and the number of days her mother, a native Californian, lived. The constant whirring sound of a kinetic, machinelike sculpture as it unfurls the thread is a reminder that time, despite being an abstract notion, is itself continually passing.
Most of Keith Boadwee's photographic work is performative in nature, often taking on themes of artistic creativity and the myth of genius with great humor and insight. He is particularly interested in the idea that objects, alone or combined, can imply narrative; in this way he expects the viewer to complete his photographs.
Loretta Bozung investigates the horror and the beauty of the human body, transforming common, unglamorous materials into tactile forms that seamlessly blend the abject and the erotic. Bozung embraces bodily functions and malfunctions, growths, fluids, and sprouting hairs, and makes them irresistibly appealing.
System Collision, Tia Factor's installation comprising a wall painting and two sculptures, explores various modes of connectivity. Merging constellations with acupuncture points, Rorschach tests, and chromosomes, her works segue between the scientific and the corporal.
Cindy Imhoff is concerned with processes of exploration, with concealment and clarity. Working in the space between painting and sculpture, Imhoff uses elements of opacity and transparency to blur images or points of reference within a piece, confusing the orientation of the viewer and adding ambiguity to the images.
Geof Oppenheimer works in a way that combines the personal (the homespun craft hobbyist) and the technological (in the form of computerized enhancement). Oppenheimer forefronts his interest in nature and the great outdoors in Taking the Mountain by Strategy. The mountains are made of crocheted fields stretched over bent aluminum (he did the crocheting as well as the bending). Resin rocks in vibrant techno colors are scattered around and under the forms.
Light is the true subject of Lisa Ann Perez's untitled floor installation constructed of ubiquitous materials, Mylar, tinsel, and cellophane. Embracing the unseen and transparent, her sculpture oscillates between the mundane and the universal.
Scott Rankin's paintings are accumulations of found elements—linoleum tiles, laminated Xeroxes of an ancient Greek Kouros figure, floral place mats, broken fence posts—combined and juxtaposed to create meaning. Concentrating on a reductive scheme of what the artist identifies as "very now colors"—blue, black, and white—Rankin's works fuse graphic design and fine art.
Claudia Valdes creates images that combine painting and photography, ranging in content from purely abstract spaces to landscape and figurative subjects, and then projects video onto them. This unique juxtaposition of static and kinetic elements allows Valdes to explore the elements of light and time in their complexity.
On Saturday, May 12, at 2pm, each of the artists featured in Five Star will give brief talks about their work in the exhibition, offering visitors the opportunity to hear from and converse with these exciting and varied artists. These presentations are included with gallery admission.
Also on view
Joe Brainard: A Retrospective
Through MAY 27
Joe Brainard: A Retrospective presents the lavish work of this lesser known but nonetheless important and enormously appealing artist. Brainard (1942 - 1994) worked in eclectic styles to create a body of work characterized by exuberant color and camp humor. This exhibition includes collages, paintings, Madonna images, and appropriations of Ernie Bushmiller's cartoon character Nancy, and will be the first museum retrospective of Brainard's work.