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Matter of Opinion: review and highlight of the art studio senior class exhibition

Detail of Mona Ram’s “Pure Solitude,” 2011. All photos by Joann Pak

Walking into Matter of Opinion, one can literally smell the blood, sweat and tears of the undergraduate art students that amalgamated to create the art exhibition.

Installation of Adrienne Suzio’s work dedicated to Francesca Woodman.

The undergraduate senior exhibition is held every year to showcase the culminated works of the art students, with all the pieces exhibited in the show being some of the artists’ most recent and strongest works throughout the past year.

This year, the Mills College Art Museum (MCAM) exhibited 10 undergraduate art studio seniors, who will be graduating this semester.

The diverse body of work not only illustrates each artist’s concentration, but essentially their artistic ethos as they graduate from the Mills Studio Arts program with their Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Entering the heavy wooden doors of MCAM, one is immediately greeted with Morgan Johnson’s bright red freestanding sculpture that almost obstructs the presence of the museum attendants. With more careful examination, the sculpture is constructed of red plastic bags stacked on top of each other that ultimately towers over anyone who isn’t over six feet. Cleverly titled “Thank You,” the piece is something that seemingly brings a lot of attention and conversation.

Maria Epstein’s “Untitled,” 2012.

Molly Hart, a Mills senior and the museum attendant during my visit, was one of the many people enraptured by the sculpture.

“There’s an aesthetic urge,” Hart explained. “These bags make me want to interact with the art even though I’m not suppose to.”

Johnson’s work as a whole  is nuanced. She conceptually investigates the correlation of a common item and purports a user-specific narrative for her body of work, and it is obvious in another site-specific installation piece that incorporates video and sculpture located near the end of the exhibition.

Another artist shaping narrative and identity within the exhibition is Adrienne Suzio. Inspired by the late and great artist, Francesca Woodman, Suzio showcases a magnetic installation utilizing strong foundations within visual poetry, exemplified in “The Letter to Francesca Woodman.” Suzio creates an atmosphere where the viewer is welcomed into the delicate process of a young artist’s musings. “The Letter” fills the entirety of the white wall with 291 sheets of paper with messages pinned while “Reflection on F.W.” creates an interesting portraiture in the likeness of Woodman as it purports a self-portrait of the young artist. Seemingly apropos to her senior thesis, the philosophical exploration of “the artist” is endearing and has one of the strongest installation presences as her two walls dedicated to Woodman creates the walkway to view the rest of the work of her peers.

Camila Pérez’s “Figure 2.”

Other highlights of the show include Camila Pérez’s “Figure 2,” which illustrates a dynamic installation through the soft pink and nude values of fabric stretched out and weighed down with pinto beans.

Matter of Opinion features work by Carolyn Benedict, Larissa Canney, Maria Epstein, Rosita Favela, Morgan Johnson, Mathilda Moore, Kristen Parkinson, Camila Pérez, Mona Ram and Adrienne Suzio.