“Terra Incognita,” the title of this year’s Mills College’s Master of Fine Arts Exhibition, translates from Latin to mean an unknown or unexplored territory. Certainly this title resonates significantly within the work, career, and creative practices of this year’s graduating artists of the Studio Art Program: Megan Enderschmidt, Jackie Farkas, Sara Kerr, Kevin Keul, Malena Lopez-Maggi, Dani Padgett, Christine Patterson, Rachelle Reichert, Miranda Robbins, and Jessica Smith. This impressive, final body of work produced as the culmination of their MFA experience and education in “Terra Incognita” is equally a symbol of the past two years of exploration, training, experimentation, and development leading up to the exhibition, as it is of the journey only just beginning, beyond the walls of the College.
These Mills graduate program students, enrolled in one of the most selective MFA programs in the Bay Area that limits admission to no more than 12 new students each class year, experienced a unique, two-year intrepid expedition. Unlike many Bay Area graduate programs, these ten students’ first year at Mills was comprised completely of independent work, supported by three faculty who critiqued and advised them of their progress. In this way, students are afforded opportunity to realize a truly self-determined practice, subjects and ideas significant to them, and which they are passionate to pursue. Upon approval of the Department to continue to the final year, these MFA students incorporated coursework, lectures, and seminars that introduced multiple disciplines, media, and modern and contemporary art theories and issues that informed these individualized interests. Each artist is now at the precipice of even more unfamiliar and exciting terrain to traverse.
“Terra Incognita” Mills College 2015 MFA Exhibition will be on view at Mills College Art Museum, 5000 MacArthur Boulevard through May 31, 2015