MCAD

Tomorrow evening marks the culmination of an exciting and rigorous two-year journey for the 2017 MCAD MFA 2nd year graduate students. Enjoy this sneak peak of graduates Dana Cheit, Jesse Lentz, Suyao Tian, Joel Terry, and Bianca Jarvis, installing their thesis work in the bright and spacious new MFA gallery! The 2017 MFA Thesis Exhibition […]

Sihai Zhu, a filmmaker from Yantai, China, focuses on telling stories deeply infused with an emotional sense of humanity and a “slice of life” perspective. For Zhu, the essence of the cinema lies in editing because of its instinctive nature. As an editor, Zhu views making the cut decision to be a creative artistic process which determines the […]

Jacob Yeates looks to moments of physical and emotional extremity in order to explore larger issues of pervasive, sociopolitical violence, often within the context of the Western world’s continued military engagements, and by extension, his own direct or indirect involvement in these situations. By placing himself and viewers in these circumstances via preexisting narratives—be they historical, current events, […]

Suyao Tian is a graphic designer interested in experimenting and exploring the total creative branding process from the idea, to the artwork, to the business and product application, to the final product, and the cyclical return of the effects of the process upon the original idea itself. Tian’s work uses this organic process to create and reform […]

Joel Terry is a sculptor with an interest with American values as they pertain to varied perceptions or definitions of “The American Dream.” Utilizing consumer goods, Terry activates a visual dialogue that pits material against value, asking the viewer to evaluate their relationships to objects and priorities. These materials and subjects include processed foods and food packaging, cheap […]

Cole Seidl is a filmmaker who is endlessly fascinated with contradictions. Particularly the contradictions that can be found barely hidden behind the facade of normal human life. His films explore the failings of interpersonal communication, nostalgia, the often surreal revelations experienced during international travel, and the nature of filmmaking itself. Seidl’s films revel in the contradictions of these […]

Erin Sandsmark is a painter driven by the examination of how bodies like hers fit into our social norms and understandings of what it is to be a woman. Sandsmark uses her body openly to examine spaces where some find discomfort, continuing to understand the space she occupies in relation to others. She turns flesh […]

Samantha Russell sculpts figural fragments that convey her emotional responses to societal inequities and injustices.  Favoring hand-based processes and traditional tools, rather than employing digital interventions, Russell creates figurative sculptures that convey her socio-political themes coded through her race/gender/class inclusive feminism. Russell endeavors to bridge the gap between the art world and the working class, much like her upbringing as the daughter of […]

Dan Romanoski is a graphic designer working through digital and print mediums to explore interpretive design. Instead of dictating a message to a viewer, he attempts to enter a conversation by playing with the distortion of hierarchy, legibility and message, often crossing the threshold of instant cognition into abstraction. Moments of miscommunication, points of confusion, degradation, and […]

Chelsea Reeck was diagnosed with stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on April 13, 2016. A deep sense of powerlessness lead her to photograph her personal trauma through the documentation of spaces and objects as evidence of her illness. Her thesis work articulates the destructive effects of chemotherapy treatment and the parallel conflicts created by its current role as the […]

Heather Peebles is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in painting and social practice. Her work revolves around sexual violence and rape culture in the United States. During her time at MCAD, Peebles’ practice has transitioned from gallery-oriented, mixed-media paintings to community-based work in which she directly works with a community of victim-survivors of […]

Aaron Olsen-Reiners explores the relationship between painting and the self. His search for the authentic self has led him to explore the tension between the abstract and the figurative, developing the thematic content of the work in response to the painting process. Aaron uses painting as an expression of the struggle for personal meaning and authenticity. […]

Shiraz Mukarram is a photographer working with people who are underrepresented in the mainstream media. He uses portraiture to tell an individual’s story through their own words.  Mukarram is interested in exploring identity and the ethical/moral possibilities of representing another person, using each project to interrogate issues inherent to portraiture – exploitation of the subject, ownership […]

Xiaohan Ma explores visual forms and type in two-dimensional space mainly through the format of artists’ books and large-scale digital prints, and more recently digital 3D modeling and motion graphicsMa is interested in things or situations that we feel hard to explain. She is drawn to working in visual forms or languages that exist in ambiguity, unconventionality, and triviality.  […]

Yijia Li is a painter from Shanghai, China. Focusing on the female figure as her main subject matter, Li references a lifetime of diverse personal struggles in her work. By sourcing personal experiences of cultural contrasts, homosexuality, and feminist issues, Li strives to relate her perspective to the experiences of others. Li’s artistic process is not only a […]

Joe Letchford is a graphic designer exploring what is means to actively choose to disconnect from a digital presence in relation to today’s post-digital environment. Letchford asks if the possibility of experiencing a sense of connection or transcendence is directly correlated with disconnecting from an online presence. Letchford is interested in the way that human […]

Jesse R. Lentz references a long history of collection and curation, including the way women used objects to cement their place in the world, as well as folk tradition of  the power in objects. In her work, Lentz collects and presents the domestic, the found, the collected, the hoarded, the purchased, and the folk story into an installation that […]

Bianca Jarvis utilizes the creative process as a space to examine personal experience and ask questions that focus on loss, memory, and imagination. Jarvis experiments with print processes, installation, and collage to understand how memory is transformed through the labor of making and the rigor of contemplation.  Jarvis asks: how do we make sense of loss? […]

Michaela Chorn works intuitively and with immediacy, motivated by her response to the events of the world. Material exploration, labor, and aura all play a role in her practice. Chorn aims to connect the performance of making to the viewer’s experience of the art. Through immediate mark making, Chorn creates objects that foster a sensory experience between the […]

Dana Kristine Cheit is a digital illustrator with a dual interest in graphic design. Cheit’s thesis work, Young Rebels, explores the role that visual metaphor has played in activist movements throughout history. Through the subversion of everyday symbols, in tandem with a re-imagining of the common collectible trading card, Young Rebels invites young people to find personal connections […]

This month, 2nd year MFA sculptor Jesse Lentz debuted her tiny installation “House Fire and Gallery” in MCAD’s new Mini Gallery! Located amongst the tool lockers in the Main Campus 3D shop, the tiny gallery was created this past semester by Megan Miller, shop staff. The purpose of the Mini Gallery is “to show the beauty in the […]

  • more
  • April
  • 27
  • 2017

On April 14, first year MFA candidate Sherry Muyuan He’s solo show Art Is Why I Wake Up In The Morning opened at Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis. He’s work in the show is inspired by her recent trip to Tokyo where she learned the art of origami and how to make paper with handmade […]

  • more
  • April
  • 22
  • 2017

This March, Los Angeles-based sound artist and performer Chris Kallmyer visited the MFA studios. Kallmyer’s work “explores a participatory approach to making music through touch, taste, and process using everyday objects that point to who we are and where we live. His work is best characterized by its relationship to site and architecture, inviting the listener to […]

  • more
  • April
  • 20
  • 2017

We are proud to present our interview with illustrator Luisa Rivera! Luisa is a London-based illustrator whose beautiful work has appeared in magazines, books, newspapers, and exhibitions for clients the world over. Her deft hand and dreamy color palettes are mesmerizing to behold, and her thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for her work is evident in all she does. […]

  • more
  • April
  • 20
  • 2017

This April, second year MFA candidate Erin Sandsmark held a solo show in MCAD’s Gallery 148. “A Second Skin is a collection of works that center around the artist’s own body. These paintings take specific moments of interaction with the naked body, and ask the viewer to interact with the flesh presented to them in […]

  • more
  • April
  • 16
  • 2017

This April, the MFA community had the honor of engaging with feminist and conceptual artist Martha Rosler.  As part of the 2016-17 Arnold Newman Lecture Series on Photography and New Media at Mia, Rosler first spoke about the development of her multidisciplinary practice with Yasufumi Nakamori, Mia’s curator of Photography & New Media. The following day, […]

  • more
  • April
  • 16
  • 2017

On March 31, interdisciplinary artist Mark Tribe visited to the MFA studios to engage with MFA students about their work. “Tribe is an artist who works across media and forms including drawing, photography, installation, video, and performance. His recent work explores the relationship between landscape and technology. Tribe is chair of the MFA Fine Arts Department […]

On April 3, MFA students had the opportunity to meet with visiting artist Carolina Borja. Borja works at the intersection of art, craft and public art, and says that her recent work “speaks of identity, fragmentation and the way it can lead to unity.” Borja incorporates elements of traditional crafts and popular arts into her […]

Made @ MCAD, an annual juried exhibition showcasing the best work submitted by current MCAD students pursuing degrees in design, fine arts, media arts, and entrepreneurial studies, opened on March 24 in the Main Gallery at MCAD. Work by 49 students was selected by this year’s jurors, Misa Jeffereis and Hardy Stewart. First year MFA candidates […]

This March, four of our international students, Zoe Cinel ’18, Xiaojie Liu ’18, and William Lining Jiang ’18, and Sihai Zhu ’17 participated in MCAD’s It’s a Small World Exhibition. The exhibit, in MCAD’s Concourse Gallery, featured the work of seventeen students in both graduate and undergraduate programs: “Moving beyond one’s borders makes opportunities possible, both […]

This month, we caught up with Joe Sinness ’05, and asked him some pressing questions about art and life. “Juxtaposing portraits, still-lifes, theatrical sculptures, and cinematic panoramas, Sinness’s works display the performance of sexual desire. Sinness visualizes desire and pursues a vision of utopic queer spaces and characters—portraying his subjects as tender and worthy of desire.” Sinness is a […]

  • more
  • March
  • 31
  • 2017

On March 3, illustration-focused local gallery and MCAD neighbor Light Grey Art Lab hosted a 5th Anniversary Grand Re-Opening. MCAD MFA candidates Sishir Bommakanti ’18 and Alanna Stapleton ’18; MFA illustration alum Niky Motekallem ’16; and MFA mentors Zach Keenen, Allegra Lockstadt, and James O’Brien all exhibited work as part of a local artist feature in the Main Gallery. […]

  • more
  • March
  • 31
  • 2017

This February, second year MFA candidate Jesse R Lentz held a solo show in MCAD’s Gallery 148. Thall Shall Not Covet was an exhibition of 52 photographs of collected objects, each depicting one week of found items from the artist’s life beginning on Feb 17, 2016–the artist’s 25th birthday–and concluding on Feb 17, 2017. Visitors […]

  • more
  • March
  • 22
  • 2017

The MCAD MFA program has a long tradition of visiting artists, both as classroom lecturers, studio visitors, and participants in formal critiques. This spring, we have begun to take the possibilities even further, as illustrator Matt Rota skyped in to a group of our students to participate in a video lecture and long-distance critique. The […]

  • more
  • March
  • 22
  • 2017

Store Bought Is Fine, a small showcase of new work by first year MFA illustrator Alanna Stapleton, opened on February 22, 2017, in the MCAD Library Gallery. The show featured a series of hand-embroidered canvas tote bags and a journal comic exploring the emotional burdens and the weight of expectations that women carry. Stapleton also included selected favorite […]

  • more
  • March
  • 20
  • 2017

This February, MFA mentor Alexa Horochowski presented new works called Vortex Drawings at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis. Horochowski’s Vortex Drawings are a combination of mechanical drawing and experimental printmaking, exploring “the impartiality of natural forces that bring together matters of various sorts without differentiating trash from mineral or toxic from organic.” “Inspired […]

February was frigid, but not for second-year graphic designers Dan Romanoski and Joe Letchford, as they jet-setted off to Los Angeles to attend the L.A. Book Fair. Sponsored by the non-profit publishing group Printed Matter, and hosted by the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, the event rivaled only the NYC book fair in size and attendance. […]

This winter, MCAD MFA painting alum Casey Opstad, ’11, completed an Artist Residency at General Assembly. Since graduating from MCAD, he has been the artist-in-residence at several companies, including GA, Bitly, and Quotidian Ventures. His work with GA spans from Boston to L.A., in their Little Tokyo location. GA is a global community with a mission […]

Loving, a show of new work by painting alum Leslie Barlow MFA ’16, opened last weekend at Public Functionary in Minneapolis. “The exhibition features a collection of large-scale portraits featuring interracial families from the Twin Cities to highlight the 50th year anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Case, which will be commemorated in 2017. Barlow […]

This month, first year MFA candidate Zoe Cinel curated a group show at MCAD’s Gallery 148. The show, Trump Backward-Forward, featured several events spaced over several weeks: a gallery opening with selected readings, a screening of “Artist’s Cut of the Caiman” by Nanni Moretti, and a panel discussion. Participants  in the show and panel included […]

This February, MCAD MFA painting and drawing alum Anna Leigh Biedenbender ’16 is showing new work in a solo exhibition at the Bethany Lutheran College Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center in Mankato, Minnesota. The show is titled Prisca and included an artist lecture and opening reception on February 16. Interested in the human condition and one’s ability […]

On February 9 and 10, the MFA program hosted the 2017 Thesis Proposal Presentations. Each of the 19 graduate candidates presented their work and research in the program and proposed a thesis direction to the MCAD community for consideration and response. Congratulations to the graduate candidates on all their thoughtful hard work! Final works will be […]

  • more
  • February
  • 19
  • 2017

This month, MFA candidate Chelsea Reeck ’17 was selected to exhibit works from her project Side Effects May Include in a solo show at Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis. The work is a photographic exploration of her personal experiences with Hodgkins Lymphoma and the reverberating effects of her treatment. From Soo VAC: “Photographing personal trauma […]

  • more
  • February
  • 17
  • 2017

Minneapolis’ own Kolman & Pryor Gallery in the famed Northrop King Building opened its first exhibition of the year, featuring the curatorial and multidisciplinary art works of five of our own! Worlding is “a bold foray into alternative realities that compels us to experience identity and culture, landscape and consumerism; and popular culture and technology with […]

  • more
  • February
  • 17
  • 2017

This month, the MCAD MFA program was fortunate to earn ourselves a visit from Marion Bataille, world-renowned graphic designer and book designer based out of Paris, France. She came to our MFA studios and gallery to meet and speak with three of our students in an intimate setting: Sherry Muyuan He ’18 (graphic design), Alanna Stapleton ’18 (illustration,) […]

  • more
  • February
  • 17
  • 2017

Pun Intended, a group show in MCAD’s Library Gallery, opened January 19, 2017, and featured works by painter Michaela Chorn ’17, illustrator Dana K. Cheit ’17, and printmaker Christopher Alday ’13. The exhibition, running from January 17– February 5, 2017, was a small showcase of how artists take inspiration from words to create stimulating visual […]

  • more
  • February
  • 15
  • 2017

Welcome to our new feature on the MCAD MFA blog! This month, we caught up with Peng Wu, ’13, and asked him some pressing questions about art and life. Peng is “an interdisciplinary designer and artist working in sculpture and public art, interactive and social practice, visual communication, to create powerful and innovative narrative.” Enjoy! Where did […]

  • more
  • February
  • 8
  • 2017

This December, MFA alums and Minneapolis-based installation artists Essma Imady ’16 and Julie Benda ’16 were awarded Forecast Public Art grants for 2017. Imady was awarded an $8,000 Emerging Artist Project Grant supported by Jerome Foundation. Benda  received a $1,500-2,500 Making it Public grant, funded by the Lowertown Future Fund and City of St. Paul Cultural […]

  • more
  • February
  • 3
  • 2017

This month, 2017 MFA printmaking candidate Bianca Jarvis exhibited work at her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Puget Sound. Entitled What Happened Here, the show was held at the University’s Kittredge Gallery, and featured 22 alumni from a variety of fine arts disciplines. From the Suburban Times: “Almost all of the selected artworks were made […]

  • more
  • February
  • 3
  • 2017

Starting off this year with a bang, three of our MFA illustrators, Jacob Yeates ’17, Sishirprithvi Bommakanti ’18 and Yuchen Zhang ’18, were included in the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles’ 55th annual show, Illustration West. The highly competitive juried competition offered seven awards and several student scholarships. Its opening took place in L.A. on […]

  • more
  • January
  • 24
  • 2017

Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies

Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies

Current Mentors

MFA Program Overview

MFA Print Portfolio