Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition — May 15 – June 14, 2015 Published: May 15, 2015 By: Andy Sohn Leslie Dreyer: Reclaim Disrupt, 2014-ongoing; public performance with vending cart and etched bricks; courtesy of the artist. Come to the 45th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master Of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition on May 15 – June 14, 2015. For the past 44 years, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) has collaborated with the UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice to present the work of its graduating MFA students. For the first time this year BAM/PFA has joined forces with the Berkeley Art Center to present the exhibition while BAM/PFA awaits its new building in the heart of downtown Berkeley. This year’s exhibition is organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, BAM/PFA curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis, MATRIX Curator. The artists in this stellar class of graduates — though utilizing a diverse range of media, styles, and methods — are unified by a shared concern for their natural and cultural environments, and in the imaginative ways they probe their material surroundings. Matt Smith Chavez: Chaplin in his cell, pampered by his wardens, 2015; mixed media on muslin; 48 x 43 ½ in.; courtesy of the artist. Leslie Dreyer investigates performances, protests, and interventions in response to the impact of the Bay Area’s rapidly growing tech industry on the community and existing residents. Tanja Geis produces large-scale mud paintings, hand-sized clay sculptures, and underwater videos in response to toxic pollution found in our natural environment. Lee Lavy’s creates sculptures and performances that explore the foreboding presence of the fault lines of the California coast. Michelle Ott’s uses abstract experiments with light and focus to prompt consideration of humans and their relationship with nature. Sofie Ramos creates installations of totalizing environments where elements such as line, color, and shape come to life in a hallucinatory diorama. Matt Smith Chavez’s two-dimensional works often use images of everyday objects as a way to probe the authenticity of authorship and consumers. MFA Artists’ Talks — May 17, 2015, 3:00 pm Meet the 2015 graduates of UC Berkeley’s Masters of Fine Arts program as they talk about their work at the outset of their professional careers. This year’s graduates are Leslie Dreyer, Tanja Geis, Lee Lavy, Michelle Ott, Sofie Ramos, and Matt Smith Chavez. Admission is free. Berkeley Art Center 1275 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA 94709 Open Wednesdays through Sundays 11 am to 5 pm berkeleyartcenter.org The annual UC Berkeley MFA exhibition is made possible by the Wiltsek Endowment for the Master of Fine Arts Exhibition.