The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Inarguably Uncertain: The 41st Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition

May 20, 2011 – June 26, 2011

Inarguably Uncertain marks the forty-first exhibition by UC Berkeley’s M.F.A. students. Corinna Nicole Brewer, Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi, Narangkar Glover, Plinio Alberto Hernandez, Merav Tzur, Chris E. Vargas, and David Gregory Wallace join forces to exhibit their final projects. The aesthetic variety and interdisciplinary approaches are not surprising, given the strong alliances between Art Practice and other UC Berkeley departments, but the students continue to surprise and provoke.

The history of art is dominated by the viewpoint of straight white men; Corinna Nicole Brewer’s paintings complicate that gaze. Appropriating familiar poses from famous works of art but foregrounding the sitter’s own sexual proclivities, she resituates the female nude as a desiring subject rather than the lusted-after object.

Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi makes attire that emphasizes the uniqueness and power of the disabled body. She challenges the prosthetic function of materials, either utilitarian or protective, by making desirable, seductive objects inspired by a wearer’s individual form.

The paintings of Narangkar Glover contrast the “exoticism” of India’s Himalayas with the abstracted innocence of girlhood. What results is sinister, a claustrophobic push and pull between landscape and the girls’ progress through it, and shadowy narratives fervently stalk the canvas.

Plinio Alberto Hernandez’s installations emerge out of the interstices between Latin America and the United States, out of the permeable discourses that result from that chaotic relationship. Drawing from family memories, gang tattoos, and tropes of Western art history, he animates a conversation about exile and belonging, social mobility and personal migration.

Through her alias, Sarah Gray, Merav Tzur channels the misunderstandings that compel us to prove the validity of our stories: the mythos underlying mythology. Devising elaborate scenarios complete with maps, photo documentation, tools, and other “evidence,” Tzur concocts facts out of the alluring apparatus of fiction.

Chris E. Vargas’s films critique mainstream representations of queer culture, making obvious the existence of a more complex reality. His satirical mischief subverts everyday television dramas about work, love, and gender identification, imagining a way out of media’s mediocrity.

David Gregory Wallace’s installations speak to the collision of domestic and military architecture, questioning the invisibility of modern warfare in America. Seeking out the local sites that orchestrate overseas wars, Wallace conjures the everyday life of drone operators as they navigate the tenuous boundary between family life and war.

-Dena Beard
Curatorial Assistant

The annual M.F.A. exhibition at BAM/PFA is made possible by the Barbara Berelson Wiltsek Endowment.

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