Fine Arts MFA thesis exhibitions 2024

Fine Arts MFA thesis exhibitions 2024

Pratt Institute

March 21, 2024
Fine Arts MFA thesis exhibitions
Unfixed Ecosystems: Obsidian / Yarrow
March 25–May 10, 2024
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The Pfizer Building
630 Flushing Avenue, 7th floor
Brooklyn, New York 11206
United States

The Fine Arts department is delighted to invite you to our 2024 MFA thesis exhibitions curated by Alex Santana.

Part one: Obsidian
Monday, March 25–Friday, April 5
Opening reception: Monday, March 25, 6–8pm

Imogen Aukland, Elaine Chen, Elizabeth Hackenberg, Aliza Katzman, Angie Kim, Seungheon Lee, Deona Lizette, Sarah Martin-Nuss, Nish, Sirawich Pukuka, Lu, Suzanne Watters, Xiangjie Rebecca Wu, Olivia Zabludowicz

Part two: Yarrow 
Monday, April 29–Friday, May 10
Opening reception: Monday, April  29, 6-8pm

Obadah Aljefri, Amanda Baker, Jake Berstein, Emelia Gertner, Gabriel Gibbs, Billy Hawkins, Kyung Yeon Kim, Nao Kondo, Eun Lee, Lara Lee, Haoyu Niu, Katie Heller Saltoun, Nature Shankar, Nico Sun, Chang Zhang, Huahua Zhu

Gallery hours: Monday–Saturday from noon to 6pm

The Fine Arts MFA program at Pratt Institute presents a two-part thesis exhibition featuring 30 artists whose works engage with painting, sculpture, drawing, video, installation, assemblage, sound, and performance. The artists approach the transformational quality of creative exchange and intellectual collaboration, celebrating diverse aesthetic practices and varied methodologies. It is through this networked, horizontal approach to art-making that education occurs and reoccurs in its highest form, slowly changing us over time together. 

In some of their work, a human likeness exists both within and outside of society’s imposed containers. It can also be a resplendent ghost that sticks with us, or a body that becomes a landscape at the bottom of the ocean. In other works, a lifetime of everyday moments with family can read like an endless blur, accumulative and feverish. This animated worldview takes the form of cascading light on a canvas and in wax dripped on the floor. In an adjacent landscape, a fountain exists at the end of the world, its water flowing endlessly. Next door, a painting’s abstracted forms reflect clouds in the sky, illuminated somehow, despite the fog. Those forms cast shadows onto adjoining teetering architectures, which stand tall, miraculously, despite their weakened pressure points and unstable foundations. Like a microcosm of our situation: empires will fall once again, as they have fallen before. And in response to this inevitability, there are still always new sites being built from the ground-up for collective dreaming, refuge, and care. 

The artworks in this exhibition underscore the instability of our world and put forth the beautiful promise of creative and spiritual liberation, in community with others. In her 1995 essay Workers for Artistic Freedom, bell hooks writes, “being an artist is not simply a matter of possessing the gift to create.” She says, “to truly mature in one’s artistic practice it is important to learn about art, to see art from everywhere and everyone, to study, to interact with others.” In hooks’ view, the creative process of artmaking is one that rejects individual subjectivity and by extension, the sorrow of contemporary alienation. By relying on one’s relationships with others and the world around us, unabashedly present, listening and resonating with the worldviews of others, we participate within our ecosystem in the fullest sense. 

Two entities from the natural world provide useful frameworks for thinking about entropy and its catalyzing influence in all spheres. Obsidian is an igneous rock of volcanic glass, and yarrow is a flowering plant native to North America. In the context of this exhibition, obsidian and yarrow function metaphorically: both discuss metamorphosis over time, human transformative usage, and material resilience. 

Alex Santana, curator

Pratt Institute MFA Fine Arts
Pratt Institute’s interdisciplinary MFA program in Fine Arts provides advanced education for artists supported by a distinguished faculty, exceptional facilities, and a supportive community of peers. Driven by exploration and enriched by the abundance and inspiration of New York City, Pratt’s critically engaged faculty respond to each student’s individual practice, fostering their development within the diverse cultures and myriad practices of contemporary art-making.  Faculty and students build close relationships through structured studio visits, seminars, and informal conversations. These relationships create a vital community and supportive network that endures long after graduation. The curriculum is both rigorous and flexible, offering wide latitude for exploration while fostering critical perspectives and a deeper understanding of the histories, issues, cultural, and transdisciplinary contexts that inform art practices today. 

Pratt Shows 2024
Pratt Shows are public exhibitions and presentations by Pratt Institute’s graduating classes. Representing years of research, exploration, critical thinking, creative inquiry, problem-solving, growth, production, practice, and accomplishment, the shows celebrate student work leading up to Commencement in May.

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Pratt Institute
March 21, 2024

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