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Each year, first year students in our MFA program have the opportunity to exhibit their works alongside their cohort peers. This year, due to the pandemic, these exhibitions were both installed on campus and displayed virtually through student-created exhibition websites. The works shown below are a culmination of the three First Year Shows that were held this academic year.

MFA First Year Show Exhibitions

Ecologies of Spirit

Layan Alharthy
Kiana R. Beckmen
Elizabeth Blessing
Guodong Fu
Maribeth Hudzik
Lori Schouela
Isaac Zerkle

Show Statement:
As climates across the globe change, ecologies respond and adapt, evidencing the interconnectedness of our biospheres, and the wisdom in their design. In Ecologies of Spirit, this group of first year MFA candidates at SMFA engages with themes of transformation, consciousness, healing, magic, and empowerment through ecosystemic awareness, and reverence. Metaphysical landscapes, expressive interior portraits, and maps, both geographic and conceptual, emerge in a variety of media. Using installation, works on paper, painting, illustration, illumination, and animation, this interdisciplinary group applies deep research and introspection to investigate corporeal and spiritual relationships enmeshed within our nature. 


Pardis Alipour
Andrew Cain
Noor Chadha
Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez
Cecilia Karoly-Lister
Mrudhubhashini Vijayakumar

Show Statement:
The artists in Rewoven share a common interest in imaginative world-making. Coming from a range of backgrounds, they defy the artificially composed confines of space and identity. Their works envision a courageous future; through acts of refusal, community engagement, and thoughtful critique, they are each examples of homemaking. Using the body as a unifying point of departure, the artists query corporeal perceptions, manipulations, and interactions to infer alternative ways of relating to and with one another. The pieces weave an eclectic geography that draws from the artists’ upbringing, responding to experiences of (dis)placement and othering. Each artist is occupied with confronting the heinous facts of globalization, colonization, and bigotry, while celebrating the many moments of delight and endurance that, when woven together, can create the size of the cloth.*

*This is a concept taken from Naomi Shihab Nye's poem Kindness.


Tamar Bresge
Xan Peters
Kylie Weinzierl
Çaca Yvaire

Show Statement:
This show features the work of four collaborators playing with the intersection of text and object in a socially distanced moment. Engaging with social media, intervention tags, and the expansively accessible space of the internet, Afterscript is an experiment with art beyond the physical walls of an institution. Using the online platform as an opportunity to subvert the standard practices of looking and moving through a gallery, the blog will be actively updated and shared between the artists throughout the dates of the show. After which, it will be archived, the show a digital relic of four artists who have never actually met in person, connected through online study, in the framework of a still-unfolding historical moment of distant, digital text.

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