NOW OPEN: 2014 First Year MFA Exhibition at Worth Ryder Art Gallery

The Worth Ryder Art Gallery Presents:

2014 First Year MFA Exhibition

Wednesday, January 29 through Saturday, February 22, 2014

Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus

Open Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12 – 5 pm

Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 29, 4 – 7 pm

Artist’s Talk: Wednesday, February 5th, 12 – 1 pm



Leslie Dreyer

Tanja Geis

Lee M Lavy

Michelle Ott

Sofie Ramos

Matt Smith Chavez

View photographs of the artwork and the Opening Reception here…

The Worth Ryder Art Gallery and the UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice are excited to present an exhibition of works by six first-year graduate students. The MFA program encourages experimentation with new methods, media, and modes of artmaking, and the artists have each created an exciting new body of work while immersing themselves in contemporary theory, seeking out new interdisciplinary influences, and responding to intense critical feedback by peers and mentors. The result is an exhibition that is fresh, vital, and immediate.

Leslie Dreyer with Heart of the City Collective, “Warning: Two-Tier System”, collaborative performance/intervention, 2013. Photo courtesy of Michelle Ott.

Leslie Dreyer is an artist organizing collaborative performance/interventions from within a movement that demands a right to the city, access to housing, and an end to the commodification of almost every aspect of our lives. She is currently focused on projects spotlighting the tech boom’s impact on gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area, alongside other implications of the tech industry: surveillance and control of our data and communications. Originally from Texas, Leslie has spent the last five-and-a-half years invested in and accountable to her community in the Bay.

Tanja Geis, “Untitled”, string, paper, and pushpins, dimensions variable, 2013.

Tanja Geis’ ongoing project began with the Richmond, CA mudflats and has expanded to enfold notions of mercury toxicity, access, Chinese alchemical beliefs about immortality, and her childhood in Hong Kong. Clay and the process of collecting it from the mudflats have become increasingly important to her. With particular focus on threshold spaces between land and sea, she explores how embodied, creative practices can transform how we perceive, relate to and ultimately act as part of an environment. Geis holds a BA in Fine Art from Yale University and a Masters in Marine and Coastal Management from University Centre of the Westfjords in Iceland.

Lee M. Lavy, “Ol’ Dirty” (detail), dirt, plywood, concrete adhesive, mold, grass, worms, garbage, 6’ x 7’ x 28”, 2013.

Lee M. Lavy, originally from Missoula, MT, received his BA from San Diego State University in Fall, 2012.

“Let’s take it out of the earth and expose it. Let’s move it up from down, and place it on our perceptual plane through elevation by excavation. Exhume the hidden coffin, buried in its famous fathom of dirt. Examine entombment as a core sample of physical volume.”

Michelle Ott, “Untitled”, archival ink print, 20” x 24”, 2013.

Born in Minnesota, receiving her BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and landing in California via Antarctica and NYC, Michelle Ott is currently using her art practice to ask questions and draw parallels about image-making and waste circulation. In a world where images and trash both rapidly accumulate, can she slow either down by simple examination?

Sofie Ramos, “Padded Room”, acrylic house paint, paper, plaster, drywall, string, and tape on wall, 9’ x 8’ x 12’, 2013.

Sofie Ramos fuses the two- and three-dimensional in order to slow down and think about the experience of depth perception and misperception. She conflates the art and its space by working directly on the wall, ceiling, and floor with paint, paper, drywall, plaster, and wood. She received her BA from Brown University and is originally from Cincinnati, OH.

Matt Smith Chavez, “Almost Practically There”, silkscreen, spray paint, bleach, and archival glue on cotton on canvas on particle board, 17.5″ x 17″, 2013.

Matt Smith Chavez’s current project has one foot in the physical realm and one in the digital. He combines the physical process of bleaching and spray painting with digital “brush strokes” composed in Adobe Illustrator. The resulting works are ultimately meant to be a reflection of our own technologically mediated lives — engaged with their own physicality, but also attuned to the ways in which the digital increasingly serves as a stand in for the real. Smith Chavez is from Lima, Peru by way of Washington, D.C.

Please join us for an Opening Reception on Wednesday, January 21st, 2014 from 4 – 7 pm, and an Artist Talk on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 from noon to 1 pm!