MICA Uses Creative Spaces for MFA Thesis Shows

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MICA Graduate Thesis Show III Part II by Amy Boone-McCreesh

Part two- opening reception Saturday, April 22, 2017

Exhibition closes April 30,2017

The second part of MICA’s MFA thesis show number three was in satellite, artist-run locations: Current Space and Le Mondo, both on Howard Street. A Curatorial Practice MFA Thesis project opened concurrently in an abandoned Rite Aid, with a nearby opening the same night.

The galleries held an assortment of programs and was an extension of the exhibition curated by Doreen Bolger, previously of the BMA and Seth Adelsberger.

View of Le Mondo, Alvarado (L) and Sanchez (R)

Le Mondo- “Navigating Landscape”

One of the more sensational works of the evening was hard to miss; the piece by Noa Heyne titled “Posthumous Adaptations; See-Saw” was positioned in the center of the room. Even in the large open gallery of Le Mondo the interactive sculpture still felt massive. The whale-like piece moves subtlety as participants step on the pumps that circle the work. As the weight of the human body compresses the large pedal, water pumps into the sculptural form inflating interior balloons.

As you step off of the pedal, the water pressure is decreased and thus leaves the form. The result is nuanced movement as the work rocks from side to side. What the piece lacked in aesthetic appeal was redeemed in participatory value. Towards the back of the gallery Heyne also projected a video that provided a narrative, or a world, in which the large sculptural form on the floor could move and thrive. The rock-like pieces shifted and shuffled as if in a geological event. Heyne is a Rinehart School of Sculpture MFA candidate.

Noa Heyne

Noa Heyne

Two Hoffberger School of Painting candidates are represented at Le Mondo: Erika Sabel and Jose Alvarado. Both artists deal in abstraction with interests in color and space, Alvarado tipping towards landscape and Sabel towards color. The work is mixed on both of the main walls of Le Mondo and hung above natural viewing height on the same wall that holds the bar.

Jose Alvarado

Erika Sabel

Anchoring the back end of the main room is the work of Edward Sanchez, Mount Royal School of Art. Like Noa Heyne’s piece, Sanchez’s monumental sculpture was made in smaller portions off-site and assembled at Le Mondo. The floor to ceiling piece titled “Di-zziness” reads simultaneously as a collection of paintings and an architecturally-inspired sculpture. The piece is menacing and monumental, representing creation and destruction in one.


In the back halls of Le Mondo lies the work of Mary Baum; the crown jewel of her pieces being in the furthest corner. “52 Hertz Moon” is a video and sound installation that was impossible to capture and translate into film and video. The small dark room was intimate. Large crowds of people gathered quietly to encounter the projection and audio of the moon on the floor and ceiling in the center of the space. Right outside of this piece was a collection of multi-media spherical forms that, post-experience, felt more powerful than they did prior to entering her final room.

Mary Baum

Mary Baum

Current Space – “Approaching Gender and Sexuality”

 Adam David Bencomo’s works in Current Space

Current space held mini-installations by Alexis Novak – Photographic and Electronic Media, Adam David Bencomo – Photographic and Electronic Media and Hamida Khatri of Community Arts.

Alexis Novak created a womb-like space in the front room of Current. The walls and floors are covered in pink fur and ivy. Novak’s work is mostly video, with a sculptural piece on a pedestal that reads like something holy and bodily. When viewers wear the headphones to listen to the audio that accompanies the over-the top videos, their heads are covered in ivy, immediately integrating them into the space as part of the dialogue. The videos on the monitors are both gross and enticing, mixing sliced meat with glitter; literally in a blender.

Alexis Novak  

Hamida Khatri’s work focused on the empowerment of women. Khatri works in drawing, sewing, and stop-motion animation. The most endearing piece titled “Mom & Me” is a stop-motion animation starring two dolls of Khatri’s creation. The dolls talk on the phone and sew clothing, their lives separated by colored backdrops.

Dolls and video still of Khatri’s “Mother and Me”

Most of Khatri’s walls within the space are painted an opaque color; this reinforces visual unity for her works but also gives the collection an air of innocence.

Hamida Khatri  

Photographic and Electronic Media candidate Adam David Bencomo hung his work salon-style in his space at current, countering Khatri’s comparatively sparse adjacent walls. “My Bearish Life” is a collection of work that aims to humanize sexually and gender-marginalized groups through celebration rather than shaming. Bencomo’s statement also encourages the idea that communities can act as surrogate families within the groups represented.

Before his MFA at MICA, Bencomo also received a BA in Religious Studies from the University of New Mexico with a concentration in Architectural History and Studio Art. This educational commitment suggests a well-rounded and informed point of view that traditionally could be perceived (in conservative circles) as running counter to the groups he is representing in his thesis show. For Bencomo’s work this also deepens the ways that communities can exist within certain social circles, religious or otherwise.

Adam David Bencomo

Also on view on the evening of April 22 was the exhibition “Front” organized by Curatorial Practice MFA candidate Betty Gonzales, located next door to Le Mondo.

The project aims to reimagine abandoned spaces and allows a variety of ways for people to engage with the Bromo Seltzer neighborhood, including walking tours led by artist Graham Coreil-Allen. The space, an abandoned Rite Aid, was still open during the evening receptions and many wandered into the space from next door. The show will remain up until April 29th, and will also offer another walking tour on the same day from 2-4pm.

“Front” in abandoned Rite Aid

All of the thesis exhibitions off-campus are on view until April 30, unless stated otherwise. Please check the MICA Grad show website for open and appointment hours as many of them vary.

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