Illustration MFA Thesis Shows at MICA by A.F. Oehmke

Grad Show II is currently on view and features work by students in the Post Baccalaureate Fine Arts and Graphic Design programs, and the Master of Fine Arts in Illustration Practice and Graphic Design Programs. Each of these programs has a different exhibition, in one of 3 locations, that come together to constitute Grad Show II. The Illustration Practice exhibition is located at MICA’s Lazarus Center on North Avenue.

I am always very skeptical of going to illustration exhibitions. All too often it can be a book on a pedestal or postcard on the wall with little consideration as to how the object exists in space, or how one might typically encounter it in the world. The Illustration Practice program, directed by Whitney Sherman, does the exact opposite of this. Each student’s space is meticulously crafted to give context to their illustrations. Sometimes the space is the room of a skateboarder erected in the middle of the floor, and others it is a simple wooden bench in a closed of the area in the gallery to watch an animation. When I spoke to Sherman about this she said “I ask the students to imagine what their work would be like if it were a theatre set.” Moving between the projects feels like moving between microworlds, and all of the projects require viewers to sift through the artifacts of their world.


Hui Yang, Phoebe’s Fashion Shop


Gabriella Santiago-Vancak, Ruins


Shruti Sharma, What Are You Looking For?


Darian Nichols, sugarcoat//subversive 


Charlotte Fu, One


Kaixin Wang, Land of Kaixin*


Hayley Powers Thornton-Kennedy, Luck New & Grocery


Olivia Fu, Unlabeled


Ryan Cho, Roll Thru


Yifan Wu, The Metamorphosis


Alicia M. Corman, Flat Maps


Alexandria Wang, Pink Head


Diana H. Chu, Nowhere


The Illustration Practice exhibition of Grad Show II will be up through April 8th at the Lazarus Center. Click here more information about the exhibition and the other Shows.