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Now on View

MFA class 2017



CMU 2017 MFA Thesis Exhibition

March 25 – April 16, 2017
Co-organized by CMU School of Art

Kevin Brophy, Brittany De Nigris, Hannah Epstein, Adam Milner, Moses Williams

March 24, 6-8pm: Reception
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April 5, 6-8pm: All There, an artist-led evening
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Spend some quality time with the fam. CMU School of Art MFA class of 2017 present three floors of experiential and intriguing installation, sculptures and performance. Join us for All There, an evening of artist-led introductions to the work.

About the Exhibition

“The concept of family has been hijacked by privilege, defined by heteronormative structures, and destroyed across decades of global expansion and individual attrition. So what is the family—the “fam”—that we claim today? ... The reality of family is far messier than anything on screen: no credits will roll at the close of our days, no wardrobe changes will remove the stains of guilt and regret. A family fills this gallery, in all of the complexity, anxiety, and turbulence of the real thing. This is Fam today.”

- Charlie White, Regina and Marlin Miller Professor, Head of the School of Art

About the Artists

Hannah Epstein (AKA hanski) is a folk-media artist working at the cross-section of textile and experimental games (#gamestallations #fyberspace). As a folklorist Epstein’s work reimagines ideas of authenticity and authorship through informal, bottom-up, storytelling techniques, which blur the line between “outsider art” and reified canon (#fauxcore).

For FAM, Epstein proposes a vision of the new homemaking where a fictional family, The FamilyTM , livestreams their daily life onto YouTube. For Epstein, the home is no longer a private refuge, but an Internet connected, semi-public, performance space.

She is currently an MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon.


Kevin Brophy is a reality artist: an illusion trying to change the world. Her multidisciplinary practice mimics the cultural dominant in order to evaluate socio-political power structures and their effect on the individual. She is just a placeholder, not to abandon those who suffer shared prescription. With the increasingly pervasive Social we are now more identity than self. And, it is hard to say ‘now’, to pretend like it is new. Through exaggerated forms of communication, she critiques in a satirical and self-implicating way.

Magic Erasure Correctives is a transformation movie from the nineties. Queering product descriptions, bodies on affect: micro-movements on QVC, micro-needling to breathe, micro-aggressions cut deeper. Some language to take back, and some language to defeat. Magic Erasure Correctives is full-on ambivalence: problematic in its dangerous prescriptives, too. And, it is set in dystopian futures now. A mirror shows the self and a small enclosed environment; a smartened mirror shows identity in an ever-expanding network. Our connection will never be lost. And, we are heterotopic, it’s complicated.

Kevin Brophy is currency, an MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon University.


Brittany De Nigris is currently building shelters and escape routes. Her fragile support-structures will inevitably release themselves in order to become something else; they are hovering (sometimes quivering) for now. Her recent practice has been an ongoing investigation into materiality shattering in an effort to define, for herself, a poetics alive within the substances surrounding us—a making and continuing of the world. Tear down the house and build a boat! is a daydream that extracts from times, places and words previously recorded, extracts from the ground and the air, and collapses these fragments together into one billowing moment.


Adam Milner points to a longing embedded in daily life, a desire to relate to material and social worlds, drawing from the hoard, the archive, and the collection. He longingly searches for traces of bodies or signs of life in his everyday, and sometimes turns up empty; things begin to stand in for people, often replacing them. Obsessive documenting, gathering, or collecting results in archives which confuse subjectivity, letting bodies become objects and things become people.

The works stem from practices both social and hermetic – bartering for locks of hair from friends and strangers or collecting every belly button among thousands of magazines as a kind of clunky analog image search – and this duality exemplifies the blurred categorization of things.

Indeed, often the bodies of objects blur with each other or with the people who cling to them. Bodies are porous things, absorbing their surroundings and leaving traces behind. The idea that the things of this world are active or vibrant is inherent in questions of archivability with artworks, or “contamination” when working with a pre-existing archive.


Moses Williams explores the murk of affectual and bodily relations that ranges from the subtle to the imposing, positing a kind of emotional anthropology. Working in sculpture, performance, video, and installation, he confronts notions of intimacy, sensuality, ritual, loss, the uncanny, and the spiritual. Through these commingling ideas and the use of often-disparate materials, his work explores the resonant, pliable, and emergent qualities of day-to-day experience. In his projects the familiar becomes complex, mutable, and at times adverse in order to challenge dominant systems and taxonomies in contemporary western culture. The palpable, affectual, and emotive aspects that move in and amongst bodies and objects are the central mode of his performances and the connecting thread of his practice. The act of engaging with materials and participants is a process of foraging for the unseen, opening new modes of understanding through direct experience.

In FAM, Williams’ sculpture and video merge to offer a conduit to another reality, an experiential narrative that reflects on potentials lying just beyond the expected. The work deals with themes of relationship, empathy, and somatic awareness. It is to some degree a sci-fi meditation on enduring loss and suffering through intimacy and sensual experience.