Spring Symposium

Our annual Visual Studies Spring Symposium features public presentations of senior thesis essays by Visual Studies majors.

Watch student presentations given at the 2016 Visual Studies Spring Symposium (and visit our archived presentations, too).

Visual Studies 2016 Spring Symposium

Priya Assal Gheysari
Bonny Nahmais
Megan Rowe
Laura Thomas
Yi Shan Tan

Priya Assal Gheysar

Iranian Female Identity and Its Many Faces

Priya Assal Gheysari, junior, Painting/Drawing and Visual Studies (minor)

Priya Assal Gheysari is an artist pursuing her BFA in Painting/Drawing and a minor in Visual Studies at CCA. Her practice is often community-based and multidisciplinary.

Using a variety of material and nonmaterial elements like sound and light, she creates immersive environments that invite participants to engage in ceremonial or ritual-based activities in order to encourage self-reflection and sensory awareness.

Her installation Lost&Found was nominated for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Jameel Prize in 2012.

In 2014, she created Project EVOKE, a site-specific space at Burning Man that welcomed Jews, Christians and Muslims to answer a call to prayer under one roof and engage in constructive conversations about religion and its place in the world today.

In spring 2016, Priya finished up the AICAD/New York Studio Residency Program, where she is conducted research about water and its purification uses in various cultures and traditions.


The National Pride Affect and Ethnic Discourse: As seen in the Israeli Reality TV Show Music School

Bonny Nahmias, senior, Sculpture

Bonny Nahmias was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. She moved to the United States in 2006 at the age of eighteen in protest of Israel’s mandatory enrollment in the Israel Defense Force.

Nahmias landed in Brooklyn, where she worked in the performance art and theater world. In 2010 she moved to San Francisco to study in the Sculpture and Visual Studies programs at CCA.

She has maintained involvement in arts organizations in New York and San Francisco and has shown her work in art exhibitions throughout the Bay Area.

Through a broad range of media that includes sculpture, performance and video, Nahmias examines human behavior, social interactions and sociopolitical subjects that relate to her background and upbringing in Israel.

Torn between the desire to reach for and reject her birthplace, the results of her work can be seen as satirical love letters to her past and present.

Megan Rowe

You're Grounded: Abstaining from Tech, Summer Camp Style

Megan Rowe, senior, Graphic Design

Megan Rowe is like a Swiss Army knife as she pivots between graphic design, copywriting and user experience design. She is in her final semester as a Graphic Design major at CCA, much to her parent’s relief.

Put simply, Rowe distils information to its core, organizes it hierarchically, and then creates designs that are beautiful, engaging and smart.

Tibor Kalman (resident badass of design ad infinitum) said, “When design is good, it celebrates the intelligence of the audience. When it’s mediocre, it insults that intelligence.”

Rowe agrees wholeheartedly and aims to create work that abides by the late designer’s words. Rowe thrives when she’s just a little too busy -- in her undergraduate career, she has had the good fortune of engaging in UX design sprints, freelance design and copywriting work, multiple internships, and has held a number of leadership positions, namely as AIGA student president and curator of two student exhibits.

Laura Thomas

Edmonia Lewis & Cleopatra -- The Face of Opposition

Laura Thomas, senior, Visual Studies

Laura Thomas is in her final year of the Visual Studies Program at CCA. Her academic background includes anthropology and fine art. Her educational pursuits took her abroad, where she studied Balinese esthetics and massage in Indonesia.

Her art practice is similarly multidisciplinary: in 2014 she created a sculptural costume that she wore for a performance at the Corcoran College of Art’s Gallery 31 in an exhibition entitled Wear, Strut, Occupy: Kings, Clowns and Revolutionaries! 

The same year, she was selected to be a draftsperson and collaborated on the production of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #65

Thomas is committed to working for equal access to education and looks forward to a career in teaching art, history, and social engagement. 

Thomas was born, raised, and lives in California’s Bay Area. In her free time she likes to paint with her niece. 

Yi Shan Tan

Deconstructing Failure: The Ceramic Works of Peter Voulkos

Yi Shan Tan, senior, Visual Studies

The year 2016 marks Yi Shan Tan's final year in Visual Studies at CCA, prior to which she earned a diploma in 3D Design (Jewelry) from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore.

In 2015 she was an editorial intern at the online publication Art Practical, where she published an article entitled “Patched Up: Bricolage and Postmodernism in Punk Culture.”

The same year, she presented this research at CCA’s Visual Studies Symposium.

In 2014, she worked at the nonprofit arts organization Pro Arts as a curatorial extern.

In her senior thesis about the avant-garde West Coast ceramist Peter Voulkos, Tan critiques the dominant narrative of the “heroic” Abstract Expressionist that has shaped his reception. Instead, she argues that Voulkos’ deconstructive works productively reframe our preconceived ideas of failure.

Symposia Archives