Back to Exhibitions K. Imperial Fine Art

MILLSIES – May 15th to June 22nd 2024

May 15 — Jun 22, 2024

K. Imperial Fine Art is thrilled to present Millsies, a group exhibition featuring alumnae and current faculty from the renowned visual arts program at Mills College in Oakland, now part of Northeastern University. This diverse collection showcases works by Renée Gertler, Nancy Mintz, Yulia Pinkusevich, and Mel Prest. Millsies will be on view from May 15th to June 22nd, 2024. The gallery and the artists invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, May 18th from 3-5 pm.

The arts programs at Mills have long served as a forum for exploring diverse art forms and ideas and as a laboratory for contemporary art practices across disciplines. These values formed the core of the fine arts division’s aesthetic and educational mission, deeply impacting both students and faculty alike. In addition, as part of a women’s college, the arts programs at Mills were unique in prioritizing and supporting the intellectual curiosity and creative achievements of women artists.

The rich history of Mills as a site for creative experimentation was forged by a community of actively exhibiting, internationally recognized, faculty artists. This remarkable group included the seminal painter Jay DeFeo, who was associated with the Beat generation that flourished in San Francisco in the 1950s; Chinese-born painter Hung Liu, whose poignant paintings mined memory and identity; multi disciplinary sculptor Anna Murch; groundbreaking ceramicist Ron Nagle who helped pushed the medium from craft to sculpture; and important conceptual photographer Catherine Wagner.

The artists in this exhibition remain deeply committed to artistic and conceptual innovation, continuing the extraordinary legacy that placed Mills at the forefront of advances in contemporary dance, music, intermedia, and the visual arts for over a century. Their work shares an interest in investigating the liminal space between the measurable and the unknowable, and exploring the boundaries of representation, perception and time.

Renée Gertler’s sculptural objects and drawings are inspired by the seemingly opposite worlds of scientific inquiry and existential awareness. She combines elements from numerology, mysticism, scientific diagrams, architecture and psychology to explore the difference between the mystic and the scientific. Her work also draws motivation from her personal connection to two important Bay Area artists—ceramicist Viola Frey and sculptor Ruth Asawa. Gertler’s current studio is located in Frey’s former studio space, while Ruth Asawa’s artwork and role in developing public school arts education programs has served as a model for artistic practice. Gertler’s pieces are a manifestation of the energy that connects these different rational and irrational realms.

Sculptor and printmaker Nancy Mintz creates objects and installations using brass and paper to examine the diversity and fragility of natural biological communities, the complex processes of growth and succession, and the interaction between the natural and the built worlds. Creating a visual language from forms that exist in nature, she is interested in hybrid states that exist between the natural and the human-made, as well as between the referential and the abstract. While her structures incorporate intricate geometric patterns, each piece reflects organic imperfections found in the living world. Mintz’s work is a manifestation of different tempos of nature—from the fast life of animals to the slow growth of trees—making us aware of our own tempo as human observers and how we may experience these other forms of existence.
Yulia Pinkusevich’s work considers both physical and psychological environments, often exploring the complex relationship between ecological and social systems. Drawing on her personal experience of growing up in the USSR at the end of the Cold War, as well as the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pinkusevich’s abstract work connects cultures and places across vast spaces and geological time. Her recent work draws upon her own Ukrainian and Russian identity, focusing on her maternal ancestors who were indigenous Siberians practicing forms of shamanism. These personal connections are incorporated with the striking geometry of military diagrams from the Cold War era. She uses the psychology of built and imagined spaces to explore interconnections between heritage, destruction, and sustainability.

Mel Prest is a non-objective painter whose work is focused on color and perceptual visual relationships. Her paintings explore the fleeting color phenomena often observed in landscape and light, using unique color combinations to create optical mirages. Prest is interested in the synesthetic capacity of color to feel like a touch or taste like a flavor. The intersecting lines in her works are hand-painted, creating a soft geometry that amplifies our perception of movement and color. The ephemeral quality of light is amplified through her use of mica, as well as metallic and phosphorescent paints, that respond to different light conditions.

K. Imperial Fine Art is grateful to have the opportunity to exhibit these four artists as exemplars of the quality and creativity of the Mills tradition.  Millsies will be on display from May 15th to June 22nd, 2024

The gallery and the artists invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, May 18th from 3-5 pm.

Gallery Hours and Inquiries

By appointment, please contact:
(415) 277-7230

K. Imperial Fine Art
49 Geary Street, Suite 415
San Francisco, CA 94108


Check gallery website for hours and additional info