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In the final episode of season one, I speak with Mike Rothfeld, an artist living and working in Oakland and San Francisco. He received his MFA in Fine Art and MA in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts (CCA) and his BFA in Photography and Imaging from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU).

Rothfeld’s lo-fi, seemingly clumsy sculptures serve as set-pieces and props for the partial science-fiction and fantasy narratives he imagines while working in the studio. His sculptures display a dedication to play, campiness and the absurd along with an underlying sentiment of melancholy and doom. Concerned by an inability to imagine new and viable alternative futures, while still wanting to locate hope for a better tomorrow, Rothfeld makes work that references an era of visual media effects that required viewers to heavily suspend their disbelief to immerse themselves in an imagined reality.

Rothfeld’s work has been displayed at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, Alter Space Gallery, and San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA; the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Jan Larsen’s Xpo, Brooklyn, NY; the Beacon Artist Union, Beacon, NY; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, England; among other venues. His writing has appeared in Art Practical and show take-aways for Stairwell’s exhibitions.

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In the interview, Mike mentions working with artist, author, and curator Deb Willis while studying at NYU. She she later introduced him to the graduate programs at CCA. Between undergrad and grad school, Mike attended the Haystack Mountain School of Craft Residency. Finally, Mike and I discuss his participation in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ ‘Bay Area Now 7’ exhibition, a project that was curated by Stairwell’s.

You can learn more about Mike’s work on his website and follow him on Instagram. As always, podcast music is provided by Mr. Neat Beats.

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