This spring I visited California State University, Chico, during their annual MFA open studios tour. The two grad students whose work most impressed me were Ruby Rudnick and Mariam Pakbaz. Their solo shows at the University Gallery and the 1078 Gallery cemented that first impression.
Ruby Rudnick’s drawings use an intimidating amount of sheer perseverance and technical virtuosity to sell the idea that her show presents natural history studies of fantastical creatures. Her website provides the conceptual basis of her work quite clearly.
Mariam Pakbaz had very few (but excellent) drawings on display during the open studios tour. She saved her more ambitious compositions for her 1078 show. Her artwork uses overlapping and transparent figures to suggest supernatural narratives.