Courtesy of Chiara Hardy

On Friday, April 12, “You Are Now The Host,” the 2024 Undergraduate Thesis Exhibition began.

The exhibit spans across the Yale School of Art’s Green Hall Gallery, with some of the larger installations displayed at 32 Edgewood Avenue. The School of Art will host a public reception for it on April 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Green Hall. 

The show is a continuation of the fall 2023 show, “The host will let you in soon,” with the titles referencing how COVID-19 disrupted these students’ college experiences.

“I am working with paper pulp, balloons, and various metals to create precarious installations,”  said Chiara Hardy ’24, creator of “Matter of Collapse and Collapse of Matter.” “These works are grounded in themes of gravity, entropy, and the impossibility of suspending time.” 

With these materials, Hardy creates a universe of her own. Visitors can walk through and around the installation, watching new shapes form as they view it from various perspectives. The materials remain dynamic even while they are suspended, both from the ceiling and in time. 

A block away, the exhibition continues at 32 Edgewood Ave., where Nathan Puletasi ’24 installed a rusty 1977 Chevrolet Camaro. Inside the car, he placed various artifacts — including a cassette tape with a handwritten note, a lasso and aged legal documents. 

Nathan Puletasi, “The Grandeur Exuding Purview of Cow Shit” (2024). Photo courtesy of Nathan Puletasi. 

“With my work, I aim to unearth the socioeconomic inaccessibility of the contemporary art world,” said Puletasi. “Coming from a more rural area, I would have never been able to access this realm if not for finding my way to Yale originally though football. I work as a Western artist utilizing the materials, objects, and ways of life of Western culture to share our voices in places where they otherwise may never be heard.”

His work sits next to “Fabric of Time” by Lily Campbell ’24, which incorporates home videos projected onto silk charmeuse and muslin. 

Also incorporating themes of family through film, Alexander Rubalcava ’24, also known as alexander laurent rubalcava, traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico to photograph lands once inhabited by her Morman ancestors, who fled the United States in the nineteenth century amid hostility and violence.

“This triptych photograph, titled ‘This is the place (reprise),’ is a panoramic view of the valley in the Chihuahuan Desert where they settled,” Rubalcava said. “The town as it exists now is just out of frame, but the foothills of these mountains are more or less the place where my ancestors sought refuge.”

alexander laurent rubalcava, “This is the place (reprise)” (2024). Photo courtesy of alexander laurent rubalcava. 

Kaia Mladenova ’24 also explored her family history through her thesis work. A chair, covered in sheep skin found in her grandmother’s apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria, sits atop a shape on the floor outlined in red tape, inside of which she uses the same tape to spell out “This is a carpet.” The chair faces a wall covered in black drawings and writings.

The work was inspired by the traditional Bulgarian Kukeri — costumed men who perform rituals and dance to deter evil spirits. While the chair is functional, the sheepskin can be removed and worn as a costume. With movement, the bells on the work jingle, mimicking the sounds that the Kukeri make during dance.

Kaia Mladenova, “Обред [Obred]” (2024). Photo by Kaia Mladenova

Walking down the stairs of the Green Hall Gallery, visitors see “Memento Vivere (Yalensis)” by Stephanie Wang ’24 lining the staircase. Her work incorporates LED lights, knitted yarn, mirrors and a mix of prose and poetry based on interviews with 20 of her peers.

“I wanted to create something that responded to being in your early 20s, feeling a little lost and uncertain about the future, mourning your adolescence, and experiencing that as a collective here with the Yale community,” Wang wrote to the News. “The decision to flip my prints and force the audience to read them close-up through a reflected surface simulates the intimacy required to get to know someone on a deeper level.”

At the bottom of the stairs, “Time Traveler” by Alana Liu ’24, composed of blue acrylic painted on sheer voile, is suspended from the ceiling on the left, facing “Material Failures (Fiber House)” by Olivia Marwell ’24.

Marwell’s work uses common industrial materials such as wood, concrete and metal, alongside fiber, which has been traditionally associated with domestic, feminine work, to explore “the structural exploitation of the female body,” and “the alienation, invisibility, and impossibility of domestic labor,” she said.

Tilman Phleger ’24 further explores corporeality through non-traditional materials in his capstone work, a found-object sculpture that he said addresses violence perpetrated by the Catholic Church and clergy members.  

Tilman Phleger, “This Is My Body” (2024). Photo courtesy of Tilman Phleger.

Phleger explained that he sought to present Communion as a cannibalistic ritual by using blood bags and mangled casts of his hands.

“The piece inverts the typical Transubstantiation that happens during Communion and turns blood to wine by filtering it through bedsheets and bible pages, draining over the course of the show into a chalice that inevitably overflows into a pool of Communion wafers,” Phleger told the News. 

As visitors stroll toward the bottom floor of the Green Hall Gallery, colorful, figurative paintings by Mikiala Ng ’24 and Michael Wang ’24 demand attention, as well as three untitled oil on canvas works by Joji Baratelli ’24. 

Joji Baratelli, Three Untitled Works (2024). Photo courtesy of Joji Baratelli. 

On the same floor, “No Stalling! / 4 bands, 5 years” by Elizabeth Olshanetsky ’24 includes posters she designed for local bands covering the walls of a bathroom stall, intended to mimic the atmosphere of a concert venue bathroom. 

“What I appreciate the most about the Yale School of Art is that the classes here teach you how to think, make, and talk about art like an artist,” Wang said. “While the technical side of every medium still requires a lot of time and consistent practice, this place ultimately gives you a comprehensive creative toolkit that is helpful regardless of whatever career you decide to pursue.” 

The presentation is available to the Yale Community and invited accompanied guests this Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Elizabeth Olshanetsky, “No Stalling! / 4 bands, 5 years” (2024). Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Olshanetsky. 

Dorothea Robertson covers art at Yale. A member of Yale College's Class of 2025, she will receive a B.A. in Religious Studies, focusing on religious art.