Artist Lab Residency

The MCLA Artist Lab (Laboratory) Residency was created to give MCLA students, and the North Adams community, access to accomplished artists from all over the world. The Artist Lab Residency is dedicated to supporting the creation, exhibition, criticism, and documentation of work by historically underrepresented artists. The artists invited to participate provide both inspiration and advice for best navigating and understanding the art world. Artists are selected based on their practice, their contribution to the art world, and the way in which their career reflects the diversity of thought, talent and triumph that exists among artists striving to contribute to, and consequently expand, what is considered the art history canon.

At least two times a year, once each semester, Artists in Residence are invited to create work, share work, and in some cases teach courses at MCLA. Each artist is asked to create a body of work that will culminate the Residency in an exhibition at MCLA's Gallery 51. The artist is provided housing and given a studio space in the Art Lab, next door to Gallery 51. In Art Lab, artists can conduct workshops, talks, and other type of programming they are interested in facilitating for the community. MCLA Arts and Culture is proud to be able to offer this experience to the participating artists and the community.



2021-2022 MCLA Artist Lab Residents

Sherwin Rio

June 2022

Sherwin Rio headshot

Sherwin Rio (Brooklyn/San Francisco) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher making site-specific and research-based metaphors addressing colonization, historical public amnesia, and intergenerational storytelling through a Filipinx-American lens in the fields of sculpture, installation, video, performance, and audio. He has exhibited and performed as a solo and collaborative artist in venues such as: La Becque (CH), Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (CA), de Young Museum (CA), Carnegie Museum of Art (PA), Carlsbad Museum of Art (NM), San Jose State University (CA), Portland State University (OR), University of Northern Colorado (CO), Human Resources (CA), and Torpedo Factory (VA). His work has been acquired by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Rio has received awards including the San Francisco Foundation's Jack K. and Gertrude Murphy Award, the Ella King Torrey Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts, and the San Francisco Art Institute's Outstanding MFA Graduate Award, as well as a fellowship at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA. He has had residencies at the Josephine Sculpture Park (Frankfort, KY) through the International Sculpture Center and the Walkaway House (North Adams, MA).

He received a dual MFA in Studio Art and MA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art from SFAI and a BFA in Printmaking with a minor in Art History from the University of Florida.


Nathaniel Donnett

January 2022 - May 2022

Nathaniel Donnett headshot

Nathaniel Donnett is a multi-disciplinary cultural practitioner who lives and works in Houston, TX. Donnett's practice holds metaphysical and phenomenological spaces that speak to history, uncertainty, socio-political and cultural concerns, space/time, the interior/exterior self, and race. He applies refusal strategies that cultivate his oeuvre, embedding polyrhythms into the poetics of the everyday. By exercising black aesthetic traditions, radical fractal theory, ideas of incompleteness, and sacred geometry as methodologies and everyday aesthetics, Donnett challenges conventional linear timeline narratives and Westernized frameworks. Visual, haptic, and audio languages are translations via modes of abstraction and figural vernacular coded systems. Donnett employs these codes to find the nuance and meaning in the overlooked and undervalued. Investigating materials and ideas compiled from daily life, a series of endless questions arise that refer to the imagination, experience, and thought processes. These associations are applied asymmetrically, unfolding imaginative and practical cosmologies. 

Nathaniel Donnett received his BA in Fine Arts from Texas Southern University and his MFA from Yale University School of Art. Donnett is a recipient of a 2020 Dean's Critical Practice Research Grant, 2020 Art and Social Justice Initiative Grant, and the 2020-2021 Helen Frankenthaler Scholarship. Donnett has been awarded a 2017 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant, 2015 Idea Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, a 2014 Harpo Foundation Grant, and a 2010 Artadia Award. His work has been shown at The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA, The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virgina Beach, VA, The Mennello Museum, Orlando FL, The Ulrich Museum, Wichita, KS, The American Museum, Washington, DC, The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum, Kansas City, MO, The Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, The University Museum, Houston, TX, and The New Museum, New York, NY.

Nathaniel Donnett is represented by Morton Fine Art Gallery


Joshua ROSS

September 2021 - December 2021

Joshua Ross headshot

Joshua Ross (1992, Indianapolis, Indiana) holds an MFA in Art at the University of California, Irvine, and a BFA in Photography from Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. Ross’ research-based practice is an entrenched phenomenological approach that investigates institutional, bodily, and spatial structures that organize and influence perception. Ross’ multi-disciplinary practice employs and appropriates a variety of material and media developed through relationships to methodologies inherently related to his research and archival experiences of photography. Some recent notable exhibits Ross has featured artwork include Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Queens LA, and Human Resources Los Angeles.



Past MCLA Artist Lab Residents

Inaugural Artist in Residence GENEVIEVE GAIGNARD 

April 2020 - August 2020

Photograph entitled The Rise and Fall Take Em Down by Genevieve Gaignard. The artist appears twice in the image with different clothing. One stands on the industrial cement structure as the other sits

Genevieve Gaignard is a Los Angeles based artist whose work focuses on photographic self-portraiture, sculpture, and installation to explore race, femininity, class, and their various intersections. The daughter of a black father and white mother, Gaignard’s youth was marked by a strong sense of invisibility. Was her family white enough to be white? Black enough to be black? Gaignard interrogates notions of “passing” in an effort to address these questions. She positions her own female body as the chief site of exploration — challenging viewers to navigate the powers and anxieties of intersectional identity. Influenced by the soulful sounds of Billy Stewart, the kitschy aesthetic of John Waters and the provocative artifice of drag culture, Gaignard uses low-brow pop sensibilities to craft dynamic visual narratives. From the identity performance ritualized in ‘‘selfie” culture to the gender performance of femininity, Gaignard blends humor, persona and popular culture to reveal the ways in which the meeting and mixing of contrasting realities can feel much like displacement.

Gaignard received her MFA in Photography at Yale University and her BFA in Photography at Massachusetts College of Art. She has exhibited throughout the United States, including shows at Studio Museum in Harlem, the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the Houston Center for Photography. In 2017, her work was included in the Prospect.4 Triennial in New Orleans. Gaignard's work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, W Magazine, The LA Times, Artforum, and on Vice News Tonight, among others. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, California African American Museum, LA, Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, the FLAG Art Foundation, New York, the Seattle Museum of Art, and the San Jose Museum of Art.


February 16, 2021: The Clark, "Unpacking My Identity ": Genevieve Gaignard on Race in America and the Impossibility of Home

October 13, 2020: Artsy, "Genevieve Gaignard's Timely Work Documents Racial Injustice and Calls for Change"

September 4, 2020: The Berkshire Eagle, "MCLA Gallery 51 reopens with 'A Long Way From Home'"

June 17, 2020: Vanity Fair, “We're Not Going Anywhere”: Genevieve Gaignard and Her Art Are Ready for This and Every Moment