Kayla Cochran


Kayla Cochran is a Massachusetts-born artist currently living and working in Seattle, Washington. She received her BFA in Painting and Drawing from Montserrat College of Art in 2015, where she received both the Montserrat Painting Award and the Montserrat Art Education Award. Since then, she has been teaching middle school, high school, and undergraduate level art courses. She received an MFA from the University of Washington in 2023.

Artist Statement
This project is an extension of my longstanding interest in visual storytelling through domestic still life. In an attempt to discover these stories, I rely heavily on the practice of collecting and investigating evidence of existence. In search of human paraphernalia that hold some anonymous history, I find artifacts that, together, evoke new narratives and place value in moments and items that were once discarded. This project has developed into a series of interdisciplinary set-ups that collapse expectations of reality and dimensionality. It disorients through uncanny familiarity and illusion, communicating a sense of both nostalgia and anxiety. The work weaves together personal stories of growing up in Massachusetts with those of anonymous figures and fictional characters. There is a human presence that transcends the body and grants subjectivity to inanimate paraphernalia. I encourage viewers to step into this mirror world, reminiscent of a dream, in search of a feeling, an answer, or a memory.

Ann Gale
Sangram Majumdar
Zhi Lin
Helen O’Toole

Welcome Note

For this particular graduate class, the years at the UW have been marked by oh so many unforeseen challenges. So much of the all-encompassing and precious experience that graduate school affords was disrupted by forces brought upon all of us during these particular times. I am especially grateful and proud to have watched this cohort rise to meet these extraordinary challenges with creativity, grace and pro-active determination. The successful completion of their degrees has been fulfilled with passion and the thoughtful consideration of the issues, ideas, and experiences that permeate the world we live in.

A sense of completion, achievement, and reflection is palpable in the works brought together in this Graduate Showcase. More so than ever, this journey has not been a solitary endeavor, but rather is made possible by an essential and supportive community that includes fellow students, family, friends, distinguished visitors, staff, and faculty. I especially want to acknowledge the support and mentorship offered by our faculty and staff who are so committed to creating an educational environment where our graduate students are able to thrive.

I want to recognize and thank Shin Yu Pai, Rock Hushka, Stefan Gonzales, Sadaf Sadri, and Heidi Biggs, for their efforts and insights gleaned during their interviews with the Art and Design grads.

Thanks so much for the collective and enthusiastic support of the entire Henry Art Gallery team, with special thanks to Sylvia Wolf, director, along with exhibition designers and preparators Rachel Ann Kessler and Eric Zimmerman. The opportunity for our graduate students to exhibit their thesis work in such a special space is a fitting capstone to their graduate careers.

I hope you enjoy exploring this online showcase where you will discover how each graduate student transformed their ideas, passions, and skills into a body of research that reflects and addresses the opportunities, challenges, wonder, confusion, and joy of the world we all inhabit.

On behalf of the School of Art + Art History + Design, congratulations to the Graduate Class of 2023!

Jamie Walker
Director, School of Art + Art History + Design
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair in Art