Read about what some of our alums are doing in the visual arts. Please submit your own nominations and submissions to the alumni office.

Natasha Boas '82, Ph.D. - Curator

A UHS Western Civ groupie, I went on to study the philosophy of aesthetics, literature and art history at Yale University and earned my Ph.D in 1996. All the while I was working as a gallery director in New York and Paris and then chief curator and director of local Bay Area museums. I am committed to supporting artists. In addition to being a contemporary art curator, I am an arts educator, and museum administrator.

Jesse Robert Coffino '00 - Studio Director

For the last nine years, I have managed projects, exhibitions and sales for contemporary artist Xu Bing as director of his Brooklyn, NY studio. In this capacity, I work closely with institutions and organizations throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the British Museum; the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the U.S. Department of State and the Foreign Ministry of the People's Republic of China, among many others. My lifelong interests in the arts and language, which continue to play an important role in my work, were both fostered at UHS. And I credit UHS with the ability to write with clarity and conviction, a skill that has served every UHS graduate I know. 2004, BA, Columbia University Cum Laude. Website.

Emma Hanley '08 - Junior Specialist at Christie's

As a Junior Specialist in the Impressionist and Modern Department at Christie's in New York, I meet with clients and catalogue two sales - the Works on Paper sale and Day sale. For the latter, I meet restorers and framers, and I research provenance, exhibition history and literature references for each lot in our May and November sales.
Previously, I was the administrator for these sales, arranging the contracts, shipping, photography, catalogue production and successful sale of over 300 works of art. I graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Art History and minor in Global Poverty. While I always knew I wanted a career in the arts, I can whole-heartedly thank A.P. Art History for honing my artistic tastes! 

Mary Daniel Hobson '87 - Artist

At the age of 14, I became captivated by photography while at UHS, and I have been pursuing it ever since. Trained as an art historian, I received my MA from the University of New Mexico where my studies of Surrealist photography and the work of Dora Maar encouraged me to work in a mixed media manner with photography. Whether bottling photographs, building layered collages or creating intimate still lives, I draw inspiration from both the natural world and the inner realm of emotions and dreams. My work is represented by Modernbook Gallery in San Francisco and is in numerous collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Why she chose this profession: I love creating with my hands and weaving meaning with visual imagery. I feel truly blessed to work at something I enjoy so much. Website.

Courtney Mattison '04 - Sculptor, Ocean Advocate

As an “artivist” (artist-activist) for the oceans, Courtney creates ceramic sculptural work that celebrates the exotic forms of marine flora and fauna in concert with their biological complexity, diversity, and vulnerability in the face of human-caused threats such as climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing and pollution. With an interdisciplinary BA in sculpture and marine ecology from Skidmore College and an MA in Environmental Studies from Brown University, Courtney combines art and biology to inspire policy makers and the public to protect and restore our oceans. Works from her series of large-scale ceramic sculptural installations titled "Our Changing Seas" have been exhibited at the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Commerce / NOAA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. as well as the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center in South Florida. Website.

Matthew Peek '89 - Architect, Principal Peek Ancona Architecture

Matthew Peek is an architect, professor, and principal of Studio Peek | Ancona in San Francisco. He says: UHS encouraged me to bridge a range of studies, which gave me the ability to synthesize the building blocks of knowledge and continually reassemble them in the process of creative production. After UHS, I studied architecture at Berkeley, Columbia, and Yale, and finished with a Fulbright at the University of Venice. One of my favorite projects is my "Flood-Proof House" at Stinson Beach, recently selected as one of the fifteen most beautiful houses in America by Architectures a Vivre. In 2011 it received an AIA California Design Award and was published in Dwell Magazine.

Talk to the Students: I chose architecture because it gives me the possibility to combine research and design, creating ever stronger and more dramatic built forms.
Research: To balance my everyday built projects, I periodically lead international competitions, which include an awarded proposal for the Manhattan's High Line, a space agency in Rome, and a new waterfront sculpture park for Berkeley. The Berkeley project bridged my research for David de Rothschild's Plastiki, utilizing recycled plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. The innovative thermoplastic structural skin enabled a five hundred foot-long floating architectural sculpture to rest lightly on landfill.
Design: I am currently halfway through construction on a LEED Hurricane House south of Manhattan, which was recently nominated for exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Building Museum. As a professor, I work with communities to design regenerative urban spaces, particularly local areas along the San Francisco waterfront, as well as the recent Japan Tsunami Reconstruction. My work ranges from homes to workplaces, with a focus on sustainability, internationally recognized for its unusual resistance to hazards combined with design quality. Website 


George Pfau '01 - Artist

George is a multi-media visual artist based in San Francisco working on various solo and collaborative projects. In 2013-2014 his work zombiescapes.us has been written about in Vice Motherboard, Fast Company, i09, AV Club, and Esquire Russia. George has a BFA from NYU and an MFA from CCA. Website.

Emily Proud '04 - Artist

Emily Proud is an artist in San Francisco. She works primarily in watercolor and her recent work is heavily influenced by the California landscape. She has a B.A. in Fine Art from UCLA, and also attended the Oxbow School and CSSSA. She also teaches and does freelance illustration for clients including Airbnb and Chronicle Books. Website.

Adam Thorman '99 - Artist, Photographer, and Educator

Adam has a BFA in Photography from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and an MFA in Photography from Arizona State University. He is a working artist, started the Bay Area arts organization Loop Arts, and has taught high school, college and adult workshops. He currently teaches at the Athenian School in Danville and the Berkeley Art Studio at UC Berkeley. Website.
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