June 1 - 8
Studio 110 Projects presents a closer look at exceptional thesis projects from this years MFA graduates. Included are students from California College of the Arts, Mills College, and San Francisco Art Institute.
Sarah Ammons, Megan Atherton, Alex Bargas, Irene Carvajal, Niina Diaz, Veva Edelson, Gabriel D. Edwards, Patrick Gainer, Chris Grunder, Calen Russell Hall, José Luis Íñiguez, Ashleigh Norman
For one week in the middle of May, the Bay Area becomes an electrified fugue for the visual arts. A cacophony of artists, art lovers, collectors, gallerists, writers, art historians and more bounce through end-of-year exhibitions and art fairs. The most recent swell of MFA graduates across the Bay Area fray their last remaining nerves to showcase their best work, the work that earned them a degree, work that kept them up most nights over the course of their two years of study.
After the dust settles, there’s a palpable calm. Given a week without deadlines, reviews, and critiques, recent MFA graduates can start to consider the nature of the tidal wave they’ve just ridden. At the break of the wave, Studio 110 Projects’ second annual Hang|Over exhibition features twelve artists plucked from the MFA exhibitions of Mills College, San Francisco Art Institute and California College of the Arts. Placing these artists in a more intimate context allows for a more considered and in depth examination of their work, and reveals the shared impulses driving many of these recent graduates.
Chris Grunder. Eight (excerpt from the series A Healthy Presence). Archival pigment print, 5 in x 7.5 in. Photograph courtesy of Mido Lee.
Chris Grunder (SFAI) documents moments “where the often tenuous connection between humans and nature is strengthened and becomes crystal clear by way of a shared sense of awareness.” In his series, A Healthy Presence, he translates the charged moment into sublime black and white photographs, encased in a frosted plexiglass cube and illuminated from within. The viewer must step up to the cube and peer into it from a panel left without the frosted glaze.
In center: Veva Edelson. Consumed. Credit reports, porcelain slip, and glaze, 3 ft x 7 ft. Photograph courtesy of Mido Lee.
Veva Edelson (Mills College) uses the transitional space between Studio 110’s two rooms to hang a series of porcelain casts. The delicate casts, which are dipped in clay and fired, are made from credit reports filed as part of housing applications in San Francisco’s notorious current housing crisis.
In Home Projection Project, Nina Diaz (CCA) collects the projected dreams of California renters and homeowners. She consults with them to understand their idealized visions of home, conducts a Google search to find imagery that would match that dream, and then literally projects those dreams back on to the facade and interiors of the home. The conceit is deceptively simple, using the medium to parallel the message. The work is documented in a salon-style hanging of framed photographs and text, which elicit a strong emotional connection as the viewer reads each resident’s wishes and sees the resulting projections on bedroom walls and outdoor fences.
Jose Iniguez. Cosmic Amulets: For My Sister, My Grandparents, My Parents, and For Me.Mixed media, 24 in x 20 in ea. Photograph courtesy of Mido Lee.
Jose Ininguez (CCA) recently traced his California heritage back to Mexico. The visit revealed that one of his ancestors had been accused of being a witch. Although Ininguez is unsure how accurate the claim may have been, it nonetheless informed his work. He began collecting objects from indoor mercados, flea markets and tianguis. He says, “As I began to explore the magical essence of my collection, I became interested in creating my own magical objects.” For his Cosmic Amulets series, Ininguez combined specific items in his collection to create objects that riffed on the Mexican package amulets sold in Santeria botanicas.
Alex Bargas (CCA) plays with Californian identity by layering black and gray Chicano-style temporary tattoos, the kind sold in quarter vending machines in grocery stores, and then encasing them in a gel-medium. In Generaciones #3, Bargas layers lick-on tattoos until the field behind them becomes black. It takes a close eye to distinguish the individual designs against the deep, shiny black field.
Megan Atherton. From left to right: Golden. Oil on board, 8 in x 8 in. Handkerchief. Oil on board, 12 in x 12 in. Back Side. Oil on board, 8 in x 12 in. Photograph courtesy of Mido Lee.
Painters Megan Atherton (CCA) and Sarah Ammons (SFAI) meticulously recreate patterning and textures in their paintings. Ammons inserts bold patterns into otherwise realistic renditions of interior spaces. The inhabitants of these spaces are caught in a tenuous moment in their relationship to each other, and to the domestic space in which they are situated. Ammons says of her work, “I often start with an image that asks the viewer to question what is going on – to try and assess the undercurrent of emotion in the room.”
Megan Atherton paints detailed textiles mixed with traces of their lived use. Golden depicts a gold chain placed on a patterned, paint-stained fabric. In Handkerchief, faded and creased fabric contains light stains in the bottom right-hand corner. The paintings allude to an archive of past use, something like a biography. Similarly, Irene Carvajal (SFAI) uses textiles to speak of both their use-value and the globalized traces of their labor. She runs garments through a printing press, leaving the mark of folds and pleats pressed into paper.
Patrick Aaron Gainer. Bears Ride Tractors 2, detail. Fleece, gold chain, mesh, Timberland boot, 59 in x 47 in x 46 in. Photograph courtesy of Mido Lee.
Manipulating patterns in a distinct style, Patrick Gainer’s (CCA) Bears Ride Tractors 2 picks apart the construction of gender identity. He employs a childish blue fleece fabric, printed with toy bears riding tractors, and a yellow jersey mesh to cover two sides of an abstract shape. It balances on a fabric-coated plank inserted into a Timberland boot, which is laced with gold chain. The gender codified fabrics and objects reference “man”-ual labor, and engulf a shape that cannot be easily categorized or classified.
Despite differing backgrounds, schools, and areas of study, the work in Hang|Over all speaks a similar language. Threads of texture, patterning, identity, and meticulous attention to medium tie the artists in the exhibition together. Additionally, all of the artists appear to be impacted in part by their relationship to their current environment-- exploring the hybridity of Californian identity, the housing crisis and ongoing conversations regarding domesticity and gender identification. By participating in a show like Hang|Over, these recent grads are given the opportunity for a new creative community to grow out of the suspended period between graduate school and the “real world”.
Hang|Over 2014 will host an opening reception on June 1st, 2014 from 12-4pm, and will be on view June 7th & 8th from 12-4pm.
Event photos by Mido Lee