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News

Art Department's News and Events

Amir Zaki

UC Riverside Art Department professor Amir Zaki has a new survey monograph spanning 23 years of work. 

Co-published by X Artists’ Books and  DoppelHouse Press, Amir Zaki’s Building + Becoming brings together 272 pages of full-color work by the California-based hyperrealist photographer, accompanied by an interview with curator and writer Corrina Peipon and an essay co-authored by critics Jennifer Ashton and Walter Benn Michaels.

Building + Becoming is a sculptural monograph, designed as a double gatefold that opens to a full width of roughly forty inches, allowing the reader to explore both sets of images and texts in different combinations. The multiple series by Zaki captured within these sets address the built and the natural, including rocks, carvings, suspended landscapes, and manipulated California beach architecture. Like his skateparks, these environments are uncannily quiet and devoid of people.

Corrina Peipon’s interview with Zaki explores the artist’s personal history and concerns about photography and technology. “I am interested in the attraction and repulsion that a photograph which depicts something familiar and unfamiliar, initially welcoming yet somewhat alienating, can elicit in a viewer and me. I am looking for a kind of strangeness within the commonplace. Ultimately, I use digital technology as a means to an end. I am trying to make photographs that manifest the world I desire.”

Jennifer Ashton and Walter Benn Michaels’ essay offers insight into Zaki’s manipulation of space through “evenness,” which is accomplished by creating a perfectly technically focused object: “The point is not that the pictures overcome physical limits, but that they violate the logic of our eyesight.” Referencing the history of landscape and modern photography in California, Michaels and Ashton show that Zaki’s insistence on marrying technology seamlessly with this tradition results in continuity, an “addition through subtraction” of the third dimension.

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John Divola

Distinguished Professor John Divola has a solo exhibition in New York at Yancey Richardson Gallery from April 16th-May 21st

Press Release:

Yancey Richardson is pleased to present Swimming Drunk, an exhibition of photographs by John Divola. The exhibition includes two photographic series that represent the breadth of the artist’s more than 40 year career: Zuma Series (1977-1978), and Daybreak (2015-2020). Both series are a result of Divola’s engagement with abandoned buildings, and his interest in transforming a situation through photography. Thus, the photographs do not serve as mere descriptions of the scenes depicted but instead are offered as artifacts from the artist’s physical and experiential interventions within these environments.

 In the late seventies, Divola came across an abandoned property on Zuma Beach in Southern California. The building was repeatedly burned and damaged in various ways by the fire department who used it for training exercises and practice drills. Over the course of a year, Divola returned on numerous occasions to photograph the site, making additions to the interior with paint and graffiti, augmented by others’ vandalism, decay from natural elements, and the passage of time.

Divola describes Zuma Series (1977-1978),  as “a product of [his] involvement with an evolving situation…my acts, my painting, my photographing, my considering, are part of, not separate from, this process of evolution and change.” His willingness to physically intervene with his surroundings, combined with his bold use of color, marked Divola’s departure from the status quo in an era that prized the neutrality of predominantly black and white documentary photography.  

Daybreak (2015-2020) is a result of Divola’s long term engagement with the abandoned housing complex at the decommissioned George Air Force Base in Victorville, California. In this series, Divola explores the way in which light illuminated the space, photographing primarily at dawn. By adopting the analog format of 8×10 silver gelatin contact prints for the series, Divola calls attention to the photographs as physical manifestations of his engagement in the site. Indeed, as the artist has said, “each photograph represents an index of multiple gestures. The design of the architect, the labor of the builders, the traces of past occupants… [Divola’s] own painting and installations, and ultimately [his] gestures of selection.” And it is from this multiplicity of meaning that the photographs derive their power, resisting easy categorization or interpretation as Divola embraces “the messy complexity” of photography.

Born in Los Angeles in 1949, Divola earned a BA from California State University, Northridge in 1971 and an MA from University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied under photographer Robert Heinecken. Since 1975 he has taught photography and art at numerous institutions including California Institute of the Arts (1978-1988), and since 1988 he has been a Professor of Art at the University of California, Riverside.

Since 1975, Divola’s work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions throughout the world. In 2013, a three-venue retrospective of Divola’s work titled As Far As I Could Get took place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Pomona College Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Further solo museum exhibitions include the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, 2019, and the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California, 2019. His work can be found in major public collections worldwide, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Among Divola’s Awards are Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1973, 1976, 1979, 1990), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1986), a Fintridge Foundation Fellowship (1998), a City of Los Angeles Artist Grant (1999) and a California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship (1998).

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Pui Tiffany Chow and Julie Sadowski

UC Riverside MFA Alumni Pui Tiffany Chow and Julie Sadowski are participating in a group show at Phase Gallery in Los Angeles from April 9th-May 7th. 

Pui Tiffany Chow And Julie Sadowski In Collaboration With Paweł Żukowski

“Bend”

Julie Sadowski is a Polish-American artist living between Los Angeles and Warsaw. At Phase Gallery she presents photographs alongside works in collaboration with Paweł Żukowski, Polish artist and activist. Together they have translated, then stenciled excerpts of several feminist Polish songs onto fabric swatches. Julie will also present a series of collages and photographs of women’s shoes previously used by her mother for the ladies apparel business.

Pui Tiffany Chow presents a series of recent paintings that teeter between figuration and abstraction, referencing art historical representations of the female form in various erotic poses of shame. Pui stages these classical forms, like the Venus, as narrative vehicles to house discrete moments of abstraction in a plural array of stroke, color and style. Pui lives and works in Los Angeles.

Paweł Żukowski is an artist and activist, born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. Graduate of Abakanowicz Art University in Poznań. He works with text, recycled materials and found objects, mixing them together in collage-objects. He is a current artist in residence at the Tom of Finland Foundation.

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MFA Thesis 2022

MFA Thesis Exhibition 2022

Culver Center of the Arts

April 16, 2022 to May 8, 2022

Opening Reception: Saturday April 16, 2–5 PM

Out from the Dark presents the work of three students graduating from UCR’s Master of Fine Arts program this year: Daniel Arthur Mendoza, Mickey Mackenna, and Alex Delapena. These students join the ranks of MFA graduates from art departments and art schools across Southern California, a region that has become known for transforming its art students into major players on the international art scene. UCR’s distinctive thesis exhibition offers our highly motivated students an off campus, public gallery setting to present an ambitious body of work, cumulating advanced art research and practice into a thesis project. The distinguished full-time faculty in UCR’s Art Department includes Anna Betbeze, John Divola, Jim Isermann, Brandon Lattu, Charles Long, Lynne Marsh, Yunhee Min, and Amir Zaki.

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Yunhee Min

The UC Riverside Art Department would like to recognize and congratulate our faculty member Yunhee Min who has been awarded the distinguished Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Art for 2022! This is a huge honor. She joins our department’s stellar record of past Guggenheim fellows including Joe Deal (Emeritus), John Divola, James Strombotne (Emeritus), Uta Barth (Emeritus), Melissa Thorne (University of Albany), Jim Isermann, Charles Long, and Jill Giegerich (Emeritus). The Guggenheim Fellowship is highly competitive and one of the most prestigious awards one in our field can achieve. Congratulations, Yunhee! 

Yunhee Min’s work, both paintings, and site projects explore visual abstraction as an open proposition for aesthetic relationality and perception expressed with color, surface, gesture, as well as material and form. Min is interested in engendering space of individuation and experience with abstraction, resistant to fixed or dominant meaning. In this respect, color plays a large role in its delicate contingency inherent in our perception and sensation. Her work has been featured in gallery and museum exhibitions including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Art Sonje Center, Seoul, Korea, Artist Space, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles, Miles McEnery Gallery in NY among others. Min is a recipient of the Korea Arts Foundation of America Artist Grant, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Grant, and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Grant.

Min’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums including Vielmetter Los Angeles and Miles McEnery Gallery in NYC.  

For more information:

www.yunheemin.com

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Anna Betbeze

UC Riverside Faculty Member Anna Betbeze has a two-person show with Corazón del Sol now open at The Box Gallery.

Anna Betbeze & Corazón del Sol 

Sarcophagus Telephone

The Box

February 5 – March 26, 2022

All Day Opening February 5, 12-6pm

Artist Walk Through February 19, 11am

Sarcophagus Telephone is a collection of works by Anna Betbeze and Corazón del Sol. Coming from its Greek roots Sarcophagus means flesh-eating and Telephone means sound from afar. This title gives navigational reference to the viewer on how these artists prioritize the importance of losing control, their devotion to questions of material transformation, formlessness, and diffraction, centering all that is sensory. This project is about speaking in and outside of time, dreams made corporeal, and the breadth of friendship. Betbeze and Del Sol pursue pre-linguistic forms of expression, embodied practices, and ritual in their respective practices; engaging the polychromatic, crystallized nature of color, color as light and sensation. 

When Betbeze and del Sol met a few years ago, they discovered uncanny parallels in their formal languages. They share lodestones such as Catherine Malabou’s formulations of plasticity and Audre Lorde’s conception of The Erotic. Del Sol uses caustic synthetic materials such as Dragon Skin silicone, resins and enamels, much of which is used in the film industry for artifice and illusion. With Veils, large silicone skins rubbed with vibrant color overlap and filter light creating an enveloping space for the viewer to enter. Her work, Instrument for Becoming, is a experiential sound object that places the body in vulnerable relation to sonic vibration. 

Betbeze has continually worked with the haptic sense through densely layered and textured materials, insisting on finding the limits of her materials through fire, acids, and saturation. Large paintings on wool flokati evoke carcasses, animated by color, texture, and emotional projection. In a new work Studies for Death Puppet, a collection of video vignettes feature motorized puppets made of tin foil and duct tape. A larger projection and sculpture, Endings, Beginnings, made in collaboration with artist and musician, Caye Castagnetto, expands on these ideas; tracking consciousness in materiality, human loss in the face of AI, and the perception of liveness in kinetic movement.

The Trojan Horses (Medusa and Cave) are a pair of collaborative sculptures that were conceived as  two sided stages, a rotating platform where material fragments combine in non-fixed, improvised, and alchemical compositions. Each work reveals the dominant aesthetic of each artist, exploring the margins of collaborative art making and exploratory sense making of how two beings come together to make collaborative works. 

Existing within a world that is increasingly circumscribed by the optics of digital technology, and its concomitant limitations and expansions of the perceivable world, Betbeze and Del Sol make work for the sensing body, with a belief that only through erotic thought and attention to feeling, can we truly address the urgencies of this particular moment. 

Anna Betbeze’s work involves exploration of the touch sense and proprioceptive sensation, arriving at new forms that combine elements of painting, sculpture, puppetry, performance, and pedagogy. Her work has been shown at institutions such as MOMA PS1, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, The Hessel Museum at Bard College, MassMOCA and The Power Station, Shanghai. Her recent and ongoing project Touch Workshop is oriented around questions: How can the tactile imagination respond in the absence of tactile freedom? How do we transfer feeling, touching those outside of our time-space? This project was presented at Human Resources LA in 2020 and featured in TDR Journal in 2021.

Corazon del Sol is a third generation Los Angeles-based artist. Informally taught by her early access to the arts and subsequent questioning of the arts’ organizing systems, she has a practice rooted in collective sense making through conversation, movement, video, sculpture, and other experimental modes. Her work has been shown at international institutions such as Salon Nacional 44 Colombia (Colombian National Salon of Artists) and International Centre for Contemporary Culture, San Sebastian. Del Sol has curated shows including Dysfuctional Formulas of Love with co-curator Víctor Albarracín Llanos and Let Power Take a Female Form. Through her community activism and formation of the low-cost housing prototype, Jardin de Estrellas, she brings form to her belief that beautiful housing is a fundamental human right. The prototype of the Jardin de Estrella is installed in The Box parking lot for viewers to see. Lately she is most interested in connectivity’s ability to dislodge addiction to power that traumas engender.

 

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Brandon Lattu

 

UC Riverside Faculty Member Brandon Lattu has a large survey exhibition on view until February 6th, 2022 at the California Museum of Photography.

Brandon Lattu

Empirical, Textual, Contextual

California Museum of Photography

October 2, 2021 – February 6, 2022

Set within the broad, mercurial image environment in which we create and consume, this timely and first survey exhibition of Brandon Lattu’s 25-year practice is a sensory and cerebral journey. Lattu re-versions and re-animates early work through contingency with recent and new projects, manifesting the through-lines of Lattu’s creative life.  The exhibition positions a variety of works, ranging from small, singular photographic prints, interactive light installations, animated slideshows, through to computer-carved sculptures. The exhibition, curated by Charlotte Cotton, highlights the restlessly experimental photographic approach in Lattu’s practice by constellating works into thematic clusters and flows through the California Museum of Photography’s galleries – amplifying conceptual freedom to push ideas of photography and animate the indexicality of the medium, regardless of its material form.  

 

Curator: Charlotte Cotton.

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Young Joon Kwak

UCR Lecturer Young Joon Kwak has an exhibition at Commonwealth and Council Gallery in Los Angeles. 

Spartan Ruin

Young Joon Kwak

Commonwealth and Council presents Spartan Ruin, a new exhibition of sculptures and prints by Young Joon Kwak stemming from their term as 2020-21 Artist-in-Residence in Critical Race Studies at Michigan State University. Kwak recast the campus’s iconic statue of The Spartan—itself a bronze replica of Leonard Jungwirth’s 1945 terra cotta original—in cold-cast metal as a way of working through, and beyond, the familiar iconography of the Neoclassical militant. Kwak’s exhibition stages a recuperative reinterpretation of the affectionately-dubbed “Sparty” through different techniques of material transmutation, fragmentation, reproduction, and shifts in scale and orientation. Transposed to Los Angeles, Kwak’s works meld impressions of Sparty with those of the artist’s own body, further dismantling the idol in ways that are as disorienting as they are erotic.

Kwak created silicone molds of the statue to produce reverse-cast “skins” that capture the slightest surface details and textures on the statue, affording an intimate view of its construction and other human interactions with the statue. Marks made by the original artist’s hand in modeling the statue, the ritual of pennies being glued to different parts of its body by athletes praying for good luck, and signs of its wear at the hands of time and the elements all shed light on its vulnerability and liveness, and with it, the potential for its reimagining and reconstruction.

While faithful to their subject, these fragmentary skins comprise a vivid, seductive ruin which we replenish with our own desires. Kwak teases moments of camp from Sparty’s body, further destabilizing whatever staid and stoic masculinity might yet remain among these dissociated vestiges. Kwak zeroes

in on Sparty’s buttocks, on its hand gathering its skirt to the groin as it appears to sashay forward into battle. Sparty’s idealized washboard abs now read almost like drag hyperbole on macho athleticism. A larger-than-life-size breastplate (made using a cast from Sparty’s chest) glimmers in the gallery, bejeweled in holographic crystals—an iridescent skin that shifts in form and color. Emerging from the shattered disarray of Sparty’s shed skins as a psychedelic portal of multivalent hue and beguiling texture, this twinkling, buxom armor celebrates a glorious, queer state of being—prevailing in constant becoming, fierce and formless, born of light and nascent shape. 

The monumental scale of Kwak’s monoprints invite viewers to lose themselves among inchoate marblings and striation—diffuse intimations of body parts loosely held within the blast radius of Kwak’s inky reimagining. Pools of sticky blots, perhaps tracking Kwak’s fingers dabbling sensually across the sculpture’s naked contours, anchor the bits of limbs and torso in configurations both evocative and provocative.

Accompanying the exhibition is Spartan Ruin: A Reader. Available as a free takeaway booklet and an online pdf, the reader is edited by Jeanne Dreskin and contains texts by art historian Karin Zitzewitz, a piece co-authored by Dreskin and Kwak, and a roundtable with members of MSU’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community.

Kwak would like to extend a special thanks to the following people for their support in creating this body of work: Marvin Astorga, Lauren Batdorff, Jeanne Dreskin, Michael Earl, Nicolei Gupit, Michael McCune, Los Medina-Diaz, Walter Peebles, Gala Porras-Kim, Charlie Roses, and Karin Zitzewitz.

Young Joon Kwak (b. 1984, Queens, New York; lives and works in Los Angeles) received an MFA from the University of Southern California in 2014, an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2010, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. They are the founder of Mutant Salon, a roving beauty salon/platform for experimental performance collaborations with their community of queer, trans, femme, POC artists and performers, and lead performer in the electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner. 

Solo exhibitions have been held at Union Gallery, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2021); Cerritos College Art Gallery, CA (2020); Cloaca Projects, San Francisco (2019); Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada (2018); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, CA (2018); and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2017, 2014). They have performed at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2019); Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, India (2018); Art Museum of the National University of Colombia, Bogotá (2018); Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016); The Broad, Los Angeles (2016); and Le Pavillon Vendôme Centre d’Art Contemporain, Clichy, France (2016). Selected group exhibitions have been held at Hauser & Wirth, New York (2021), Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston (2021); Lyles & King, New York (2021); deli gallery, New York (2020); Antenna Space, Shanghai (2019); Gas, Los Angeles (2018); 47 Canal, New York (2018); Anonymous Gallery, Mexico City (2018); and Smack Mellon, New York (2016). They are the recipient of a Korean Arts Foundation of America (KAFA) Artist Award (2020), Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Emerging Artist Grant (2018) and Artist Community Engagement Grant (2016), and Art Matters Foundation Grant (2016). Their next solo exhibition will be held at the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles in November 2021.

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Lynne Marsh

Lynne Marsh: Who Raised It Up So Many Times?

September 25, 2021–January 9, 2022

Opening reception: Saturday, October 16, 2021, 5–9 p.m.

UCR ARTS

Culver Center of the Arts, Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery

3834 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501
USA

UCR ARTS is pleased to present the first comprehensive U.S. solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist Lynne Marsh. Who Raised It Up So Many Times? will be on view from September 25, 2021–January 9, 2022 at UCR ARTS’ Culver Center of the Arts, Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery in downtown Riverside, California.

 

Who Raised It Up So Many Times? presents video installations and screenings by Marsh that explore labor and production in the realms of television, live performance, and 3D capture. A German TV news station, the Berlin Philharmonic concert hall, an English opera house, and a Southern California mixed-reality capture studio are all tapped to reveal the orchestrated, yet invisible, labor that underpins cultural production. Marsh’s works highlight the gestures, tools, and specialized skills that cultural workers of all kinds mobilize every day, inviting us to consider the manufacturing of images, sounds, and events. Utilizing up-to-the-minute technology while maintaining a historical view of mediated imagery, Marsh prompts us to reflect upon our roles, complicities, and pleasures as we create and consume images.

Her newest work, Ninfa Atlas (2021), debuts as a 5-channel video installation. For this piece, Marsh composed a 72-image score animating historical feminine figures from Western art and culture mined from the famous archive of art historian Aby Warburg. She collaborated with five Los Angeles-based performers who interpreted the score through gesture and movement, and then captured their performances in 3D. Ninfa Atlas manifests a translation process that carries the human figure from historic archive through embodied performance to digital asset. Marsh tracks the lives of these figures and their gestures as they adapt across technological eras, social contexts, and historical situations. Her approach highlights the complexities and problematics of cultural categorization and visual legibility.

“Marsh’s work is generous to us, its viewers. It elicits our perceptual abilities, rewards us with the pleasure of art appreciation, and prompts us to consider humanity in relation to mediation, technology, and the symbolic realm,” says independent curator and cultural producer Kimberli Meyer, who organized the exhibition. Meyer was formerly director of the University Art Museum at Cal State University Long Beach and director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, at the Schindler House.

The exhibition is supported by UCR CHASS, City of Riverside, Kathy Wright & Dwight Tate, and Ann DeWolfe. The artist acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts; UCR Academic Senate; and Metastage, Los Angeles.

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