Vincent Johnson: A Composition
February 2 - April 15, 2019
Vincent Johnson is an intellectual. His intellectual pursuits have driven his work for over thirty years. Johnson is a painter, a photographer, a writer, and a scholar. So well-read in the works of nineteenth century French and American literature, he once amassed a collection of over four thousand rare books in these subjects and many others. The works he reads are as important and the work he creates.
Johnson, born in Cleveland, Ohio, began his career with a stint in the workforce and the military. He studied art history at Case Western Reserve University, then painting at Pratt in New York, then painting and cinema at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and finally moved to California, to pursue his MFA at the Art Center in Pasadena. This Los Angeles-based artist has continued to study, research, and travel to support and feed his practice.
A Composition is the first exhibition to showcase Johnson’s photographs and paintings in the same space. It is a convergence of his painting and photography. It also reflects Johnson’s deep understanding of cinema, literature, and his vast knowledge of art history, all of which is ever present in his work. His abstract paintings show a layering of elements; color and texture, which is also evident in his photographs. His documentary photographs record the sites and architecture of Odessa, Texas to parts of southeast London and, the emphasis on color and texture continue from the former to the latter medium. His work echoes that of Walker Evans documentary photography and William Eggleston’s elevation of color photography, two of many great influences for Johnson.
Johnson composes his works as though they are synced with one another to create a single composition. In totality, it illuminates his never-ending pursuit to develop, record and complete. There is no timeline for completion, his works are an ongoing piece. There are no rules. Yet, there is an astute understanding of the processes and the techniques required to fully execute his vision.
Under no illusion of acceptance, Johnson has continued to create work that is a philosophical vision that comes from where we are now and not where he is now, or where African Americans are now. His vision is not indicative of race. He investigates and shares information through his work to let it serve as a vehicle for discussion. Aspiring to the likes of artist Frank Bowling and inspired by the likes of Charles Gaines, Johnson has developed his own social reality. Not defined as an African American artist making art about being African American, Johnson is an artist who seeks to know about as much of everything as possible, and connect with people who hold the knowledge he seeks. Knowing that above all, no matter how much he knows, one thing remains the same, he is still Black. He is still Vincent Johnson.
Johnson has been celebrated for his installation work, and work in other mediums, but most particularly for his photographs of Los Angeles. They have delighted viewers with their mastery of color, texture, narrative and the documentation of urban culture, and its evolution. The series of paintings on view show how Johnson has been able to strike a balance and continue the success he has achieved with his photography in his painting, to comprise A Composition.
ARTIST STATEMENTS: On his photographs and his painting, respectively:
“Through auto travel one is given the privileged observer position of moving through the world as a realtime unedited film, a cinemastate; to take a number of photographs of it afterwards. Often, when I drive, I look about and “remember” key images, photographs of urban sites from the midcentury and earlier that I will take pictures of in the future.”
“…I have always sought to reach for and produce imagery that lends itself to a serious consideration of the ideas that come to the mind when approaching the image. For me these works seek to substantiate themselves in the world, to be both evocative and provocative, beautiful and remarkable in both concept and realization. As these works are fully developed, I will continue to record the journey I am taking with them until they are complete.”
VINCENT JOHNSON received his MFA in Painting from Art Center in Pasadena, CA in 1997 and his BFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was selected for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 for the Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America. Johnson’s work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Studio Museum in Harlem PS1 Museum, New York; the SK Stiftung, Cologne; Santa Monica Museum of Art, LAXART; Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles; Boston University Art Museum; Kellogg Museum, Cal Poly Pomona; Adamski Gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen; LemonskyProjects, Miami. Johnson’s work has been published in a dozen exhibition catalogs. Palace of the Inquisition, Evora, Portugal, opening July 15, 2013. He is a work member of THE WINTER OFFICE, Copenhagen.
NEWS* SUPER SARAP WILL TRAVEL TO ASIA SOCIETY TEXAS! CHECK BACK FOR MORE DETAILS!!
November 3 - December 15
Featuring Mik Gaspay, Jeanne Jalandoni, and O.M. France Viana
Guest curated by Patricia Cariño Valdez
Within the last several years, chefs and foodies from around the country have hailed Filipino cooking as the “next big food trend.” Although, trendify-ing a cuisine allows it to enter into the larger cultural consciousness, it also raises the question: A trend for whom? It is a label that often appears only on “ethnic” cuisine or non-white food, and classifying it as such dismisses the historical nuances and communities that develop it. For many, a trend is not new or alien; it is familiar and the norm. In Super Sarap, three artists Mik Gaspay, Jeanne F. Jalandoni, and O.M. France Viana revisit commonplace objects and food within Filipino cooking. Through sculpture, photography, and video, the artists elicit personal and collective memories and offer cultural connections that go beyond the Philippine diaspora.
Mik Gaspay’s practice examines mass produced objects and explores it in relation to capitalism’s effects on migration and assimilation, class, and identity. In Super Sarap, his newest video work pixelates the clichéd island landscape, echoing oversimplified notions and assumptions of exoticized foreign land. Recalling symbols of tourism, Gaspay remembers the prominence of the decorative wooden spoon and fork sculptures that hang in Filipino kitchens. Using faux, wood-grain-patterned textile, he renders a parody of it: a delicate, awkwardly large, pillar-sized replica. Jeanne Jalandoni also utilizes textile to evoke memory of home by making “objects of comfort.” Using soft and plush material, she creates covetable toy rice cookers. In the exhibition, she premieres a series of quilts that stitch together the ingredients to create traditional Filipino dishes. With a keen focus on food is O.M. France Viana’s Color Palate series, where minimalist photography looks like extraterrestrial landscapes. However, the work reveals themselves to be Filipino ice cream—purple ube, green avocado, pink guava. Viana’s vibrant neon “UBE” sign seduces with an intense violet color, which is natural to the purple yam and is ubiquitous in Filipino and South East Asian desserts.
The exhibition title, Super Sarap fuses both English and Tagalog together, to hold multiple meanings. It can convey something that is extremely delicious, an expression of excitement and affirmation. It can also imply an exaggeration in terms of scale: something that is beyond, powerful, large, and exceeding the norm. In thinking about the transformation of foreign to familiar, specifically the indigenization of food, Manila-Born Food historian Doreen Gamboa Fernandez’s (1934-2002) cites that Filipinos sprinkle patis (fermented fish sauce) on foreign dishes or carry with them when they travel to “‘tame’ the alien.” Artists in Super Sarap play with these definitions and mutate symbols, making them both strange and familiar, challenging the expectations of cultural norms.
Patricia Cariño Valdez is an independent curator based in Oakland, CA. Along with curating the group exhibition Super Sarap at Gallery 6/67 in Santa Ana, CA, Valdez is also currently working with University of New Mexico professor Szu-Han Ho and is supporting the upcoming exhibitions and public programs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA. She is part of Casa de Palomitas, a collaborative research and writing project with her partner Cesar Valdez. From 2016 to 2018, she served as the Curator and Director of Public Programs at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. Her curatorial projects have been held at the San Francisco State University, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (San Francisco, CA), Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium (San Francisco, CA), Oakland Museum of California, Pro Arts (Oakland, CA), California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA), and numerous independent galleries and art spaces in the Bay Area. Valdez has participated as a speaker and panelist at the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Living Right Exchange (San Francisco, CA), Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), Central Features Contemporary (Albuquerque, NM), and among others. In 2016, Valdez was a participant in the Independent Curators International Curatorial Intensive in Manila, Philippines. She was born in Manila and grew up along the West Coast of the U.S. Valdez earned a BA in History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts. https://www.patriciacarinovaldez.com/
Mik Gaspay was born in Quezon City, Philippines and lives and works in San Francisco, CA. His work reinterprets and recontextualizes the form of found objects to suss out questions of meaning, status and value. Gaspay received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2011. He has had a solo exhibition at Alter Space Gallery in San Francisco. He has also participated in various group shows in museums and spaces including the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), Bass & Reiner Gallery (San Francisco, CA), SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), Center for Art + Thought (Chicago, IL), Art Gallery at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, and WhiteBox Gallery (New York, NY). Gaspay was awarded a commission by the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco for a permanent public art installation in San Francisco Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square Bridge. http://mikgaspay.com/
Jeanne F. Jalandoni is a New York City-based artist, who works primarily with oil paint and textile. Her work explores visually defining bicultural identity through examining her Filipino heritage and experiences growing up as a 2nd generation American. She received her BFA from New York University with a concentration in painting. Her solo shows include Bicultural Identities & Histories at (Little Underground Gallery | Jefferson Market Library (New York, NY) and The Next Generation: Jeanne Jalandoni at Berkshire Art Museum (North Adams, MA). Jalandoni has participated in numerous group shows in New York City and in Berlin, Germany, and Paris, France. In 2018, Jalandoni was an artist-in-residence at 36 Chase & Barns Residency (North Adams, MA; affiliated with Gallery 6/67, (Santa Ana, CA). She is a current artist-in-residence at Con Artist Collective (New York, NY). https://cargocollective.com/jeannefjalandoni
O.M. France Viana is a conceptual multimedia artist, working in photography, painting, collage, video and installation. Her artworks interrogate the semiotics of color, the inner experiences of meditation and mindfulness, and Filipino American identity as expressed through Radical Hospitality. She received an MFA in Studio Art and BA from Mills College. Born in Manila, Philippines, she studied art in Switzerland and Spain before moving to California. She founded the Diviana Gallery, the first gallery entirely dedicated to fine art photography in Manila. In the Bay Area, she has exhibited at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Mills Museum (Oakland, CA), SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), Pro Arts (Oakland, CA) and Embark Gallery (San Francisco, CA). She guest curated exhibitions at the Dominican University Gallery. Active in the Asian American community, she is former board member of the Center for Asian American Media, current board member of Philippine International Aid and received a “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S.” award from the Filipina Women’s Network. http://www.omfrancestudio.com/
September - October 2018
Gallery 6/67 is pleased to present CELEBRATE, a solo exhibition by LA-based artist Lorenzo Baker.
February is an alternative perspective on the constructions of black history month and promotes the notion that historical consciousness may be attained or experienced through atypical and unconventional modes of representation, or that it is best encountered and taken in outside of the typical confines of normality.
As a response to the notion that black history can only be discussed, celebrated, and analyzed within a 28-day period, February proposes the question, “What Happens if The Month of February Never Ends?” In his writings on history, Walter Benjamin reverses the commonly held belief that history is and remains located in the past, asserting rather that the vanishing point of history is always the present moment. Pushing back against the status quotes reliance on a fixed account of history, this exhibition offers its viewers an opportunity to celebrate blackness outside of its predetermined duration.
Lorenzo Baker’s February project started on February 1st, 2017 and is centered around a daily practice of creating and distributing reinterpretations of historical and contemporary images. These depictions showcase the nuanced and multiplicated definition of the black diasporic experience. The artworks are created by combining and collapsing an array of appropriated images from the everyday, lesser known historical incidents, pop culture iconography, and depictions of outer space.
As a body of work, February, consist of over 365 artworks, all made between February 2017 and the present. The artwork can be viewed on Instagram @bylorenzobaker & bylorenzobaker.com
SELECTED WORKS BY SERGIO DE LA TORRE
June - August 2018
Gallery 6/67 is pleased to present four works by artist Sergio De La Torre; I am an immigrant (2018), City (2011), NOVACANCIES (2010), DRIVERS (2009), Ciudad Santuario (2009). This exhibition is in conjunction with programming throughout Down Town Santa Ana and organized by Maurizzio Hector Pineda.
I Am An Immigrant is a series of 20 prints dealing with the ongoing and never-ending debate on immigration.
No Vacancies is a 60 feet long accordion-style book that portrays the general locations of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that have occurred in the Bay Area.
Drivers is a series of five photographs of limousine service drivers at different international airports.
Ciudad Santuario is a short animation that traces 2008-2009 Police checkpoints in the Mission District in San Francisco.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sergio De La Torre grew up in the border cities of Tijuana/San Diego and works as an educator, filmmaker, photographer, and activist. His practice explores immigration, labor, and transnational identities. He currently lives and works in the Bay Area Mission District and is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Fine Arts at the University of San Francisco. He has been honored with grants from the NEA, The Rockefeller Foundation, Creative Capital, the Potrero Nuevo Fund, and the Creative Work Fund. His work has been exhibited at major institutions, both nationally and internationally.
MCLA GALLERY 51 ANNOUNCES ‘GERALD SHEFFIELD: “pride”’ WILL OPEN MAY 24
May 14, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Gallery 51 is pleased to announce that its next exhibition, “Gerald Sheffield: ‘pride,’” will open on Thursday, May 24. A collection of collages, drawings, and prints inspired by the artist’s service in the United States Army and deployment to Baghdad, Iraq, Sheffield’s work explores, provides commentary on, and questions multiple perspectives on race, power, culture, and human conflict in relationship to war.
The public is invited to attend a free opening reception and artist talk in MCLA Gallery 51 on Thursday, May 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. Sheffield’s talk will begin at 5 p.m.
According to Sheffield, “The politics of recognition stands at the intersection of race and empire. It requires the subordinate to acknowledge, learn, and demonstrate their assimilation to the standards of the more powerful, in order to gain certain ‘privileges’ and ‘inalienable rights’granted to those in charge. I draw propositional interventions between ancient and contemporary history as a tool to provoke skepticism of the hierarchal forms, shapes, and language embedded in western hegemony.
Sheffield explained that his artworks include official Army documents to represent the institutional language used to move human bodies in support of military operations: the prologue to training for war.
“Other mediums of language take the form of drawing and construction sourced from used and discarded materials in order to occupy visual and physical space to represent tensions between empirical influence and interpretation,” Sheffield added.
“At a time in our history when war images are omnipresent in our culture, many artists are using their work and artistic voice to bring new perspectives and attention to all aspects and issues of war,” said Arthur De Bow, curator of MCLA Gallery 51. “Sheffield’s work not only brings a new strong important voice to the discussion but is captivating, imposing and well crafted at the same time. With a masterful use of imagery and color Gerald leads the viewer through his first hand experiences with war.”
Sheffield’s work is shown courtesy of and in collaboration with Gallery 6/67 Santa Ana, Ca. and Erica Wall, the founder and co-director of Gallery 6/67 and 36 Chase and Barns Artist Residency.
“Gerald Sheffield: ‘pride,’” will be on exhibition in MCLA Gallery 51 through June 22. MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. The gallery is open Monday- Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 413-662-5320 or go to www.mcla.edu/gallery51.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.
For more information, go to www.mcla.edu .
PTSD: PEOPLE’S TRAUMA SHOWINGS DAILY
February - June 2018
The work of Shasha Dothan, a second year MFA student at UCLA and Gerald Sheffield, recent 2017 graduate of the Yale MFA program, represent more than just an artistic interpretation of recurring military conflicts in the Middle East. They address their trauma, while in a state of confusion over what citizenship means in spite of military service to “their country.” Their heritage and their identities evoke varied responses to conventional representations of patriotism and home. The information Sheffield and Dothan provide in contrast to what information is public further clouds and deters “other people” from discussing their trauma and its origin.
The artists share great similarities, but also diverge profoundly due to context of place, race and ultimately self. To a certain extent, Shasha has the option of blending in or disclosing. Conversely, Gerald’s African-American heritage is unavoidably obvious to society. Regardless of their exteriors, both camouflage their deeper identities. Each day it is as though they apply camouflage face paint to infiltrate the “normal” world. They seek to reconcile how they behave in this new space as a citizen, while their identity, recalls a traumatic history and a tainted heritage that cannot be erased.
Sheffield and Dothan’s work posit the idea that all of us live with a trauma that is often not discussed or addressed. These works are symbolic of a PTSD experienced not only by veterans of war, as in the case of these two artists, or even terrorist attack survivors or victims of violent crimes. These works are intended to prompt viewers to reflect, question and discuss how we each live with a form of PTSD (People’s Trauma Showings Daily) imposed by the many layers of our own his/her-story.
Dothan moved to the United States less than two years ago. Born and raised in Israel, she was obligated to serve two years in the military. “Her story” recently compelled her to re-visit Germany to explore and confront a context which still contains relics of the Nazi regime that plagues her past. Residing now in Connecticut, Sheffield enlisted in the US Army directly out of high school. “His story” is one of a Black man living in an America which still does not provide the genuine equality sought by his ancestors. Their works reflect an exploration of process, in real-time, and a search for ways to reconcile with the past that takes place for these artists on a daily basis. There is a distinct contradiction of reconciling with an ambiguity that creates a constant discomfort, uncertainty and lawlessness in the context of citizenship, membership and ownership of identity.
Gerald Sheffield and Shasha Dothan have created works that seek to evoke candid discussion about what they continually struggle to reconcile; their history. This “his/her-story” refers to each one’s heritage; encompassing the history of those from whom they descended and their own individual history, made up of their actions and re-actions to the conditions of their lives and the many contexts in which they live. Though difficult and even traumatic for each to both convey and represent, they portray intimate and unique experiences of patriotism, sacrifice and military service.
NO WALK IN THE PARK
This exhibition explores the various manifestations of the female image in art and media and how these have shaped and influenced how women are perceived and navigate the social landscape. These artists provide a small but effective representation of the diverse ways the "female" is presented as well as motivations behind the portrayal of the female image. Consequently, with such a proliferation of female images reflecting numerous and accepted archetypes, with varied connotations, women are challenged and perhaps even invited or forced to choose an identity within the contexts of these created images.
The work of video artist, Shasha Dothan reflects the discomfort that comes with being a female, wanting to assert herself as strong and feminine yet often faced with the conundrum of doing so in a context that can force females to behave "like males." In this case, it's a Bachelorette party. An assumed enjoyable experience?
Kim West looks at the many images of the female and the ways in which a person and her body are held to standards of perfection to achieve the label of "beautiful" or "desirable." To what extent has the media played a role in creating and promoting these ideals? Looking at magazine illustrations, photo-shopped and air brushed images of women, West illuminates the process of achieving these ideal images and shows the hand of the "artist" as the conveyor and creator of these images. What seems perfect and even accurate in detail and/or realism, still reflects some flaws and distortion in features and proportions. West's work facilitates a questioning of what female images convey and influence as well as what these images manifest into with regard to thought, consumerism and behavior. Sheila Pree Bright's work is an example of this exploration when the images, ideals and products of beauty distort self-conception and affect self-worth.
Works by artist, Eddy Lee blur the lines between illustration, design and fine art. His works suggest an ambiguity in race, ethnicity and context in the prolific number of female images he generates. There is an adoration for his subjects that further draws the viewer in and generates a deeper appreciation for the process which Lee demonstrates in each of his works. His painterly strokes and process create aesthetically pleasing images that do not judge or distort the female. Lee creates imaginary ideals that pay homage. All these works are a diverse representation of the female image and what it evokes in women, conveys about women, promotes to and manifests into for women. As a result, for women today one could say, it's NO WALK IN THE PARK!