A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…

“A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…” Grab Bag Studio, Long Beach. Virginia Broersma. Photo courtesy of Grab Bag Studio and the artist

A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…

A Collaboration between Virginia Broersma and Natalie Mik

Grab Bag Studio, Long Beach, CA

By Amy Kaeser

Through June 25th


Starting something new is always exciting and nerve-racking at the same time, especially when you make that experiment public. The exhibition, “A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…” contemplate new interdisciplinary modes of communication between Long Beach-based artist and curator Virginia Broersma and performance artist and Grab Bag Studio co-founder, Natalie Mik. They set out to explore the intersection of this discourse through this thoughtful collaboration on view by appointment until June 25th. An initial by-invitation dinner with like-minded peers (held before the opening of Broersma’s show at GBS on June 3rd) invited attendees an opportunity to have an open dialogue and ruminate on the question of communication and collaboration between the artistic mediums of painting and performance. Breaking bread and sharing a meal worked to expand the idea of the narrative Broersma and Mik have contemplated—transitions between mediums, how to deal with “(re)presentation” in their work, and the commonalities in their practices to uncover. As the project is text (through emails) and conversation based, both Broersma and Mik enter into a collaborative effort that is experimental and cross-disciplinary with the results open-ended and on-going.

“A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…” Grab Bag Studio, Long Beach. Virginia Broersma. Photo courtesy of Grab Bag Studio and the artist

The work Broersma presents at GBS is experimental in nature; rough sketches and ideas are written down in a notebook, acrylic model studies on un-stretched canvas, notes and texts accompany small pastel renderings, and fragmented images set in oil on canvas. The images are fragmented to disrupt the viewers association to the subject presented, a familial sense of a body, even perhaps a women’s body, but distorted to make identification of individual body parts difficult. The finished works, Dressing Room Regrets (2017), Life Model (2017), and Bust (2016) (oil on paper) are the result of ephemeral materials that Broersma has displayed alongside the paintings. Broersma seems to be asking age-old questions with this show: what does it mean to represent the female body without being objective or objectifying? What does it mean when a female artist (re)presents a woman’s body? How can you subvert the “gaze”? The monumental task of answering these questions is not the result for Broersma; her work is open-ended, never pretending to be finality, only an intervention into the already broad and expansive discourse within second and third-wave Feminism. Broersma and Mik’s idea to present the process bridges the gap between the idea and the art object.

Part artist studio, part gallery/alternative-collective art space, GBS offers artists the chance to explore ideas without the typical rigid boundaries of the traditional commercial gallery space. GBS’s location in Long Beach offers a new territory to traverse the art world. Located along the 10th Street corridor, on the outskirts of a residential neighborhood, the studio has an authentic quality that resonates through the artists that work there and the city that surrounds it. Amidst the urban sprawl, GBS hosts numerous exhibitions varying in theme and methodologies. “A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…”’s experimental nature reminds the viewer that the art object as we know it in a gallery is the final product of a process few see, a peek into the studio and a glimpse into the psyche of an artist.

“A Painter and a Performance Artist walk into a Bar…” is currently on view at Grab Bag Studio, by appointment until June 25th.

Virginia Broersma graduated in 2004 with a BFA from Savannah Art and Design, Savannah, GA; she currently lives and works in Los Angeles where she has exhibited extensively. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including Tokyo and Berlin. Broersma’s practice also includes curatorial and writing projects and in 2016, she was jointly selected for the Emerging Curators Program at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE).


Natalie Mik is a performance artist and a co-founder of Grab Bag Studio, a shared studio space and artist collective in Long Beach, CA. Mik, a Los Angeles-based Korean-German artist, curator, and writer, she uses performativity to intervene into themes of materiality, the archive, and the history of time-based art. Mik has curated and exhibited/performed works at Collective Arts Incubator, Los Angeles, CA; DAC Gallery in downtown LA; and Show + Tell Projects, LA.


Grab Bag Studio

2626 E. 10th St.

Long Beach, CA 90804

(562) 548-1424

Open by Appointment



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