TANKAH: De las Tinieblas Hacia el Sol/From The Underworld To The Sun

Installation view. TANKAH: De las Tinieblas Hacia el Sol/From The Underworld To The Sun. McNish Gallery at Oxnard College. Photo courtesy McNish Gallery

TANKAH: De las Tinieblas Hacia el Sol/From The Underworld To The Sun

Curated By Claudia Huiza

McNish Gallery at Oxnard College

By Eve Wood

 

The intersections between “high art” and “craft” or folk art have long been topics of interest, investigation, and heated discussion. Historically, art that was made with a specific purpose in mind, or employed or associated with a specific task was utilitarian and therefore placed function above form, yet increasingly, as our social landscape shifts and expands and our cultural awareness grows, the divisions between craft and art have softened, blurred or been shattered altogether.

Mining the same terrain as artists like Eva Hesse, Isabel Castro and Ana Mendieta, whose seminal feminist imagery paved the way for women working in similar modes of thinking, “From The Underworld To The Sun,” curated by Claudia Huiza, further exemplifies an ever deepening engagement with the feminine and all that it encompasses. Carmen Argote’s spare and elegant work “On Inhabiting: Stove” 2015, serves as a visual roadmap of displacement and reconfiguration, a means by which the artist exemplifies a deeply personal and intimate space into a more public offering. Similiarly, Carolyn Castano’s installation entitled “Estudio Calimagraphics (Dad Archive) 2017 is an homage to her father’s grace, wit and compassion as the artist has filled the smaller gallery space in the back with objects that signify her father’s trade. Handmade leather shoes sit atop empty boxes and 1960s era lamps and purses line the surrounding walls as a Fruko record spins on a turntable. The artist has also filled the space with her own paintings that create a deeper more complex relationship with the surrounding objects. The result is a witty, warm and gentle reminiscence.

Lavialle Campbell. TANKAH: De las Tinieblas Hacia el Sol/From The Underworld To The Sun. McNish Gallery at Oxnard College. Photo Credit Eve Wood

Lavialle Campbell’s quilted “I Chose Orange” 2017 is an amalgam of visual complexity as the artist has painstakingly woven various colored swatches into the main body of the quilt wherein the work becomes a dialogue of difference and shifting continuities. The idea of a shifting ever-expanding dialogue is also further represented here in the collaborative works of Martin Durazo and Robert Miller who have created a series of large hanging macrame sculptures that combine sculptural elements such as Raku fired calaveras, mirrors and various ice buckets. The works speak to elements of craft as a means of self reflection; the calaveras in particular suggest not only the presence of death but the artists’s understanding of their own mortality.

Mortality is a prevalent theme throughout the exhibition and no one embodies this more poignantly than Claudia Parducci. Working with jute and coconut fibers, her three hanging blue columns occupy a central space in the gallery and attach like small wanton mouths to the gallery ceiling. Elegantly crafted, yet strangely alien, the columns are fixed in space and weighted at the bottoms, yet each is filled with light and air like stately talismans of our fragile human existence.
In perfect balance to Parducci’s work is Shizu Saldamando’s gorgeous portrait of fellow artist Rafa Esparza also stands as a beautifully rendered evocation of life as Esparza gazes out at us with a distant tenderness in his eyes.

TANKAH: De las Tinieblas Hacia el Sol/From The Underworld To The Sun
Curated By Claudia Huiza
McNish Gallery at Oxnard College
4000 South Rose Ave.
Oxnard, CA 93033

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