I'm currently an Artist in Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts through October 18th. Join me at the Headlands this weekend on Sunday, September 17 from 12-5pm for the grand opening of The Commons, a new outdoor gathering space on Headlands' campus. The public celebration will feature installations and live performances. Click here for more info.
Requiem for Charleston is currently on view in the Lincoln Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). I was invited to speak about Requiem for Charleston for SAAM's Contemporary Artist Series. I'm looking forward to sharing the interview with you when it becomes available.
Joanna Marsh, Senior Curator of Contemporary Interpretation, writes:
Requiem for Charleston honors the nine men and women who died in a shooting on June 17, 2015, inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Tambourines with black lambskin heads are inscribed with the victims' names, while the drums of others are made of polished black acrylic that reflect the faces of viewers, suggesting the collective tragedy of the attack. Artist Lava Thomas chose to memorialize the dead with tambourines because of their cultural and historical significance, particularly their role in African American musical traditions--including protest songs of the civil rights era. In the days following the Charleston massacre, tambourines, cymbals, and bells rang throughout the community as a call for unity and support. Here the instruments hang motionless, in silent tribute to the lives lost.
My work is included in a group exhibition organized by Artworks For Change at the Patan Museum in Kathmandu, Nepal. The True Stories Project: Exploitation and Empowerment runs May 1-31, 2017. Read more about the project here: press release .
I was one of several artists invited to participate in the group exhibition "With Liberty and Justice for Some," co-curated by Monica Lundy on view at Walter Maciel Gallery. The exhibition includes over 100 portraits of immigrants: artists, friends, relatives, historical figures, politicians and celebrities. A portion of proceeds from the exhibition go to organizations that provide support to marginalized communities, including: ACLU https://www.aclu.org/, Trevor Project http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ , Center for Reproductive Rights https://www.reproductiverights.org/ , Planned Parenthood https://www.plannedparenthood.org , LA LGBT Center https://lalgbtcenter.org/ and The SF LGBT Center http://www.sfcenter.org/
Exhibition Dates: January 7 - March 4
Walter Maciel Gallery
2642 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Culver City, CA
This exhibition, inspired by the late and great Prince, runs from September 14 – October 1, 2016 at 1275 Minnesota Street in Gallery 104. My piece, “His Royal Discography” is included in the exhibition, along with work from over thirty artists that pay tribute to the beloved pop star.
An excerpt from “Looking Back and Seeing now” is in Collect!, Exhibition and Art Auction at the Berkeley Art Center. The exhibition runs September 10-24 with an auction on September 24th from 6-9pm. Tickets are available at the Berkeley Art Center Website. Please help support this important local arts organization!
Please join me at Art Market San Francisco at Rena Bransten Gallery (booth 201). One of my large drawings is being exhibited along with works by Edward Burtynsky, Rupert Garcia, Vik Muniz, Tameka Jenean Norris, Nobuyuki Takahashi, and Daren Wilson. Stop by and say hello!
Friday, April 29, 2016 — 11:00am to 7:00pm
Saturday, April 30, 2016 — 11:00am to 7:00pm
Sunday, May 1, 2016 — 12:00pm to 6:00pm
Saturday March 19th 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Bridging the Art Center’s historical role in presenting formative exhibitions of the Bay Area Figurative artists in the 1950s, The Human Spirit: Contemporary Figuration as an Expression of Humanism will extend our consideration of this legacy to the work of over 20 contemporary Bay Area artists who have continued and expanded the figurative art tradition through paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. This survey will include the work of Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown, Terry St. John, Christopher Brown, Charles Garabedian, and Enrique Chagoya. Following a highly personal path with exuberant use of materials and iconography, these artists have forged visual language built on vocabularies including folk, medieval, aboriginal, and outsider art. The work has engaged popular culture, autobiography, inner landscape and dream to produce unusual palettes, inflected mark making, and often dizzying perspectives.
Pursuing other modes of autobiography, social commentary, and cultural reflection, the sculpture, film, video, and performance of Lava Thomas, Kota Ezawa, Farley Gwazda, and Allan deSouza draw the painted dialogue into other media. From the intimacy of the photography of Judy Dater, Katy Grannan, and Richard Misrach, to the beading and capturing of images in the memorial hangings of Taraneh Hemami, the myriad manifestations of the human visage and the human spirit for survival extend this exhibition beyond the personal or the domestic. In a time of social, economic, and environmental instability, the art employing the human figure to illuminate the struggles and spirit of contemporary life is of greater power and significance than it has been in nearly a century.
You are welcome to attend our free opening reception on March 19. Click here for more details.
Opening reception Friday, March 18
6- 10 pm
MINNESOTA STREET PROJECT
RENA BRANSTEN GALLERY
1275 MINNESOTA ST
San Francisco, CA 94107
MAR 18–MAY 14, 2016
Rena Bransten Gallery is pleased to present the opening exhibition at 1275 Minnesota, These American Lives, exploring the collision of past and present, humor and horror, beauty and tragedy. Themes that are simultaneously part of the human experience and uniquely American: the vanishing west, urbanization, surveillance, displacement, insurrection, and the increasingly unattainable American Dream, are explored by artists John Baldessari, Dawoud Bey, Lee Friedlander, Rupert Garcia, Doug Hall, Lewis Hine, Hung Liu, Chip Lord, Vik Muniz, Tameka Norris, Aaron Siskin, Lava Thomas, John Waters, and Henry Wessel, among others. This exhibition presents a multiplicity of voices, narratives and subjects, sometimes reframing and sometimes affirming the American experience.
Dawoud Bey, Hung Liu, and John Waters address events from America’s history. Bey’s portraits from The Birmingham Project mark the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Hung Liu contemporizes Russell Lee’s FSA image of a migrant family, and John Waters, ever one to revel in the ride from the sacred to the profane, corrupts stock images of the Kennedys as they deplane Air Force One in Dallas, and an iconic image of a segregated drinking fountain.
Rupert Garcia and Lava Thomas respond to unconscionable events and circumstance with a beauty that both abates and enhances the reference. Thomas addresses the recent Charleston shooting using a silent chorus of black tambourines; Rupert Garcia’s politically charged silkscreens from the late sixties and early seventies use intense color and pop culture imagery to decry social and racial injustice.
Through photography, performance, and painting, Tameka Norris claims the right to her body and image as she explores issues of race, gender, and politics. Drawing on her experiences Norris assumes a range of identities: a black woman, a sexy woman, an educated elite, a hip hop star, and an artist with roots in the deep American South.
Doug Hall’s Neighborhood Watch considers advances in camera technologies as tools of surveillance, demonstrating the anxiety that accompanies these innovations. Using a central image taken from a bird’s eye view, Hall extracts and enlarges details exposing people at work or children at play – unaware of being caught on camera. Similarly anxiety invoking, Henry Wessel’s photographs reveal hidden domestic life, as with the ironically titled Pink Cup, a black and white image of a cup balanced precariously on a countertop.
Vik Muniz and Chip Lord pay homage to American car culture and comment on the automobile as a manifestation of financial success and the promise of the open road. Vik Muniz, cutting and collaging personal, vintage, black and white photographs and their inscriptions to create Album, New Car, 2014, presents an image that recalls all our family albums – a man proudly posing in front of his house with his foot on the fender. Chip Lord has partnered with Hayden Pedigo, a 21 year old musician and native of Amarillo, TX, to produce a single channel time based video, Greetings from Amarillo.
February 4th - March 19th 2016
Opening Thursday, February 4th, 6-8pm
Chuck Agro, Philip Akkerman, Janine Antoni, Robert Arneson, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Leonard Baskin, Jack Beal, Max Beckmann, Bradley Biancardi, Todd Bienvenu, Matt Bollinger, Deborah Brown, Delia Brown, Peter Burns, Jim Butler, Chuck Close, Lovis Corinth, Sophie Crumb, Mary DeVincentis, Eric Doeringer, Diane Edison, Ralph Fasanella, Dan Fischer, Kathleen Gilje, Mary Glenn, Mark Greenwold, Irene Hardwicke, Barkley L. Hendricks, Judith Henry, Scott Kahn, Dennis Kardon, Deborah Kass, Käthe Kollwitz, Kurt Kauper, David Kramer, Laura Krifka, Charlotte Lee, John Lees, Andrew Lenaghan, Beverly McIver, Catherine Murphy, Erik Olson, Carl Ostendarp, Philip Pearlstein, Erika Ranee, Charles Ritchie, Kenny Rivero, Walter Robinson, Giordanne Salley, Tom Sanford, Cindy Sherman, Devan Shimoyama, Cary Smith, Lava Thomas, Betty Tompkins, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Martin Wilner, Aaron Zimmerman
The self portrait is the lingua franca of the smartphone era. The scourage and proliferation of “selfes” and “profiles” is certainly indicative that we are enduring the best of times-as well as the worst of times in the apothesosis of onanistic humanism. Despite its utter debasement in the hand-held device, adolesentalized epoch, the self portrait in the 21st Century remains an elevated, vital, interesting, important and revealing genre. The show includes nearly 60 self-portraits, some are literal, others allude to autobiography in a psychological or metaphorical way.
I am pleased to announce that I am a recipient of this year's Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant Program.
"The Painters & Sculptors Grant Program was established in 1993 to acknowledge painters and sculptors creating work of exceptional quality through unrestricted career support. The first year of grants was awarded in 1994 and the Foundation has funded individual artists annually since that time.
Nominators from across the country are invited to recommend artists whom they feel deserve more recognition for their creative achievements and whose practice would significantly benefit from the grant. The candidates' images were viewed for consideration through an anonymous process by a jury panel that convened this fall at the office of the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Nominators and jurors include prominent visual artists, curators, and arts administrators.
Established in 1993, the Joan Mitchell Foundation is an artist-endowed non-profit organization. The Foundation celebrates the legacy of Joan Mitchell and expands her vision to support the aspirations and development of diverse contemporary artists. We work to broaden the recognition of artists and their essential contributions to communities and society.
In addition to the Painters & Sculptors Grant Program, other programs undertaken by the Foundation include the Emerging Artist Grant Program, free art education programming for New York City youth and young adults, grants to arts organizations, the Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) program that supports mature artists in the areas of studio organization, archiving and inventory management, as well as grants to artists and arts communities in need of emergency support after a disaster. The Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans is an artist residency center that hosts national and local artists, and provides public programming that serves the broader community of New Orleans."
-Joan Mitchell Foundation
Tickets are available through Eventbrite.
Reframe your view of the art world at the RE[FRAME] Arts Industry Conference on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Presented by 3.9 Art Collective and produced by A Simple Collective, RE[FRAME] is a unique look at all aspects of the art industry through the eyes and experience of black artists and arts professionals.
Hosted by the Museum of the African Diaspora, RE[FRAME] will present discussion forums on industry trends, multidisciplinary works by self-identifying black Bay Area artists, and professional development workshops. Portfolio reviews and networking opportunities will also be provided.
Re[present], re[examine], re[connect], re[fresh]…RE[FRAME] Arts Industry Conference, examining the industry of arts through an African American lens.
Confirmed speakers include...
Jacqueline Francis, Ph.D.
Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen
Ron Moultrie Saunders
Special performances will be presented by...
Chris Evans & David Boyce
Anthony Julius Williams
Join artist Lava Thomas for a final look at her transformative installation and purchase a limited edition catalog produced by Berkeley Art Center.
If you are unable to attend, you can purchase the Looking Back and Seeing Now catalog online ($15).
Generously supported by the City of Berkeley and Rena Bransten Projects.