Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fence/Barda September Opening

Last Saturday was the opening event for The Fence/La Barda exhibit at Art Produce in North Park, San Diego, a collaborative exhibit between Feminist Image Group and Tijuana's Distrito Diez Gallery.

The show is open through October and will include upcoming performances and another opening event on October 11.

We invited people to enter through the Mexican side of the fence, where they could view such pieces as Gabriela Escárcega's Mujer de Fuego/Woman on Fire, mixed media (20,000 matches) with FIG artist Helen Redman...

and in the foreground, Houses Fly Over the Fence/Pajaros Vuelan Sobre la Barda and in the background, Panca's painting Me Preocupa/It Worries Me, acrylic on wood...

and from left to right, ceramic sculptures by Martha Soto, Abandonadas/The Abandoned Ones, a painting by Elba Roades, Hermanos/Brothers (oil on canvas), a sculpture by Nubia Velazquez, Oración/Prayer (wire, ceramic, fabric, acrylic paint, string), and gouache paintings by Lourdes Huerta, Cadena Perpetua/Eternal Chain.

The fence itself, though, divided viewers from the American side, and from those they wanted to talk to on the other side...

We joked that it was exactly the wrong height for many of the women visiting the exhibit; you either had to lean down or be on your tiptoes to talk to someone on the other side.

To see the American side up close requires a walk around the building and into the garden.

The garden space was a great social event in itself, where both sides mingled and ate and drank.

From there, you could go through the hallway populated with birds and Nilly Gill's poem in English and Spanish...

And then into the main American side, where the houses float overhead...

And birds traverse the walls.

The American side also had booklets for visitors to fill out.

Straddling both sides was the game table, complete with game of Scrabble in play...

And these two figures reaching out towards each other in Figures by Fio Zenjim, Dos Cielos, Un Cosmos/Two Skies, One Cosmos (acrylic on plywood).

The birds are all for sale at $100 each and were created by quite a few artists, including Irene Abraham, Stephanie Bedwell, Stacie Birky-Greene, Lauren Carrera, Moya Devine, Prudence Horne, Lisa Hutton, Bhavna Mehta, Susan Myrland, Kathy Nida, Kim Neihans, Anna Stump, Anna Zappoli, and San Diego City College students Drafton Bunch, Jana Counts, Mark Cujak, Alexi Fernandez, Kathleen Forrey, Jesus Hernandez, Frances Mann, Gopika Mayell, Danielle Pino, Nicholas Prior, Oliver Reed, Melissa Riley, and Moses Tapia.

The floating houses were created by Grace Gray-Adams, Linda Litteral, Kathy Nida, Terrilyn Quick,
Cindy Zimmerman, and Southwestern College students Karen Aceves, Jacqueline Ang, Gabriella Buhain, Jorge Castro, George Causton, Shaquasia Dixon-Evans, Abelardo Felix, Cesar Gonzalez, Isaiah Marc Guerrero, Lawrence Guintu, Mignon Ingram, Mazen Kiki, Edward Lintz, Alexis Lopez, Berlin Lopez, Chasedy Murphy, Maribella Nunez, Mariela Nunez, Alejandra Ocampo, Alina Olaso, Moises Rico, Jilliane Mae Roque, Jose Sierra, and Nicholas Stenberg. The houses are for sale; if you're interested, contact the gallery. 

What I found the most interesting was the way the two sides came to be. The American side was installed two weeks prior, but was then redone 3 or 4 times as the artists brought in more work and adjusted for the Mexican counterparts. That said, the American side seems fairly freeflowing and it's hard to tell what one single artist has done in the group. The Mexican side was plagued by border-crossing and car troubles, reminding us of why we chose to do this exhibit, and highlighting their issues with the crossing itself. Their work came in at the last minute, some being installed during the actual opening. But the Mexican side is much more formal and it is obvious that certain art was done by certain artists. It looks like a regular gallery setting, while the American side is more conceptual, a group piece at heart.

I found that contrast intriguing and will look forward to how the gallery changes with additional performances and art coming in over the next two months.

Look for more posts over the coming days as we document more of the art and artists and additional events. Photos were provided by Susan Myrland, Helen Redman, and Kathy Nida.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Fence/La Barda Exhibit

Opening September 13 from 6-9 at Art Produce in North Park is the newest exhibit with FIG and members of Tijuana's Distrito Diez Gallery. The Fence/La Barda includes a wide range of artwork from mostly female artists on both sides of the border.

The exhibit is an interactive, collaborative installation. A fence divides the gallery, cutting the space in half; to get to the other side, artists and guests must travel outside along a path through the Art Produce garden. Participants will interact through and around the fence during the installation and exhibition, using objects and performative gestures that reflect the reality of the San Diego/Tijuana Border Region.

Fence/Barda attempts to demonstrate how women navigate across borders. Spontaneous collaborations between artists of different cultures, conflicts of space and identity, and attempts to transcend barriers will be addressed. The installation will include video, photography, paintings, and sculptural objects, as well as book-making, sewing, games, and food performances. The gallery space will be in constant flux during the two-month installation. Artist openings will take place September 13 and October 11, with other performances planned in between.

FIG artists participating in Fence/Barda include Anna Stump, Grace Gray-Adams, Bhavna Mehta, Terri Hughes-Oelrich, Linda Litteral, Kathy Nida, Cindy Zimmerman, Lynn Susholtz, Irene Abraham, Stacie Birky-Greene, Lauren Carrera, Daphne Hill, Prudence Horne, Jennifer Bennett, Moya Devine, Nilly Gill, Terrilynn Quick, Kathy Miller, Susan Myrland, Stephanie Bedwell, Lisa Hutton, Kim Niehans, and Anna Zappoli.

Tijuana artists include Jill Marie Holslin, Cecilia Navarro, Claudia Ramirez, Laura Migliorino, Anthony Marchetti, Fio Zenhim, Gaby Escárcega, Monica Giselle, Ana Andrade, Nubia Vazquez, Irma Sofia Poeter, Lourdes Huerta, Mariel Miranda, Panca, Elva Rhoads, Gabriela Posada del Real, and Martha Soto.

FIG artists started installing work over the Labor Day weekend, continuing over the last week.

Our Tijuana cohorts struggled with border-crossing issues, highlighting the issues we hope to bring up in our work.

We had neighborhoods of floating houses, as the concept of home floats above the border.

Grace Gray-Adams organized the house creation group and helped hang the many houses artists provided.

We created floating walls of birds, who can cross country lines with no conflict, although some countries may offer them more protection than others. Stacie Birky-Greene managed the floating bird construction, creating the birds from junk mail.

Artist Nilly Gill wrote a poem for the exhibit, which Anna Stump, Daphne Hill (both seen below), and Kim Niehans painted on the gallery walls, here through the fence itself, which bisects the gallery.

Here Nilly looks on as her words begin to inhabit the wall.

Kathy Miller works on the books that will be hung from the fence itself for viewers to fill out as they move through the gallery, a way to communicate with each other.

The books are hung here from the fence with Nilly's poem in the background.

Here is the brains behind the book project, Bhavna Mehta, considering how they should be hung.

Participating artists Moya Devine and Lisa Hutton consider how to hang the many bird artworks provided.

A view of the unfinished gallery, as FIG artists prepare to pack up after two days and seven hours of installing, with a lot more to come over the next two weeks.

The show will continue to evolve over time, as additional artworks and projects continue. Please come out to both of the artists' openings, the first one this Saturday. Art Produce is located at 3139 University Avenue in North Park. Additional performances and events will be presented here as well.