“A Common Ground” – Santa Barbara News-Press
Artists explore the concept of community in the Cal Lutheran exhibition
Santa Barbara artists Jane Callister and Lucas Murgida are among the creative talents featured in “Common Ground: Artists Reimagining Community,” an online art exhibit and virtual conversation series at the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University.
It will be on display until April 8.
Organized when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented people from connecting in person, it has become an in-person exhibit that examines the concept of community.
In May 2020, when California was in the early months of its COVID-19 stay-at-home order, Jennifer Vanderpool, Santa Barbara resident and adjunct member of the art faculty at Cal Lutheran, and Rachel Schmid, curator of collections and exhibitions, began to assemble the original virtual exhibition.
“I invited 10 artists to exhibit who in turn each invited an artist who then asked for another,” Ms Vanderpool said. “The project continued to grow as a web to eventually include 24 artists when it launched online in November 2020.”
The works included in “Common Ground” – experimental films, music, comics, paintings, photographs, graphic novels and more – challenged the concept of community.
“Once Upon a Crocofish” is the title of Ms. Callister’s installation in the exhibition.
“It alludes to a series of works I started in 2019 called ‘It Started With a Crocofish,'” she said. “To entertain my dad when he was sick, I drew silly hybrid animals and surreal characters, which then led to a series of tiny figurines I made during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike my Usual dramatic large-scale abstract paintings, this quietly entertaining work was a way to uplift people’s spirits amid the turmoil of our cultural upheaval.
“The opportunity to exhibit these works at Cal Lutheran has allowed me to assemble them in a format that creates a home setting, including a comfortable chair to rest and reflect on the isolation in our homes that we have all experienced. during lockdown. Against a vibrant painted wall, the objects sit on shelves next to the small framed drawings, further emphasizing an intimate experience. This project was conceived as a gesture of kindness through humor and fun,” said Ms Callister, born on Britain’s Isle of Man in 1963 and now an art professor at UCSB, with works across the mediums of painting, sculpture, drawing and montage.
Over the past 20 years, she has exhibited in many notable venues, including the first Prague Biennale at the Veletrzni Palace in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2003 and Extreme Abstraction at the Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY, in 2005.
Her recent solo exhibitions include Baroco-pop at Royale Projects, Los Angeles in 2018, and “It Started With a Crocofish: New Drawings by Jane Callister” at VITA Arts Center, Ventura, in 2019. Her work has also been featured in books notables. such as ‘Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting’ with an essay by David Page (Phaidon Press, 2002) and ‘LA Artland by Chris Krauss’ (Black Dog Press, London, 2006).
Mr. Murgida creates situations that offer viewers the opportunity to experience very private moments in very public situations.
A former cabinetmaker, busboy, locksmith, yoga instructor, and worker in the adult fetish film industry, he makes use of the underrated aspects of human existence – such as furniture, locks, teachers, and professionals. services – as raw material to create artistic experiences. .
“For the ‘Common Ground’ exhibition, I included documentation of a long-term project called ‘None of this is Real’, which I did while an artist-in-residence at the Grand Central Art Center from Cal State Fullerton to Santa Ana,” Murgida said.
“From July 2018 to September 2019, I installed and carried out five different interactions with viewers for the Santa Ana community, around my work experience as a professional locksmith. Since 2005, I have been invested in a project in progress, “The Locksmithing Institute”, in which I travel to different public places and teach people skills and topics related to locksmithing.
“The work featured in the ‘Common Ground’ exhibit includes a video that documents all five iterations of ‘None of this is Real’,” he said. “Also featured are two shadow boxes that house material remains of tools and materials that were part of the viewer’s interactions as well as drawings made by a courtroom illustrator I hired to document the experiences. Finally, there is a small box I built to house the pieces of the experience that people may have kept if they participated in the project.
In 2002, Mr. Murgida received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from UCSB. Her work has been reviewed in the Art Forum, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
In 2010 he was artist in residence at the Vooruit Arts Center in Ghent, Belgium, and two of his photographs are held in the permanent collection of the Berkeley Art Museum. In 2018-2019 he was artist-in-residence for the Grand Central Art Center at Cal State Fullerton, funded by the Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts.
Artists have been invited to include more recent works in the in-person exhibition, but this one features the same variety. Two screens and a projector show videos, and customers can view short films on their phones by scanning QR codes.
“The in-person exhibition is a combination of works by established and internationally exhibited artists with incredible rising stars fresh out of graduate and undergraduate programs or just starting their careers,” said said Ms. Schmid.
As part of the online exhibit, Ms. Schmid and Ms. Vanderpool paired artists and researchers on Zoom to discuss different concepts of community. The pairs explored a range of topics including aging, architecture, autism, filmmaking, kindness, memories and sex work.
The online exhibit and recordings of the March 1 conversation series and in-person lecture by featured artist Walpa D’Mark of Los Angeles are available at bit.ly/3kVWOpp.
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