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This is a color photograph by William Camargo depicting a figure standing in a backyard. The figure is holding a small circular, metal table in their right hand, and a large blue ball under their left arm while holding a large bag of pinto beans. Tattoos are visible on the figure's left forearm. A blue cloth is placed over the figure's head to completely obstruct their face, while a similarly styled small, circular metal table is placed over their head. The figure is wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and shorts with white socks and white tennis shoes. Behind the figure is the backside of a tan house; in the window is a woman looking down. The foreground features grass and a green hose laying on the ground.

RELATING

ARCHIVE MACHINES brings together recent works by Southern California artists that examine the archive as a conceptual vehicle to de-center singular narratives and encourage plural perspectives through the activities of revisioning, resisting, rewiring and relating. 

 

The act of relating produces a space in which distinct experiences can commingle and enrich one another, generating understanding, connection, allyship and, ultimately, care. This final phase brings together artists who employ relational practices to provoke a radical form of empathy. Derived from archives, their work offers opportunities for dialogue about our environments, communities, social exchanges and generational dynamics. 

 

Carla Jay Harris, Evelyn Hang Yin, Nick Flessa and Tyler Matthew Oyer use archival materials to examine figures from the past, creating expansive portraits that explore the impact of psychological and emotional environments. Felix Quintana, Sarita Zaleha, Wesley Larios, Leticia Velasquez and Jody Zellen invite us to consider what precisely constitutes a community, charting geographies to suggest a vision of common ground. The works of William Camargo, Helen Chung and Helena Min trace absences engendered by gentrification, social distancing and the climate crisis, reflecting on their implications for our relationships with one another and our environment.

Carla Jay Harris

In this color photograph of an installation by Carla Jay Harris, there is a large detailed wallpaper on the main wall and photographs hanging salon style on the right wall. The wallpaper is a lime green color, with a repeating pattern of red pomegranates and oval framed black and white photographs of Black woman in history. On the right wall, are eleven framed photographs of Black women on a white wall. Placed on the grey floor, in the corner of the room are two pieces of vintage furniture. A wooden chair with fabric upholstery with a floral decoration and to the right is a small table with a white crochet table cloth draped on top. Placed on the table is a framed black and white photograph of a portrait of a Black woman.

Artist Statement

“My mission is to document intellectual, emotional & psychological environments. I studied photography; however, I now work in installation & video as well. My interests in image-making, identity & place inspired this transformation. My practice is also rooted in my desire to create space for cross-cultural dialogue. My current project, Bitter Earth, explores the Black experience during Jim Crow. Central to the piece is a set of archival images sourced from the Library of Congress. I designed the piece as an installation; however, I am now very interested in how the web can extend its reach.”

left to right

 

1. Bitter Earth, various, 2018. Bitter Earth is a joint work by Carla Jay Harris and Brenda E. Stevenson.

courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

2. Bitter Earth Wallpaper Detail, ink on vinyl, various, 2018. Bitter Earth is a joint work by Carla Jay Harris and Brenda E. Stevenson.

courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

3. Bitter Earth Wallpaper Detail, ink on vinyl, various, 2018. Bitter Earth is a joint work by Carla Jay Harris and Brenda E. Stevenson.

courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

4. Bitter Earth Wallpaper Detail, ink on vinyl, various, 2018. Bitter Earth is a joint work by Carla Jay Harris and Brenda E. Stevenson.

courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

5. Bitter Earth Wallpaper Detail, ink on vinyl, various, 2018. Bitter Earth is a joint work by Carla Jay Harris and Brenda E. Stevenson.

courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Biography

Carla Jay Harris is an artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the California African American Museum, CA; the Southern, Charleston, SC; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; and the Museum of Fine Arts Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. She has been the beneficiary of several grants and fellowships, including the Hoyt Scholarship, Resnick Fellowship and a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Carla completed undergraduate coursework at the School of Visual Arts in New York. received her Bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Virginia, and her MFA from UCLA in 2015.

Evelyn Hang Yin

This is a color photograph by Evelyn Hang Yin depicting a notebook placed on a white background. The notebook is faced open and has a yellow aged tint to the pages. On the left page are writings in Chinese characters done is a green ink spaced evenly. On the right page appears to be a vintage portrait photograph of a man of Chinese decent overlapped with another person.

Artist Statement

“Invested in the excavation of history, the preservation of traditions, and the retelling of collective memories, I visited places in rural parts of the American West in search of stories from early Chinese immigrants. Walking down a narrow alleyway in Central Valley’s Hanford, I found myself next to a temple, an herb store, a few gambling houses, and a treasure trove of artifacts and old documents. In between paint peeled walls and yellow pages are the wandering spirits of my Ancestors, many of them paper sons and daughters. I lit up an incense; I conversed with them; and I prayed.”

left to right

 

1. Angel Island Cheat Sheet, inkjet pigment print, 14 x 21 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

2. The only object left that still serves its functional purpose (replica), inkjet pigment print, 21 x 14 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

3. Interior of Temple c. 1890, inkjet pigment print, 14 x 21 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

Evelyn Hang Yin is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. Yin investigates how her experience moving between China and the U.S. informs her cultural identity. Her work is invested in issues of race, history, place/displacement, and collective memory. Evelyn received an MFA in Photography and Media from CalArts. She was the Media and Production Fellow for Arts in a Changing America, and the Research and Archive Fellow for China Alley Preservation Society. She is a recipient of the Allan Sekula Social Documentary Fund. She spoke at the 2019 Chinese American Women in History Conference.

Nick Flessa

This is a color PDF by Nick Flessa that shows an email by the artist that is sent to a person with the name, Jerome Henderson. The text is in black with a white background, and a red delete button that is square in the top left corner, right below a mail icon pairing with the text sent. There is information about the email on the top portion of the page that is then separated by a faint grey line that begins the email write up.

Artist Statement

JPAY Correspondence & Other Documents addresses prison abolition, capital punishment, the New Jim Crow and the historical fallout of Reagan era judicial decisions in redlined cities in the US. The project is an index of my correspondence with Jerome Henderson, an Ohio Death Row inmate who was sentenced to death by my deceased mother’s prosecution team in 1985. For the past 35 years, he has been appealing the case against a Byzantine system, ‘left to languish on death row.’ This work will act as a digital installation, a functional archive, and an abolitionist research center for the audience.”

top to bottom

 

1. JPay Correspondence, JPay/Email, PDF file, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

2. Newspaper Coverage, 1985, archival newspaper clippings, PDF file, 2020 (source material 1985).

courtesy of the artist

3. Henderson v Warden, document, PDF file, 2018-2019.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

Nick Flessa was born in Cincinnati but has spent the better part of his life in Los Angeles. Nick’s work is shown at places like REDCAT, Echo Park Film Center, UCLA and the University of Puget Sound. He has helped guide programming and printing at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, where he presented his solo exhibition Death Production: The Archive of Janna Flessa (executed by Nick Flessa) in 2018. His book Case Number: 87447 can be found in national and international library collections including MACBA Barcelona, The Getty Research Institute and Wendy’s Subway.

Tyler Matthew Oyer

This is a color photograph by Tyler Matthew Oyer depicting a portrait of a figure with an iridescent purple glitter dispersed evenly on their body and face. The figure has long dark hair and is wearing black eyeliner and red lipstick. The figure is topless and wearing a silver bikini bottom photographed with a blue sky background.

Artist Statement

“My idol worship is a desire to identify with figures from the past and to engage in the spirit of queerness that passes through us, beyond the singular body. It is like a wave of stardust sticking to us and building constellations. These arrangements hold us close but with agile permeability, jostling and careful with the integrity of the thousands of knots tying together a giant and confusing net. The net builds an alternative narrative and context to the dominant prescriptions of identification.”

1. Portraits, analog photography, PDF file, 2019-2020.

courtesy of the artist

Read More

“During the summer of 2019 I was granted a 4-week residency on Fire Island where I danced with, through, inside, and alongside the spirit and legacy of Paul Thek. I cast parts of my own body and used them as esoteric elements for conjuring rituals in the Sunken Forest. Continuing my Calling All Divas manifesto, I see queer lineages as following idiosyncratic energetic currents that connect us, individually and collectively, over time. These inheritances are not biological, rather chosen based on material and ideological sensibilities and sensitivities. This body of work is an exploration of these theories (inheritance, idol worship, and imitation) as an attempt at locating my queer artist body while reckoning the intergenerational loss caused by the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

 

– Tyler Matthew Oyer

Biography

Called an “interdisciplinary gospel immortalist” by Kembra Pfahler of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Tyler Matthew Oyer is an artist, writer, organizer, and educator based in Los Angeles. His work has been presented at MoMA PS1, REDCAT, The Getty Museum, dOCUMENTA (13), Hammer Museum, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Kunstnernes Hus Oslo, Munch Museum, Art Basel Miami Beach, Bergen Kunstall, Rogaland Kunstsenter, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, High Desert Test Sites, Highways Performance Space, Human Resources LA, Silencio Paris, MIX NYC, Ekebergparken Oslo, Surge Festival Madrid, and more.

RESPONSES

A shared history that helped me connect with one of my closest friends once I got to college was that we were both unknowingly from very similar small towns in Central California that allowed us to have a similar childhood experience. We bonded over this as one of the key points of our friendship, because our experiences were so unique in that sense.

Felix Quintana

This is a color photograph of a cyanotype print by Felix Quintana depicting an urbanscape. It is a street view in a suburb, with a man walking with a lawnmower on the sidewalk in front of a mural done on a wall with large signage behind it, that reads Watts. The street rounds off to a corner that has a light post, an American flag and a stop sign. This corner also has a two-story house situated behind the mural. On top of this print are haphazard etched markings throughout the image.

Artist Statement

Los Angeles Blueprints is an ongoing series of cyanotype prints that samples Google Street View to reclaim the stories of Black and Latinx people. My mission is to reclaim the past in the contemporary moment, rearranging the representation of each individual that is objectively captured through the Google gaze. These works are the emotional blueprints of the city, highlighting everyday existence and struggles of Black and Latinx people. The effects of capitalism, gentrification, and racism result in a collective memory of place and identity to emerge. Above all else, this work is a love letter.”

left to right

 

1. El Jardinero de Watts (Peace and Love in the hood), hand etched cyanotype print, 11 x 14 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

2. The Marathon Continues (Monument for Nipsey Hussle), hand etched cyanotype print, 11 x 14 inches, 2019-20.

courtesy of the artist

3. Generations of Black Power walking down Crenshaw Boulevard, hand etched cyanotype print, 11 x 14 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

Felix F. Quintana is a multidisciplinary artist, photographer, and educator best known for his experimental photographs of the L.A. landscape. Quintana has exhibited his work at Vincent Price Art Museum, Residency Art Gallery, MACLA, Vox Populi Gallery, Southern Exposure, SomArts Cultural Center, and LAXART, among others. His work has been featured in NPR, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, ARTnews, Amadeus Magazine, and more. Quintana received a BA in Studio Art from Humboldt State University in 2014, and is a 2021 MFA Photography candidate at San Jose State University. 

Sarita Zaleha

This is a color photograph of a work by Sarita Zaleha depicting a digital horizontal composition of abstract lines and shapes with text overlayed on the right side of the work. The composition is composed of shades of tan and whites with various opacities.

Artist Statement

“Human perception of the environment—natural and mediated—affects how we understand climate change. My creative research aims to shift perceptions of natural resources and climate systems in order to attune viewers to the agency of the natural world. Recent projects explore historical archival materials like newspapers, postcards, and branding as a way of engaging environmentally damaging and extractive practices within modern history.”

1. Mapping the Anthropocene: California, letterpress, 10 x 20 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

Read More

“This print explores anthropogenic climate change and environmental degradation in California. LA Times headlines describe California’s climate crisis from increased intensity of wildfires to pollution from old oil wells to disappearing coasts due to sea level rise. Freeways span the print and the dry soil of desertification takes over.”

 

– Sarita Zaleha

Biography

Sarita Zaleha is a multidisciplinary environmental artist who works with installation, print media, and book arts. Her projects on environmental loss and global warming have been featured in solo exhibitions in the Midwest, New York, and Kentucky. She has also had work in numerous internationally juried exhibitions, and she has received several grants and awards for her work including the Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Art(ists) on the Verge Fellowship. She currently teaches print media and book arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Wesley Larios

This is a color video still by Wesley Larios that depicts a mural that is on a cinderblock wall that has painted figures paired with graffiti. The wall is painted a light blue with figures of (starting from left to right) a male figure wearing a white labcoat and glasses, a police officer with a blurred face holding a flashlight to a figure wearing a white labcoat and a person of color off to the side. In between the figures are various graffiti along with scattered legible writings. Behind the mural are the tops of green trees and a sky peaking through. Towards the right side, the still gets fragmented and is mismatched with another part of the mural.

Artist Statement

“The video shows a mural of a procession of professions, painted by my cousin Enrique and his kindergarten classmates at the Lorena Street Elementary School, about a year after the LA Riots. At the end of the wall there is a ‘No On Proposition 187’ mural that depicts a man and a boy in front of a United Farm Workers flag. Beyond the wall, heading north, the 5 Freeway barrels into the East LA Interchange. The murals are no longer there and the video is stitched together from images taken from Google Maps.”

1. Notes (Quique), video, 6:00, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

 

ADA Accessibility Experience

Biography

Wesley Larios (b.1992, Los Angeles, CA) is an artist and teacher, and he studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, then moved to New Haven, Connecticut to attend the Yale School of Art. After graduating in 2017, he moved to New York City and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. He is now Visiting Faculty at the California Institute of the Arts and works slowly on essays, films, drawings, books and photographs from his Depression-era shed in East LA.

Leticia Velasquez

This is a black and white photograph of an artwork by Leticia Velasquez. The artwork depicts an abstract black and white composition with black markings scattered haphazardly. There are dark black lines that run horizontally on the top half of the work. There are faint black lines that intersect one another and run through lumps of black pigment.

Artist Statement

“These pieces are from a new body of work that abstractly represents the moral luck involved in deaths and killings at the hands of Customs and Border Patrol. I use news as source material interpreted to create a critical history. I’m emphasizing how deeply chance characterizes the ‘wrongness’ and criminalization of these immigrants’ actions. The focus here is not about any one individual’s moral luck in regard to determining conditions born into, but about the chance nature of laws and institutions mortally consequential yet in no way instantiating any eternal moral ideals.”

left to right

1. Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, 25, y Angie Valeria, 23 months (Moral Luck at the Border series, banks of the Rio Grande), charcoal and ink, 22 x 28.25 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

Read More

“Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez , 25 Angie Valeria, 23 months “… drowned bodies found Monday morning, on the banks of the Rio Grande.” June 2019 From across the shore, Mexican side, wife Tania Vanessa Avalos watched as a strong current pulled her husband and daughter away. Their bodies found about 550 yards from where they had tried crossing. Family was fleeing poverty in El Salvador. (A few miles down, other migrants drowned too.)”

 

– Leticia Velasquez

2. Claudia Gómez González, 20 (Moral Luck at the Border, Rio Bravo series), charcoal and ink, 14 x 17 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

Read More

“Claudia Gómez González, 20, is walking along a road with others. They encounter a U.S. Border Patrol Agent in the corner of a vacant lot. Upon sighting the agent, two run toward the river, two run toward an abandoned mobile home two lots away. Claudia and another stay in the vacant lot. She takes one step, the agent raises his gun; the agent shoots her in the head. She was of small build and unarmed. This known via a neighbor’s video recording. The agent claimed to have been attacked with blunt objects.”

 

– Leticia Velasquez

3. Julian Ramirez Galindo, 41 (Moral Luck at the Border series, Tijuana), charcoal and ink, 22 x 28.25 inches, 2020 .

courtesy of the artist

Read More

“Julian Ramirez Galindo, 41, street musician “… examiner’s report at odds with agent’s version of events, [examiner’s report] detailing a man of slight stature who died from two downward trajectory bullet wounds.” Tijuana Border, February 2014.”

 

– Leticia Velasquez

Biography

Leticia Velasquez is a California native, daughter of Mexican immigrants. She left for NYC to study photography at Parsons School of Design. After 11 years, she returned to her home state. She’s been a visual artist for over 2 decades. Shortly after receiving her BFA, she made an abrupt break from art that involved a turn toward philosophy, a time in which she deeply questioned the value, role, and production of art and engaged ethical and epistemological questions. After this period of confrontation with meaning, writing and a return to art have been a way of reconstituting self.

Jody Zellen

This is color still from a video work by Jody Zellen. The still depicts a group of loosely outlined figures standing in the center of the outlined shape of Macedonia. The color of the outlined figures are various shades of green, and the color of the outlined shape of Macedonia is dark grey. Above the image is text that reads Macedonia, Unemployed 19%, Population 2,118,945. This style of imagery and animation is consistent throughout the entire video, with other countries represented such as Costa Rica, Georgia, Guatemala, and more.

Artist Statement

The Unemployed is a data visualization that illustrates worldwide unemployment. Using data culled from online sources that list unemployment rates by country, The Unemployed represents the jobless as animated figures. The number of unemployed varies from country to country ranging from a few thousand in sparsely populated places to many millions. This video presents figures (the unemployed) moving within the confines of their countries. The clusters of figures metaphorically become an available labor force, as well as the visible presence of the jobless.”

1. World Unemployment, video, 29:46, 2019–20.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

Jody Zellen is a Los Angeles based artist who works in many media simultaneously. She received a BA from Wesleyan University (1983), a MFA from CalArts (1989) and a MPS from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (2009). Zellen has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1989. While Zellen’s work engages with technology, she also still makes things by hand. To that end she draws and paints as well as creates interactive installations and iOS apps.

RESPONSES

I would like to highlight the issue of food and home security in my community. I believe there are actions that can be taken by local officials and organizations to combat this growing issue in my problem, and that it’s one of the most pressing issues that should be prioritized more by those who are privileged in my community.

William Camargo

This is a color photograph by William Camargo depicting a figure standing in a backyard. The figure is holding a small circular, metal table in their right hand, and a large blue ball under their left arm while holding a large bag of pinto beans. Tattoos are visible on the figure's left forearm. A blue cloth is placed over the figure's head to completely obstruct their face, while a similarly styled small, circular metal table is placed over their head. The figure is wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and shorts with white socks and white tennis shoes. Behind the figure is the backside of a tan house; in the window is a woman looking down. The foreground features grass and a green hose laying on the ground.

Artist Statement

“Using photography, installation, political public performances, community archiving, and my role as an arts-based educator, I negotiate the legacies and disempowerment of Brown people in my hometown of Anaheim, California. I respond to found archives of the city through a historical art praxis that manifests as series-based artworks and strategies that address geographic places. This body of work deals with canonical issues in epistemic oppression that leaves Black and photographers of color outside of the canon and creates a counter-narrative of its history.”

left to right

 

1. All That I Can Carry, archival inkjet print, 30 x 24 x 2 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

2. We Gunna Have to Move Out Soon Fam!, archival inkjet print, 30 x 24 x 2 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

3. Hey You Like My Tats Foo?, archival inkjet print, 40 x 30 x 3 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

William Camargo is an Arts Educator, Photo-Based Artist and Arts Advocate born and raised in Anaheim, California, he is currently serving as Commissioner of Heritage and Culture in the city of Anaheim and working towards an M.F.A at Claremont Graduate University. He is the founder and curator of Latinx Diaspora Archives, an archive Instagram page that elevates communities of color through family photos. He attained his BFA at the California State University, Fullerton, and an AA from Fullerton College in photography.

Helen Chung

In this color photograph of a painting by Helen Chung, two figures and a dog appear in a glass reflection of a window. The central figure is a woman of color peaking into the window, wearing a face mask and holding a hat in her left hand. Accompanying her is a dog on the right. Placed in the center of the glass is a sign that has inverted writing that reads, the gallery is closed. Standing behind the woman is a man of color wearing a face mask holding up a phone with both hands. In the distance is a shadow of a large tree with a blue gradient sky. The figures are standing on a grey sidewalk.

Artist Statement

“These artworks were conceived particularly because the lock-down and the social distancing due to Covid-19, and the political disarray we’re experiencing that is motivating us to be part of the activism.”

left to right

 

1. Looking Out Looking In, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

2. Covid Dinner Party, acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

I was born in South Korea and currently live and work in Los Angeles. My work consists of sculptures, paintings, and photographic work, in which the common thread tends to be about leveling our learned biases like, inside and out, front and back, painting or sculpture, etc., while experimenting with each medium’s properties. My figurative work, including portraits, aspires to break certain comfortable associations we have viewing a picture with human bodies, while still allowing the inevitable narrative associations to a degree.

Helena Min

This is a color photograph of a sculpture by Helena Min. The photograph features a sculptural object resembling a canvas with washes of blue and purple paint with a navy blue transparent fabric draped on top. The sculpture is centered in front of a white background.

Artist Statement

“My daily studio work is focused on seeing ‘as is’ in the ever-present now, with a conscious effort to be free from conditions such as religion, culture, stored information, memory, knowledge, and etc. My work reflects my daily observation that is the universe, the ground of all being, sustaining itself through interconnectedness. Climate crisis facing the collapse of life on earth, current COVID-19 pandemic, and the death of G. Floyd, all human endeavors and creativity are to be devoted to healing the broken sacred interconnectedness between humans and nature, and among human races.”

left to right

 

1. 2003 Life Self-organizing, light+shadow, gouache, and nobang (Korean silk), 21 x 23 x 10 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

2. 1901 Temple, light+shadow and gouache on nobang (Korean silk), 15 x 11 x 2 inches, 2019.

courtesy of the artist

3. 2005 Healing 2_Interconnectedness, mixed media on Korean silk, 32 x 22 x 2 inches, 2020.

courtesy of the artist

Biography

Helena Min (b.1971, South Korea) is a Los Angeles artist working in mixed media. Min received a B.F.A. degree in 1993 from OTIS Parsons School of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California, and an M.A. degree in 1996 from California State University at Long Beach, Long Beach. Min works with painting, drawing, and with mixed media, focusing on physical light as an important medium. Min sees the  “interconnectedness” in the universe. Everything exists in relationship to others. These relationships sustain the universe and form ultimate unity and balance.