5 Works Of Art To See In San Diego In July
This month, check out new works of visual art by Cristóbal Gracia, Nicholas Galanin, Sofia Gonzalez, LaRissa Rogers and Javier Arreguin Villegas.
'A Money Laundering Pond, Which Is Also A Painting, But It Is Not A Painting Of A Pond' By Cristóbal Gracia
On view at Best Practice July 10 through Aug. 14
We really should get this out of the way first: This installation is made from hot sauce. In fact, it's an actual pond of hot sauce. Valentina hot sauce, to be specific.
Mexico City-based artist Cristóbal Gracia will build a wishing well on-site at Best Practice, newly moved into the Bread and Salt complex. It's a variation of a work previously installed in Mexico City. The work uses whitened stones and gravel to build the landscape that contains the pond, then Valentina sauce. An air pump circulates and bubbles it like a real fountain. Yes, you're supposed to toss your coins in.
Some superstitions say that a coin must land face-up for a wish to come true, but in a pond of thick, opaque sauce, a wisher will never know how the coin lands. It's also inspired by the cleaning of statues with hot sauce, seen by the artist in a news story in 2013 — specifically how the hot sauce dripped off the statue like blood. The acids in hot sauce, though, eat away at tarnish and other dirt on statues, as well as your coins. Hence, "money laundering."
I asked gallery cofounder Joe Yorty about the, uh, olfactory reality of a gallery filled with hot sauce. "Intense" was a word he used.
Details: Exhibition information. Viewable by appointment or during gallery hours Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Opening reception Saturday, July 10 from 5-8 p.m. 1955 Julian Ave., Logan Heights.
'White Noise, American Prayer Rug' By Nicholas Galanin
On view at Quint ONE through July 24.
Indigenous Tlingit and Unangax̂ artist Nicholas Galanin, who is based in Sitka, Alaska, will show a single, large-scale tapestry at Quint ONE. The work is informed by the constant, static-like noise of American political power, as well as identity, intolerance and hate. The tapestry, 96 inches wide, looks not unlike a TV set filled with static, in shades of black, blue-grays, white with the tiniest specs of color. Hung on a wall like a flatscreen television, it uproots the line between art and our dependence on technology, but it also calls into question whiteness and how America distorts and conceals its problematic past.
There's actually two chances to check out Galanin's work in the Southern California region right now. Galanin also has work currently installed at Desert X. His installation, "Never Forget," mimics the Hollywood sign with the words "INDIAN LAND," in 45-foot-tall letters, and it will remain on view through the summer near the Palm Springs Visitor Center.
Details: Exhibition information. "White Noise" is viewable by appointment or for walk-in visits, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. 7722 Girard Ave., La Jolla.
'Taking Root (Central Arkansas, Quilt 1)' By Sofia Gonzalez
On view at San Diego Art Institute July 10 through Sept. 5
Gonzalez's textile art is one of the recent SD Practice acquisitions by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture — a pandemic-era program intended to bolster the city's public art collection as well as provide opportunities and income for regional artists. One hundred works by 89 artists will be on view in two locations this summer — Bread and Salt in Logan Heights and San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. There is so much to love in these twin exhibitions, but what I'm drawn to in Gonzalez's work is the softness. Not the softness of fabric, but the softness found in that cloudy space between beauty and use, and the equally soft space between raw and intention.
Gonzalez colors her fabrics using foraged botanicals and homemade dyes. In this case, eucalyptus, sumac and goldenrod provide hues of brown, pink and vivid yellow. It roots her abstract, patchwork pieces in place and memory: This work only looks like this because of a specific moment and point on a map.
Details: Exhibition information. Viewable during museum hours, Fridays through Sundays 12-4 p.m. 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park.
'A Poetic Of Living' By LaRissa Rogers
On view at The Front Arte and Cultura July 1 through Sept. 1, 2021
LA-based artist LaRissa Rogers is part of the new group show at The Front, "And We Will Sing In The Tall Grass Again: Postcolonial Futurities at the End of Gender." Rogers' work explores issues of colonization, memory and history.
This particular piece uses soil from two locations in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. One spot was previously a plantation and holds 43 unmarked slave graves beneath what is now a golf course. The other location contains a hanging tree, also unmarked, where John Henry James was killed in 1898. For the Front gallery installation, Rogers will also stir in soil from the Tijuana border. "Soil holds trauma, displacement, memory and history," Rogers writes in her artist statement, "but is also a place of regeneration, possibility and future."
Seeds of celosia, native to East Africa, are planted in the soil, and the soil is shaped into bodies. Throughout the course of the exhibition, watering the soil will yield fungus, mildew and the potential for the celosia to grow. The effect is a grave-like memorial, sprouting with new life but with the distinct mark of death and history.
As this installation moves beyond this space, the San Diego-Tijuana border soil will go with it and new soil from new locations will be added.
For more on "And We Will Sing In The Tall Grass Again," read the feature here.
Details: Exhibition information. Viewable during gallery hours Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. 147 W. San Ysidro Blvd., San Ysidro.
'Lupita Crossing The Border / Homeland Security Angels' By Javier Arreguin Villegas
On view at The Hill Street Country Club through Aug. 20
Javier Arreguin Villegas's new solo show at HSCC is called "Anticuado," and it's a reflection on his personal lived experience as an immigrant, brother, father and partner. So, what's remarkable about "Lupita Crossing the Border" is how vividly Arreguin Villegas explores and captures the mind and body of a pregnant mother. In the woodcut print, an expectant couple is crossing the border in a wash of blue moonlight, flanked by winged guardians. It's his own parents' narrative, and the artist is the baby in his mother's womb, and he included the tiny, real details she passed down to him in stories: a drop of fluid drops from her body when, due to pregnancy, she could no longer hold her pee, and her shoe is missing.
The collection of works are made from fabric collage and woodcut prints, in a technique known as xilography for carving and etching, then applying water-based ink to print onto paper. I love the bold simplicity of Arreguin Villegas' work, where the stories are unavoidable and unapologetic.
Details: Exhibition information. Viewable by appointment. 530 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside.