re:connections: Art MFAs Present 2021 Postgraduate Exhibition

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After nearly two years apart, 2021 MFA graduates of the School of Art present their postgraduate exhibition re:connections, running from Aug. 5-31 at Tin Flats in Los Angeles.

The exhibition includes works from the most recent graduates of the programs in Art, Art and Technology, and Photography and Media. re:connections is peer-organized and curated by Los Angeles-based curator Audrey Min of Commonwealth and Council, a gallery in LA’s Koreatown.

“This show is a testament to the collaborative nature of our CalArts graduates,” said School of Art Dean Thomas Lawson. “Despite not being together they are courageously putting their artwork forward in this highly-ambitious project spanning an exhibition, artist book and catalog, programming, and more.” 

The exhibition features works by 17 students, all of whom are (Art MFA 21): Kendra Le Bault de la Moriniere, Amanda Bauer, Fía Benitez, Juan Herrera, Eleanor Francis, Jing Dong, Aimée Dopa, Benjamin S. Gordon, Danielle Trent, Lois Bielefeld, Richard Nam, Ruoyi Shi, Yaozhi Liu, Caleb Craig, Dongpu Ling, Seongeun Kim, and Dana Carly Eitches.

re:connections is co-organized by Dopa, Bauer, Herrera, Bielefeld, de la Moriniere, Liu, Craig, Shi, and Benitez.

“It’s exciting to bring together for the first time a cohort whose practices were thus far physically separated by necessity of the pandemic,” shared Min. “As members of the next generation of practicing artists, the 17 participants identify and follow to their source the fault lines in an increasingly unstable present, clearing space for equitable futures. They span critical meditations on site and inherited legacies—from Caleb Craig’s prints and sculptures of post-binary environments informed by the separation of syncretized Celtic symbols; Fía Benitez’s archive-based drawings, collage, sculpture, and online index investigating Southern California’s colonial histories; to Juan Herrera’s interventions onto the Venezuelan currency.” 

The MFA cohort also produced a limited-edition book sharing the exhibition’s name, made in collaboration with Courtney Loi (Critical Studies MA 21) and School of Art visiting faculty Zoe Strauss, and featuring an introduction by Tatum Howey (Critical Studies MFA 21). The book prompted the artists to reflect on their practice in the past two years, resulting in unique insights into their individual processes, from research materials to in-progress and completed works. re:connections will be released in September and available for purchase; sign up to receive news about the forthcoming publication here.

In their introduction, Howey offers theoretical propositions as well as analyses of select works. Using somatechnics, political flesh: its mechanics of porosity and resistance, they describe material and affective entanglements in re:connections: 

That the World is covered in [flesh] was something that only occurred to me as I drove through the Foothills outside of Los Angeles. Everything exists on the surface here, like a splayed-out ephemeral skin, all the synapses, points of entry, every surface trembling. This illustration of the contemporary political flesh is the nominal thread throughout the works featured in re:connections. Whatever we touch is in turn in command of our touch. This entanglement with material form, or perhaps re-entanglement with material form, is the basis for the exhibition, more a dialogue (perhaps ongoing), the ‘re:’ signaling a response.

Tin Flats will host several public programs for re:connections, including on-site screenings of time-based works. The gallery, housed in the artist-run space in the Frogtown neighborhood of Los Angeles, was founded in 2017 by Stephen Neideich (Art MFA 13). Programs will also take place on Zoom every weekend throughout the run of the show in August, including guest-moderated panels with the exhibiting artists. Moderators include CalArts faculty Ashley Hunt, and visiting faculty Kandis Williams and Zoe Strauss. See the full list of events below or at the official exhibition website.

Additionally, an exhibition catalog features essays by curator Min and Loi, and will be available on-site through the run of re:connections.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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