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‘Positive Exposure: Asian American Art of Southern California’

This article was originally published in UCSB’s The Current.

“Positive Exposure: Southern California Asian American Art,” a multimedia art exhibition currently on display at TAG Gallery, Los Angeles (May 4-24) highlights numerous UC Santa Barbara student and alumni artists. The exhibition offers a nuanced presentation of the diverse and intergenerational voices within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) arts community.

“Spanning different media (drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, video, performance and 3D technology), the works demonstrate each artist’s personal visual language through the acceptance and exploration of their own heritage, as well as their unique relationship with the world. southern California”. said Sophia Quach McCabe, who received her doctorate in art history from UCSB in 2019 and co-curated the show with artists Joyce Hayashi of Project Space DTLA and Shirley Asano Guldimann of TAG Gallery, Los Angeles.

“As a Chinese-American curator, I am excited to support these artists and continue to elevate multicultural voices and stories in museums and the art world to create spaces of belonging for all,” added McCabe, an independent curator and art historian. who was a Fulbright Scholar at the Herzog August Bibliothek and received the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Scholarship. His research, publications, and exhibitions span Renaissance and contemporary art, including an upcoming exhibition that he curated at the Huntington Library, the Art Museum, and the San Marino Botanical Garden.

Yumiko Glover, Traces of Memory II, 2023 | Credit: Courtesy

The AAPI community is not a monolith, McCabe said, adding that she hopes “Positive Exposure” helps the public see artists as individuals with varied talents, interests and backgrounds. The exhibition, which has been shown in two parts, features current UCSB MFA students and alumni, including Kio Griffith ’20; Dani Kwan ’23; Yumiko Glover ’17; Dannah Mari Hidalgo ’24, Alina Kawai ’21; Lyra Purugganan ’24, College of Creative Studies student Irene Suh ’22; and Eun-Ha Paek, artist in residence at Expressive Computation Lab 2023.

This intersection of personal background and historical context is seen in Dannah Mari Hidalgo’s painting “It’s in the Garage,” McCabe explained. Describing the painting as an examination of “the inclination and consequences of hoarding among Asian American and immigrant households,” McCabe reiterated Hidalgo’s statement: “The intrusion of the idealistic American home coupled with my childhood perspective resulted in resentment.” . “Through time and distance, my understanding of my family’s hoarding has evolved to see it as a coping mechanism internalized by my immigrant parents.”

On the other hand, McCabe noted that “Waiting on the Roof with Butterflies” by Alina Kawai “evokes feelings of loneliness and introspection while connecting with her artistic models of Japanese heritage, such as Jiro Yoshihara of the Gutai art movement.”

Centered on AAPI art and experiences, the exhibitions also offered opportunities for artists to further connect within the AAPI arts community.

“For AAPI artists, an incredible community of support awaits,” McCabe said, “What became immediately evident during both opening receptions (Project Space DTLA in October 2023 and TAG Gallery in May 2024) was how younger artists connected with older artists and vice versa. ; and how the artists, who only knew each other by name, finally met. The exhibition provided a space for new artists to learn from established artists, and for established artists to encourage emerging artists and see what they are learning and doing to make art their own.”

Kio Griffith, Proof of person (birth) 人間の証明, photography, 2018, single-channel video, color | Credit: Courtesy

Born in Kanagawa, Japan and based in Los Angeles and Yokohama, Japan, Kio Griffith is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, educator and arts writer who works on themes of social issues, geopolitics and migratory cultures, through multimodal, artisanal and technological. . He currently teaches at Tama Art University in Tokyo.

Eun-Ha Paek was born in Seoul, Korea and received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her animated films have been screened at the Guggenheim Museum, the Sundance Film Festival and at venues internationally. She teaches at Parsons School of Design and Greenwich House Pottery.

Yumiko Glover’s artwork incorporates a variety of inspirations taken from her cross-cultural experiences in Japan and the United States. Her work has been exhibited at Los Angeles International Airport, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design, and the 2019 iBiennale in Honolulu, Hawai’i, among other institutions. She currently teaches in the Art Department at UCSB.

Dannah Mari Hidalgo is a Filipino-American artist living in California and Oahu, Hawai’i, where she was born and raised. Her work often explores the experiences and relationships of everyday life as she deconstructs space, often combining figurative and representational work with abstract activation through painting.

Alina Kawai is a visual artist born in Hyōgo, Japan. Many of her works focus on color, shape and symbols. Her paintings delve into one’s connections to a broader culture and become introspective and calm spaces. Kawai’s works are in the permanent collection of the Hawaii State Museum of Art and the Ke Kilohana Building in Hawai’i.

Lyra Purugganan is an interdisciplinary artist born in Manila, Philippines. Influenced by crafts and materials, queer culture, and the Midwest DIY music scene, Purugganan explores individuality and their intersecting identities, disrupting systems through the misuse and misplacement of materials. Through performance, ceramics, installations, ornaments and sculptures, she explores the complexities of childhood and femininity, celebrating queerness and its intersectionalities.

Lyra Purugganan, Here and There (Twin Flames), 2023, ceramic, 5 x 9 x 6 inches | Credit: Courtesy

Dani Kwan is an interdisciplinary artist, graphic designer and educator who works with a wide range of media including textiles, video, ceramics, photography and print. His work has most recently been shown at the Betteravia Gallery in Santa Maria, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Oxnard Downtown Improvement Association. They are currently artists in residence at UC Santa Barbara and teach art and photography at CSU Channel Islands and Ventura Community College.

Irene Suh is a freelance artist and teaching art assistant/administrator in San Jose. Her major in Asian American Studies informs her paintings, prints, and multimedia collages. In these works, she brings together people and nature and at the same time expresses the rich Korean culture that is her heritage.