Two SEE(d) Artists engage audiences to think about ownership and place

In Spring 2019, SEE(d) Artist Series presented two San Francisco social practice artists—Marcela Pardo Ariza and Ilana Crispi.

In March, Marcela Pardo Ariza invited SEE(d) to explore cultural and gender identity in her studio located at The Minnesota Street Projects artist complex in San Francisco. Pardo Ariza’s artistic project honors the tradition of theater and performance art as tools of resistance, in which she collaborates with friends and queer performance artists to co-create and rename identity through the action of making performance-based photographic works. Marcela shared her interest in capturing a gesture, the back of our head, a stance, a statement, power, and the items that speak about gender, collaboration, identity. Her process interrogates her interest in inclusivity, ownership, the audience gaze, the performer’s own collective partnership in the finished work, and asks: who ‘owns’ it?

Photography is the youngest of the mediums, it’s like over a hundred years, and it really hasn’t changed that much since. . . why is it being so uptight, can’t we just move on from that (laughter) and can’t we just let it play around just a little bit more?
— Marcela Pardo-Ariza

In May, ceramic-based artist Ilana Crispi hosted SEE(d) at her Half Moon Bay studio. Ilana shared a detailed exposé of her iterative process of mining the soil to create works of art that speak about history and place. She visually explained her labor-intensive working process of creating her own clay and glazes by digging, hauling, sifting, and then testing the soil to discover it's chemical and energetic contents. Artifacts that reflect the (his/her)story of that place are then created and brought to the greater public in a social arena of discourse and storytelling. Ilana fascination with the ground underneath feeds her connections to place and the questions inherent with gentrification and urbanization of land.

So taking the dirt from this place (Mission Dirt Project) and then making it something that I can then share with other people is a kind of radical act. I envisioned it as a kind of guerrilla land grab. So, when you think of staking your claim for the gold rush, we’re in our next gold rush here where people are trying to get ahold of this city and hold onto it and change it, make it theirs.
— Ilana Crispi

SEE(d) Creative Network enjoyed two afternoons filled with thought provoking art, poignant conversations, networking, artisan wine and food, and art objects acquired from the artists. Join the SEE(d) Creative Network to keep you feeling creative all year long.

Artist Chris Duncan shares how he paints with the sun

To kick off 2019, SEE(d) gathered at visual and sound-based artist Chris Duncan’s joint project space, Land And Sea Oakland, where he and his wife, Maggie offer a space for artists to share their work. After warming up with whiskey, mingling and seeing the works on view, Chris explained how he discovered and developed his process of using time, the sun, and moon to make his art. To fend off the cold during a winter in Oakland, he and Maggie had hung their beautiful quilts in their bedroom windows. When the quilts came down after the thaw, Chris reveled at the sight of their bleached back sides. This began a new trajectory in his work, in which he engaged directly with natural cycles, placing folded and stitched fabric in the natural environment on the full moon and harvesting the works six months later, again on the full moon, to reveal surprising and often exquisite results. Chris explains how many works fail and how the reintroduction of his hand ‘saves’ them:

I engage with natural cycles. For every one that worked, there are 3 or 4 that didn’t measure up. Eventually that led me to reintroduce my hands and apply paint to see if I could ‘save’ these works—to create a natural union between time passing, the natural course of things, and my own input.

Chris is equally passionate about incorporating natural elements into his sound work, where he plays with the notion of ‘a simple gesture repeated to the point of transcendence,’ capturing sounds of ocean waves and wind, and layering them with human breath. The sound piece he shared with SEE(d) brought everything back to the present moment—a deeply inspired artist sharing his work in his urban space with people who appreciated hearing a completely spontaneous creation in time. Nothing on the phone or social media mattered, only the lapping of frequencies to allow each person to muse and savor their own relationship to sound, to the sun, to time.

Many SEE(d) participants expressed the experience felt unique and nourishing, a 'one-of-a-kind spiritual re-boot.' This is exactly what SEE(d) would like to offer, a bi-monthly needed break from the weekly routine, where you can, for lack of a better phrase, resonate with deeply felt ideas and learn while supporting Bay Area artists' studio practices.

We look forward to our next gathering with Marcela Pardo Ariza in March.

--Katya and Tana
SEE(d) Co-directors



SEE(d) Artist Series Launches with artist Desirée Holman

SEE(d) Artist Series is proud to announce Desirée Holman as the first SEE(d) studio artist on Sunday, December 2, 2018. SEE(d) visitors receive a ‘behind the scenes’ look into two exciting, in-progress bodies of work: an expansive video project entitled The Third Place and a series of small scale, ceramic figurative sculptures exploring human interdependence and fragility. 

Desirée Holman is an accomplished interdisciplinary artist focused in the fields of expanded cinema, performance, public artworks as well as traditional gallery works. 

Holman received a San Francisco Modern Museum of Art SECA Award in 2008 and Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue award in 2007. From 2016-2017, Holman returned to SFMOMA as a fellow in the Film & Performance Department with a new works commission, Sophont in Action.

Holman’s Become a Sci-Fi Character was featured on KQED’s ‘The Art Assignment’ in conjunction with her video project, Sophont, in which the artist designed wearable, sculptural ‘psionics’ to enhance her characters’ sensory abilities.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the artist in her Oakland studio! Space is extremely limited, purchase your tickets here.

Sophont in Action,  3/2018, Live Performance, variable duration, 1a Space, Hong Kong

Sophont in Action, 3/2018, Live Performance, variable duration, 1a Space, Hong Kong

Top image credit: Desirée Holman, Reborn, 2007, 3 Channel Audio Video Installation, 11 minute run time, looping, SFMOMA