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Mariangeles; Soto-Diaz: iHola! Unconfirmed Makeshift Museum in Santa Ana


May 7 – June 12, 2022

a socially engaged artist-in-residence project
Phase 1 – Saturday, May 7 from 7-10PM

storefront gallery research and development

Artist Mariangeles Soto-Diaz’s practice is multilayered. She describes herself as a â“prismatic, conceptual maximalistâ” who integrates social practice, performance, and installation, approaching each project with combinational freedom and multiple entry points for the audience.
For the first phase of her GCAC residency, Soto-Diaz will open the storefront gallery space as a planning location for conversations and methods to get input from community members, framing this process with her quirky artist project the Unconfirmed Makeshift Museum (UMM). Soto-Dí­­az defines Unconfirmed Makeshift Museum as â“a flexible project space with a playful utopian sensibility, conceived as a portable intervention in both neighborhoods and art worlds. It is a curatorial experiment intended to decentralize circulation of contemporary practices, and it integrates the sensory, poetic, political, and affective dimensions of the everyday.â”

For her UMM project at GCAC, Soto-Diaz will begin by activating the gallery space with an installation-in-progress and a participatory activity aimed at both highlighting the collective knowledge of the community and creating a welcoming space for experiencing art. â“Viewers will be invited by one of several UMM Questions Operations Managers to complete a questionnaire, where they can share about their experiences with contemporary art spaces, and anyone in their lives who they see as especially creative and resilient in any way, not just through conventional art making.â” Soto-Diaz will then incorporate visitors’ responses into the next phase of the work, engaging and following up with viewers about their ideas as the project develops. â“Having had experience with essential care, I have been thinking of how not just the language of care, but other languages of being, can function in the realm of relationality. How can everyday dreaming, dancing, storytelling, proverbs, and celebratory moments effectively channel and transmit knowledge and even healing memories for a future time?â”

As part of the research for her project, Soto-Diaz is consulting with CSUF College of Health and Human Development Associate professor Claudia Pineda about qualitative research methodologies and Pineda’s work on resilience. Her UMM project at GCAC will continue in the coming months and will be followed by a different project in the Gallery exhibition space beginning later in summer that will build on her recent work in martial arts and performance.

Mariangeles Soto-Diaz [US/VE] began her art and judo studies in her native Venezuela, the once-promising oil-and-abstraction-producing nation that has become one of the most unstable and violent countries in the world. In her recent work, Soto-Diaz has merged her judo and creative practices to explore the dynamics of power and vulnerability. Moving across traditional art categories, she creates multilayered projects that are at once political and personal, with a nomadic conceptual practice based on relational self-determination.

Soto-Diaz’s work has been exhibited at the Orange County Museum of Art, the SUR:Biennial, the Everywoman’s Biennial (London/NY), 18th Street Art Center, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, MASS MoCA, El Museo del Barrio in NYC, the Stanley Museum, the Fullerton Museum of Art, and the Wignall Museum, among other venues. She began her art studies at the Federico Brandt School of Art in Caracas, and holds a BA in Psychology and Art from Hampshire College, an MA from the California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. When not in lockdown, she trains at Bunasawa’s Dojo in Costa Mesa and at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo.