Marie-Luce Nadal’s art confronts the intertwining scales of life. Building upon the legacy of her ancestors, she embarks on a relentless paradoxal pursuit to tame or to be part of the sky itself. The artist inherited a rich knowledge of winegrowers and cloud seeders. In the delicate balance between control and surrender, between earth and sky, lies a tipping point that challenges our perceptions. Her works pay homage to the alchemy of uncertainty, revealing a profound interconnectedness between terrestrial and divine forces. The body momentarily becomes cloud, and the cloud momentarily becomes body, merging the vertical ascent and the intoxicated depths into a singular point of convergence.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Marie-Luce Nadal, born in Perpignan (French Catalunya), is an artist and researcher who explores the intersection of art and science. She creates performative machine-works that have the particularity of mixing plastic visual singularities, scientific research, and poetry. Her work delves into the ethereal realm of the atmosphere, seeking to capture its elusive nature and unravel the mysteries it holds.
In her exploration of the atmosphere, she raises fundamental questions about our relationship with nature. Her artistic reverie unravels the artificial landscapes that surround us, inviting us to contemplate the intangible substances that shape our environment. By extracting essences from storms, domesticating flies, and conjuring clouds, her work revolves around the human obsession will of control and dominance over the natural world.
The artist has exhibited her work at the following museums and foundations: Palais de Tokyo (France), Musée des Abattoirs de Toulouse (France), ZKM (Germany), New Tretyakof Gallery (Moscow), La Gaité Lyrique (France), MUST (Norway), MGK (Germany), Fondation Fiminco (France), Fondation LAccolade (France/USA), Gare Saint Sauveur Lille 3000 (France), Moscow Biennale, Lyon Biennale.
Alicia Rojas: With Honey in the Mouth – Con Miel en la Boca
May 6 – September 10, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6 from 7-10pm
With Honey in the Mouth – Con Miel en la Boca examines the synchronicities between honeybees and human-forced migration journeys.
Honeybees are required to sustain our global ecosystem. The synchronicities between bees, their dancing patterns, and pollination exemplify purpose through collective work. Migratory pollination has become essential to agriculture in many regions as pesticides have ravaged native pollinators. Like many parallel migration stories, bees and humans continue to expand their territories for the survival of their colonies. The labor of these groups is often exploited, forced to work the land to support food production for the betterment of others, all while remaining responsible for nurturing next generations and contributing to their communities.
The initial concept for the works in the gallery comes from the artist’s personal experience of growing up around bees as a child in her elementary school in her native country of Colombia, where she learned to follow the bees’ example of service to humanity as they provide a model for human potential – the ideals to transcend and give meaning beyond one’s own existence. The stories of women in Alicia’s family and their migration journey from Colombia have inspired the artist, expressed through the collaborative process and values demonstrated throughout this exhibition.
Generated over a two-year artist-in-residence with GCAC, the resulting works include beeswax sculptures formed in collaboration with the eight active bee colonies placed in the artist’s Santa Ana backyard; photography and video works created with the assistance of SteadyJenny in Santa Ana and Colombia; a sculptural installation created with original hive boxes; and a sound work composed through Alicia’s first collaboration with her son Gabriel Lopez Rojas.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alicia Rojas is a Colombian-born artist living in Orange County, CA. She participates in movements for immigrant rights, anti-gentrification, social and economic equity, and ecology. Alicia’s artistic practice started as an exploration of self-expression and healing, which led her to paint almost 100 self-portraits in one year. Her practice has a collaborative and storytelling process in which paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and murals are not the final result but rather part of her art-making pedagogy. Her work contributes to the historical memory of the collective and facilitates placemaking within communities of color.
The artist is a California Arts Council, Established Artists Fellow grantee. She has received funding from the City of Santa Ana Arts and Culture Department, Community Engagement, and local non-profits. She is the Director and Co-founder of the Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition, an organization founded to connect local artists to their communities collaboratively to create art that transforms public spaces, generates civic engagement, and promotes personal and social change. Rojas was a founding member of the City of Santa Ana arts steering committee and a participant in the Occupy movement.
Grand Central Art Center and the artist wish to thank Alejandro Soto with the Bee Army, SteadyJenny (Film/media), Frank Molnar, Joshua-Michéle Ross, Court Price, and Don Oscar Castelblanco Beekeeper in San Agustin, Colombia, for their support in helping us to realize the exhibition. The artist celebrates the first collaboration with her son Gabriel Lopez Rojas, a musician who assisted with the sound arrangement for this exhibition.
Alicia Rojas’ Grand Central Art Center Artist-in-Residence is supported, in part, by a grant to our institution provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
To Keep a Fire presents five new works by artist Kade Twist that poke a stick at the unresolved tensions between market-driven systems, consumerism, and American Indian cultural self-determination.
The exhibition is a fragmented ceremonial ground, of sorts, comprised of sculpture, video, sound, and smell that present unexpected histories, desires, experiences, sequences, and artifacts of contemporary colonization and neoliberal violence.
Atliloidohi / ᎠᏟᎶᎢᏙᎯ (translation: civil engineer) is a mixed-media sculpture that functions as an improvised engine hoist (constructed with propane tanks, cinderblocks, ladders, a single wood beam, come along, and tow strap) suspends a 5.3 LS engine with transmission four feet above the gallery floor. The work — which is based on a DIY mechanic’s creation captured by a grainy photo that has been circulating around various Facebook groups for the past year — is a monument to human ingenuity, pragmatism, muscle, and speed; and a precarious, aspirational vision of survivance and human will in the face of globalism, speed, and violence.
Atsilv / ᎠᏥᎸ (translation: fire) is a multichannel video sculpture with sound that embodies the Cherokee cultural and spiritual values associated with keeping a fire. However, in this instance, these values are complicated by histories of colonial violence, land squatting, political subjugation, and resentment. The land once held in common, is now held in private, with individually owned homes standing on each plot. The fire here is an emotionally troubled vision of reclamation. Clearly, burning down colonizer homes is not an appropriate endeavor of decolonization, and it does not reflect Cherokee cultural values. Instead, it is intended to interrogate the complexities, and often contradictory aspirations, inherent within contemporary indigenous decolonization strategies and practices.
Your Scent Is Still Here is a sculptural smell work comprised of a trough (6’ x 2’ x 1’) filled with 40 gallons of Fabuloso*. The household cleaner, which originated in 1980 Venezuela, has become the most popular household cleaning product in the Western Hemisphere. Its unmistakable and ubiquitous scent is evidence of our Hemispherical interconnectedness and shared perception of how a clean surface should smell in the Americas. It is interesting to note that this particular scent also functions as a signifier of racial, cultural, political, and economic chauvinisms, particularly in the USA and Canada, where Fabuloso is often mocked and dismissed as the cleaning product of black, brown, and indigenous lower classes.
Load-Bearing Prayers is a sculptural work that exists inside of a load-bearing gallery wall. For this work, a seven-sided polygon, or heptagon, is sanded 1/8 inch into the drywall’s gypsum. The work is approximately seven feet tall, rising one foot above the gallery floor with lines approximately four inches wide, the width of a belt sander. The form of the work, the heptagon, is significant in that it symbolizes and communicates how Cherokee people configure worldviews within public and private spaces. Each of the seven sides of the heptagon represents one of our seven clans, seven fires, seven directions, and seven peoples of the earth.
The artist sees this work as a graphic score, or conceptual map, for a future socially engaged piece that will develop at Grand Central Art Center over the course of 2023 and 2024. The work involves organizing a BIPOC recovery group for people of diverse backgrounds to share knowledge and emotional, spiritual, and experiential support for each other as racialized peoples in a Nation defined by neoliberal, Judeo-Christian Western scientific worldviews. The group collaboration will result in an 8-hour durational performance of being a racialized human in dialogue with other racialized humans who have shared and divergent interests, goals, identities, and histories of continuity, change, and survival.
Parachutes Are Not Sovereigns is a single channel video with sound. The work juxtaposes video of parachute failure with prayers in indigenous languages. It is a common practice for tribal people to pray not just for the best interests of family and friends, but also for the best interests of all interconnected beings (humans, animals, insects, flora, fauna, air, land, water, celestial bodies, etc., even inanimate objects). We even pray for our colonizers! Speaking of which, skydiving is a widely held “bucket-list” endeavor of affluent colonizers in the USA and Canada. In many ways it’s a neoliberal pastime to embrace the promises of freedom while demonstrating status, and courage and the capacity to overcome the laws of physics. Every time a White person jumps from a plane, that person also jumps, inadvertently, into the prayers of thousands of indigenous people. However, parachutes and prayers do seem to fail us all from time to time.
in collaboration with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange,
February 4 through May 14, 2023
Opening Reception with Sisters Engaged Activities
Saturday, February 4 from 7-10pm
Sisters InfoShop, an exhibition and socially engaged residency project by Lexa Walsh, is a platform for the legacy of progressive women religious in California and beyond. With a special focus on the work and lives of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, the project is presented at Grand Central Art Center both as an installation in the gallery as well as a mobile kiosk in the public square in front of the art center, activated with programming by the Sisters.
The installation includes a timeline and materials from the Sisters’ activism situated within the context of pivotal moments in recent history of the Catholic Church and general societal issues. Additionally, Walsh has made and reconfigured seating from vintage school desks and prayer kneelers that become conversational sculptures. Throughout the exhibition is the motif of Walsh’s childhood Catholic school blue, green, and gold tartan plaid.
The public will actively engage with the Sisters inside and around the kiosk on the first Saturdays of each month, through a Human Library, Sister Ellen O’Leary’s miming, a Social Justice Fair, and multiple other socially engaged activations throughout the duration of the show. Walsh has donned the kiosk with a neon sign, murals, hand crafted flags representing the Sisters’ congregational stances, and papered inside with Sister Madeleva’s graphic artworks, which are reminiscent of the late Sister Corita Kent’s artworks. A zine is available to share the Sisters’ “100 Days of Prayer”, their timely response to the 2017 presidential inauguration.
Co-designed with Walsh and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, this collaborative project is a place for the public to learn about and engage with the Sisters and their work. The overarching theme of their work is Justice, within the framework of “Our Dear Neighbor”, creating welcoming places for belonging, alongside activism, solidarity and policy for disenfranchised communities.
Walsh is interested in what can be learned by creating temporary social justice institutions in a public square, and revealing the long activist legacy of these Sisters through a feminist lens.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lexa Walsh is an artist and cultural worker based in Oakland. Walsh makes projects, exhibitions, publications and objects, employing social engagement, institutional critique, and radical hospitality. She creates platforms for interaction across hierarchies, representing multiple voices and inventing new ways of belonging.
Her upbringing as the youngest child of fifteen in a Catholic family, in a house full of trophies (that were not hers) informs her work, as does practicing collectivity while coming of age in the Bay Area post punk cultural scene of the 1990’s. Walsh founded the experimental music and performance venue the Heinz Afterworld Lounge, worked for many years as a curator and administrator at CESTA, an international art center in Czech republic, whose team created radical curatorial projects to foster cross-cultural understanding. Walsh co-founded and conceived of the all women, all toy instrument ensemble Toychestra. She founded and organized Oakland Stock, the Oakland branch of the Sunday Soup network micro-granting dinner series that supports artists’ projects. She recently launched the Bay Area Contemporary Arts Archive (BACAA), and created Consolidated Mess, a large scale project with Veterans at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato, CA.
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 3 from 7-10PM
Latent Community’s video work NEROMANNA(2017) focuses on the story of Kallio, a village in Fokida, Greece, whose inhabitants were evicted in 1969 and later flooded in 1981, being left submerged in an artificial lake. The flooding occurred as a result of the construction of the Mornos dam, to be used as a water reservoir for the city of Athens, Greece.
The aim of the project is to present the story of Kallio and to briefly reconstitute its lost community, through underwater footage of the sunken village combined with the voices of its former inhabitants, who speak of their eviction and relocation.
The whole video work is an attempt to bring to the fore the latent conflicts between the natural and the artificial, between the metropolis and the periphery, and between dominant narratives and counter-stories. In NEROMANNA, the ruins of Kallio emerge with the lowering of water levels every once in a while during times of drought, a reminder of the power of water and its politics, as well as the consequences of its control through large-scale engineering projects on human life.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Latent Community is the interdisciplinary artist duo by Sotiris Tsiganos (1992) and Ionian Bisai (1992) working in research-based projects. Their practice intertwines fieldwork and moving image focusing on social and ecological injustice. Laboring in the age of augmented realities, the artist duo weaves social engagement and critique through participatory strategies and performative sequences, resulting in hybrid film productions – remixing documentary, fiction and archive.
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5 from 7-10PM
YOU + A.I. = A.I.M. delves into humanity’s relationship to technology and its revolutionary, mundane, or destructive impact on the world. This project is an ever-expanding series depicting past, present, and future imagined scenarios through the lens of A.I.-generated images. Portrayed are visions of utopia and dystopia: a future in which humans no longer struggle or are replaced and made irrelevant. For this installation, artist Christopher Wormald uses A.I.-generated images created by feeding descriptive text prompts into a computer program – a new medium that can create original images as quickly as ideas are conceived. The resulting images range from the uncanny to the hyper-realistic or even comically absurd.
Wormald’s initial concept is inspired by artist Jason Allen, who won the blue-ribbon prize in the digital arts category at the 2022 Colorado State Fairwith his A.I. generated artwork, Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. The news around Jason Allen’s winning artwork has sparked debate and controversy on whether the use of A.I. in art is a hack or a shortcut – bringing into question A.I.’s impact on the future careers of graphic designers and others in the creative industry. The Arts have seen the implications of technologies in the past, from the printing press, camera, synthesizer, and more, with mixed results of success and failure. In YOU + A.I. = A.I.M., Christopher questions how individuals can use technologies responsibly and considers his role as an artist moving forward.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Christopher Wormaldis a LA-based multidisciplinary artist. He studied photography at OCC and earned a BFA in sculpture at Cal State Long Beach. His practice is often centered around the process and technological limitations of digital mediums, working through analog and digital photographic processes, mold-making, installation, video, and sound. From 2013-2017, Christopher wrote and performed as one-half of the electronic music duo, Intimatchine. Their live musical performances incorporated Christopher’s experimental visual aesthetic and technological knowledge. Intimatchine performed a live ASMR version of their set inside Cocky Eek’s inflatable pavilion, Sphaerae, at the Pasadena AXS Festival in 2014. In 2018, Christopher was artist-in-residence at Grand Central Art Center, where he experimented with live musical improvisations on a modular synthesizer within a multimedia sculptural installation and wrote his first solo EP under the moniker Stud Drift. He lived in Nashville from 2019 – 2022, experiencing the tragic March 3, 2020, tornado and creating the installation, A Year After the Storm, at the Bordeaux Branch Library that artistically documented the tornado’s path precisely one year later. In the summer of 2022, Christopher returned to Southern California, where he resides today.