Mariangeles Soto-Diaz: Gentle Prowess Deliberations

LED light string hanging in fluid like motion on a black wall, with black, red, blue and gray matts on floor
September 3, 2022 – January 15, 2023
a socially engaged artist-in-residence project

Performance: 7:30pm, Saturday, December 10th, 2022

Part of Mariangeles Soto-Diaz’s ongoing artist residency at Grand Central Arts Center (GCAC) in Santa Ana, CA, Gentle Prowess Deliberations is the third project in a series in which the artist incorporate judo principles and elements into art objects, installations, performances and social practice with her judo community. This project focuses on ju, or gentle, one of the core concepts of judo.  The work also grapples with the ongoing reality of violence, including the violence that has led to over six million people leaving the artists native country of Venezuela in recent years. How does one practice ju in a world shaped by oppressive violence?

While growing up in Venezuela, Soto-Dia’s judo teachers were intent on transmitting judo’s international sensibility as intertwined with its pacifist ethos, a key principle articulated by judo founder Jigoro Kano. Through these early experiences, Mariangeles was able to begin the philosophical and rhetorical quest into what this might mean as one confronts a powerful opponent, institution, or system.
For this project,the artist approaches ju in several ways. She asked judo colleagues and teachers from two different dojos, Bunasawakai and Sawtelle, to characterize ju in their own words, and then incorporated their answers into aspects of the performance and installation. She weaves into the performance movements from a choreographed judo form that centers around ju, called ju-no-kata, performed here by US National champions Lee Pasteris and Frederick Dagdagan. Soto-Diaz incorporates judo movements performed by two of her sensei, grand master Sensei Nori Bunasawa and Sensei Goya. In addition to these four highly ranked master judokas, the artist is collaborating in the performance with dancer, choreographer and UCI professor Charlotte Griffin and art performer Christina Segovia. The evening will include field recordings from judo competitions at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo as well as the US, with live and processed sound in collaboration with musician Michael Dessen.
Performance will take place within the installation of art objects that has created in the Project Gallery of GCAC, 

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.

LaRissa Rogers: We’ve Always Been Here, Like Hydrogen, Like Oxygen

two screens of video in background, one on left includes close up image of a face and the image on the right includes a landscape with green grassy field and blue sky.  In foreground are palettes with a stack of oranges on top.

LaRissa Rogers

We’ve Always Been Here, Like Hydrogen, Like Oxygen 

Double channel video // 7min 22sec // 2020

Artist LaRissa Rogers washes her body as a ritual of labor and self-care. She does this on the Richmond Slave Trail and the African Burial Ground in Richmond, VA, and places her body in these locations to comment on notions of safety within public and private spheres. The spaces in which Black people and their bodies should be safe and cared for yet are vulnerable and exposed. The use of oranges stems from the Latasha Harlins Murder of ‘92 but becomes a metaphor for talking about the erasure of women of color throughout time and space.She washes her body with oranges and oranges cast from orange juice on one screen, while slowly caressing and subsequently melting a frozen orange on the other. The text alternates on both screens, one side speaking to the physical and psychological repercussions of white supremacy and the other reflecting upon the need for love, safety, and restoration to expand the spaces and possibilities for black people to exist without being under a constant state of threat.

The artist is interested in the relationship between survival and self-care.  During the repetition of washing herself on the slave trail, the oranges and landscape become implicated in the ritual of memory, commemoration, identity, and self-realization. Commenting on the connectivity of time, and how the past and present exist simultaneously, the performance becomes an act of self-care while imagining a place where Black women and girls are protected and cared for. Washing becomes synonymous with care as a labor of resistance, love, and healing. Bathing her body in oranges attempts to make that invisible labor of self-care more visible as the oranges stain the artists clothes.


LaRissa Rogers (b. 1996) is a visual artist born in Charlottesville, VA. She holds a BFA in Painting and Printmaking and BIS in International Fashion Buying from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has exhibited work and performed in institutions such as ICOSA in Austin TX, Fields Projects in NY, Welcome Gallery in Charlottesville VA, Target Gallery in Alexandria VA, 1708 Gallery in Richmond VA, Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville VA, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Charlottesville VA, Black Ground in Cali Colombia, W Doha in Qatar, The Fronte Arte Cultura in San Ysidro CA, Frieze Seoul in Korea, Documenta 15 in Kassel Germany, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach VA. She is the 2021-2022 Visual Arts fellow at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a 2021-2022 Black Spatial Relics artist in residence, and a 2021-2022 grant recipient of the Black Artists and Designers Guild Creative Futures Grant. She is currently pursuing her MFA in New Genres at the University of California Los Angeles and is a 2022 summer artist-in-resident at BEMIS Center of Contemporary Arts.  

Fox Maxy: Maat

Fox Maxy


what does it mean to come from somewhere? 


Fox Maxy is a film director and artist in San Diego of Kumeyaay and Payómkawichum ancestry.  The artist’s work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight, BAMcinemaFest, LACMA, BlackStar Film Festival, ImagineNative Film Festival, and Rotterdam (IFFR), among other places. In 2022, Fox was named as Sundance Institute’s Merata Mita Fellow, in honor of Merata Mita (Ngāi Te Rangi/Ngāti Pikiao), one of the first Maori women to write and direct a feature film.  Fox Maxy was recently named fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.


Saturday, July 2 beginning at 7:30PM

On Saturday, July 2nd beginning at 7:30 pm, Los Angeles-based sign spinner Joey Castanon will attempt to set a Guinness Book World Record – number of times in one minute, completing a trick in the spinning world referred to as a “water wheel.” The record attempt will take place in the main gallery of Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), in association with the current exhibition Spin (after Sol LeWitt), by artist Yumi Janairo Roth,
GCAC wishes to thank AArrow Sign Spinners and Brandon Walters at Gemini Timing & Events for their assistance with this record setting attempt.


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 “prismatic, conceptual maximalist” 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 “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.”

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. “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.” 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. “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?”

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.

PLATFORM #7: Umar Rashid, Caleb Duarte in conversation with Bill Kelley, Jr.


UMAR RASHID and CALEB DUARTE in conversation with BILL KELLEY, JR.     

Tuesday, March 8, 5:00 p.m.Zoom link:
The event is free and open to the public, presented live via Zoom with a recording available for post live-stream viewing.

ConSortiUm, a collaborative project of art museums and galleries from the California State University (CSU) system, is pleased to announce the Spring 2022 speaker event for our ongoing virtual event series PLATFORM. Launched in September 2020, PLATFORM actively engages students, faculty, staff, and communities through live virtual conversations with contemporary artists, collectives, and curators whose work is critical to current re-imaginings of the art world and the world at large.

This event is co-sponsored by SF State Fine Arts Gallery, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, CSUBakersfield Todd Madigan Gallery, CSU Dominguez Hills University Gallery, CSU Fullerton Begovich Gallery, CSU Sacramento University Galleries, and CSU Northridge Art Galleries.

Umar Rashid (also known as Frohawk Two Feathers) employs writing, illustration, painting, and sculpture to construct fabulations or, put simply, alternative historical narratives that reference a panoply of cultures, collapsing geography and time. At the core of his practice is a reimagining of romantic history painting and eighteenth-century colonial scenes. His work is informed by recognizable cultural references, whether historical materials such as Egyptian hieroglyphs, ledger art, Persian miniature painting, and illustrated Spanish colonial manuscripts or more contemporary phenomena such as the hip-hop era of the 1980s and 1990s. Alongside these identifiable sources—often regarded as “truth”—are unseen, fantastical stories, with Rashid taking on the role of what one might call a fabulist. His painterly tales complicate the idea of what is true and false, prompting us to consider whether the “truths” that we are taught may in fact be lies. 

Caleb Duarte is best known for creating temporary installations using construction type frameworks such as beds of dirt, cement, and objects suggesting basic shelter. His installations within institutional settings become sights for performance as interpretations of his community collaborations. Duarte has created public works and community performances at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; El Pital, Honduras; and throughout Mexico and the United States. He is co-founder of EDELO, a Spanish acronym for (Where the United Nations Used To Be), a house of art in movement and an international artist residency of diverse practices in San Cristobal De Las Casas where he has collaborated with autonomous indigenous Zapatista collectives, communities in movement, and working children and refugees. Caleb Duarte is a professor of sculpture at Fresno City College in Fresno California where he has his studio. He continues to work with Central American unaccompanied minors currently seeking asylum working in community performance, sculpture, film, and painting.

Bill Kelley, Jr. is an educator, curator and writer based in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and a Masters in Art History from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (UNM). He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino art history at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB). Kelley’s current research focuses on collaborative and collective art practices in the Americas. He has written for such journals as AfterallP.E.A.R., and Log Journal, and has co-edited an anthology with Grant Kester of collaborative art practices in the Americas entitled Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010 (Duke University Press, 2017). He is currently Curator and Lead Researcher of Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas, a research, exhibition and publication platform, currently on tour, examining community-based art practices for Otis College of Art as part of The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. Kelley also recently edited the bilingual volume Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas (University of Chicago Press, 2017).  

ConSortiUm is a ground-breaking collaborative that generates opportunities to include artists, curators, students, faculty, staff, and other allies from across the CSU campuses in visual arts-based dialogue. The CSU system represents the largest public four-year college system in the country, with more than 480,000 students enrolled at twenty-three campuses. Formed in Spring 2020 in response to the distance learning implemented by the CSU during the Covid-19 pandemic, ConSortiUm members are dedicated to responding to current societal issues and the pressing demand for an end to systemic and overt racism in California and beyond.
ConSortiUm’s participating CSU art museums and galleries include Bakersfield, Todd Madigan Gallery; Chico, Janet Turner Print Museum and Jacki Headley University Art Gallery; Dominguez Hills, University Gallery; East Bay, University Art Gallery; Fresno, Center for Creativity and the Arts; Fullerton, Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery and Grand Central Art Center; Humboldt, Reese Bullen Gallery and Goudi’ni Native American Arts Gallery; Long Beach, School of Art and Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum; Los Angeles, Luckman Gallery, Luckman Fine Arts Complex and Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery; Northridge, Art Galleries; Pomona, W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery and Don B. Huntley Gallery; Sacramento, University Galleries; San Bernardino, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art; San Diego, University Art Galleries; San Francisco, Fine Arts Gallery; San Jose, Natalie and James Thompson Gallery; Sonoma, University Art Gallery; and Stanislaus, University Art Gallery and Stan State Art Space.

Past participants of the PLATFORM series have included People’s Kitchen CollectiveValerie Cassel Oliver with Howardena PindellShaun LeonardoForensic ArchitecturePostcommodity, and Beatriz Cortez with Erin Christovale.CLICK HERE FOR RECORDINGS OF PAST PLATFORM CONVERSATIONS

Yumi Janairo Roth: Spin (After Sol LeWitt)

Yumi Janairo Roth, Spin (After Sol LeWitt) – Spinner Evan James, 2021
photo credit: Josh Hawkins, UNLV Creative Services.
Courtesy of the artist

Spin (After Sol LeWitt) 

Yumi Janairo Roth

March 5 – June 12, 2022

Opening Reception: Sat. March 5 from 7 – 10pm – with AArrow Sign Spinners

PROGRAMS – Collaborative programs throughout the exhibition will take place with:
AArrow Sign Spinners
The Spindustry Podcast hosted by Joey Castanon, with first episode confirmed guests LAXART Director Hamza Walker and Spinner Justin Charles Michael Brown
GRAYSCALE DANCE with Artistic Director Jessica Kondrath
Musician and composer Robin Sukhadia aka Tablapusher

Drawing on a background in anthropological and archaeological research, Yumi Janairo Roth uses her art practice to unite different communities in situations that bring attention to the value we place on various aspects of everyday material culture. Spin (after Sol LeWitt) is an exhibition of sculpture, video, photography, and performance by Colorado-based artist, who has collaborated with professional sign spinners since 2017.  

Roth creates resonant juxtapositions between the physical presence of street-corner advertising and the work of one of America’s founding conceptual artists, Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). “Spinners take great pride in their ability and athleticism,” she says, “yet are sometimes vilified and outlawed for distracting drivers, ‘cheapening’ municipalities, and accepting seemingly low-skill jobs.” For Spin (after Sol LeWitt), she sets out to challenge those assumptions by working with spinners to replace the advertising slogans on their signs with maxims from LeWitt’s genre-defining 1968 text, Sentences on Conceptual Art. Spinning the signs on street corners, they surprised passers-by with LeWitt’s ideas about the importance of irrational judgments and logical mysticism.

Sign spinner Justin Charles Michael Brown, who worked with Roth and Grand Central Art Center when they presented the project on the streets around Frieze Los Angeles in 2020, puts the process in his own words. “Making people’s opinions of sign spinning matter is a very hilarious thing to do, because if you see a sign spinner for an apartment complex it doesn’t really matter what you think about it. You can enjoy it or not, and it doesn’t really matter. But when you enter the art world, those opinions are the thing that everybody’s after.” 

Spin (after Sol LeWitt) invites us to question the divisions we create between the exclusivity of conceptual art and the inclusive public life of street corners, parks, and competitive spectacle.


Yumi Janairo Roth was born in Eugene, Oregon and grew up in Chicago, Metro Manila, the Philippines and suburban Washington DC. She received a BA in anthropology from Tufts University, a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston and an MFA from the State University of New York-New Paltz. She currently lives and works in Boulder, Colorado where she is a professor of sculpture and post studio practice at the University of Colorado. Roth has exhibited and participated in artist-in-residencies nationally and internationally, including Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Smack Mellon, and Cuchifritos in New York City; Diverse Works and Lawndale Art Center in Houston; Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Barrick Museum of Art, Las Vegas; Vargas Museum, Metro Manila, Philippines, Ayala Museum, Metro Manila, Philippines; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany; Galerie Klatovy-Klenová, Czech Republic; and Institute of Art and Design-Pilsen, Czech Republic.


The artist would like to thank professional sign spinners Joey Castanon, Christian Altamirano, Davis Davis, Kadeem Johnson, Bryan Savas, Kevin Williams, and Justin Charles Michael Brown; Max Durovic, CEO / Spinventor of AArrow Inc.; AArrow Sign Spinners; choreographer Jessica Kondrath; dancers Chandler Davids, Mamie Green, Holly Goodchap, Jen Hong, and Morgan Raynor; composer and musician Robin Sukhadi; Director of LAXART Hamza Walker; John Spiak and Tracey Gayer of GCAC for making this project possible; and special thanks to Carol LeWitt for her continued support of Spin (after Sol LeWitt).

Spin (after Sol LeWitt) was developed through Yumi Janairo Roth’s multi-year artist-in-residence at Grand Central Art Center.  Support for this exhibition is provided by AArrow Sign Spinners and a generous grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in support of the Grand Central Art Center Artist-in-residence program.


March 5

The Spindustry Podcast with host Joey Castanon, LAXART Director Hamza Walker, and Spinner Justin Charles Michael Brown

March 5, 7-10pm

Spinners at opening 

March 19, 1:30-4pm

Rehearsals with spinners and dancers

March 26, 1:30-4pm

Rehearsals with spinners and dancers

April 2, 7-10pm

Public performance with spinners, dancers, musician/composer

April 23, 1:30-4pm

Rehearsals with spinners and dancers

April 30, 1:30-4pm

Rehearsals with spinners and dancers

May 7, 7-10pm

Public performance with spinners, dancers, musician/composer

June 4

The Spindustry Podcast with host Joey Castanon, guests TBA