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Exposure / Exposición

EXPOSURE: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF EZLY TORRES 

On June 16, 2020, the California Department of Public Health issued new, stricter guidance mandating that face coverings be worn state-wide in most public settings to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Photographer Ezly Torres’ most recent work uses the mask as a prop for performing characters inspired by the beauty and technique of classical paintings. At a moment when the face mask has become an emblem of the Covid-19 pandemic – signaling protection, community care, and also deepening political division – Torres’ self-portraits are a reminder that covering one’s face is a singular act. Her work asks us to consider the personal story lines that run beside the brutal collective narrative; as we all bear witness to California setting daily records for new Covid-19 infections.

El 16 de junio del 2020, el Departamento de Salud Pública de California emitió una nueva, y más estricta, guía que exige el uso de cubrebocas en todo el estado en la mayoría de los entornos públicos para reducir la propagación del Covid-19.

El trabajo más reciente de la fotógrafa Ezly Torres, utiliza la mascarilla como accesorio para personajes interpretativos inspirados en la belleza y la técnica de las pinturas clásicas. En un momento en la cual cubre-bocas se ha convertido en un emblema de la pandemia de Covid-19 (señala protección, cuidado comunitaria y también la profundización de la división política), los autorretratos de Torres son un recordatorio que cubriéndose la cara es un acto singular. Su trabajo nos pide que consideremos las historias personales que corren al lado de la brutal narrativa colectiva; mientras todos damos testimonio que California establece récords diarios de nuevos casos de Covid-19.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST / BIOGRAFÍA DEL ARTISTA

Ezly Torres is a Vallejo-based artist. Her interest in photography began as a child and in her early 20s she took digital photography courses with a local society in Nogales in Sonora, Mexico. Since moving to Vallejo in 2016, Torres has developed her practice centered around portraits that reference historical paintings to explore the construction of identity and possibilities for representation. Follow Torres on Instagram at @ilce_t_art

Ezly Torres es una artista con sede en Vallejo. Su interés en la fotografía comenzó cuando era niña y, cuando tenía poco más de 20 años, tomó cursos de fotografía digital con una sociedad local en Nogales, Sonora, México. Desde que se mudó a Vallejo en 2017, Torres ha desarrollado su práctica centrada en retratos que hacen referencia a pinturas históricas para explorar la construcción de la identidad y las posibilidades de representación. Sigue a Torres en Instagram en @ilce_t_art

ABOUT THE ONLINE PROJECT SPACE / ACERCA DEL “ONLINE PROJECT SPACE”

RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – was created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to Covid-19. The Online Project Space highlights new creative projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

La nueva iniciativa de RAC – el Online Project Space (Espacio de proyecto en línea)– fue creada en respuesta a la multitud de ideas y nuevas formas de expresión que vemos a los artistas abordar mientras se refugian en lugar debido a COVID-19. El Online Project Space destaca nuevos proyectos creativos que representan cómo los artistas se están adaptando, respondiendo e imaginando durante este período de aislamiento.

Three Artists in the Studio

Every year Richmond Art Center awards three artists with a Spotlight Award to have their work featured in our galleries. These artists in 2020 are Laura Kamian McDermott, Steven Morales and Leslie Plato Smith. While the exhibition of their work is currently on hold due to COVID-19, presented here are three videos that offer an opportunity to meet our Spotlight Artists virtually, see them at work in their studios during shelter-in-place and learn a little about their creative processes.

Jagged Skylines of Car Keys

Laura Kamian McDermott is a textile artist who uses labor-intensive techniques to make work that insists on the value of creative labor in an era that shows little respect for such a pursuit. Inherent in her work is the belief in the power of the handmade to address social ills, support mental and community health, and bring out some of humanity’s more positive traits. Through her woven, knitted, and embroidered techniques – meticulously studied and executed – she produces high-quality textiles. McDermott studied Painting at Reed College and Textiles at San Francisco State University. She was born in Oakland and currently resides in Richmond. www.lrkmcd.com instagram.com/laurakamianmcdermott

Separation 2020

Separation 2020 is the title of the work Steven Morales has been developing since shelter-in-place started. Morales’ says of this time of quarantine, “What permanent changes will evolve from this long, temporary period of separation is what we will be experiencing for years to come. Will this year mark the beginning of a new and profound way of living or will we go back to the way things were before?” Richmond-based Morales is a practicing architect whose creative interests also include photography and collage. Many of his collage works incorporate construction materials such as joint compound, wood and sheetrock along with paper and occasionally house paint. www.studiosmdesign.com

Black, White and Pink

Educated at UC Santa Barbara, Tulane, and UC Berkeley, Leslie Plato Smith spent much of her career as Associate Vice-Chancellor of Governmental Relations for City College of San Francisco. Highlights from her career include receiving a national award for bringing together 60 different art departments to create 125 life size statues to visually show how budget cuts negatively impact students and to fight for public education, and exhibiting at the European Cultural Centre’s Venice Biennale exhibition. Plato Smith’s grandfather was born on the Choctaw Reservation and her orphaned grandmother was born to immigrant parents from Denmark and Sweden. Migration, immigration and resettlement are key themes that resonate through Oakland-based Plato Smith’s creative practice and professional work. leslieplatosmith.com

 

ABOUT THE ONLINE PROJECT SPACE

RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – was created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of creative expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to COVID-19. The Online Project Space will highlight new artist projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

Portrait of a Neighborhood

PORTRAIT OF A NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic photographers around the world – many using mobile phones – are sharing quarantine images online; documenting how life has changed while also creating a global sense of togetherness during this difficult time.

Normally a textile artist, during COVID-19 Richmond-artist Colleen Haraden-Gorski has adopted Hipstamatic’s TinType iPhone App as a new medium. Through technology that is accessible, immediate and shareable she photographs her Richmond Annex neighbors and friends as a way of checking up on them while keeping a safe social distance. The body of work that has emerged using the black and white filter captures a sense of instantaneous pause and rewind, asking us to consider “now” as a moment in history, already removed from the noise and color of life as we knew it.

Over fifty photographs are featured here in this slideshow and more will be added over the course of the online project.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

A local Richmond artist, Colleen Haraden-Gorski’s textile art practice focuses on place and shapes – maps, environment, historical ecology, water, hazards, and social justice issues around these themes. Her background and career in the earth sciences has included geomorphology and paleoseismology, geographic information systems (GIS), water resources, climate change impacts, and historical ecology – these emphases rely greatly on observation and visual representation. Her textile art work explores the intersection where history and geography collide. Through the lens of geomorphology – the study of the origin and evolution of topographic features and their responses to change – be it rivers, faults, or humans – she uses both current and historic maps to visualize pre-urbanism and future conditions, such as climate change impacts. Haraden-Gorski’s contribution to RAC’s exhibition Right Here, Right Now explored the impacts of sea-level rise in Richmond. She created a textile piece to inform the community of the higher risk we face from sea level rise, in particular, overlaying areas of sea-level rise layers with areas of social vulnerability, communities with limited means to prepare and respond to hazards like flooding. Currently, Haraden-Gorski is developing a series of work around climate change, sea-level rise, and the melting polar ice caps. Follow this ongoing project on Instagram at @colleen_haraden_studio and @chlojomama.

ABOUT THE ONLINE PROJECT SPACE

RAC’s new initiative – the Online Project Space – was created in response to the multitude of ideas and new forms of creative expression we see artists tackling as they shelter-in-place due to COVID-19. The Online Project Space will highlight new artist projects that represent how artists are adapting, responding and imagining during this period of self-isolation.

 

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