TARA CENTYBEAR | LITTLE DEATH by Margaret Hernandez

LITTLE DEATH

  North County based artist, Tara Centybear creates a somber but yet tranquil painting series that explores the intersection of pain in beauty within the human experience.  Her subject, both living and perished birds, represent beauty as a security and the abstract subject of emotional identity which in a traumatic loss, beauty can be redefined.  Little Death combines vibrantly colored birds and their feathers with cool gray toned backgrounds while interjecting objects such as a bag, brick and string, which reflect what the artist refers to as “clashing experiences” akin to the mark a trauma that can often confuse the difficulty in ones life with the beauty. 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Tara Centybear, a San Diego native, attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she got her BFA, and Goldsmiths College, University London where she attained her MFA, graduating with Distinction.  In addition to her work as a contemporary artist Centybear has worked as a fine arts curator throughout San Diego for the past decade.  Currently she holds the position of Collections Manager/Curator at the San Diego History Center and is an adjunct teacher in the art department at MiraCosta College. 

Q & A with artist Tara Smith

Why dead birds?

They encapsulate a balance of serenity and loss that I am looking to discuss. Birds, coated in their feathers are almost packaged, presents wrapped in nice colorful paper. I have chosen to work with dead birds, but birds that through their physical form do not reveal or concentrate on the way they died. This is to celebrate the life, not the death of the animal. They are each a symbol of the little deaths we all have throughout our days, weeks, months, years, and decades.  From childhood to when our own end comes. The trauma of being picked on in school, of living through horrid world events, abusive encounters, loss of loved ones, of all the things that happen to us all that inform who we are, and who we become. The paintings are sad to grieve for those traumas, but in their beauty they pay homage to how important each struggle we all go through is.  We need those traumas to become our most interesting, strong, and gorgeous selves. 

The juxtaposition of the perished birds with the other inanimate objects is a way to discuss the clashing of experiences, hiding of pieces of ourselves and so forth. In all my works, for some reason I am not quite sure of I always cover things with other things, put things inside things so that they visually disrupt each other

What is it about birds dead that is so much more beautiful than say a dead squirrel. Why do we identify with that?

Birds have been symbols of ‘other worlds’, the heavens, love, loss, freedom and so much to us humans for centuries.  We are drawn to them at times, afraid of them too. To me, the dead birds are precious and vulnerable to their surroundings, just as we are. Maybe other animals might work, but for me at this time, birds were the only option.


Birds are a symbol of freedom. Is death also freedom or is it just about the contrast of stillness and flight?

Painting flight would be so boring. A painting of a bird in flight is about that one split second in its entire life, whereas painting a dead bird is about its entire life. It is universal and talks about the whole being, the soul, the end, the mortality and shortness of life.  


What is the role of death in your work - or is that secondary?

It is almost more about finding peace, whether living or dead. The still object means such a different thing, than one in motion. So even though I paint dead things it is not about death at all. Each bird is a symbol for one person’s suffering.  The paintings are about life and living it to its fullest, it is acknowledging the complexity of what trauma brings to a person. That there are good things that come from that trauma, whatever your personal trauma(s) is, and that makes the hatred of that trauma hard… when you know it is a part of you now.  If you hated the horrid things you went through you would hate part of yourself.  We can’t hate ourselves and thrive. 

What role does art play in the community and what type public art would like to see more of?

Art has the ability to communicate things that language on its own often fails at. It is a means to discuss and question sometimes incredibly difficult subjects. Art gives us an entry point, a joining link of communication between different demographics, social, and political groups. 

As far as public art, the more site-specific, conceptual, interactive and time specific work in our city the better.  Through these vehicles, artists can inspire new conversations in the community, ask people to question the world around them, and give the public a chance to experience art on their terms. Public art steps out of the museum and gallery walls and has a strength in that it can reach those that still feel, much due to the elitism of the past (and still present to a degree), that museums are not a space for ‘them’.

Youth Exhibition | Self Titled by Margaret Hernandez

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Self-Titled

  This collaborative exhibition is a collection of work created by teens participating in arts education programs across San Diego County. Highlighted here are graphic novels, text, photography, video work, and drawings born out of Words Alive’s Adolescent Book Group; AjA Project’s Collective Voices; San Diego Art Institute’s Expressive Arts Program; and a curated selection of work from North County teens. These are artifacts of becoming; still frames of durational processes in which selfhood is formed in, through, and against influence which seeks to delimit, ultimately expanding preordained parameters through the exercise of personal agency via artistic expression. Self-Titled was exhibited at SDAI in June, and will be on view at Linksoul in Oceanside from August 27- September 5, hosted by The Hill Street Country Club - a contemporary art nonprofit based in Oceanside. 

 

 

Opening Reception | Saturday, August 27 | 6:00-8:00PM @ Linksoul  

530 S Coast Highway, Oceanside CA

 

DEAN RAMOS | JOINED by Margaret Hernandez

This exhibition consists of three distinct types of work. The first group is carved wood sculptures, some of which are abstract and others depict human or animal like forms. The second consists of sculptural abstractions which are light and airy; they appear to defy gravity as they hang within and upon the architecture of the gallery. The third group is low relief linear abstractions inspired by architectural principles and forms. 

These works were produced over the past several years; the most recent pieces are tar covered white plastic sculptures. The variety of works exhibit a continual exploration of new visual forms and the expressive potential of materials. 

GEOFF CUNNINGHAM | SACRIFICE\SOUVENIR by Margaret Hernandez

                                     OPENING RECEPTION | FRIDAY OCTOBER 2, 2015 @ LINKSOUL LAB

 

                                   OPENING RECEPTION | FRIDAY OCTOBER 2, 2015 @ LINKSOUL LAB

Q & A with Artist, Geoff Cunningham about his most recent work SACRIFICE/SOUVENIR

Where does this work start?

CG: A few threads really.  Usually I’ll begin to notice a few patterns here and there, ways I’m thinking and things I’m seeing start to cross paths.  This time it was The News.  A lot of time it is The News, but this time it wasn’t so much the contents of the news as much as The News itself.  I kept being swept away by the stories of the week.  These huge Breaking News items that overwhelm everything, and then after a week of counterarguments and Facebook debates, just suddenly vanish. Where did they go? Where did all the thinking and feeling and outrage go?  Was it resolved? What did it leave behind?  Sandy Hook, Sandra Bland, the dentist who shot Cecil the Lion, Ahmed and his clock (to name very few recent ones).  There’s one big one every week. They are all so important to the Now. And then… gone.  

I’m at my midlife (I hope anyway), and while I realized at some point I will be dead one day, this new line of thinking has donned on me that not everything will get resolved in my time.  This doesn’t end like a movie.  Not only my will all the “broken” parts of my own life never get resolved, but all these news stories and things that make up this Now.  All these things that come and go, the things I thought I’d circle back to one day, the thoughts and their forms…  I just imagined them all making some sort of black hole in space and time.  And that’s where it starts.

How/what was the process and what were you thinking about or experiencing along the way?

GC:Kind of not enjoyable really.  I’d quit nicotine (mainly nicorette and all forms except cigarettes) and went and sober just before this started. I hadn’t worked in studio without that stuff in a really long time.  So that sort of sharpened the edges a bit.

The process involves finding the right objects, painting them with a horrible black goo, and then dusting them with black velvet flocking powder (that is used to subtract all light from telescopes and lenses.) I really wanted everything to be as black as possible to feel like it had been vanished from the universe. Like when cartoon characters run through walls and leave their shape.  A vacuum of something.

So I basically spent my summer tar and feathering shit (including myself) every night.  It’s hot, it’s dull, it’s repetitive.  The repetition feels like super ex catholic leftover self flagellating shit which, when combined with the sobriety is letting all sorts of stuff bubble up.  Weird memories sure. But just general pain. Tons of little avoided feelings for twenty five years just coming to the surface and poking me. 

And what do you feel about it now that it is done?

GC: Well I just finished putting it all up last night.  I haven’t had a lot of time to sit with it since.  There is the way you see it in your head, and then there’s how it is, with all of the things I didn’t know would happen. I’m pretty sure I just hung my midlife crisis up for everyone to see.  But beyond all my personal bellybutton shit, it does feel like some sort of state of things (as I see them of course).  A very ordered chaos. Messy and broken and unresolved and yet whole with everything in it’s right place. In tact and in ruins. 

It is very quiet and still, but it moves.  “It lets us see a feeling in slow motion,” my wife said, which i thought was perfect. 

For me it is a much more emotional piece than I expected.  It will be interesting to see what anyone else gets from it.

What are we calling it?

GC: Well I’m thinking… We import that which is important. The important defines (and is defined by) the present moment. And when we are done, those “exportant” remains become the fabric of our past. A trail of shit really that is our history.  I was going to call the work “exportants,” but Carrie (my wife) says that is too clever and she is probably right. So I don’t really have a title for it at the moment.                                                                                                                                                

And "Sacrifice / Souvenir”, where does this come from? 

Another overlapping thread. As it is my home and my community, I’m always in some sort of dialogue with Oceanside in my work. Oceanside is a military city desperately posing as a tourist destination. Every day driving to work I obsess on the millions of palm trees we have here. And I’m always pretty obsessed with our involvement in war, especially in Oceanside where avoiding it is impossible.

I’ve had those two words running around in my head for a few years now. Sacrifice and souvenir. Giving things up and taking things away.  The streets here are lined with palm trees to depict some mirage or oasis of freedom that these new recruits passing through here will take with them as a symbol of the thing they are fighting and dying for. Those trees fill the Oceanside postcards (and now instagram photos) so that tourists can remind themselves of that freedom feeling.  I’m fascinated by this kind of exchange of illusions, especially as to being an American. What creates the illusion of Freedom, why we need that illusion to exist, why we work our fingers to the bone and sacrifice our money and our children’s lives to keep it going.                                                                               

What happens next?

GC: Keep going.  There’s so much to work on and play with... (Even without nicotine). My collaborative partner (Carla Repice) and I want to take on the NRA. So there’s that...

 

KATHRYN NOVA | GOLD AND SMOKE by Margaret Hernandez

GOLD AND SMOKE |  A VISUAL STUDY OF LIGHT IN CHAOS 

SEPTEMBER 2015

The Hill Street Country Club is proud to present this solo exhibiton featuring new works by Kathryn Nova. In Kathryn's words:

A lifelong sensitivity to light and a history of migraines and vertigo have directed my focus to light and motion, two components that have always been present in my art. For this series of paintings, I explored the patterns of fragments within chaos motion. From the gradiosity of Hubble photos of distant supernovas to the intimacy of backyard floating embers, or the familiarity of glitter or confetti thrown in the air and fireworks exploding, light within chaos is ever present in our lives. 

My technique is influenced by my study of the Northern Renaissance, which further increases luminosity by building the image, transparent layer by layer, to create the illusion of glow and motion on the smooth surface of the panels. Upon closer inspection, the paintings are somewhat gritty, scratched and imperfect, revealing the process and limited materials used: powdered graphite, spray paint, gold pigment and white paint.