The artwork of Katrina Bello, Kat Larson, Gina Osterloh, and Kenneth Tam in Encounters calls into question the location of art within a precarious present.
Here are some further questions that we hope the show inspires: How do we encounter land, nature, and sovereignty? How do we encounter identities in flux, intersectional lives, precarious identities? How do we encounter barriers, emotional and material? And how can we work from these encounters as entry points into thinking about what’s possible for us as we move forward during these times?
Walls between the Mexico and the United States; travel and immigration bans from predominately Muslim countries; and the continued deportation of undocumented individuals, to name but a few of the oppressive structural constraints inaugurated with Donald Trump’s presidency, give new meanings, for example, to Gina Osterloh’s delicate, silent dance with her shadow on a wall in Press and Outline (2014) or to the male strangers that Kenneth Tam encounters (and who encounter each other) for the first time in his video installation Breakfast in Bed (2016). The language of geography and environment in today’s political rhetoric around immigration, citizenship, and sovereignty informs the way we view Kat Larson’s series The Ghost from Vega (2016), which she shot on the Oceti Sakowin Camp at the Standing Rock Reservation. And Katrina Bello’s Rocky Rocks and Grassy Grass (2016) along with her other paintings take on added meanings, as we think about the significance of landscapes and spaces (psychic and material) in migrant travel and (re)settlement narratives.
This curated exhibition, we hope, captures how art encounters the precarious realities set forth by the current political and social moment and the possibilities of new interpretive strategies by its viewers. While none of the works by Katrina Bello, Kat Larson, Gina Osterloh, and Kenneth Tam were created after the inauguration of Donald Trump, the artists’ representations take on layered meanings in this new political climate. What rises up from the works as we encounter them during these times?
Curated by Jan Christian Bernabe
Curatorial Assistant: Mads Le
Contributors: Katrina Bello, Kat Larson, Gina Osterloh, and Kenneth Tam.
Contributors’ works are published in staggered waves from early March to early April 2017, after which the whole exhibition are archived permanently on CA+T’s website.
Special thanks to the Andy Warhol Foundation and the California Institute of Contemporary Arts for fiscal support.