UMM #6: Estrada, Hernandez and Swendsrud

UMM’s sixth iteration took place on April 30, 2017, and presented work by work by Diana-Sofía Estrada, Luis G. Hernandez, and Astri Swendsrud. During the opening reception, UMM’s platform Untested Address featured Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow and the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists.

AM Gallery

Diana-Sofía Estrada
Resilience [2017]
Looped video

Diana-Sofía Estrada’s Resilience, a minimalist performance video, is a recursive, hypnotic loop of Estrada’s standing performance, in which she quietly rotates rolling pins with inscriptions of terms associated with political movements: resilience, endurance, value and others. As the title suggests, a deceptively straightforward prescription for resilience might be to continue the movement – in more than one sense – of quotidian resistance. As time takes on the role of protagonist in the video, Estrada’s modest performance becomes less about heroic beginning and ending points, and more a meditation on the critical function of endurance.

Diana-Sofia Estrada is an artist and educator based in Los Angeles. Her work engages ideas of visibility, accessibility, and subjectivity by interpreting everyday events through drawings, installations, performance and video. In 2009, she received the Arts for All Teaching Fellowship from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and later was in residence at the Bibliotheca Alexandria/ L’Atelier D’Alexandrie in Alexandria, Egypt.  She is a member of the collective The Association of Hysteric Curators, and runs Our Prime Property, a project for conceiving imaginary settings for artists’ work. Originally from Houston, Texas, Estrada has exhibited her work internationally and nationally including Diaspora Vibe Gallery (Miami), Alice Yard Space (Trinidad), Box 13 (Houston, Texas), Artlab at the Smithsonian Hirschhorn Museum in Washington D.C. and recently in Neighborhood Watch, curated by Vincent Ramos, at the Nan Rae Gallery at Woodbury University, Burbank, CA.

F Gallery

Luis G. Hernandez
Untitled (WELCOME) [2017]

Untitled (WELCOME) has been presented in different contexts, each one shifting the word’s meanings and inflections. It was first shown in Phoenix, AZ in 2012, at a time when then-sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, took an outspoken stance against illegal immigration alongside measures such as Arizona SB 1070. In 2014, Untitled (WELCOME) was presented in Tijuana, at a time when the city was experiencing a cultural revival. Curated for the F Gallery in 2017, the word kindles a poignant political fire within a domestic space, creating a jarring contrast between presumed hospitality and the anti-immigrant executive orders of the current US administration. Hernandez lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade, witnessing the gentrification of more than one Latino community where he took residence. His Untitled (WELCOME) at UMM takes additional meanings associated with the idea of home in relation to domestic and national discourses, and as privileged space.

Luis G. Hernandez, an artist and curator living and working in the border cities of Mexicali, Mexico and Calexico, CA, often crosses the US-Mexico border several times per day. He is the current director of Steppling Gallery at San Diego State University and cofounder of the MexiCali Biennial. Hernandez works across media in sculpture, painting, drawing, collage and installation, often responding to the exhibition space with provocative, humorous and absurd associations that reference art history and border politics. His creative and curatorial work has been featured at the Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles; Mexicali Rose: Centro de Artes/Medios, Mexicali; Kunstverein, Munich, Germany; Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Artist Space, New York; El Paso Museum of Art and Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez; IIC-Museo UABC, Mexicali, Mexico, and many others.

PR Gallery

Astri Swendsrud
Mirror/Keyhole [2010]
graphite on paper

In Mirror/Keyhole, a series of 28 drawings that perceptually oscillate between the image of a handheld mirror and a keyhole, Swendsrud reveals the seductive potential of graphite with a nuanced greyscale. Contrasting the rich treatment of the surrounding area, she crisply defines the empty mirror silhouette, which doubles as an absurdly large-scale keyhole, creating a delayed recognition of the optical illusion. Aside from early-twentieth century double-take images, Swendsrud’s drawing references both Jacques Lacan’s mirror stage, as the fraught origin of a persistent sense of alienation in one’s identity, and the handheld mirror image appropriated by some 1970s feminist artists as a symbol for female vanity in visual culture.

Astri Swendsrud is a visual artist and educator who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her practice includes drawings, sculptures and installation environments, combining images and materials of everyday domestic objects and party supplies, such as birthday candles and confetti, with symbolic and ritual forms. She also works as part of the collaborative Semi-Tropic Spiritualists to create multi-disciplinary performance works exploring faith and skepticism, belief and charlatanism, and to develop spaces dedicated to community and the search for knowledge. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows nationally, including at Richard Telles Fine Art, the Vincent Price Museum and Chime & Co. in Los Angeles, The Suburban and Spoke Gallery in Chicago, Lyeberry HQ and All Things Project in New York City, and Shangri-La in Joshua Tree, CA, among others. Additionally, Swendsrud is co-founder and co-director of the artist-run exhibition space Elephant in Los Angeles.

Opening Reception