Svetlana Altshuler, Aaron D. Baldón, Newton Copp, Isabella Hackerman, Marcus L. Jackson, Julie Weaver Loffer, Zooey Meznarich, Vivian Monteiro, Ruth Mueller, Caetano Pérez-Marchant, Claudia V. Solórzano, Dri Tattersfield, Max Weirauch

May 10 - August 29, 2021 – Extended until September 26, 2021
Virtual Viewing by Sprague Gallery
Visit the exhibition at︎︎︎

A black and white drawing of a long-haired girl looking up towards the top left corner, from her perspective, and forcing with her hands her left eye to stay open.
Zooey Meznarich, negative space, 2021, acrylic on paper, 14 x 11 inches

Sprague Gallery is pleased to announce Seesay, an open call exhibition of works from across the Claremont Colleges. Artists include: Svetlana Altshuler, Aaron D. Baldón, Newton Copp, Isabella Hackerman, Marcus L. Jackson, Julie Weaver Loffer, Zooey Meznarich, Vivian Monteiro, Ruth Mueller, Caetano Pérez-Marchant, Claudia V. Solórzano, Dri Tattersfield, and Max Weirauch.

In January 2021, the gallery announced a call for “self-portrait and/or everything else.” It came from a rather naive inquiry of what “self-portrait and/or” would prompt. The result of highlighting self-portrait among many possible points of departure was an unparalleled depth of perception and language. The artworks in this exhibition, whether self-portrait or not, manifest a disciplined quest for the inner states and reality of the singular selves and subjects. The artists see and express for their subjects as closely as they would for seeing and portraying themselves as the author-subject-viewer. And the shared manner in which they have chosen to do this is another surprise.

What is recurrent throughout the exhibition is the paradox of reaching the reality of the subject through concealment, diffusion, and construction of the very reality. Most obviously, the figures portrayed do not engage with the viewer in the eye. The portraits are privative of direct access to the inner states of the subjects and instead display the subjects’ performance and narrative. Even for works where the gaze and the narrative seem direct, there is intrusion by building and meaning-making or by a redirect of the first-person perspective. Examples include Svetlana Altshuler’s Snow White whose experience is still told in the third person; Aaron D. Baldón’s drawing of an eye reporting a gun sight and screaming; Marcus L. Jackson’s painting where the first-person narrative and its bearer, the sunlight, are diffused for a collective experience throughout the imaginary space; and Dri Tattersfield’s self-portrait in the form of a video game, which lets the viewer play the subject in the first person.

Sometimes, the paradox is brought through the choice of medium, style, and title. For example, Newton Copp, “to see nature unfiltered,” turns to art and chooses photo collage as his medium as opposed to seeing the subject directly or portraying it through a more realist medium, such as realistic photography; and he confirms through the title Facets that the real, internal content of the subject is there. Also through photo collage, Max Weirauch and his cat stay rooted in their reality, which is of the hardwood floor of their home, but at the same time are surrounded by fiction or the reality of the distant and the unknown; and the title, MARS, is both the name of the cat and the name of the planet. Lastly, Isabella Hackerman’s sculpture, XXX, “deviates from the standard use” of the chosen medium and “break[s] the rules” but simultaneously “creates a feeling of harmony and balance”; and what may have brought this effect is the minimalist composition allowing a reality of its own and subduing the provocation.

The works in this exhibition, through the strategy of alienation, render increased capacity for seeing, really seeing, and saying as closely as seen. Furthermore, they show that there is not one universal reality but many realities of the artist, the subject, and the viewer to be included in the realm of discourse and representation. From the exhibition, we may even draw a collective hope for a more total discourse in waiting – for when we finally enter the post-pandemic era and gather to discuss all realities lived and imagined in alienation. To be shared in the meantime is a quote from Édouard Glissant:

Meanwhile, the poetics of the world are gaily mixing up genres, thus reinventing them. This means that our collective memory is prophetic: at the same time as it assembles the given of the world, it tries to remove from it the elements that encouraged hierarchy, the scale of values, a falsely transparent universal….
The poet, beyond the language that he uses, but mysteriously within that very language, on the level of the language and in its margin, is a builder of langage…. The poet attempts to rhizomatically connect his place to the totality, to diffuse the totality into his place: permanence in the moment and vice versa, the elsewhere in the here and vice versa…. He does not play the game of the universal, which would not be a way of establishing Relation. He always supposes, from the first word of his poem: ‘I speak to you in your language, and I hear you in my langage’. (Édouard Glissant, Traité du Tout-Monde, 1997; Translated by Celia Britton, 2020)

Svetlana Altshuler is an undecided major at Harvey Mudd College, Class of 2024, and plans to pursue a concentration in film and media studies.

Aaron D. Baldón is a native of Southern California, having grown up in one of the many Chicano suburbs of Los Angeles. A graduate of the University of La Verne with a Bachelor's in Fine Art, he is currently pursuing an MFA at Claremont Graduate University.

Newton Copp, after graduating from Occidental College with a BA in Biology, earned a Master’s and a PhD in Zoology at University of California, Santa Barbara.  He enjoyed many years as a faculty member in the Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges before retiring in 2014.

Isabella Hackerman is a sculptor with a focus on ceramics, pursuing her MFA at Claremont Graduate University.

Marcus L. Jackson is an African American visual artist from Seattle, Washington. He is a biology pre-med major at Pitzer College, Class of 2022.

Julie Weaver Loffer is an MFA student at Claremont Graduate University. She graduates in May 2021.

Zooey Meznarich is an engineering major at Harvey Mudd College, Class of 2023.

Vivian Monteiro is an art and media studies major at Scripps College, Class of 2023.

Ruth Mueller is an engineering major at Harvey Mudd College, Class of 2024.

Caetano Pérez-Marchant is an undecided major at Harvey Mudd College, Class of 2024, considering a concentration in digital media studies. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California.

Claudia V. Solórzano, raised in City Terrace of East Los Angeles, first pursued the ceramic arts at East Los Angeles College and received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from California State Long Beach. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Claremont Graduate University.

Dri Tattersfield is a senior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in physics and philosophy and graduates in May 2021. They are from Taipei, Taiwan and now live in Portland, Oregon.

Max Weirauch is an international student pursuing a double degree in Economics at Claremont McKenna College, Class of 2022, and German Studies at Pomona College. He grew up in Hamburg, Germany and moved in the senior year of high school to Palo Alto, California.

Seesay opens on May 10 and runs through August 29, 2021. The safety of the artists and viewers are our top priority; and the exhibition is hosted online only.

The exhibition is curated by Julia Hong.

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