MarinMOCA to Open Exhibits Celebrating Culture and Clay

Several Northern California artists and Bay Area sculptors are displaying innovative and culturally vibrant works at Novato’s esteemed Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, as the MarinMOCA opens two group exhibitions and one members’ show on July 24.

Described as a “visual quilt,” MarinMOCA presents “Invincible,” an exhibition that pays tribute to the vibrant culture, heritage and resiliency of the LatinX community.

Curated by MarinMOCA artist member Luis Garcia, “Invincible” features the work of Northern California artists Juana Alicia, Edgar Arturo-Camacho, Lark Calderon-Gomez, Luis Garcia, Ramona Garcia, Manuel Ruelas and Pablo Villicana Lara. These artists explore their world view through work that investigates constant⏤and often taboo⏤themes in the LatinX experience, including post-colonial identity, racism, sexual identity, gentrification, immigration and poverty.

“‘Estado Invincible,’ or ‘Unconquerable State’ means incapable of being subdued or brought under control. I believe that ‘Estado Invincible’ is a state of mind that resides within artists of color and LatinX communities in general,” curator Luis Garcia says in a statement. “There is resilience within our communities, where the spirit thrives. In a time of division, and uncertainty, it is important to amplify all voices, especially those of underrepresented communities of color. This exhibition hopes to do that, to broaden viewers’ perspectives, to educate, and to reinforce the ‘Unconquerable State’ of mind.”

On August 19, Garcia and artists Edgar Arturo-Camacho, Lark Calderon-Gomez, and Manuel Ruelas engage in a lively conversation about their works. The exhibit opens with a reception on Saturday, July 24, at 5pm.

Also on July 24, MarinMOCA opens “Continuous Clay: Trends & Innovations,” featuring nine inventive Bay Area artists working in ceramics today.

Following in the footsteps of pioneering Bay Area artists such as Viola Frey and Ron Nagle, who championed the materiality of clay and elevated the medium beyond the realm of craft, the nine artists in the exhibit build on the region’s clay legacy by taking unconventional approaches to traditional sculpture techniques.

For example, San Francisco-based contemporary figurative artist Michelle Gregor, one of the most highly regarded second-generation sculptors of the Bay Area Figurative Movement working today, employs a painterly approach to glaze application. Her work displays a masterful, intuitive sense of color.

Also on view is work by Marin-based artist Brett Crawford. Crawford, a skilled potter, juxtaposes traditional vessel forms with experimental surface treatments.

Though all the work varies greatly in style through a broad range of conceptual processes, distinctive materials, and evolved techniques, the artists share an immense passion for the deeply primordial and unforgiving nature of clay.

In addition to these two group exhibits, MarinMOCA is also opening “Dialogues,” a paired exhibition with artist members Gary Marsh and Donna Wallace-Cohen.

In recognition of their artistic achievement, they were awarded this exhibition for winning first place in the 2020-2021 MarinMOCA Members’ exhibitions. Marsh’s sculptures and Wallace-Cohen’s paintings are informed by deeply personal experiences, resulting in an engaging dialogue between artist and medium. 

All exhibits open on Saturday, July 24, at 5pm; and run through September 5. MarinMOCA is open Wed–Fri, 11am to 4pm and Sat–Sun, 11am to 5pm. Get details on visiting the museum at marinmoca.org.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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