Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Monday, March 27, 2017

Timkin Museum and the San Diego Symphony Team Up for Witness to War

The Timkin Museum, San Diego
Witness to War: Callot, Goya, Bellows
On view January 27 - May 28, 2017
Article by Cathy Breslaw
Goya    Disasters of War   No. 39     lithograph     1810-1820 

Witness to War is a selection of more than 100 works of a combination of etchings and iithographs documenting the consequences of war. A selection of works by three artists, Jacques Callot, Goya, and George Bellows, the exhibition spans wars from the 17th to 20th centuries. It covers three different centuries including the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and World War 1 (1914-1918). These artworks portray wars’ suffering, savagery and abuses in a straightforward, honest and sometimes brutal way. There are a series of 18 etchings by French artist  Callot depicting soldiers pillaging and burning their way through towns, country and convents, Francisco de Goya’s series of 80 prints are entitled The Disasters of War and The Tragedies of War. He depicts mutilation, torture, rape and many other atrocities besides – performed, indiscriminately, by French and Spanish alike. German atrocities of war in their invasion in Belgium during World War 1 were graphically depicted by American artist George Bellows. It is fascinating to study and observe the similarities and differences evident in each century’s wars depicted by these three highly acclaimed skilled and knowledgeable artists of their time, each examining war during their respective years.

In a unique collaboration with the San Diego Symphony, Special Project Director Nuvi Mehta choreographed a soundscape for the exhibition using the music of composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Gustav Mahler who produced symphonies influenced by their own experiences with wars’ brutality. The music, though heard in low volume, adds a fascinating dimension to the visual works on the walls, enhancing the emotion and intensity of the works.
Witness to War provides viewers an opportunity to see war through the eyes of Callot, Goya and Bellows who each viewed war through the lens of their own particular time in history.  The beauty of the lithographs and etchings exist in stark contrast to the atrocities they depict, which when closely observed, are quite evident.
This exhibition is on view through May 28th.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Making Communities - Art and the Border at University of California, San Diego Art Gallery

Making Communities: Art and the Border
University of California, San Diego, University Art Gallery
And SME Visual Arts Gallery, UC San Diego
Curated by Tatiana Sizonenko, Ph.D

Opening Friday, March 3rd,  5:30 – 8:00 pm
Show runs through April 13th, 2017

David Avalos    Donkey Cart Altar    mixed media   42" x 28" x 45" inches

Article by Cathy Breslaw

Making Communities: Art and the Border, features artists who are alumnas of the University of California, San Diego, with artworks created from 1978 to the present.  Wide ranging in its mediums including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and film, this exhibition is timely in its focus on Mexicans living and working in the Tijuana/ San Diego border regions as our country faces the challenges , complexities and controversies over our immigration system and policies.  Through their art, these twenty artists examine immigrant communities, in both celebrating cooperation and engagement with both sides of the border and as a source of creativity, as well as highlighting the struggles people of this region endure. Yolanda M. Lopez’s lithograph “Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?” is the oldest of the works(1978) using the familiar army poster “Uncle Sam Wants You” to question whether we are citizens of the U.S. or merely illegal aliens imposing ourselves on a land originally occupied by Aztecs and other Native American groups. David Avalos used his work “Donkey Cart Altar”(1985) as a political statement when he placed it in front of the San Diego Courthouse, serving to express the belief that immigrant laborers, working to feed their families were being treated as criminals. Judge Thompson ordered the work removed as a “security risk”, while many viewed this as removing Avalos’s right to free speech. Elizabeth Sisco, who photographed life along the U.S.-Mexican border for 15 years(1986-1988), exhibits thirteen silver gelatin prints, which are part of an ongoing documentary project that began in 1978, revealing the raids and policing activities of U.S. Border Patrol agents in neighborhoods and on public transportation, as well as examining biased stereotypes of Mexican workers. Ruben Ortiz-Torres’s combination videos( in collaboration with Eduardo Abaroa) and sculpture(1991, 2002), uses humor to explore contemporary culture influences seen from both Latin America and the United States, morphing one another in a pop-art style to speak to debates about blurred boundaries and how Mexican and North American identities are constructed. Through use of a combination of Speedy Gonzales and Mickey Mouse cartoon characters a statement about first and third world media, the political economy of free trade, tourism, Mexican labor and immigration. Artist Victor Ochoa’s painting “Mestizo”(2010) expresses his concerns over the misrepresentation among Hispanic people, identifying “mestizos” meaning “mixed” combining indigenous and white Europeans who have historically populated the regions - but who do not choose a racial category, and many consider being Hispanic as part of their racial background, not just an ethnicity. Deborah Small’s “The Ethnobotany Project”(2009-2017) is an installation of plants, herbs, books and materials -  part of an ongoing collaboration that promotes the cultivation and restoration of native plants, to bring awareness of cultural practices and to improve health and well being of Indian communities on both sides of the border. Highlighting Baja communities, Small’s work serves to educate about practices of the people of Baja, as well as to stimulate cultural exchanges and sustain traditions. Other artists included in the exhibition are those of the Cog’nate Collective, Collective Magpie, Alida Cervantes, Teddy Cruz, Ricardo Dominguez, Louis Hock, Las Comadres, Fred Lonidier, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel, Iana Quesnell, Allan Sekula, Perry Vasquez, and Yvonne Veneges.  Curator and alumna Tatiana Sizonenko Ph.D. Art History, comments “For artists represented here, the border is not a physical boundary line separating two sovereign nations but rather a place of its own, defined by a confluence of cultures reflecting on migration and cross-pollination.”