Cathy Breslaw's Installation

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Sound Experience - The Language of Things by Roberto Romero-Molina

The Language of Things
Roberto Romero-Molina
San Diego Art Institute
Through March 17th

Roberto-Romero Molina   System #49 
8 channel video installation without sound  2017

Article by Cathy Breslaw

When you arrive in the gallery spaces of the San Diego Art Institute you may ask yourself the question “Where’s the art?” There is little hanging from the walls because the artist wants you to listen, hear and interact with ‘sound’.  Originally a painter, artist Roberto Romero-Molina is a visual and sound artist working on both sides of the US-Mexico border and this exhibition is presented in partnership with the Tijuana Cultural Center(CECUT). His  exhibition The Language of Things includes 6 installations strategically placed throughout the expansive space of the gallery. All but two of the installations include sound and visitors can hear them all simultaneously from various points within the space. At first, this can be a little disorienting but given time to acclimate to these unusual surroundings, there is a feeling that it all co-exists nicely together. For Romero-Molina’s art pieces to work their magic, we are required to slow down, be present in the moment and occasionally  close our eyes to receive the full value of these art pieces. Open Field (2017) is an interactive piece which includes a black and white video screen(oscilloscope) and parabolic antenna that when moving, jumping, stomping, singing, clapping or making utterances into the microphones, the visual display oscillates in kind. Picking up the sounds of our movements, we are provided a visual description of the sounds we are creating. Quartet is a set of four screens, each with a formal geometric shape in either red, blue, yellow or green, activated by thin white lines and tiny specs that are in motion, each vibrating within the rectangular screens. Reminiscent of minimal hard edge painting, each of these colorful works provide us with distinctive sound patterns in motion, along with the shapes. System #32 is a black steel tree-like structure with several branches, each holding its own speaker from which we hear bird sounds produced with an electronic synthesizer.  Each audio player has a variety of  sounds and cycles through periods of both vocalizations and silence. As you walk in and around each branch, visitors hear varying bird sounds. Serendibite  is an installation that exists within a temporary structure of “walls” made from commercial insulation and black metal frames, all guiding the visitor into a more private space of sound.  There are three benches for sitting and contemplation, and for listening and ‘feeling’ while we let the sound wash over us. System 49 is a series of eight individual black and white video screens on stands, set in a circular pattern at eye level. All the screens have the same location - a room with several small bright windows, but with a different ‘scene’ in each. Two human figures(one male and one female) wrapped in clear plastic appear in some, while in others,there is a figure covered in plastic on the floor, still or breathing. There is no sound for this installation as the imagery draws us into questioning the content of each screen. The last installation is Video Painting, a video screen where we spend two minutes watching an image emerge from shapes and shadows as the movements go in and out of haziness and sharpness and variations in color.  Romero-Molina wants us to meet him halfway, inviting us into his world of sound and communications, calling our attention to a mostly visceral experience of what art can be.

Roberto Romero-Molina   Quartet   
4 Channel Video Installation   2012-2017

Roberto Romero-Molina   System #32 
8 Channel Sound Installation   2017


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mexican Photographers Reveal a Culture in Transition

Point Counterpoint
Museum of Photographic Arts
Through February 11th

Written by Cathy Breslaw

Yvonne Venegas, "Ivette," 2015. © Yvonne Venegas/Courtesy of the artist
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
Point Counterpoint presents the photographic images of 19 contemporary Mexican photographers at the Museum of Photographic Arts.  Underwritten by the Getty Foundation as part of the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions held across 70 institutions in southern California, it highlights the social, political and economic changes in Mexico. The work covers the years from 2000 to 2015 and was designed by both American and Mexican curators with a diverse range of work including issues of: the border, cultural identity, abstraction, appropriation and the human body. Artist Patricia Martin’s photographs digitally manipulate wedding portraits to examine the brides’ identity and traditional female roles and Ana Casa Broda’s works chronicle her own journey through motherhood.  Teresa Margolles uses the backdrop of abandoned theater marquees to display suicide notes, referencing decaying buildings and infrastructure and Mexico’s struggle with violence and the past. Maya Goded uses photography and video to document the emotional environment  of  women in vulnerable communities in Ciudad Juarez. Guillermo Arias also documents violence of Mexico’s drug war with a rising death count that effects the border regions. Jose Luis Cuevas’s work informs viewers with a dark photographic essay describing a spiritual world where faith and religion are exchanged for technology.  Frederico Gama documents a year long project with the goal of photographing an event for 12 years, in the 12th month, on the 12th day for 12 hours, focusing his camera on individuals who on that day abandon their everyday life to play the part of a religious pilgrim.  Yvonne Venegas’s series focuses on one of the wealthiest regions of Latin America and one that has kept drug violence at bay, revealing moments of authenticity as well as the denial of everyday reality of its citizens. Andres Carretero presents his Redheads Series (2009) of 32 large format images of Mexican redheads challenging expectations about what Mexicans are assumed to look like, either by outsiders or other Mexicans. Dr. Lakra, who is known for embellishing vintage images with tattoo-like designs that are both beautiful and repulsive, blurs the line between traditional and pop culture. Alex Dorfsman explores themes of the Mexican landscape through abstract views of natural and man-made artifacts and are representations of emotional spaces. Alejandra Laviada exhibits an abstract series of images of light, composed through multiple exposures and the images appear to float in space with each layer revealing a unique play with transparency and perspective. These photographers and others included in this exhibition largely reflect the cultural transformations occurring in Mexico and use themes of abstraction, landscape, religion, gender, and pain by providing viewers with a deeper understanding of the challenges of our Mexican neighbors in this global environment.

Alejandra Laviada, "Red, Yellow Composition," 2014. © Alejandra Laviada/Courtesy of the artist/
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Guillermo Arias. A Federal Police officer guards outside a bar during a special operation at the Zona Norte area in Tijuana, Mexico, Friday, June 12, 2009. © Guillermo Arias/Courtesy of the artist/
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego