Fall 2021 Exhibition Preview
The Richmond Center for Visual Arts is pleased to present the following exhibitions in the
Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery for our fall season.
September 23 - November 14, 2021
Esther Pearl Watson
Safer at Home: Pandemic Paintings
Left to Right: Esther Pearl Watson, September 16, We Cover Our Windows With Plastic, 2020. Acrylic with pencil on panel, courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
Esther Pearl Watson, October 29, Halloween Events Cancelled, 2020. Acrylic with pencil on panel, courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles
The Richmond Center for Visual Arts announces a major exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Esther Pearl Watson's newest body of work, Safer at Home: Pandemic Paintings. Coolly observational and poignantly confessional, a chronology of more than one hundred intimately-scaled paintings capture the surreal circumstances of life in 2020 during the onset of COVID-19.
Revered for her "memory paintings," Watson's Safer at Home series is based not only on the artist's personal experience of pandemic life in Los Angeles, but also on meticulously researched news articles that report the year's cascade of historic events. From the heart-wrenching consequences of quarantine and isolation to the sense of doom ignited by California's forest fires, Safer at Home documents enormous shifts in accepted realities of daily life.
Mimi Kato, Risk Management, Archival pigment print, 2018
Synthesizing performative and photographic processes, Mimi Koto's most recent body of work, Wild Corporation, explores dynamics of power in female relationships through large digital prints and surreal sculptural objects made from everyday office supplies. Coming of age in in Japan during the 1980s and ‘90s, Kato was taught to accept society’s remaining gender inequalities as simply inevitable. While many women were urged to assume Japan’s non-career tracks (Ippanshoku), women who pursued leadership and managerial positions (Sōgōshoku) often ignited powerful feelings of resentment and conflict amongst women in the workforce. Incorporating her personal experiences with corporate Japanese culture as well as her life in the United States, Kato’s work contests traditional boundaries and patriarchy, while also examining rivalries between women.
Turning the expected feminist script on its head, Mimi Kato's larger than life visual sagas in Wild Corporation feature two tribes of female employees who, with little hope of career advancement, turn against one another to battle it out. Donning laughably impractical skirts and vests, these women hunt, take hostages, and lash out against one another, fashioning their arms from staplers, rubber bands, zip ties, rulers, thumbtacks, binder clips and the like.
Taking inspiration from Japanese landscape painting and theater, especially contemporary Butoh and traditional mask theater as well as Kyōgen comedy tradition, Kato's multi-step approach includes photography (most often with a 35mm camera and handheld remote), as well as performance, costume construction, prop design, and drawing. While the resulting prints appear to embody the sleek, seamless look of a filmstrip and a dynamic world in motion, Kato's images are in fact layered stories, composite images made up of the artist's experiences in Japan and in the United States, ostensibly set in a world where time is of less consequence than the action and reaction of the present moment.