Biomytography: Making Visible
Film Still from Marton Robinson, Daguerotipo, 2018
Biomythography: Making Visible
Curated by Chris Christion and Jessica Wimbley
February 10th – March 13th, 2020
Opening Reception | Monday, February 10, 2020, from 6-9 pm
Performance | Deadnaming by Thinh Nguyen @ 7PM
Artists: Caz Azevedo, Logan Dandridge, Chuck Feesago, Thinh Nguyen, and Marton Robinson
Cerritos College, Cerritos College Art Gallery
11110 Alondra Blvd,
Norwalk, CA 90650
Biomythography: Making Visible
Biomythography: Making Visible is the eighth exhibition in a series that seeks to investigate biomythography as a visual arts practice. Biomythography is a literary device created by Audre Lord to expand limited demarcations of identity. UC Santa Cruz Dance Professor Ted Warburton defines Biomythography as; “the weaving together of myth, history, and biography in epic narrative form, a style of composition that represents all the ways in which we perceive the world.”
By conventional definition, identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks, and/or expressions that make a person or group. However, for those not represented or underrepresented in history, the nuances of identity are not covered by conventional definitions. Identity instead is an ever-shifting continuum of experiences; layered with histories, myths, readings, and re-readings. The job of Biomythography is to expand perceptions, exposing more multi-faceted, dimensional, and mutable considerations of self. It is at this point where the work begins, where the meaning of our identity intersects with the materials and experiences of our lives.
The artists have consciously or unconsciously invoked the literary form of biomythography by engaging in unpacking the complexities of our gender, political, and historical identities. Asserting that identity is the culmination of these inseparable yet distinct relationships and provoking the viewer to reevaluate the lenses through which they’ve viewed individuals in order to recognize themselves.
Caz Azevedo explores the performance of the gesture utilizing the movement of the body, exploring the relationship to form, the physicality of materials, and the temporal relationship between the artist as maker and subject. Indexing the gestural with ritualization, the works assert performance as a practice in identity creation.
Logan Dandridge’s work interprets the nuances of African American culture through a combination of assemblage and juxtaposition. He clarifies his interests in web-based culture and media convergence through multi-channel video installations. As a filmmaker, nostalgia, representation, and religion are themes explored in his work. It is the interior he considers—his own, as well as his parents and extended family by examining memory as it relates to and complicates recorded history and self-making.
Chuck Fessago’s mixed installation explores a lesser-known history of slavery. Blackbirding, a historic and present practice of oppression by which people are taken far from native lands by way of deception and/or kidnapping and forced into servitude. This term is associated with the large scale, systematic exploitation by primarily European colonists of peoples from the islands of the Pacific Ocean to work on plantations, primarily sugar cane, pineapple, and cotton between the 19th and 20th century. Through codified historical imagery of Pacific Islanders, poetry, and stereotypy, the history of blackbirding is subjected as a theatre of oppression through which various representations and misrepresentations emerge.
Thinh Nguyen work investigates the intersections of cultural values. Utilizing various media, they explore and expose oppressive sociopolitical power structures. In the social performance and installation, Deadnaming, Nguyen conducts a collective naming of trans people murdered in the recent year, bringing visibility to the epidemic of transphobia and the litany of abuse on trans bodies while providing personal and collective space to mourn.
Marton Robinson explores and challenges conventional black representations of identity and ethnicity from the notion of art history, history, politics, mass media and popular culture to deconstruct the hierarchical power and conceptions of colonialism, race, and Eurocentric ideas as a means of subverting social belief systems. Through integrating his own body within historical ethnographic imagery, Robinson collapses the personal and the political in the configuration of black identity by exposing nuances within race and stereotyping.