Helman Alejandro Sosa Templos
Murales efímeros: A Personal Understanding of Walls
With an introduction from Michelle Apotsos, Assistant Professor of Art:
Walls. They exist on the periphery of our consciousness yet are ubiquitous in our lives, channeling human movement into specific repertoires of action and reaction. Helman Sosa’s qualifying paper focuses on a specific set of walls, namely a series of prototypes for the U.S. / Mexico border wall currently being sponsored by the Trump administration. The non-profit organization M.A.G.A. – Make Art Great Again – is currently pushing to preserve these walls for posterity, a move that has inspired Sosa to take the lens of the wall as a starting point towards exploring the fraught and extremely volatile conversation surrounding the U.S. / Mexican border as a zone of socio-economic, political, and racial disenfranchisement. Utilizing the concept of “wall” as both object and symbol, Sosa interrogates the medium as an ideological and sometimes iconoclastic construct, a form that blurs the line between permanence and ephemerality and that ultimately communicates beyond its physical structure through its innate ability to constrain, control, and divide.
Emily Perlmutter Kamen
Spiral Thought: Polychronic Histories in Fremont Landscapes
With an introduction from Horace Ballard, Curator of American Art at the Williams College Museum of Art:
Emily Kamen is fearless in bringing to light the often contentious and circuitous histories of White-settler erasure of the visual culture of indigenous and native peoples. A rigorous and empathetic scholar of the modern landscape genre, Kamen’s qualifying paper articulates a call to arms for the field. In her multiperspectival rumination on the lack of scholarly attention to the petroglyphs inscribed over millennia in the canyonlands of the US southwest, Kamen advocates for greater inclusivity, and new approaches, in the teaching of American art. I have relished watching Kamen’s confidence bloom. This is a powerful paper with teeth.
Something I Don’t Know: Gala Porras-Kim’s Work of Translation and Preparation
With an introduction from Robert Wiesenberger, Associate Curator of Contemporary Projects at The Clark:
Translation, untranslatability, and the rich spaces between languages, in their written and spoken forms, are Gala Porras-Kim’s subjects. Whether in Los Angeles’s Korea Town or the streets of Mexico City, the California-based artist uses drawing in an expanded, durational sense to “learn something I don’t know,” as she puts it. As Isabel Casso shows, this precise and yet open-ended practice of artist research is always in process and preparation, and never complete. Going beyond many of the West Coast conceptual artists who preceded her, Porras-Kim does not just dryly record language— she unearths its politics and makes it personal.