California College of the Arts (CCA) Hubbell Street Galleries is proud to present Surfacing Histories Sculpting Memories, an exhibition in conjunction with the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) 2020 Women to Watch series. This sixth installment of NMWA’s medium-specific exhibition series will showcase artists transforming paper into complex works of art. For Surfacing Histories Sculpting Memories, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator Claudia Schmuckli selected five exceptional artists whose practices exemplify creative use of paper as a medium but also reflect the social consciousness and exploratory nature that typifies Northern Californian artists.
Four of the five featured artists in this year’s exhibition are CCA alumnae: Sofía Córdova (MFA Fine Arts 2010), Julia Goodman (MFA Fine Arts 2009), Amy Tavern (MFA Fine Arts 2017), Lava Thomas (Ceramics 1999), and Sandra Ono. From this exhibition, one artist will be selected to represent Northern California in Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020 at NMWA in Washington, D.C., on view from June 25–September 20, 2020.
Paper works by selected artists
“Each of the selected artists represents a different approach to working with paper, whether that is through an investigation of the material traditions and metaphoric potential of the medium itself or through mining those qualities for the purposes of excavating and reframing personal and social histories,” says Schmuckli. “The exhibition celebrates their mindfulness and dedication to their practice and offers a national platform for the consideration of their work through the network of Women in the Arts.”
Organizing this regional exhibition is the San Francisco Advocacy for NMWA, founded by leading Bay Area art collectors and philanthropists Lorna Meyer Calas and Carol Parker. As an active national NMWA-affiliated committee, this group advocates on behalf of women artists in the region. This is the second time the San Francisco Advocacy for NMWA committee has participated in Women to Watch.
“We are thrilled to bring together this select group of leading contemporary artists,” says Calas, a CCA trustee. “For the second time, our NMWA advocacy group is proud to offer an opportunity to the talented women artists of the Bay Area to share their work and their stories here at home and across the nation.”
CCA Hubbell Street Galleries is dedicated to promoting diversity by improving access and opportunities for underrepresented groups. “This exhibition truly exemplifies the values and culture at CCA,” says Jaime Austin, director of CCA Exhibitions and Public Programming. “We are incredibly proud to host this important and prestigious exhibition for the region.”
Sofía Córdova is an interdisciplinary artist whose work considers sci-fi and futurity, dance and music culture(s), the internet, mystical objects, extinction and mutation, migration, and climate change under the conditions of late capitalism and its technologies. She is one half of the music duo XUXA SANTAMARIA. In addition to discrete projects, performances, and albums, the duo collectively scores all of her video and performance work.
Córdova received her MFA from California College of the Arts and her BFA in Photography from St. John’s University, Queens, New York. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco. Córdova is one of 10 Bay Area artists commissioned by Hope Mohr Dance for the 2019 Bridge Project, Signals from the West: Bay Area Artists in Conversation with Merce Cunningham at 100. Córdova was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and is currently based in Oakland.
Julia Goodman creates low relief sculptural paper pieces from pulped, repurposed bed sheets and T-shirts. These works are inspired by the Jewish mourning tradition of tearing garments, the current environmental costs of the textile industry, and the belief that fabrics carry with them untold and powerful personal histories.
Goodman received her MFA from California College of the Arts and her BA in International Relations and Peace & Justice Studies from Tufts University. Most recently, her work has been exhibited at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana; the Poetry Foundation, Chicago; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art; and the Center for Book Arts, New York. Her residencies include the JB Blunk Residency, Recology SF (The Dump), Angelic Organics (a biodynamic CSA in Illinois), and the Salina Art Center. Goodman is based in Berkeley.
Amy Tavern is an interdisciplinary artist. A believer in phenomenology, her work begins with direct experience and, although autobiographical, refers to the human condition, emotion and memory, and the passing of time. Using labor-intensive methods, Tavern translates recollection through drawing, sculpture, photography, video, and animation.
Tavern has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo shows in the United States, Belgium, Sweden, and Iceland. She has taught and lectured across the country and in Europe, and her work as a metalsmith has been included in numerous publications, most notably on the cover of Metalsmith magazine. Originally from Richfield Springs, New York, Tavern holds a BA in Arts Administration from the State University of New York College at Fredonia; a BFA in Metal Design from the University of Washington, Seattle; and an MFA from California College of the Arts. Tavern is a former Penland School of Craft resident artist and has completed numerous artist residencies in Iceland. She lives and works in San Francisco.
Lava Thomas's studio practice takes a wide range of thematic and material approaches. She utilizes a variety of techniques suited to the concept and evolution of each project—from drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography to sculpture and site-specific installations. Informed by feminist discourse, alternative approaches to portraiture, secular and religious ideas of the sacred, and African American devotional and protest traditions, Thomas considers themes of social justice, female subjectivity, current events, and the shifting tides of history.
Thomas is a native of Los Angeles and is currently based in the Bay Area. She studied at UCLA’s School of Art Practice and received a BFA from California College of the Arts. She is a former board member of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the Alliance of Artists Communities. In 2015, she was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors. In 2017, she was awarded a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Thomas is represented by Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco.
Sandra Ono’s sculptural work is informed by biology and physiology. Her choice of materials and forms arise from interests in the consequences of what we consume and, inversely, what consumes us. She frequently employs synthetic and ubiquitous, utilitarian products, such as plastic bags, recontextualizing these materials to create non-functioning, organic, and corporeal forms, which examine experiences of the human body, granting dimension to internal states.
Ono received her MFA from Mills College following undergraduate studies at UC Davis and Imperial College London. She has shown her work in exhibitions locally and nationally at venues such as Southern Exposure, Incline Gallery, Electric Works, Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Transmitter gallery in Brooklyn, and Conduit Gallery in Dallas. Ono currently serves as visiting faculty lecturer at Mills College and has been awarded artist residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts, University of Texas at Dallas CentralTrak, Kala Art Institute, Southern Exposure, and the Vermont Studio Center. She is based in Berkeley.
NMWA Women to Watch
Women to Watch is an exhibition series held every two to three years, developed in conjunction with the Nation Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) national and international outreach committees. NMWA currently has 21 outreach committees with more than 2,000 dedicated members throughout the United States and around the world, and the network continues to expand. The museum’s committees play a critical role in bringing NMWA’s mission to regional audiences. The committees work with local museum directors and curators, education experts and business leaders to capitalize on their region’s artistic, financial, and educational strengths and resources in order to develop meaningful programming and build a bridge between their communities and the museum.