Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with corrections to spelling and content.
“Dissolve” is the newest exhibition at the University Art Gallery, organized by the Jack & Shanaz Langson Institute & Museum of California Art (Langson IMCA).
“Dissolve” is focused on the transfiguration of both personal and physical forms and the process of dissolution in between two solid states.
UCI professor of both art history and African American Studies, Bridget R. Cooks, curated the exhibition, which consists of loaned pieces and other selected artworks from the Langson IMCA’s permanent collection as well as two original artwork from Kenyatta AC Hinkle and Linda Gass.
Hinkle is a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on historical events, healing and her own personal relationship with the past in her work. Hinkle’s artwork and writings have also been displayed at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Project Row Houses, The Hammer Museum, The Museum of Art at The University of New Hampshire and many more. For more information about Hinkle you can visit her official website.
Hinkle’s piece, “THEY: A Temple of Black Personality ⟮Allensworth⟯” is a three-part, multi-medium collage that functions as the centerpiece of “Dissolve.” Hinkle merges family photos and paintings to display the history of Allensworth, the first settlement in California to be constructed and occupied entirely by African Americans.
Altogether, Hinkle’s piece explores the metamorphosis of Allensworth from a town to a national park. Bright colors create a celebratory mood that is contrasted by the lack of solidity in the image. The piece elicits the bittersweet feeling that accompanies grieving something that isn’t sad, like saying goodbye to an old home.
Environmental activist and artist Linda Gass collaborated with UCI professor of anthropology Valerie Olson, on the ever-changing landscape of the Santa Ana River, to create “When We Listen to the Watershed,” made from layers of sheer woven cloth. Together, they explore how the formation of the river has been rerouted by human intervention after it was taken from Native Americans.
Gass uses her work to merge activism and art by recreating maps of stitching and embroidery.
In an interview with ShoutOutLA, Gass shared, “growing up in Los Angeles during the drought in the late 1970s made me aware of the preciousness of water and that realization turned into a passion for incorporating water and land use issues and the impact of climate change into my art.” There is a nostalgia and youthfulness to her art that contrasts the complicated problems of climate change and water pollution.
“Dissolve” also features three works by Ana Teresa Fernández: “Ice Queen,” “Of Bodies and Borders 5” and “Siren’s Song.” These pieces explore the idea of femininity and the painful social pressures women are asked to endure.
There are two pieces by Joe Goode. “Vandalism II” depicts the destruction of California sunsets through careless human intervention of nature, while “Untitled (Photo Cloud)” explores the medium of photography through paint.
Works by artist Lia Cook, “Gridlock” and “Passport,” contemplate what is lost when human figures are digitally recreated.
Sonia Romero offers two pieces, “Fall” and “Inner Landscape,” which explore the process of surrendering. In the plaque beside her art, Romero states, “By falling or surrendering, one can gain a feeling of support… the feeling that you’re not alone.”
Other works featured in the gallery include a painting by William Wendy “Santa Ana River,” photography by Erica Deeman from her two series titled “Brown” and “Silhouettes”, “Blush/Wave/Hybrid” by Eric Zemmitt, “Centers” by Chris Fraiser and two sculptures by DeWain Valentine and Helen Pashgian.
“Dissolve” is open from Sept. 24 to Dec. 10, from 12-6 p.m. It is located in the University Art Gallery at 712 Arts Plaza. It is free to enter and viewers can stay as long as they would like. For more information, you can visit the “Dissolve” webpage.
Hinkle and Cook will also converse about the artist’s creative process and research on Nov. 8. There will also be a short film screening of Hinkle exploring Allensworth. Register and learn more about the event here.
Emma McCandless is an Entertainment Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.