Gently Unbind

Gently Unbind

University of California, Santa Cruz

June 9, 2023
Gently Unbind
Environmental Art and Social Practice MFA thesis exhibition
June 6–17, 2023
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at UC Santa Cruz
1156 High St
95064 Santa Cruz CA
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Artists: Annika Berry, Ant Lorenzo, Dav Bell, isola tong, L Gilbert, lowen hatano, Natalie Zajac, Pete Brook.

As our local community dries out from the unrelenting atmospheric river and prepares for the melting snow, wars rage in landscapes worldwide and the pandemic continues to show its effects on our mental and global health. We welcome a group exhibition of the first graduating class in the MFA Environmental Art and Social Practice program at UC Santa Cruz.  

Gently Unbind illuminates the collaborative nature of this group, placing certain work outside of the institutional walls of the gallery and into the greater context of community and place. The Greenhouse Project places its foundation in the Farm at UCSC, the artwork collaborates with staff, students and interns to build a lasting stage for programming social and agricultural experiments. Ritual, identity and place (Philippines) inform objects and a performance of rebirth and community making. The liberation of minerals become pathways for research in extraction and capitalism. Soil takes form in performance, printing pigment and as an ingredient in a horror film. Sand has been a powerful force on this landscape for millions of years, through containment and black and white photography, time passes and an investigation unfolds. Gold dissolves into syllabus, wall paint and creates a multimedia experience that exposes the inequitable histories and chemical breakdown of a powerful mineral. Unearthed from our local community, an archive of a stranger becomes the inspiration for a two year project that brings the stranger back to life through technology, interviews, accessories and performers. Lastly, a film based project tackles the complexities of first generational (Polish) guilt and food, culminating in a horror film constructed on an iPhone. 

In the infancy of the 21st century, art and life become survival for the socially engaged artist/collective and their community. Gently Unbind exposes the questions and struggles of how one moves through this position in two years of research. The evidence of this group dislodges the paradigm of the independent artist sitting alone in the studio, and brings forth a collaboration with society locally and globally.

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University of California, Santa Cruz
June 9, 2023

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