Brimful of Asha (White Face)

And then there’s Brimful of Asha (White Face). Because opposites qualify each other– black and white. Just a tom peeking at you with a Bollywood tune on my mind.

26″h x 22″w
Mixed media on paper

Asha white face

This is a fun, pop image, and I hope it evokes a feeling of joy, like a kid playing hide and seek in the garden.

Brimful of Asha

Asha is a famous Bolliwood singer, who while remaining behind the scenes, brings joy and hopefulness to millions through her music.

I think of the countless cultivars in our environments as bringing nature’s hope and song into urban spaces.

I paint my pixilated eyes and tree reflections flashing past a window. A puckish tom providing a peek at another landscape.

Asha black face

Oils on canvas
36″h x 24″w

In The Beginning: Girls Will Be Boys

Think of this piece as the genesis of the Puer archetype series.

The Eternal Man Child speaks in his own words:

While visiting friends in Buenos Aires, I stepped through an Aleph and was instantly born in Seattle, WA.  Yes, I was conceived full grown. With a beard.

I looked in a mirror and saw my previous self, who weirdly looked like me without a beard… or exactly like my mother, the great artist.

It was really trippy, especially with The Kinks playing in the background.

Girls Will Be Boys
12″h x 9″w
Mixed media on Jupo
2017

boys will be girls

Unveiling A New Series: Puer

I’ve been working on exploring a number of different archetypes through a variety of media in the Triumphs project which aims to transform notions of identity.  I call on a variety of recognizable symbolic markers to learn what it means to wear new identities in the stories we tell others and whisper to ourselves. Among the archetypes I explored are Migrations (The Hanged Man), Whistling Dixie (The Mandala), Charites (The Anima), Book of Hours (Judgement)…and now Puer (Eternal Child).

I’m always a little superstitious about showing my work before it is ready, but now that the series has taken shape it is time to make the work public.

Puer expresses a hunger for independence and freedom. He’s opposed to boundaries and limits, and prefers living in his own head instead of reality. To manifest this archetype, I assume a completely different identity, wearing a male persona complete with a beard and androgynous clothes, have an anglo name, and leave behind the limitations of my race and gender.

I first conceived of this series immediately after last year’s ACES Conference. It was the most exciting event I have attended, ever! To see hundreds of artists of color all gathered for one purpose, to stand witness to the stories shared by presenters and fellow artists was deeply cathartic…and exhausting. The last day of the conference coincided with the opening Our Daily Armor III at Virago Gallery. Several artists at ACES were also showing at Virago with me, and at the opening they too mentioned how moved and fatigued they were by the experience.

Resisting external and internal colonization, fighting the good fight– these take a lot out of you. It’s that extra emotional, psychic, and creative cost you pay for being an artist of color who engages with the world as it is.

I though deeply about  Elisheba Johnson’s comment that the art world was a gated community. It’s not just about how segregated it still is (don’t believe me? just look at the Power 100). It’s about how those who don’t face the same struggles POC do have the mental, emotional and creative space to explore and play.

I realized I needed to activate Puer in my studio.

Because Puer hates being constrained he goes where he pleases, traveling freely through an Aleph discovered in a Jorge Luis Borges short story.

I’ll begin posting about each piece in the Puer series now, so you can get to know where he’s been going and what he’s been painting.

 

See Two New Drawings at Virago Gallery Through Dec. 31st

This has been quite a full Autumn, with several shows, the ACES Conference and Expo, the beginning of a new series in the studio, AND things at the college speeding way up. With more responsibilities and commitments than ever, and with a renewed sense of vision, I am having to call on all my creative energies on multiple fronts.

I definitely feel like a Virago!

Not only is this show curated by the strongest 3rd Wave Feminist voice in the region (Tracy, please keep the fire burning!), but every single art piece in the show makes you think and feel. I am super excited to be a part of this project!

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This Thorny Bush (Three Faces of Eve) is mixed media on polyester film and my exploration of all those #MeToo moments all us womxn seem to have experienced. Let’s not even talk about how we need this thorny bush to defend our reproductive rights.

And I couldn’t stop there. I had to share with my fellow Viragos this personal ritual for fighting against the sexual harassers and other creeps.

IMG_8701In Oya Yansa’s Dance or My Hands Drip With Blood, also mixed media on polyester film, you can see me dancing in the studio with my beard.

In Yoruba mythology, Oya is a warrior goddess. She grows a beard in battle, shuttles the dead to the underworld, and represents a transformational female fierceness. She is the embodiment of liminality–a border creature, part witch, part divinity.  I bought a long patriarchal beard the day I declared war on the oppressors I work with at SCC. I wear it to summon the archetype of this fearsome warrior whenever I strike back at a man who stalked me, took photos of me from behind, sometimes as I leaned over to help students, and posted them on his office door. He broke into my office, made crude demeaning sexual remarks in front of others but still HR did not find this man guilty of sexual harassment. They did finally injunct him from hassing me and he’s “retiring” in a few weeks.

Next I will wage war against a vicious administrator. I wear my beard, take off my shoes, and dance with Yansa again.

 

Virago Gallery
4306 SW Alaska St.
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 933 – 2444

Gallery Hours
Wednesday – Friday – 11 to 7
Saturday – 10 to 6
Sunday – 10 to 4

Amazing Turn Out and Performances at Shoreline City Hall Last Night

Thank you to everyone who came out to support Puzzle Out: Nine Across last night. I’m so proud to have been a part of this powerful exhibit, poetry readings, and musical performance by some of the region’s most powerful Latinex voices. Thank you to Shoreline City Hall and David Francis for hosting!

Did you miss the opening of Puzzle Out last night? That’s okay. Get a bag of chips and your favorite sip-sip and click on the Youtube link below to hear the program videotaped by my husband and creative partner, Scott Story of Bioluminous.

Raul Sanchez kicks off reading poetry from his book “All Our Brown Skinned Angels” at about 8 mins. Mariah Alicia Merino kicks off her ekphrastic poetry with a piece inspired by Hugo Moro‘s giclee entitled Captain of Industry II at about 22 mins. Anna Balint delivers her epic poetry about the political refugee crisis at about 32 mins. Weep with me at the ethereal and gut wrenching music of Eden Page (starts around 56 mins).

 

Are you curious about WHY I spent so much time and energy getting this together? Just like clues to a crossword puzzle, the artists in this program help resolve the galvanizing language and racist rhetoric that mark the historic election of 2016 and its aftermath. By celebrating the contributions of Latino/a/x creatives, this exhibit and event challenge racial stereotypes that deny just how vital to our thought leadership and cultural landscape is the varied voice of the Hispanic community.

In a city with a mere 6.6% Hispanic or Latino ethnic presence, the robust cultural contributions of these talented painters, graphic artists, sculptors, photographers, performers, and public artists far exceed their small number. These Latino/a/x artists reach across borders and lines with their work in the studio, the gallery, the academy, municipal office, and corporate world. They invite us to discover an art world that reaches audiences with open hands and hearts. Puzzle Out: 9 Across reminds us that the best the human spirit offers can never be confined by racial stereotypes.

Thank you to the amazing visual artists who agreed to lend their work to Shoreline through April 20, 2018. A remarkable commitment from art professionals who are always exhibiting.

Tracy Carrera, Juan Franco, Gabriel Marquez, Rene Julio, Ettie Wahl, Ulises Mariscal, Hugo Moro, Kristen T. Ramirez

 

 

No Hiding Place Down Here To End Thursday!

There are only a couple of days left to the installation at the Seattle Presents Gallery. If you haven’t gone by, please do so before it’s too late.

It has been such a beautiful experience. I can honestly say that I have felt completely supported by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and by the general community. I mean, the show garnered two newspaper reviews and an interview on public radio!

My public report to the city includes a portfolio of drawings, an account of the art intervention/dialog with the city and community, social media entries, the dvd that was projected onto the tent/installation, and photographs taken by my creative partner in this adventure, Scott Story. Also known as my dearest husband.

If you want to get an abridged peek at my report, here is a pdf: WP report

Juggling Four Shows in October!

This month sees me rushing between Seattle Central College where I teach and four different galleries…delivering and striking shows.

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If you haven’t seen Everything Passes Everything Stays yet, hurry on down to Gage Academy.

The show comes down October 4th!

 

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No Hiding Place Down Here continues at the Seattle Presents Gallery through October 12, 2017.

The show has garnered great press, with two reviews and an NPR radio interview! If you have the chance, don’t miss it!

 

Queror 10, 2014Oils on US tactical fabric20"h x 16"w

I deliver Queror to Lynwood City Hall next week.

 

Week after that, I deliver and hang a show I have been curating for Shoreline City Hall. Puzzle Out: Nine Across is a much anticipated group show of Latinex artists, with poetry readings and musical performance by some of the most interesting artists working in Puget Sound.  This time I sat out of showing my work. As acting curator I wanted to really showcase the work of artists whose works I admire and who deserve much more recognition than they get.  More on this show as the opening  date nears!

Basic CMYK

 

My First Radio Interview- Thank you KUOW-FM

Wow, I had my first radio interview ever. Casey Martin was so nice and made me feel at ease, though as imagined, I rambled a bit. The interview aired yesterday, Tuesday September 12, 2017, but you can read a synopsis of the report on their website, or at this link:  kuow

http://kuow.org/post/art-installation-addresses-seattles-homeless-crisis

Thank You To Everyone!

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who made No Hiding Place Down Here a possibility and the opening so much fun.

Firstly, thank you to Liz Johnson, my project manager, without whose guidance and support none of this would have been possible.

Thank you to all the folks at Seattle Office of Arts & Culture who prepped the gallery and then set up all the yummy nibbles for the opening.

Thank you to all the friends and art lovers who braved the dirty air to come to the opening. Yes, folks, it literally rained ashes on First Thursday, like it did the previous day, the remnants of a week long onslaught of smoke from the fires consuming Eastern Washington.

Thank you to the journalists who reviewed the show and brought attention to this piece and the difficult subject it wrestles with.

Most of all, thank you to my husband and creative partner, Scott. He has been so supportive, willing to partner with me on this project, and then also doing all the photography of the installation too. He’s driven me everywhere, helped me install, and put on his best game face, despite being sick as a dog at the opening.

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I am feeling quite blessed.

Sketches for No Hiding Place Down Here

The city of Seattle asks that artists turn in copies of their research AND sketches for commissioned work in the final report.

I had a bunch of sketches spread over several sketchbooks of different sizes and thought to myself they would not make a great aesthetic statement. Despite the different media used in the installation (projections, soundscape, sculpture, drawing) everything is tied visually together by the palette of the scrim material.  So I decided to make my sketches all on recycled paper.

These are some of the drawings going into the binder I’ll be giving the city for No Hiding Place Down Here.

Hope you make it to the opening!

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ArtBeat Blog’s Post About No Hiding Place Down Here

A big thank you to the ArtBeat Blog for posting such a wonderful and in-depth review of my installation No Hiding Place Down Here.

There is so much incredible talent in the city, and at any one time, hundreds of permanent and temporary public art projects and performances happening, that few get this kind of coverage.

I’m so grateful and humbled!

Read it here: Seattle Presents Gallery: No Hiding Place Down Here

Here are a few of the sketches I prepared for the city, and these will go into my final report along with others.

 

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Lisa Edge Reviews No Hiding Place Down Here

Wow… Another review! Thank you to Lisa Edge for her beautiful and thoughtful review.

From Exile to Artist: Tatiana Garmendia’s city gallery installation centers the displaced | Real Change

I’m so grateful to the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for commissioning this piece. It prompted me to really dig deep into my practice while exploring a genuine crisis in our community.

I also got to collaborate with Scott Story, my husband and photographer extraordinaire. He shot all the documentary photography of unsanctioned homeless camps around the city. I used Scott’s pictures in the film projection onto the installation.

If you are in Seattle next week, please come by First Thursday for the public opening, September 7, from 5:30-7:30pm at the Seattle Presents Gallery at Seattle Municipal Tower, 5th Avenue & Columbia St..

The show runs through October 14, 2017.

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Seattle Weekly Reviews No Hiding Place Down Here

Thank you to Christy Carley for a wonderful review of my installation, No Hiding Place Down Here.

The piece was commissioned by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for their Dialogues on Homelessness series. I was especially honored to work on this piece because this is my first commission from the city and most especially because I got to collaborate with my husband and artistic partner, Scott Story.  The installation features a tent built out of theatrical scrim, dirt drawings on scrim suspended from a clothesline, documentary photography projection and a soundscape narrative.

Read the review here: ‘No Hiding Place Down Here’ Explores Issues of Exposure, Privacy for Seattle’s Homeless | Seattle Weekly

New in the Migrations series

This is Border Crossing (Touch 4), Mixed media on stretched polyester film, a modest
22″h x 30″w.

This series embraces the fluid space between the past and the present, between a homeland lost and a homeland gained. Here each wave meets at my heart with a gesture of embrace. The translucency of the polyester film points to a space between actual and conceptual representations. The viewer can see the recycled wood stretchers, sometimes the wire, and construct in their minds how the image comes to be. Viewing becomes a surrogate to the creative act.

It’s a self-portrait based on personal memories, but these memories are more than mine, they belong to all of us. At the core of the Migration series, itself part of the Triumphs project, is the exploration of archetypes. And that rich treasure house of primal imagery is hardwired into all our bodies, yours and mine.

 

New in the Migrations series

This is  Border Crossing (Touch 5), 24″h x 36″w from the Migrations series, in which I explore the archetype of the Hanged Man, with all its tropes of sacrifice, suspension,  and new perceptions.  Migrations are not just the physical ones– we leave one country for another. Or metaphysical– we transition from life to death. Migrations can be the internal journeys our minds make as we scrub the landscapes of our memory.

My family and I were sent to an internment camp for political dissidents when I was a young child. My childhood crush, Toni, would entertain us younger kids in the camp by dancing with a skeleton. He was full of life, and comic passion as he danced with that skeleton! As a political refugee, the loss of my homeland is a bittersweet caress, and his dance a symbol that haunts me still. It represents the resilience and joie de vivre of the human spirit.

 

New in the studio: Photo Sketch for new painting

I draw every day, on good paper, in my sketchbook, on my iPhone, anywhere, really. I also use my camera as a sketching tool!

Why not? It’s easy to try out a lot of ideas, capturing images that I can play with later in a variety of media.

My work delves deeply into different archetypes, and after two years of working with The Hanged Man, I am eager to move on. I’ve been exploring the archetype, Union of Opposites over the last year, but everything about the archetype demands huge time commitments.  Gotta wait for a sabbatical or summer to dig in. Bummer.

So for now, I am playing with the idea of multiple realities and ways of knowing…yup, archetype of the High Priestess. So I’ve begun sketching what I call a series of Fata Morganas. Part Morgan Le Fay, part mirage.

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Fidel Castro Died At 90, My Father Died At 36

This is a picture of my father, Dr. Jose Manuel Garmendia Socarras. He was a doctor. An idealist and romantic, he stayed in Cuba after everyone else in his family had fled because he wanted to heal the poor and build a just society in his homeland.

He was tortured by Fidel Castro’s secret police, the G-2, for his good deeds. He died at 36 years old. Fidel died yesterday at 90. Don’t blame me for banging on a drum and dancing La Conga while chanting “At last, Cuba Libre!”

Ever Feel Like You’re Frozen Into A Block Of Ice?

Ever feel like you’re frozen? Just got home from teaching and am tumbling back under the covers to fend off the chills.

Autumn fevers are the worst!

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I love this painting by Andrew Wyeth. Although it is entitled “Spring” (which sounds all sunny and flowery to me), I love how the whole world seems to have thawed out but this old man (Old Man Winter?) is downright frozen to the spot. It’s how I feel right now!

Love Wyeth. All his work is so sun drenched. Got a chance to see his Helga paintings when they came to SAM. OMG, they’re so sensual!

e194b721af9d6e49d70471d09a2ed9edRight around the corner from his erotically charged Helga paintings (Just look at how he recorded the light glinting off of Helga’s pubic hair), there was this one portrait he painted of his wife lying in a field, with a HAT on her face. He pretty much spent more time depicting the dog than his wife!

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I kept comparing the way he depicted them. How does the song go? “Things that make you go Hmmm.”

I compared his paintings and thought, Whoa, his wife was way more civilized than me. I would have whopped the side of his head with a cast iron pan!