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The world is undeniably more connected in this era of networked communication, increased mobility and globalism. But as people move more freely between countries and communities, are those waning physical distances in fact replaced with internal, psychic gulfs? The work of four artists on view in Model Migration—the inaugural exhibition at RESIDENCY, a new gallery in Inglewood—suggest that they are.
Sheena Rose’s inventive videos feature the artist in an array of concocted costumes and situations—à la Cindy Sherman or Kalup Linzy—that stem from her impressions as a citizen of Barbados who spent several years in the States. Rose’s quick-paced embodiments underscore her futile attempts to find firm footing amidst the island’s colonial past, its tourist-filled present, and her actual lived experience. The human form is, by contrast, notably absent in Brazilian-born Alvaro Naddeo’s surreal watercolors of towering homeless structures. Conspicuous instead are the meticulously rendered logos of multinational brands—markers of globalism as an engine for both economic expansion and the displacement of vulnerable, if resilient, individuals.
Though Oscar Magallanes’s paintings aggrandize the hybrid iconography of Chicano-Angeleno culture in his paintings, their cast of low-income workers also testifies to the uphill battles of cultural and economic integration in the long term. A similar ambivalence hovers around Chris Gonzales’s photographs of Tulum, Mexico, which focus on ordinary scenes and inhabitants usually brushed aside in the fantasized tourist view. As with Naddeo’s hidden dwellers and Rose’s ever-slipping subject, their poignancy derives, in part, from what is not shown. Model Migration effectively generates a palpable feeling of missing—in both the sense of lacuna and longing—that arises when the topographies and fault lines of one identity must be mapped onto new cultural terrains.
Model Migration runs from July 23–August 21, 2016 at RESIDENCY (310 E. Queen Street, Inglewood, CA 90301).