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Environmental Art + Social Practice MFA Exhibition: Gently Unbind

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June 8, 2023 @ 4:00 pm 6:00 pm

Gently Unbind

The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery is pleased to present the Masters of Fine Art thesis exhibition of the inaugural Environmental Art + Social Practice 2023 cohort.

Opening reception: Thursday, June 8, 2023 from 4 – 6pm
After party: June 8, 2023 6pm – 8pm at the Greenhouse Project (located at UC Santa Cruz Farm)
Exhibition on view (UPDATE): Wednesday, June 8 – Saturday, June 17, 2023

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 + Social Practice program at UC Santa Cruz.  

Gently Unbind illuminates the collaborative nature of this group of cohorts, 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, where 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.  

Annika Berry
Ant Lorenzo
Dav Bell – Greenhouse Project
isola tong
L Gilbert – Greenhouse Project
lowen hatano
Natalie Zajac
Pete Brook

About the program
This unique, two-year, residential program seeks prospective applicants who want to develop their artwork in relation to social and environmental justice questions, contexts and communities. Headed by internationally-recognized artists and including affiliate faculty from across campus, the program integrates the resources of a great public university with the Art Department’s mission of educating and training students in cross-disciplinary, multimedia art practices. Learn more here.

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, California 95064 United States
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