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Care Package

Krista Buecking, Akina Cox,
Claire Nereim, Esther Pearl Watson

November 21, 2020February 6, 2021

This image illustrates a link to the exhibition titled Care Package

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About

“Any effort at naming is an ungainly process, and begins with metaphor — what does this moment recall? The isolation of quarantine is compared to everything from living in wartime or as a refugee to being friendless at work. The hazy quality of time evokes the postpartum months or aimless afternoons of childhood. It replicates the solitude of wilderness, the cloister, coping with chronic illness.” 

– Parul Sehgal

We graduated a handful of years before the election that upended all sense of normalcy and predictability, leaving each of us with varying degrees of debt and uncertainty to contend with. We have learned to subsidize our studio practice with other jobs, or to set our artwork aside altogether. The other forms of work we engage in interfere with and inform the work that takes place in the studio, and complicate the boundaries between life and art, home and workspace, caregiving and introspection. We make work that can be tended to, abandoned, and then revisited again, sometimes years apart. This work comes in the form of writing, layers of richly glazed paint, meticulously rendered lines and gradients, paper stained with all manner of household ingredients, and clay burnished smooth by fingertips. Much of the work is an exercise in a kind of complete, immersive focus, a brief and hard-won release from the many external forces demanding our attention.

During the pandemic we find ourselves stretched even thinner, juggling care work, house work, and paid work, while our own needs are buried under a mountain of accumulating tasks.  We plod on, inventing ways to weave our creative work into the daily onslaught of the mundane. The word “meek” comes to mind – it comes from an old Norse term for soft and mild, and conjures images of ripe fruit, the velvety muzzle of an animal, a woman’s carefully manicured hands. It also evokes the simmering wrath of the handmaids in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, and Elena Ferrante’s description of the mothers in the poor Neapolitan neighborhood that is the backdrop for My Brilliant Friend: “While men were always getting furious, they calmed down in the end; women, who appeared to be silent, acquiescent, when they were angry flew into a rage that had no end.”

Claire Nereim
“Egg Dish,” 2020
Ceramic
6 x 14 x 11" [HxWxD] (15.24 x 35.56 x 27.94 cm)
Inventory #WS1033
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
Vielmetter-2020-11-19_053.jpg

Time itself, and language, has begun to play tricks on us. The California wildfires create plumes of smoke that block out the sun and make the air dangerous to breathe for weeks at a time, suspending the days in an eerie twilight. Unfathomably large numbers become stand-ins for lives lost. The sustained hum of anxiety, coupled with the myriad strange symptoms of this new disease, make it difficult to know whether our bodies are deteriorating or whether their response is a healthy one. The complete dissolution of shared public space gives way to a hostile void, an in-between place where many no longer feel bound by a social contract, and where language and our senses have become unreliable sources of knowledge and meaning. Nevertheless, we make an effort to meet every two weeks to discuss the fruits of our labor, conversing across screens over the cries of children and barking of dogs.

Akina Cox
“Condition Study (I),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, and casein on tea dyed paper
8 x 10" [HxW] (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
Inventory #WS1039
Vielmetter-2020-11-19_043.jpg
Akina Cox
“Niki (Brown, Pink, Yellow),” 2020
Glass, clay, grout, cement
4.5 x 5 x 5.25" [HxWxD] (11.43 x 12.7 x 13.34 cm)
Inventory #WS1048
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
Vielmetter-2020-11-19_051.jpg

Krista Buecking’s work lays bare the way that capitalism applies an unsustainable pressure on the body and on our capacity for collective action, with its reverence for personal responsibility and its relentless push for self-improvement and productivity. Culling imagery from figures and gestures used in marketing campaigns and the home shopping network, tropes of the wellness industry, and ergonomic props used to support injured bodies, her abstract compositions are both radiantly seductive and deeply unsettling.

Krista Buecking
“MATTERS OF FACT (Getting to Yes),” 2016
Colored pencil on paper, acrylic on Plexiglas
51.25 x 34.25 x 2" [HxWxD] (130.17 x 86.99 x 5.08 cm) framed
Inventory #WS1034
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1034_lores.jpg
Krista Buecking
“MATTERS OF FACT (The 4-Hour Workweek),” 2016
Colored pencil on paper, acrylic on Plexiglas
41 x 27" [HxW] (104.14 x 68.58 cm); 42 x 28 x 2" [HxWxD] (106.68 x 71.12 x 5.08 cm) framed
Inventory #WS1035
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1035_hires.jpg

The materials Akina Cox uses in her drawings and sculptures range from readily available materials used in the kitchen and the classroom, to the spiritually charged substances referenced in ancient texts. The work is firmly rooted in the textures of the physical world, but it also demonstrates the alchemical magic that occurs when pigment is applied to a surface. Her interpretations of biblical and folk tales complicate the distinctions between the heroic and monstrous, strong and weak, central and marginal characters. In an attempt to open up narratives that are traditionally used to rein us in, she plucks characters, ideas, and forms from their original context and rearranges them into new storylines.

Akina Cox
“Condition (XXV),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, linseed oil on tea dyed canvas
12.25 x 13.75 x 1.5" [HxWxD] (31.12 x 34.93 x 3.81 cm)
Inventory #WS1042
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
Vielmetter-2020-11-19_041.jpg
Akina Cox
“Condition (XXV),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, linseed oil on tea dyed canvas
7.5 x 8.5 x 1.75" [HxWxD] (19.05 x 21.59 x 4.45 cm)
Inventory #WS1041
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1041_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Condition (XXV),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, linseed oil on tea dyed canvas
12.25 x 14.5 x 1.5" [HxWxD] (31.12 x 36.83 x 3.81 cm)
Inventory #WS1040
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1040_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Condition Study (XI),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, and casein on tea dyed paper
9 x 12" [HxW] (22.86 x 30.48 cm)
Inventory #WS1038
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1038_hires.jpg

In Claire Nereim’s The Fork in the Salad, a body of work that includes writing, ceramics, photography, and drawing, she reframes the story of the serpent in the garden of Eden. The serpent’s split tongue becomes the fork, the one-that-is-two that constitutes every letterform and every word, while the garden becomes the salad, and neither can exist without each other. The drawings use fractal geometry and are inspired by letterforms, plant geometries, the history of garden design, and schematic conceptions of the human body. Interwoven in the narrative are her meditations on the female body’s ability to form and then cleave from itself a separate being, and her observations of her young child’s development of language.

Claire Nereim
“Garden quilt (tulip variation),” 2019
Ink on paper, Cherry frame
30 x 22" [HxW] (76.2 x 55.88 cm) unframed; 33 x 25 x 1.5" [HxWxD] (83.82 x 63.5 x 3.81 cm) framed
Inventory #WS1032
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
Vielmetter-2020-11-19_040.jpg
Claire Nereim
“Garden quilt (geranium variation),” 2019
Ink on paper, Cherry frame
30 x 22" [HxW] (76.2 x 55.88 cm) unframed; 33 x 25 x 1.5" [HxWxD] (83.82 x 63.5 x 3.81 cm) framed
Inventory #WS1031
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1031_hires.jpg

As the oldest of five children, Esther Pearl Watson was anointed with the role of caregiver early on – her granddad instructed her to live up to her biblical namesake by saving her people. This body of work revolves around her struggle to find her footing as social distancing measures have limited and redefined the ways in which care can be administered. Each Sunday, she drops off care packages at her mother’s senior living facility and at the group home where her non-verbal autistic sister lives. In the absence of human interaction, the specificity of her gestures of care are translated into the selection of objects, snacks, and packaging that enclose the small bundles, which culminate in a kind of portrait of her relationship with each woman.

Organized by Ariane Vielmetter

Esther Pearl Watson
“LOVE WILL FIND YOU (Space Gravity),” 2020
Limited edition zine with original drawings
Inventory #WS1052
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
Vielmetter-2020-11-19_056.jpg
Esther Pearl Watson
“Mother Rock,” 2020
Risograph zine
Inventory #WS1049
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1049_hires-(1).jpg
Esther Pearl Watson
“Feel and heal,” 2020
Risograph zine
Inventory #WS1050
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1050_hires-(1).jpg
Esther Pearl Watson
“Global Pandemic Recipes Zine Vol. 3,” 2020
Risograph zine
Inventory #WS1051
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1051_hires-(1).jpg
Akina Cox
“Condition (XXV),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, linseed oil on tea dyed canvas
12.25 x 14.25 x 1.5" [HxWxD] (31.12 x 36.2 x 3.81 cm)
Inventory #WS1037
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1037_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Condition Study (VI),” 2020
Lime, bone, marble, ochre, and casein on tea dyed paper
9 x 12" [HxW] (22.86 x 30.48 cm)
Inventory #WS1036
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1036_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Niki (Brown, Black, White),” 2020
Ochre, clay, grout, patchcrete
15 x 19 x 18.5" [HxWxD] (38.1 x 48.26 x 46.99 cm)
Inventory #WS1043
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1043_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Niki (Blue, Pink, White),” 2020
Glass, clay, grout, cement
3.5 x 5 x 5.5" [HxWxD] (8.89 x 12.7 x 13.97 cm)
Inventory #WS1044
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1044_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Niki (Brown, Black),” 2020
Glass, clay, grout, cement
4.5 x 5.25 x 5" [HxWxD] (11.43 x 13.34 x 12.7 cm)
Inventory #WS1045
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1045_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Niki (Blue, Black, White),” 2020
Glass, clay, grout, cement
6.75 x 8.75 x 9" [HxWxD] (17.15 x 22.23 x 22.86 cm)
Inventory #WS1046
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1046_hires.jpg
Akina Cox
“Niki (Blue, White),” 2020
Glass, clay, grout, cement
4.5 x 6 x 7.5" [HxWxD] (11.43 x 15.24 x 19.05 cm)
Inventory #WS1047
Photo credit: Jeff Mclane
ws1047_hires.jpg

Bios

Krista Buecking was born in Brampton, Ontario in 1982 and received her BFA from the University of Guelph Studio Art program. In 2012 she received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; Oakville Galleries, Oakville, CA;  Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mercer Union, Toronto; and Optica, Montreal, among others. 

 

Akina Cox moved to Los Angeles in 2003 after being raised in the Unification Church. She graduated from CalArts with an MFA in 2012. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Commonwealth and Council, Bozo Mag, and LACE. Her artist books have been published by New Byzantium Press and Golden Spike Press, and can be purchased at Ooga Booga in Los Angeles, Art Metropole in Toronto, and Printed Matter in New York City.

 

Claire Nereim lives and works in Los Angeles. Born in Chicago in 1981, she received her BA from Oberlin College and her MFA from CalArts. She studied printmaking and typography before turning towards sculpture. She has exhibited in solo exhibitions at Jancar Jones Gallery and the LAB, both in San Francisco, and at Jancar Jones and Jancar Gallery in Los Angeles. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Loudhailer, and M+B in Los Angeles, Et al. in San Francisco and Soccer Club Club in Chicago.

 

Esther Pearl Watson (b. 1973) lives and works in Los Angeles, and received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Her paintings have been exhibited at Concord Center for the Visual Arts, Concord, MA, Contemporary Art Museum of Plainview, Plainview, TX, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Parkside, WI, Maureen Paley Gallery in London, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, amongst others. She has taught at Oxbow Artist Residency, the Lexicon of Sexicana at Columbia College in Chicago, and is currently teaching at ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California.