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August 12, 2012 - January 13, 2013
Bob and Estelle Gleason Gallery

Acknowledging the location of Oceanside Museum of Art on the literal edge of the Pacific Rim, Facing West / Looking East presents artists who reach across the Pacific to East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia for their content and commentary. The 20 featured artists in this exhibition share a common interest in borrowing, recycling and sampling from the cultural cornucopia of today’s flat world where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Facing West / Looking East reflects both California’s immigrant history and her embrace of the cultures of Asia. California’s spiritual practices, cuisine, architecture, landscaping, literature, film and music have all been significantly enriched by the diverse cultures of Asia. Like the state itself, the exhibition Facing West / Looking East does not have a dominant narrative. In the work of each individual artist one can find a reflection of aspects of the diverse experience that is contemporary California.

The roots of the artists in the exhibition stretch from the American Midwest to South India, from Florida to Cambodia. The point of departure for Elizabeth Bryant’s photographs was an ikebana class that she attended. Jacci Den Hartog’s sculptures find their origins in her study of Chinese gardens. Richard Turner’s sculptures are part of his ongoing exploration of Chinese scholar’s rocks. Brian Doan’s photographs and Aragna Ker’s drawings are windows on the politics of Southeast Asia and its legacy here in California. References to the Hindu concept of Maya, underpin the work of Sandeep Mukherjee. Nancy Evans’ eccentric sculptures derive from her study of yoga. Bari Kumar’s work juxtaposes western renaissance imagery with the Hindu yantra or meditative diagram. In his multi-media pieces, Kim MacConnel comments on his experiences as an artist/tourist in China. Tam Van Tran’s constructions can be viewed as abstractions of his early immigrant impressions of the California urban landscape. Buddhist iconography and beliefs inform Kara Tanaka’s sculptures. Lizabeth Rossof’s work playfully interrogates the effects of globalization on traditional Chinese art. Artist, academic, writer and curator Viet Le curates a selection of video shorts for Facing West / Looking East that ruminate on love and loss in the shadows of empire in modern-day Asia, post-World War II America, and colonial French Indochina. Videos by Studio Revolt (Anida Yoeu Ali and Masahiro Sugano) Tiffany Chung, Genevieve Erin O’Brien, Jai Arun Ravine, Tina Takemoto and Hong-An Truong will be on view.

Guest curator Richard Turner is Professor Emeritus at Chapman University where he teaches two courses in contemporary Asian art. He has lived and studied in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Taipei, Taiwan and Jaipur, India. As Director of the university’s Guggenheim Gallery, Professor Turner curated exhibitions that examined the art and issues of California’s Asian American communities and showcased work by contemporary Asian artists as well as work by artists who shared his interest in Asia.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support from Dick and Margie Newell, Michael McCarthy, OPT and Craig Weatherwax.


Above left image: Bari Kumar, Left, Right and Center.
Above right image: Tina Takemoto, Looking for Jiro, Video. Production still photographed by Maxwell Leung.