Opening Reception: Saturday, February 5th, 2022 from 1-6pm
Exhibition Dates: February 5th - March 12th, 2022
Closing Reception: Saturday, March 12th, 2022 from 1-6pm
In Tension presents sculptural and installation work by four Bay Area based artists using tension as a starting point. The work takes on both apprehensive and mindful approaches to vulnerability and self-protection and explores topics such as stress, pressure, release, relaxation and compassion. Tension, a state of being stretched tight, tends to evoke feelings of discomfort and physical strain. It is generally something to be avoided, but tension can also be a desirable force that holds firmly and reliably. Each of the artists in this group exhibition uses tension as an intentional and necessary force in the creation of their work both physically and conceptually. Some of the work is bursting from the wall, seemingly no longer able to be contained while other forms are tightly bound and entwined to create protective though restrictive boundaries or soft respites of comfort. This collection of work references how we survive against the increasing anxiety that is pervasive in our unstable and ever changing world, while also trying to embrace compassion and reveal the vulnerability required for self preservation.
Laura Van Duren
Becca makes abstract sculptures using craft techniques like weaving and braiding with industrial steel wire. Her work is labor-intensive, fueled by a compulsive need for repetition and reverence. Through endurance based processes she repeats stereotypical feminine gestures that defy the initial industrial function of the wire. Becca’s work involves variations in tension and density to consider vulnerability and explore the differences of being open or closed off, relaxed or uptight without passing judgement on either condition. Structures are often comprised of obsessively repeated gestures that are dysfunctional given the intended purpose of the materials yet ambitious given the context.
Becca Barolli was born and raised in North Granby, Connecticut. She received a BFA in photography from the University of Connecticut in 2010 and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2016. As a graduate student she received a Cadogan scholarship from The San Francisco Foundation and SOMArts Cultural Center in 2015 and a year later was awarded the Ella King Torrey Award at graduation for creative innovation in her studio practice. Becca currently lives and works in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She has completed a residency at The Studios at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA and was the 2019 Senior Fellow at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station, CA. She has exhibited work at the de Young Museum, Andrea Schwartz Gallery and Chandran Gallery in San Francisco, CA, Miranda Kuo Gallery in New York, NY and Last Projects in Los Angeles, CA. Her work is collected internationally.
Through combinations of sculptural installation, live performance, video projection and soundscape Bronwyn presents ambiguous forms and gestures that intentionally defy easy classification. Floating within a spectrum of desire and repulsion, this work creates opportunities to grapple with the anxiety of not being able to fully define a thing, be it conceptual or physical. Research into queer theory and gender studies is evident throughout the work as is Bronwyn’s interest in the human psyche and societal taboos.
Based in San Francisco, Bronwyn Dexter is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and educator. In 2002 she received a B.A. in Ecological Studies from Seattle University. She earned her M.F.A. from San Francisco State University in 2017 where she was awarded the Graduate Student Award for Achievement. Dexter also received a Sher-Right Scholarship in Art, the Leo D. Stillwell Award and the Steve Wilson Award. Dexter currently teaches courses in printmaking, sculpture and textile art at San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco and California College of the Arts. She also composes music and performs with her band, The Ominous Ambiguous.
Laura Van Duren
Laura’s work encompasses both the fragility and resilience of the body utilizing a seductive language that turns the inside out. Using a wide range of materials including reclaimed wood, inner-tubes, stitched vinyl, glycerin and ceramic, she creates abstract forms that balance rigidness with fluidity, revealing a hidden world of structures that hold us together yet allow us to flex. The visceral forms turn perception into a choreography of discovery, enticing a sense of touch, pulling the viewer closer to explore emotional states of being and the way our minds and bodies desire to hold on to certainty in times of constant change.
Laura Van Duren is an Oakland, CA based sculptor whose materials are a mashup of ceramics, glycerin soap and recycled furniture from the streets. Her work has been shown throughout California and the U.S. She is one of the founding members of Mercury 20 Gallery, situated in
the Oakland Art Murmur district. She received her BFA in drawing from Carnegie Mellon University and completed her MFA in sculpture at San Francisco State University in 2017. Teaching is a vital source of joy for Laura. She is an adjunct professor teaching ceramics & sculpture at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA.
Leah is interested in bits and parts of material and items no longer used for their original purpose. Through an act of unmaking, by her own hand or otherwise, the material she uses is no longer a castoff, but speaks of potentiality and a remaking of the self. Leah’s works formally connect through repetition and the element of the line. Layered strips of an architectural home decor magazine paper become three-dimensional collages. A heaping intestinal-like coil is sewn together from a long narrow strip of blue bed sheets and stuffed with polyester fiber. Everyday material such as pillows, bedsheets and clothing reference domesticity and relationships. Using constraints of space, material or a predetermined rule, each work, built of multiple pieces, comes together to create a unified whole.
Leah Virsik is an Oakland-based visual artist whose work is primarily driven by materials and includes collage, sculptural fiber, and book arts. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, East Bay and a Master of Fine Arts in Art from San Francisco State University. Her work has been exhibited at Mercury 20 Gallery in Oakland, SOMArts and the City College of San Francisco Art Gallery in San Francisco and galleryFritz in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among others. She is a recipient of a SF State/Kala Art Institute MFA Fellowship (2014), Leo D. Stillwell Jr. Scholarship (2015), Jack K. and Gertrude Murphy Fellowship (2015) and a Sher-Right Scholarship (2016). Virsik gave her work away for free as an Artist-in-Residence at Free Oakland UP in 2017. Leah teaches art to middle school and high school students and book arts at Feather River Art Camp. She also does freelance book design. www.leahvirsik.com