5 Artworks to See in San Diego in May


‘Earth Book/The Sphere of Things to Come’ by Fernando Casasempere

The San Diego Museum of Art has just opened an exhibition of works by contemporary Chilean artist Fernando Casasempere, with multiple gallery rooms devoted to four distinct series of his work: “Reminisces,” sculptures made from small clay blocks; “Diaspora,” a series of salt-crusted murals plus a sculptural echo zoomed in on the floor; “Reframing Our Relationship to the Earth” (which is literally a giant pile of dirt in the Museum of Fine Arts), adorned with oddly bony ceramic pieces designed as metaphorical seed planters; and “Earth Books”, a set of large clay tablets bound together like books, placed open in different “pages” and located around the massive sphere made of what look like tiny bones. These little pieces were actually formed by pressing clay into the nooks and crannies of the body.

This is Casasempere’s first solo exhibition in the United States, and he works with his own clay mixtures that use “reloves”, or scraps from industrial copper mines. Soil has an immeasurable history, and it will also, in some form, be part of the future, and Casasempere’s works touch on the fragility of climate and landscapes, especially as humans continue to misuse natural resources. of the planet.

Julia Dixon Evans

Detail from “Earth Books”, by Fernando Casasempere, featured in a May 1, 2022 photo at the San Diego Museum of Art.

In “Earth Books”, Casasempere suggests that clay is the archive of human (and geological) history. There’s a disturbing tendency to bend over closely, trying to find something to read. Each of the books is set around the sphere (i.e. planet) – which is rendered almost unrecognizable by the bone-like fragments (i.e. human impact).

Click here for exhibition information. On view through September 5, 2022 at the San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park. $0 to $20.

“Dirty Water Cannot Be Washed” by Andrea Chung

In 2017, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego held its first solo exhibition by a black woman – almost exactly five years ago. “You Broke the Ocean in Two to Be Here” by Andrea Chung comprised a series of works centering on colonialism and the lionfish: an invasive species that decimates the prey upon which native populations depend, particularly in the Coral reefs.


Courtesy of MCASD

In this undated photo, Andrea Chung’s ‘dirty water can’t be washed away’ is shown. 2016-2017. 32 cyanotypes with watercolor and gouache on Arches paper with tape, 88 x 240 in.

One of the works in this 2017 exhibit is “Dirty Water Cannot Be Washed Away,” a stunning, oversized piece, spanning 20 feet in width. It is a patchwork of 32 large individual sheets of paper, decorated with cyanotype, watercolor and gouache. The work is hung without a frame, which makes it even more striking. A deep, warm cyan wall dotted with lionfish footprints momentarily gives us the impression of being underwater, but the texture is earthy and grounded. The lionfish may be a predatory invader, but when rendered in cyanotype, it appears ghostly and fragile.

Part of the permanent collection on display at the newly reopened MCASD La Jolla, this work is an unforgettable piece in a building full of greats.

Click here for visiting information. On view at MCASD La Jolla, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. $0 to $25. Free admission this month on Sunday 8 and Thursday 19 May 2022.

“The Limits of Your Safe Space” by Shinpei Takeda

Shinpei Takeda, a Japanese-born artist based in Tijuana and Germany, has a new solo exhibition opening this month at the Oceanside Museum of Art. Although it is a multi-part, mixed-reality installation, it is a very singular work: an expression of Takeda’s study of security.


Courtesy of OMA

In this undated photo, a detail of Shinpei Takeda’s renderings for “Limit of Your Safe Space” is shown. It can be seen at the Oceanside Museum of Art until September 10, 2022.

Takeda has worked with refugees, veterans and immigrants around the world, bringing together their stories and trying to understand the different places in which they have found refuge or danger – whether physical spaces or digital domains, psychological or social.

These stories evolved into visualizations, then augmented reality, which Takeda included in the work with a constructed, built environment that is also based on these explorations in the workshops.


Courtesy of OMA

Detail of the ongoing installation of Shinpei Takeda’s ‘Limit of Your Safe Space’ exhibition is shown in an undated photo. The artwork will be on display at the Oceanside Museum of Art this weekend until September 10, 2022.

There’s barbed wire twisted into something beautiful or a hole punched in a wall – I especially love how Takeda uses lines, curves and vanishing points in their large-scale pieces.

Click here for exhibition information. On view May 7 through September 10, 2022 at the Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside. $0 to $10.

‘Mamma Mobius’ by Mark di Suvero

The great American sculptor Mark di Suvero (b. 1933) has a large 2018 work in bright red painted steel parked in the front yard of La Jolla’s long Tasende Gallery, visible from the sidewalk. Di Suvero’s works have been installed around the world for decades, and Tasende presents an important collection of his work in an exhibition until the end of June. The exhibition includes several large sculptures, as well as smaller indoor sculptures and works on paper.


Aitor Tasende

Mark di Suvero’s 2018 sculpture ‘Mamma Mobius’ is shown in an undated photo at the Tasende Gallery in La Jolla, California.

Many of di Suvero’s sculptures look industrial, with huge steel beams bolted and welded together, something like the remnants of a construction area, but the angles and lines – not to mention the shiny paintwork with bright colors – are far too dramatic for construction scraps but never too precious. Di Suvero is known for wanting his works to be climbed and touched, and when this work was recently installed at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, dance company Movement Arts Collective choreographed an inspired and performed work on the sculpture. Many of di Suvero’s works evoke movement, some quite literally, while others simply make you feel like something is moving, like in “Mamma Mobius,” with its sweeping loops in suggestion of its namesake tape.

Click here for visiting information. On view through June 25, 2022 at Tasende Gallery (visible outside), 820 Prospect St., La Jolla. Free.

“Rainbow Connection” by Cheryl Sorg

Mesa College Art Gallery has been working on installing campus-wide public works, and one that caught my eye recently is Cheryl Sorg’s elevator decor. Sorg was asked to cover the entire interior of an Art Department elevator with her iconic portals (have you seen any around San Diego?) and rainbows made of brightly colored duct tape.


Courtesy of Mesa College Art Gallery

Cheryl Sorg’s colorful strip elevator installation ‘Rainbow Connection’ is shown in an undated photo at the Mesa College Art Gallery.

Sorg’s work suggests an obsessive, meticulous attention to detail and an almost hunger for color, whether in these portals or in his shimmering cinematic sculptures. Don’t let the playful color and “Instagrammability” distract you from inviting Sorg here. Each gang portal is a possibility, a chance to escape and be transported – not just to the next floor. Enjoy the ride.

Sorg’s elevator will be on view for about two years, and the gallery has another elevator they hope to announce plans for soon.

Click here for more information on installation. The elevator is accessible on weekdays (Monday to Thursday 9am to 8pm and Friday 9am to 5pm), and you can find it right through the metal doors near the art gallery and parking lot 1, and it takes you to the main part of the campus. Mesa College Art Gallery, 7250 Mesa College Dr., Linda Vista. Free.


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