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New work by Los Angeles based artists Tanya Aguiņiga and Nancy Baker Cahill on view at MERRYSPACE
Nancy Baker Cahill, Decomposition No. 8, 2015. Graphite and paper on mat board, 39” x 36” x 9".

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Merry Norris, principal and founder of Merry Norris Contemporary Art, presents an original exhibition, entitled SHEvening, featuring new work by Los Angeles based artists Tanya Aguiņiga and Nancy Baker Cahill. SHEvening presents drawings, sculpture, and installation work at MERRYSPACE in Culver City from Saturday, May 9 through Saturday, May 25.

As a leading Los Angeles art figure and longtime champion for contemporary art, architecture, and design, Norris is curating an exhibition in her first temporary project gallery to showcase the unmistakable talent of two emerging contemporary artists, Tanya Aguiņiga and Nancy Baker Cahill. For decades, Norris has been a tireless advocate for contemporary artists, and she is dedicated to identifying and supporting emerging artists of exceptional promise and formidable talent.

Norris embarked on this exhibition project to further her efforts to advance the careers of exciting new artists. While already familiar with the respective aesthetics of both Aguiņiga and Baker Cahill, Norris discovered a brilliant dialog between the artists' works at an art contest sponsored by Herradura Tequila in the fall of 2014. Without a gallery of her own, Norris decided to take action by creating her own forum, MERRYSPACE, to exhibit them together.

SHEvening is an exhibition concept developed by Tanya Aguiņiga and Nancy Baker Cahill to examine the art and issues of SHE. In this evening stretched into a month, Aguiņiga’s and Baker Cahill’s works explore body-related themes related to fulfillment and emptiness, form, and void. Holes appear in both artists’ works, configured as gaps, empty vessels, orifices, and ambiguous portals. The artists were inspired by these themes in candid discussions about art-making and motherhood, giving birth, and having, or lacking, a uterus. Their work alludes to questions of freedom—is the hole a gateway, or a dead end?, transformation—are we more whole, having been emptied, or less?, and unstable forms; “dependable” vessels which teeter, feather-like wall sculptures that threaten flight. Each piece in the exhibition embodies the delicate tension between strength and vulnerability, energy, and stasis.

Both artists work with remnants to create and collaborate. Aguiņiga weaves wall hangings from deconstructed industrial materials, while Baker Cahill uses her own torn drawings to create her wall sculptures. The artists join forces on the wall hanging Aguiņiga weaves from unraveled rope and pieces of Baker Cahill’s drawings. In this sense they seek to subvert the idea of “women’s work.” Complicating it by including loss—things torn, sliced, pieced together, holes left yawning open, yet rendering objects and artworks that are fully, wholly realized.

Tanya Aguiņiga (b.1978) is a Los Angeles based artist, designer, and craftswoman raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Her work focuses on community-oriented activism through furniture, textiles, site-specific installations, craft interventions and academic teaching. Aguiņiga earned a B.A. in Furniture Design from San Diego State University and a M.F.A. in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is a United States Artists Fellow and was named a USA Target Fellow in the field of Crafts and Traditional Arts. In 2011 Aguiņiga was featured on the cover of American Craft Magazine and in 2012 was highlighted in the PBS Series, Craft in America. She has had solo exhibitions at the Craft and Folk Art Museum and Laguna Art Museum, and has been included in many group exhibitions spanning from Mexico to Milan. Her work is included in the permanent collections of LACMA and The Milwaukee Art Museum.

Nancy Baker Cahill is a visual artist living in Los Angeles. She received her B.F.A. cum laude with Honors in Art from Williams College. Her drawings, installations, videos and collaborative projects represent the body as a complicated abstraction, corporeally real, yet forever unknowable. In 2010 she initiated and led a collaborative art project at Homeboy Industries called “Exit Wounds.” Works from this project were exhibited throughout Los Angeles as part of the Craft and Folk Art Museum’s “Folk Art Everywhere” program through 2013. She exhibited her multi-media installation at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in 2012 and is the recipient of an ARC Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

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