LaiSun Keane opens an exhibition of works by Mexican American artist Christina Erives

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LaiSun Keane opens an exhibition of works by Mexican American artist Christina Erives
Christina Erives, Peppers and Tomatoes, 2020.

BOSTON, MASS.- LaiSun Keane announced the first solo exhibition by Christina Erives with the gallery titled con o sin cebollas / with or without onions from September 10 to October 3, 2020. This exhibition will be held at the gallery's new space located at SoWa Art District 460C Harrison Ave Boston MA 02118.

Erives is a LA based Mexican American artist working primarily in ceramic, which explores the narratives around food and the concept of contemporary womanhood. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a BFA and MA and an MFA from Penn State University. She was a Visiting Artist Instructor at the University of Montana from 2019 to May 2020. She has exhibited in the USA and Mexico, and was Emerging Artist and awarded Victor Spinski Award at the National Council On Education for The Ceramics Arts in 2017.

This exhibition is supported by an essay written by artist, writer, activist and regular contributor to ceramic magazine Studio Potter, Amanda Barr. Barr provided a reading of her works through her interviews with the artist and her own scholarship in Spanish and Ceramics. Here is an excerpt from her essay: “through her facsimiles of food and tableware, Erives – an internationally recognized artist – reflects upon a woman’s place in the world while both embraces and rejects it. Her food does not nourish or feed; it is ceramic, and thus permanent. These works are a reminder of the values that she leaves behind; portraits of heritage forever inscribed in clay but not all will continue to be practiced.” The titles and essay are in both English and Spanish to reflect and honor the artist’s bilingual background.

CHRISTINA ERIVES: con o sin cebollas / with or without onions

Artists spend an inordinate amount of time packing and unpacking– our work, our studios, our suitcases and our homes. In that, we learn to pack judiciously, carrying with us only that which will be useful or necessary. Christina Margarita Erives has found a way to unpack her own heritage through brightly colored sculptural works that evoke her family’s Mexican traditions. With con o sin cebollas/with or without onions, her first solo show with LaiSun Keane Gallery and the title of the focal installation, Erives presents an example of what has become her signature work, an illustration in clay and glaze of a robust family dinner, a meal lovingly prepared to be shared and enjoyed. When enjoying a meal, we choose which dishes to partake of and which to simply pass onward. As we age and move forward in life, we choose which traditions and parts of our family’s legacy to hold on to, and which to let slip into the past. Erives’ work, while steeped in her family’s traditions, invites us all to ask what we continue to pack with us, and what we’ve left behind. Sometimes, much like cutting that eponymous onion, this decision can even wring out a few tears, but a choice must be made. Will you have that with, or without, onions?

Among the ideas Erives strives to unpack are the gender roles surrounding food and home. Lo que el agua me dio/ What the Water Gave Me echoes the dreams of a woman as she washes dishes at a faucet. As a Mexican American woman growing up in a traditional family of twelve children, Erives often found herself in the kitchen with the other women. Through her facsimiles of food and tableware, Erives– an internationally recognized artist– reflects upon a woman’s place in the world while both embraces and rejects it. Her food does not nourish or feed; it is ceramic, and thus permanent. These works are a reminder of the values that she leaves behind; portraits of heritage forever inscribed in clay but not all will continue to be practiced. The past will be preserved beautifully through her still life installations but can still be left behind when moving forward. In Erives’ world, a woman’s place is where she chooses.

The final part of this exhibit, Panza llena corazon contento/ Full Belly Happy Heart again addresses gender constructs within Latinx culture. This particular work is more provocative, featuring various fruits, vegetables, breads and other food items suggestive of sexual organs. Arranged as they are on cutting boards, all are soon to be subjected to the sharp blade of a knife. Quite the uncomfortable concept, but this is, of course, metaphorical. Erives is commenting on her desire to eliminate boundaries between traditional gender roles, to cut ties with binarily defined duties and move to a more equitable generation. She presents here an evolution in communication, equality that holds onto the values of nourishment and the traditions of cuisines. Notice the final cutting board, and its bounty. This particular onion, when cut, will cause no tears.

Christina Margarita Erives was born in Los Angeles, California. She received her MFA from Pennsylvania State University and a BA and MA in studio art from California State University in Northridge. Most recently she was a Visiting Instructor at the University of Montana; previous to that she completed residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena Montana, Red Star Studios in Kansas City Missouri, Rasquache in Cholula Mexico, and Arquetopia in Puebla, Mexico. She has exhibited her art at Fondation Bernardaud in Limoges France, The Holter Museum in Helena Montana, The American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona California, Penland Gallery in North Carolina, and Baltimore Clayworks in Maryland. She was named a 2017 Emerging Artist by the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts.

A Zoom Opening Reception will be held on Saturday August 12 at 5 - 6pm (EST) with Christina Erives joining us from LA. Erives will give a slide presentation during this reception. Also joining the opening is Amanda Barr from Montana, who will participate by saying a few words.

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