Curator: Sarah Zapata
Artists: María Fernanda (Chamorro), Leslie Martinez, Athena Torri, Ignacio Torres
“The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now’s totalising rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.” Jose Esteban Munoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity.
For the opening event of the Spring 2019 season, Sarah Zapata brings together four artists who explore identity and geopolitical space, to present an imagined future through the understanding of one’s own position. It is through the examination of past and place that helps transport the ideals of the future to decay current tribulations. We strive for a better society, deeper intimacy, greater understanding, and ultimately a new world.
About the Curator
Sarah Zapata makes work with labor-intensive processes such as handweaving, rope coiling, latch hooking, and sewing by intersecting theories of gender and ethnicity with pre-colonial histories and techniques. Making work with meditative, mechanical means, her current work deals with the multiple facets of her complex identity: a Texan living in Brooklyn, a lesbian raised as an evangelical Christian, a first generation American of Latin American descent, a contemporary artist inspired by ancient civilizations, an artist challenging the history of craft as “women’s work” within the realm of art. Zapata’s work has been exhibited at the New Museum (NY), El Museo del Barrio (NY), Museum of Art and Design (NY), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (NY), Boston University (MA), LAXART (CA), Deli Gallery (NY), Arsenal Contemporary (NY), and Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center (NY). Zapata has also completed recent residencies at MASS MoCA (MA), A-Z West (CA), and Wave Hill (NY), and is the recent recipient of an NFA Project Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. Zapata was an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2016.
About the Artists
Ignacio Torres was born in the US/Mexico border in El Paso, Texas and received a B.F.A. magna cum laude from the University of North Texas. Currently, Torres lives and works in New York City and is known for his cyanotype portraiture of Latinxs, which have a distinctly cyan blue color. Torres attributes his practice to his border upbringing and the Chicano culture he grew up in. His work involves the use of alternative photographic processes that require extensive manual work. The principal concern of his work investigates identity, othering, migration and the physical or invisible borders that we vacillate between. Torres’s use of botany serves as a symbol to the threat of plant life created by man made borders and references the historical use the cyanotype process. His work was recently exhibited as part of a group show held by JW Anderson in London.
Athena Torri is an Ecuadorian Italian artist. Born in Milan, Torri grew up in Quito, Ecuador before immigrating to the United States. Torri has a BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design, and a General Studies Certificate from the International Center of Photography. Her solo show, titled “Land of Opportunities”, was exhibited at Deli Gallery in New York. Conveyor Editions in New Jersey published Torri’s first monograph, The Outsider. Torri’s group shows include exhibitions at the International Center of Photography Triennial in New York, Material Art Fair in Mexico City, Re: Art Show 21 in Brooklyn, NY, Serpentine Galleries in London, and Stitching Electron in the Netherlands.
Leslie Martinez is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised between The Rio Grande Valley of the Texas-Mexican border and Dallas, Texas. They received an MFA from Yale University School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut in 2018 and a BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City in 2008. In the decade between, they worked as a full-time graphic designer in New York City’s apparel industry where computer-aided design and garment construction profoundly transformed their image/object construction methodology paving the way for a radically transformed approach to painting. Martinez is currently developing these emerging forms as an Artist-in-Residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson. Recent group shows include Independence at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, Texas, Heads/Tails at Next to Nothing Gallery in New York City, Way Out Now at Diane Rosenstein Gallery in Los Angeles, California, Kaleidoscope at Kravetz | Wehby Gallery in New York City, and Life and Living presented by Deli Gallery at Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center in Kingston, NY.
María Fernanda (Chamorro) is an early-career poet whose poems and translations appear in The Wide Shore, Kweli Journal, Pa’lante a la luz, and elsewhere. A recipient of Callaloo, CantoMundo, and VONA/Voices fellowships, María Fernanda featured her work at The Brooklyn Museum, MoMaPS1, The Ecuadorian American Cultural Center, The New York Aquarium, and more. She is also a founder of Candela Writers Workshop, a literary arts organization offering programming designed to support Black-Latinx poets through the preservation and the advancement of Black-Latinx literary work. Candela launches in Spring 2019. María Fernanda is a Black Ecuadorian American and Washington, D.C. native.
About Sunday Service
Taking place the first Sunday of each month, a guest curator is invited to organize a salon style evening of cross-disciplinary performances and presentations that brings together a multiplicity of views around a singular prompt, such as a question, theme, or formal structure. Sunday Service centers works in progress, interdisciplinary endeavors, and diversity in format showcased in a lo-fi environment to foster the testing of ideas and critical discourse amongst peers.
Sunday Service is programmed by Stephanie Acosta and Alexis Wilkinson, Knockdown Center’s Director of Exhibitions and Live Art.