OCMA to present six new exhibits highlighting issues with the natural world

The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) will present six new exhibitions of works by artists from the Pacific Rim, all of which consider the complexities of our relationship to the natural world. On view from September 21, 2019 through March 15, 2020, the exhibitions showcase a diverse group of artists – Carolina Caycedo (United States/Colombia), Daniel Duford (United States), Ximena Garrido-Lecca (Peru), Mulyana (Indonesia), Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore) and Yang Yongliang (China) – whose work highlights a range of issues that relate to how humans are a part of, and interact with, nature.

Caycedo, Duford and Garrido-Lecca look to indigenous perspectives that take a long view of history and value preservation over short-sighted capitalist gain. Yongliang emphasizes the effects of industrialization on the Chinese landscape, Mulyana focuses on coral reefs as a barometer for climate change and the fragility of ocean ecosystems, and Zhao Renhui examines the vulnerability of the natural world and the value of insects to the health of our planet.

“For many, climate change is the single most pressing concern of our age,” said Todd D. Smith, OCMA’s director and CEO. “As we continue to explore through our exhibitions what it means to be citizens of the Pacific region, we cannot ignore the environmental changes that are affecting our communities. To help us understand these changes, we have invited a cross-section of artists who chronicle and examine both the conditions that are altering our natural world and the impact these shifts are having on our relationships.”

A closer look at the exhibitions:

OCMA announces third season Caycedo

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Photos courtesy of OCMA

Carolina Caycedo’s “Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits”

Carolina Caycedo: Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits, curated by Cassandra Coblentz, OCMA senior curator and director of public engagement. Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits expands Caycedo’s Water Portraits series (ongoing since 2015) in which photographs of rivers and waterfalls are mirrored, altered and remixed as printed fabric works, still images and videos. The resulting imagery conjures bodies of water as living entities and as active political agents in environmental conflicts, rather than as resources for humans to exploit.

OCMA announces third season Duford

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Daniel Duford’s “Underworld Stories Told in Tree Time”

Daniel Duford: Underworld Stories Told in Tree Time, curated by Cassandra Coblentz. For the exhibition Underworld Stories Told in Tree Time, Duford looks to Gary Snyder’s poem “The Way West, Underground” to explore new narratives about our relationship to the natural world. Snyder’s poem tracks a mythological Black Bear across time and space from Oregon to Asia then northern Europe and finally down to Neolithic caves. The bear travels counter-clockwise, a symbolic move that rejects a Eurocentric lens and trajectory of conquering territory in order to control resources. Duford portrays the Earth as a living entity with the power to regenerate and survive over time.

OCMA announces third season Garrido Lecca

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Ximena Garrido-Lecca’s “Spectrums of Reference”

Ximena Garrido-Lecca: Spectrums of Reference, curated by Cassandra Coblentz. Garrido-Lecca explores the impact of natural resource exploitation on different social groups and cultures, with a particular interest in how industrialization and urbanization have historically affected the relationship between nature and culture. Increasingly, nature is considered to be in the service of science and technology, reduced to a mere object, as opposed to an ancient conception of nature as a living force. In her work, she blurs the boundaries between nature and culture by creating synthetic objects made from natural resources.

OCMA announces third season Mulyana

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Mulyana’s “A Man, A Monster and The Sea”

Mulyana: A Man, A Monster and The Sea, curated by guest curator John Silvis. This is Mulyana’s debut exhibition in the U.S., comprising three immersive environments that depict oceanic life. His large, visually kinetic installations are comprised of intricately constructed modules of organic shapes that coalesce into vividly colored clusters of abstract forms. The soft forms appear bound together by an invisible force as they occupy the floor, wall and ceiling. He re-purposes yarn and employs diverse communities of knitters in Indonesia, considering the act of knitting and crocheting as a form of meditation and prayer.

OCMA announces third season Zhao Renhui

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Robert Zhao Renhui’s “Effect”

Robert Zhao Renhui: Effect, curated by guest curator John Silvis. Zhao Renhui’s debut museum exhibition in the U.S. features two bodies of work that highlight the ubiquitous presence of flies and butterflies in our environment. Inspired by scientific methods of categorizing fly types, he appropriates scientific tools to explore the boundaries, systems and methods humans use to control fly populations, stemming from a dismissive attitude that belies their necessity. While the fly is seen as a nuisance, the Monarch butterfly, on the other hand, is seen as a beautiful creature; it is a symbol of transformation. In Effect, suspended fly traps and lures reflect Zhao Renhui’s fascination with the countless devices and methodologies invented by humans to exterminate insects.

OCMA announces third season Yongliang

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Yang Yongliang’s “Eternal Landscape”

Yang Yongliang: Eternal Landscape, curated by guest curator Melanie Ouyang Lum. Yongliang’s practice is rooted in his deep respect and reverence for Chinese art history, specifically classical Chinese landscape paintings (shanshui). The landscapes in this school of thought are landscapes of the mind – contemplative compositions in which the Chinese literati (scholar/artist/court official) would imbue their ideologies into images of mountains, rivers and trees. He grew up in Shanghai in an era of rapid urbanization and, while a student of tradition, he also embraced new media to make sense of the changing world around him.

OCMAEXPAND-SANTA ANA, located in South Coast Plaza Village at 1661 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, is the museum’s temporary venue while it builds its Thom Mayne-designed new home at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Admission to and parking are free. Hours of operationa are Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 

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