OCMA Showcases “Pacific” Rim Culture

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From 15 countries that border the Pacific Ocean, over 140 pieces of art by 32 artists are gathered at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) to present the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, a re-launched version of the California Biennial. Including paintings, sculptures and videos, various forms of art are introduced to bring Pacific culture to California.

Courtesy of OCMA
Courtesy of OCMA

Walking into the museum, visitors can start their journey by listening to a series of yelling coming from South Korean artist Kim Beom’s Yellow Scream. In the video, he shows how yelling can affect one’s painting and create different shades of a color.

“The exhibition design for the Triennial sets up what I hope will be very dynamic exchanges between artists whose work appears highly divergent, while pulling the viewer into the process of locating the common ground between them,” Dan Cameron, the Chief Curator of OCMA who organized the exhibition, said. “My goal is for our public to experience the Triennial as a genuine celebration of artistic possibilities, nurtured here or brought to California from all these nations and peoples with whom we share the Pacific Ocean.”

In order to reflect the theme of pacific culture, almost all the artworks in the exhibition emphasize either geography or national characteristics. Tiffany Chung, a Vietnamese artist, depicts a series of map-like works to indicate the transformation in “post-industrial countries.” Akio Takamori, a Japanese artist who combines ceramic techniques with sculpture in his works, brings Pacific style of female figures to the audience.

In the Rita and Gary Wilder Gallery, visitors can see 24 boxes of clothes, known as Being This, displayed on the wall. They were made by Canadian artist Liz Magor to, “address issues of identity, authenticity, waste and survival.” While viewing Magor’s works, visitors hear a piano playing. Koki Tanaka, a Japanese artist who moved from Japan to California a few years ago, gives us a video created with University of California, Irvine where students discuss playing the piano. He points to the question of the relationship between value systems and relative economies of scale in his video.

Within the same gallery, rather than fabric works and music, visitors also experience a 110 1/4 × 283 1/2 inch work made of 1,120 cedar racks and recycled tires. Adán Vallecillo, a sculptor from Honduras, names his work Topografia I. Vallecillo likes to use recycled rubber tire or soil from different lands to present “the politics of poverty, ecology, and sociology of the different regions and social groups of Honduras and the influence of Eurocentric values and morals upon them.” At the end of the gallery, Colombian artist Adriana Salazar’s Moving Plant displays the art of flowers. She metaphorically represents humans to describe the fragility of life.

“I think it is very cool,” said visitor Aaron Ziolkowski about the exhibition, “You get to see different pieces from different artists. I always like group shows. Of course, you don’t have to respond to all of [the artworks], but you can always find something you really like.” He pointed to Acrylic On Canvas, by Chinese artist Wang Guangle. “I like that one. The light, the shape, the perspective. I think that is a very good idea.” A Ph.D. student of Art History at Pennsylvania State University, Ziolkowski has been to OCMA many times for different exhibitions.

The California-Pacific Triennial is on view until Nov. 17, and provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the visual arts this summer in Orange County.

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