“Praxis Studio” is an exhibition of new works by contemporary Los Angeles artists that speaks to ways in which the arts can deeply connect to community engagement and the context in which it is created. The exhibit will open with a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 in the University Art Gallery at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays through March 14.
“Praxis Studio” features drawings, sound sculpture, design, and painting by EJ Hill, Ana Llorente, Juan Capistran and Hazel Mandujano, and Mario Ybarra Jr. It is guest curated by Leonardo Bravo, founder and organizer of the arts nonprofit Big City Forum.
For more information, contact the University Art Gallery at (310) 243-3334.
“It is important for youth in the area to see art by a successful young artist from their own community like EJ Hill,” said Tsuno. “It is even more transformative when artists who exhibit at our university want to meet students and collaborate with them.”
“Praxis Studio” will feature new pieces from Ybarra Jr.’s ongoing series of drawings called “Radical Women.” The portraits highlight prominent women in the arts, as wells as writers, curators, and executive directors of important art institutions he has worked with. Ybarra Jr. started to document the project on social media parallel to the #metoo movement to publicly thank the women who have been critical to his own success, and to draw attention to women who are renowned for highlighting artists of color from Los Angeles.
“Praxis Studio” is the culmination of four separate artistic projects that took place at CSUDH during 2016-17 as part of an art in engagement pilot program with the same name. The one-year extracurricular, cross-disciplinary arts and design program was developed by Los Angeles artist and CSUDH assistant professor Devon Tsuno in partnership with Big City Forum. The program was funded through a $40,000 grant from the California Arts Council as part of its 2016 Creative California Communities program, and through generous support from the Pasadena Art Alliance.
The primary goals of the Praxis program are to activate public space, enhance local culture, and create expanded dialogue about art and design in South Los Angeles communities. Key to this outreach was a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the participation of cohorts of high school students who directly worked with the exhibiting artists to gain new perspectives and a critical understanding of key issues affecting their lives.
“My experience with Praxis has been incredible,” said EJ Hill, a Praxis artist in residence at CSUDH, and the 2017 Venice Biennale Future Generation Art Prize recipient. “I am completely blown away by what the students have brought, their openness and their eagerness… If you have the ability to imagine different possibilities for your future, you are an artist.”
In conjunction with the “Praxis Studio” exhibit, the University Art Gallery will coordinate 18 K-12 Arts in the Schools workshops in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Carson. It is funded by the Carson Cultural Arts Commission with approval of the Carson City Council.