Baseera Khan is a performance and visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Deploying linguistic shifts and fashion as political mediums, Khan attempts to untrap revolutionary material through working with textiles, archives, performance, and sculpture. Khan is currently working on their first museum solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (2021). Their latest solo exhibition, Snake Skin, opened at the end of 2019 at Simone Subal Gallery, New York. Khan’s work has shown in various group and solo exhibitions such as at Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Munich, Germany, Jenkins Johnson Projects (2019), Sculpture Center (2018), Aspen Museum (2017), Participant Inc. (2017). Khan’s performance work has premiered at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Art POP Montreal International Music Festival. Khan recently completed a 6-week performance residency at The Kitchen NYC (2020) and was an artist in residence at Pioneer Works (2018-19), Abrons Art Center (2016-17), was an International Travel Fellow to Jerusalem/Ramallah through Apexart (2015) and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2014). Khan is a recipient of the UOVO Artist Prize (2020), BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize, and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2019, which was granted by both NYSCA/NYFA and Art Matters in 2018. Khan received an M.F.A. from Cornell University (2012) and a B.F.A. from the University of North Texas (2005).
We are thrilled to announce that Justin Duyao is Variable West’s inaugural Editorial Apprentice for the spring 2021 semester.
Justin is a writer, editor, and student with a BA in English Literature from Harding University. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and is pursing an MA in Critical Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. His interests include studies of consciousness, sociolinguistics, and gender.
The VW Editorial Apprenticeship is a semester-long paid program that allows emerging writers and editors to learn how an online journal works while expanding their art writing practice. In addition to assisting with daily tasks such as website and social media management, apprentices receive reading and writing assignments, participate in discussions, and will take ownership of Variable West’s Love Letters column.
Apprentices receive a stipend of $2,000. This year’s program is made possible through a collaboration with the MA in Critical Studies program at PNCA.
Adjacencies, dissonances, and dynamics of power circulate within networks, shifting pathways and modes of operation. Philosopher, sociologist, and anthropologist Bruno Latour’s Reassembling the Social (2005) acknowledges that evolving networks constitute and even foster human relations; but rather than assuming homogeneity, he proposes a “tracing of associations,” enabling heterogenous elements of sociality to be “assembled anew.” This speculative tracing of relationalities—the recognition of networks, their multitudinous ways of being, and their world-building capabilities—comprises the premise of this exhibition.
//What is maintained within their strands of relation and intersection? And what is at stake when networks nourish artistic ways of being and longing—(be)longing?//
Networks of (Be)longing queries the relational traces structuring and embedded within artistic networks. The installations, publication, sculptures and videos of Canaries collective, Rami George, Tabitha Nikolai, and Mengda Zhang disclose structures of care, communality, labor-relations, and familial ties bound by tensions and desires. Acknowledging their potential to be “assembled anew,” the exhibition highlights artistic research and experiences that reckon with modes of operation through a (non)structure of four overlapping “channels”: functioning within, bypassing, decoding, and reprogramming.
Networks of (Be)longing unfolds across a series of sites, creating a network all its own and stretching across physical and virtual sites. The exhibition includes a group show at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture (CCAC); and a new commission at CCAC and satellite solo presentation at the Paragon Arts Gallery at Portland Community College, Cascade Campus by Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) Artist-in-Residence, Rami George, entitled, and one day will tell you so many stories (September 18–November 15, 2020). Remote viewing access to the works, accessible written and audio captions, labels, and the essay are available via the PNCA Online Galleries. Networks of (Be)longing is also accompanied by a suite of programs, including a collaboration with the MFA Critical Studies candidates entitled, Project Group Share, and an accompanying curatorial essay.
Networks of (Be)longing is organized by Laurel V. McLaughlin, independent curator, and supported by Mack McFarland, Assistant Professor at PNCA and Director of Converge 45, and Elizabeth Bilyeu, Director of the Paragon Arts Gallery. This exhibition is co-presented with Converge 45.
curated by: Kyle Cohlmia, PNCA curatorial fellow
Cyberspace is often thought of in the abstract. Compared to the limits and boundaries of physical spaces, our virtual realities feel open-ended, a limitless experience of searching, clicking and scrolling. Site indexes, a reprise from the immeasurable and sometimes exhausting act of research, provide users with the opportunity to explore the internet from a list of curated databases. Categorized either alphabetically or topically, these inventories are often deemed comprehensive, listing synonyms of words and concepts as “see also,” under main categories (e.g. “See also: Manet,” under impressionist painting). However, what happens when the “see also’s” limit users to researching only invariable, canonized content? What topics are not mentioned or erased from our computer’s and personal lexicon when interacting with these indexes? And further, what is the role of digital art in correlation to the common site search?
Michael Conner of Rhizome writes, “we use the metaphor of the object boundary to help guide conversations about the role that a given software or network context might play in relation to a given work.” Conner further contends that if digital art is, therefore, without material boundaries, then “objecthood is only the performance of objecthood, and the boundary is not a given, but a variable.” These variable performances, while not new to the study of digital art, when examined in context of the user, become more expansive. As the current global pandemic necessitates the use of the internet for many in-person activities, the user’s role in relation to technology becomes, like digital art, more and more performative and excessively variable.
(see also:) variable performances of a well-designed site index examines the variable performances within cyberspace. Artworks such as “Femi(net)” by Melaney Mitchell use digital tools to expand on representations of gender within the virtual realm, and “Stuck inside” by Charlie Miller adopts 3D animation to simulate the effects of COVID-19 on our relationship to nature. While site searches have the ability to provide a one-stop-shop for research, (see also:) seeks to call-out the homogeneity within these databases, further examining the variable performances within new media art as well the user’s performance in the digital realm and act of passively clicking on link after link after link.
and one day will tell you so many stories is the first solo presentation of Rami George on the West Coast and particularly Portland, Oregon—a place the artist once knew as home. Two older video essays, Untitled (Samaritan Foundation), 2014 and Untitled (Saturday, October 16, 1993), 2015 are presented alongside a newly-created billboard structure, Untitled (mapping), 2020 in the windows of the Cascade Paragon Arts Gallery. These works are part of an ongoing project exploring the artist’s interactions with New Age religious community, or cult, The Samaritan Foundation. The video essays address the community’s headquarters—a converted jail in Guthrie, Oklahoma—as well as a newspaper article detailing a custody battle over the artist and their sister in relation to the teachings of the group. (Un)tracing the George family’s movements across the United States, the billboard attempts to map encounters with The Samaritan Foundation and other intentional communities. Together, the works demonstrate the interwoven elements of an expanding and contracting series of networks that continue to proliferate through George’s artistic research.
and one day will tell you so many stories is co-organized by Cascade Paragon Arts Gallery at the Portland Community College (PAG at PCC, Cascade) and the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (CCAC at PNCA). The installation functions as a satellite site for the group exhibition Networks of (Be)longing, on view October 2–November 15, 2020 at CCAC at 511 NW Broadway. At CCAC George will exhibit a newly commissioned work as a PNCA Artist-in-Residence, alongside the work of Canaries, Tabitha Nikolai, and Mengda Zhang. In keeping with the theme of Networks of (Be)longing that queries the presence, impact, and continued relevance of artistic networks, Networks of (Be)longing unfolds across a series of sites, including the physical space of CCAC on October 2nd (you can make an appointment on the CCAC website), digitally in the PNCA Online Galleries on October 12th, and here, at PAG at PCC Cascade. The exhibition is accompanied by online resources for remote viewing and a suite of online programs.
Rami George is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in Philadelphia. Their work has been presented in exhibitions and screenings at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; Grand Union, Birmingham; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; LUX, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and others. George received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. They continue to be influenced and motivated by political struggles and fractured narratives.
Networks of (Be)longing is organized by Laurel V. McLaughlin, independent curator, and supported by Elizabeth Bilyeu, Director of Cascade Paragon Arts Gallery, and Mack McFarland, Assistant Professor at PNCA and Director of Converge 45.
Image: Rami George, Untitled (Saturday, October 16, 1993), 2015. HD video, color, sound, 5:00 min. Courtesy of the artist.
Fourteen30 Contemporary is pleased to showcase nine Thesis exhibitions of the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies. Presented as a series of solo exhibitions, each the duration of seven days, July 12 through September 19, 2020.
Taking place during the global COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a national civil rights movement, the preceding exhibitions are an opportunity for nine burgeoning artists to be seen on a wider contemporary art platform. Fourteen30 Contemporary joins a list of galleries throughout the US, including Perrotin gallery (New York) and Steve Turner (Los Angeles), in presenting graduating classes of 2020 in unprecedented times. Additional student exhibitions can be seen virtually on “Thesis Shows 2020,” a website conceived by the graduating photography class at the Rhode Island School of Design and built by the students Yueying Erin Wang and Travis Morehead. It links to documentation of complete exhibitions by the entire class at 75 art programs in the United States and Canada.
July 12 – July 18: Natalie Laswell: To Unravel
July 19 – July 25: Sydney Leja: Beauty Within Death
July 26 – August 1: Patrick Durka: Worlding
August 2 – 8: Kalaija Mallery: Virtuous Beasts
August 9 – 15: Melissa Gueiros: Rhythms of Grace
August 23 – 29: Ray Rogers: Colossal
August 30 – September 5: Joseph Rodriguez: Building Blocks
September 6 – 12: Robert Fields: Exiled (Artist Concept):
Daydreams & Nightmares of Home
Sept 13 – 19: Jeffrey Rosenthal: Nebulous Complications
Rooted in critical investigation and rigorous, self-disciplined creative practice, the Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies program is ideal for motivated students who can work independently, who desire a flexible structure, and who are seeking the challenge and community of an immersive graduate program, inclusive of both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary practices.