October 2021

Lazarus

GREGG DEAL, GRACE GUTIERREZ, THINH DINH, BORYANA RUSENOVA INA, & JOY NAGY
OCT 09 – NOV 07, 2021

Lazarus

In “Lazarus” the Firehouse Art Center brings together artists addressing immigration and American identity from a variety of perspectives, media, and methods.
OPENING: DURING DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FIESTA, OCTOBER 9, 2-6PM

“Joy Nagy is building a wall…A wall of words, translated words into over twenty languages, from a portion of Emma Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door’

Transcribed onto fragile sheets of porcelain clay, these words echo our tenuous times. Nagy’s inspiration: thoughts of her grandmother’s immigration to America, wondering who might have translated Emma Lazarus’ poem to her as her passenger ship entered New York harbor. This is an ongoing project, over two dozen languages have been transcribed onto porcelain pages.” – joynagy.com

“My work examines the connection between identity and belonging within the landscape genre and re-imagines our relationship to foreign and native lands. My studio practice is two-fold: it begins with the construction of props and dioramas, which then become subjects for paintings and drawings. This process borrows from pictorial genres like scenography to make evident the artifice within landscape images, which often hold implicit messages about belonging, ownership and consumption. Through painting my fabricated sets, I subvert our perception of what is a familiar place and emphasize the role of landscape in constructing ideas of home and collective identity.” – Boryana Rusenova Ina

“Rasquache, a once derogatory term describing the taste of the Mexican lower class, developed into an art movement that celebrates a Rasquache way of life and the resourcefulness of those who have very little. By embracing clutter, excessive color, and the use of kitsch, cheap, or trash material I aim to elevate the beauty of items which are all artifacts from my childhood, culture and community. Being someone of mixed race identity and often torn between embracing my Chicanx heritage and assimilation into American culture I constantly question where I belong culturally, and explore those questions by walking the line between kitsch and fine art, playing with the idea of what belongs in a gallery and what doesn’t. My portraits feature friends and family who come from similar backgrounds and express similar feelings of not belonging, feelings of inadequacy or loneliness when finding where they belong culturally. Sharing our collective experiences builds solidarity as I have realized this narrative is so common among individuals in all communities I visit.” – Grace Gutierrez

Gregg Deal is an artist and activist whose work deals with “Indigenous identity and pop culture, touching on issues of race relations, historical consideration and stereotype.” In his newest works featured in the Firehouse Art Center exhibit, Deal uses painting and collage to confront uncomfortable realities about Native representation and American identity and patriotism.

“Having immigrated to the United States at a young age, I didn’t feel attached to Vietnam yet felt like an outsider in my new “home.” In my work, I create liminal spaces, a state of in-between-ness and ambiguity that encourages transition, through fictitious landscapes to explore the reconstruction of cultural identity filtered by memories and feelings of displacement & isolation. Using silhouettes from found vessels as a framing
device I create a visual language that fuses these two worlds. The commentary focuses on consumerism, constructions of cultural identity and my reflections on contemporary events. These spaces serve as mind maps, with symbols & memories nested within one another, an odd mix of old & new. My imagined landscapes are the result of the collision between East and West, inviting viewers to ponder the immigrant experience.” – Thinh Dinh