Exhibition Image

PROJECT ROOM: Johanna Calle

Submergentes: A Drawing Approach to Masculinities

July 14, 2011 – January 3, 2012

Johanna Calle’s Submergentes: a Drawing Approach to Masculinities, opens in the Project Room on July 14 and runs through January 3, 2012. The exhibition focuses on four bodies of work. Las restas 2008, Imponderables, 2009-2011, Submergentes / Submerging, 2010-2011, and Afasia / Aphasia, 2011. The last three series have never been exhibited before.

Johanna Calle is a Colombian artist who has worked experimentally in the medium of drawing for more than twenty years and has devoted herself solely to this medium since 1994. Calle’s work includes a non-narrative, subtle, critical and analytical approach to social and cultural issues in Colombia, specifically those which relate to women and children, social structures, ecology, urbanism and language. Her representations are never literal. Calle researches and studies a chosen theme, decides on the materials which may be relevant to the theme and the method that needs to be applied, and finally constructs complex and symbolically charged representations. A key aesthetic strategy in Calle’s drawings is to “erase” sections of a specific part of each drawing and often, to replace it with what appear as incongruous elements. These voids created by the erasures acquire an important role in communicating the meaning of the drawing.

Submergentes, 2010-2011, made with galvanized mesh, examines how unemployment and the decrease of economic power is affecting men and consequently, family relations in Colombia. The artist writes: “I intend to produce a number of drawings that will show change in masculine behavior as traditionally accepted gender roles are altered.” Though this body of works is based on research from developing countries, the economic crisis is affecting the masculinities all over the world, including the United States. Imponderables, 2009-2010, is also related to economic factors but tackles them from a different perspective. The drawings refer to the structure of old-fashioned accounting books, where the columns are in constant stress. They are compressed, deformed and broken. Calle describes it in the following manner: “These allude to an economic order that has been altered, that will never be restored to its original form. (…) They refer to the “iron” order, that despite its supposed strength, is transformed. The world economy has suffered a recurrent crisis that ranges from bonanza to the debacle. The fragile equilibrium of the system is affected by multiple factors which are unpredictable and uncontrollable.” Las restas (The Subtractions), 2008, alsomadewith galvanizedmesh, stems from the math exercises in school books and alludes to the mathematical operation of subtraction. However, what is subtracted in this case are not numbers but the structure of the grid itself.

The works deal with related issues, which range from the very specific such as unemployment and how it affects masculinity, to symbolic representations of the fragility of the world’s economic system, to an abstract idea of structure.

Submergentes: A Drawing Approach to Masculinities is curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and funded in part by the Krichman Fund. Additional support for the Project Room is provided by the Robert Gumbiner Foundation, Verizon Wireless, the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach. Media support is provided by Artillery Magazine.

RELATED PROGRAMS:

INTERLOGUES
Submergentes: A Drawing Approach to Masculinities
Thursday, July 14, 7:30 - 9:00pm
Charter Screening Room

Join MOLAA Curator Cecilia Fajardo-Hill in a conversation with Project Room artist Johanna Calle about her work in the exhibition Submergentes: a Drawing Approach to Masculinities

INTERLOGUES
Beyond the Line
Thursday, September 8, 7:30 - 9:00pm
Charter Screening Room

Join Assistant Curator Selene Preciado in a presentation of a brief history of drawing and current non-traditional practices in this medium.

Image Credit:
JOHANNA CALLE, Afasia / Aphasia, 2011, (detail)
series of 7 drawings, copper and bronze wire on cardboard
Courtesy of the artist

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