Spread, Part I – Sharon Grace + Carissa Potter

Although both artists utilize different mediums, the commonality is their perspective on human interaction and behavior.

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Sharon Grace, Balls to the Wall, Single channel with sound, 2008

Spread is currently showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center. The posts to follow are first impressions and reflections about each pair of artists in the exhibition.

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An artist’s work is almost always derived from a mentor’s guidance or influence. An integral part of the professor’s role is to push the student to their limits; to test the student’s mental agility, intellectual stamina, and help nascent ideas bud into something greater than the student ever imagined. In the exhibition, Spread: California Conceptualism – Then & Now, the viewer sees five pairings – a vanguard artist and their student. Such an exhibition reminds the audience that each artist carries on the legacy of their teacher (even if their path is divergent).

While Sharon Grace’s single channel video of marbles bouncing off a hardwood floor while an individual in high heels walks ever so slowly across a wood floor; Carissa Potter’s work, I’m Attracted to You, is on the other side of the wall. Although both artists utilize different mediums, the commonality is their perspective on human interaction and behavior. Relationships between people and things is prevalent in their works. Even with Grace’s time based media, you interact with it the way you want, which is not too dissimilar to Potter’s work. There doesn’t seem to be an obligation to dig deep to find a particular meaning. You’re given a concept or idea of something (an experience) and you take it for what it is in a moment.

The key difference is the use of language as a device. Words are much more rampant in Potter’s work. Much of the complex ideas riddled within our minds are laid in a combination of text and images. Grace’s work, on the other hand, in particular, for the show, barely includes any text until you look at the deconstructed drawing of the box that holds a heap of marbles. In researching Grace’s work, language is verbally expressed versus written. Either way, the pairing, at first, may seem a bit enigmatic  but if you watch and read, keep in mind your behavior and responses to the works.

Carissa Potter, I

Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, networked culture, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently the managing editor for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Public Art Dialogue. She has lectured and spoken at the De Young museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” has been published to The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture in 2016. She serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center, and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Digital Art and New Media department.

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