Wasteland marks the fifth iteration of Open Sessions, a six-part exhibition program presented between October 2018 and January 2020 at The Drawing Center. Organized by curators Rosario Güiraldes and Lisa Sigal, Open Sessions fosters a dynamic, ever-evolving dialogue with new drawing practices and practitioners, exhibiting and contextualizing the work of early career artists who explore the nature of drawing in its many manifestations through conversation, public programs, and thematic group exhibitions.
Featuring works by Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Crystal Z Campbell, Theodore Darst, Jonathan Ehrenberg, Young Joo Lee, Omid Shekari, and Tariku Shiferaw, Wasteland explores image production as an excessive physiological and psychological stimulus. The artists speculate on how digital media, virtual borders, surveillance, and violence impacts our perception, presenting artworks that include a fragmented revolver cast in body parts; animations of abstract landscapes along international borders; minimalist drawings that reflect distortions of the body; and images that depict an anonymous woman relaxing in the grass before the Tulsa race massacre in 1921.
Esteban Cabeza de Baca is an artist based in New York City and Amsterdam. Born in the border town of San Ysidro, CA (USA).,Cabeza de Baca challenges the loss of natural resources and reanimates pre-Columbian mythologies in the Americas with artworks that juxtapose representational imagery and abstraction.
Crystal Z Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist and writer from Oklahoma who traces the historical lineage of bias, otherness, and the space between the subject and the witness. Her art and writing considers the history of drawing in relation to present modes of capturing subjects, digital recognition, and image artifacts. Campbell is a former Whitney Museum Independent Study Studio Program fellow and is currently a fourth-year Tulsa Artist Fellow.
Theodore Darst draws on digital sources—high-resolution 3D animation, iPhone screen recording, hand-drawn animation, and re-photographed appropriated footage—to create linear collages that reflect the twenty-first-century cultural landscape.
Jonathan Ehrenberg is an artist based in New York City. Ehrenberg combines analog and digital media to describe a seemingly coherent world that is pieced together from sensory information and images from memories, fantasies, dreams, and associations. Ehrenberg received a BA from Brown University and an MFA from Yale University. His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, SculptureCenter, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York; Futura Center, Prague; The B3 Biennial, Frankfurt; Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn; and Nara Roesler, São Paulo, and reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Art in America. Previous residencies include LMCC Workspace, Harvestworks, Triangle, Skowhegan, New York; the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown; and Glenfiddich, Scotland.
Young Joo Lee combines inspirations from her dreams with personal and political histories to create drawings, sculptures, animation, and films. The content of her work often derives from her experience as an immigrant living in Germany and the United States. She is currently a College Fellow in Media Practice at Harvard University, teaching and researching on immersive storytelling using mixed media.
Omid Shekari makes art in order to capture universal stories about how institutional or state enforced violence impacts the human experience. His projects investigate how the state, as a military institution, has the power to use fear and rationalize military intervention in the name of national protection. Recent exhibitions include those at Marginal Utility Gallery, Philadelphia; NADA, New York; Greenfield Community College, Greenfield; Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia; Ohio State University, Columbus; PAFA Museum, Philadelphia; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia; Gallery Joe, Philadelphia; and Pelham Art Center, New York. Shekari is currently based in Oberlin, OH, and is a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College.
Tariku Shiferaw is an artist based in New York City. His work explores mark-making to address the physical, metaphysical, and political spaces of art production, and reimagines how blackness might be represented through the drawing medium. Shiferaw is a current participant in the Independent Study Studio Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
About Open Sessions
Open Sessions builds on The Drawing Center’s longstanding legacy of championing work by early career artists who explore the nature of drawing in its many manifestations. Organized by curators Rosario Güiraldes and Lisa Sigal, Open Sessions is a two-year program created as a platform for artists to find new approaches for contextualizing and exhibiting their work, through conversation, public programs, and thematic group exhibitions.
Artists selected for Open Sessions 2018–20 include: Joeun Aatchim, Kenseth Armstead, Bahar Behbahani, Keren Benenisty, Katarina Burin, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Alex Callender, Crystal Z Campbell, Ludovica Carbotta, Jesse Chun, Liz Collins, Mike Crane, Dennis RedMoon Darkeem, Theodore Darst, Billy and Steven Dufala, Jonathan Ehrenberg, Carolina Fusilier, Rachel Granofsky, LaMont Hamilton, Kunlin He, Victoria Keddie, Young Joo Lee, Lux Lindner, Sharon Madanes, Guadalupe Maravilla, Zatara McIntyre, Ester Partegàs, Omid Shekari, Tariku Shiferaw, Johanna Unzueta, Cosmo Whyte.
Open Sessions is made possible by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the Further Forward Foundation, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Image: Young Joo Lee, Borderline, 2019. Animation, Duration: 5:30 mins. Courtesy the artist.