Charmaine Bee (Art MFA 17) and Ignacio Perez Meruane (Art MFA 09) are featured in a thematic contemporary exhibition RAW: Craft, Commodity, and Capitalism, running until Jan. 5, 2020, at Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles.
The exhibition features works from nine contemporary artists working with materials symbolic of colonialist and globalist histories. Inspired by author Sven Beckert’s examination of the rise and fall of the European cotton industry in his 2014 book Empire of Cotton: A Global History, RAW “traces how this operating framework of capitalism – extracting labor and natural resources from colonized regions – has rippled across time.”
“The artists in RAW: Craft, Commodity, and Capitalism all approach the commodities they utilize as a form of biographical or historical record,” Exhibitions Curator Holly Jerger noted in the official release. “Their use of these materials acknowledges the layers of repressed histories encapsulated in each commodity.” Materials found in the exhibition include salt, sugar, copper, tea, cotton, indigo, agave and porcelain.
Meruane employs copper in remove (copper art in the andean world) (2018-19). Cut by waterjet into a series of striking shapes, the dominant material represents the excavation of copper from Chile, which devastated the country’s landscape.
Bee’s piece untitled indigo piece #3, portal series (2017) melds fermented indigo, gold thread and more than a thousand tea bags into a towering panel of blue crystalline sheets. The materials reflect the goods that were historically used the African diaspora and slave trade, such as sugar, tea and cotton.
RAW: Craft, Commodity, and Capitalism
Sept. 29, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020
5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles