‘About Place’ finds the importance of home

Megan Mojica
Staff Writer

Almost two years after its planned opening was postponed by the pandemic, the “About Place” exhibition was opened to the community in the Harris Gallery last month. 

“About Place” features works from nine female artists including Heini Aho, Tanya Aguñiga, Tanya Brodsky, Sandra Calvo, T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, Ashley Hagen, Reneé Lotenero, Sandra Mann and Kyoco Taniyama. 

These nine artists explore ideas of place as geography, architecture, the environment, migration and home through mediums like sculpture, photography, video and installation.

The artists come from a variety of cultural and geographical backgrounds including Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and different regions within the United States. 

Dion Johnson, director of art galleries, said it is wonderful to see all the artists come together to deliver such a powerful message. 

“Working with a lot of different artists is very important because we do want to provide the campus community, art majors and anyone who comes to our campus to visit the gallery a unique viewing experience that brings multiple voices,” Johnson said. 

Curator Ichiro Irie said he chose this group of artists because he noticed that all of their works related to geography, the relation of home and memories connected to certain locations. 

Hagen’s wooden installation entitled “Home” is a two part piece consisting of a staircase connected to a house in a variety of bright colors to dark inspired by her previous neighborhood in Van Nuys and other places she lived and dreamt of visiting. 

Hagen said the piece is about a place in time for herself but she also hopes that viewers can also reflect on the memories of the places they have been. 

“I have all of these memories of different places I have lived in and there’s bits and moments and pieces from these places in my life that I’ve visited or have been to or dreamt about,” said Hagen. 

Taniyama is not originally from La Verne but for this exhibit she chose to research and center her piece around the history of the city. Taniyma’s sound sculpture deals with audio relating to La Verne’s once thriving agricultural orange-growing industry, using sounds taken from a modern orange packing house in Riverside. 

Taniyama said she was inspired by the labor situation, sound and her own experience working in a factory in her piece.

“I would like to return some emotion or some feeling to audiences so I would like to deal with the local history or character of the area,” Taniyama said. 

Johnson said he thinks the exhibit is really an opportunity to connect. 

“All the artists work from a very sort of personal place and there’s a joy and a generosity in that where you’re invited to come and see their world,” Johnson said. 

Although the pieces within the exhibition come from women artists, Irie said it was by coincidence, but a part of him wanted to subvert expectations. 

“I don’t think there are super obvious signifiers that it’s a show with all female artists,” said Irie. “But if you read into the work I think you can see a lot of issues that deal with gender as well but I don’t think it’s something you are going to think about the moment you walk into the show.” 

The exhibition is open to view at the Harris Gallery in the Landis Academic Center through May 12 and a catalog will also be released in the near future. 

For more information, visit artsci.laverne.edu/art/exhibition/about-place

Megan Mojica can be reached at megan.mojica@laverne.edu.

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Megan Mojica, a junior broadcast journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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