Upcoming event: November 4, 2022 — November 26, 2022
Born to Ride the Edge of Nothing brings together former University of Arizona colleagues Aaron S. Coleman and Alejandro Macias. Both artists present new multidisciplinary works reflecting on political and social issues in line with their individual experiences and a broader national conversation. The exhibition fuses their work in a singular dialogue touching on matters of race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, multinationalism, faith, and place.
Aaron S. Coleman
My current studio practice comprises an amalgam of creative processes and historical research. Utilizing printmaking, painting, collage, sculpture, and installation, I create works that address how mundane, seemingly anodyne artifacts embody the complex and pervasive history of race/racism and class/classicism in the United States. Employing a multi-media approach, I rework and re-contextualize images and objects, foregrounding their past and present interactions in this history. The items (e.g., picket fences, coloring books, embroidery, or pop-culture ephemera) are visually or physically juxtaposed with contrary or jarring images that release uncomfortable truths and suppressed stories that are both personal and political. Importantly, my creative production is grounded in substantial research. More recently, this has been a critical analysis of authoritarian systems of information, control, and power. I focus on how religion, politics, specific methodologies of science and anthropology, and the criminal justice system contribute to and sustain race- and class-based oppression.
Aaron S. Coleman (b. 1985) was born in Washington D.C. and is a multi-disciplinary artist, Associate Professor, and Kenneth E. Tyler, Endowed Chair at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. Coleman earned his MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2013. A co-founder of the Sienna Collective for Students of Color in the Arts at the University of Arizona. He received the 2021 Provost Award for Innovations in Teaching and the College of Fine Arts Undergraduate Mentorship Award.
Coleman has exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous awards, scholarships, and fellowships for his work in lithography and mezzotint. In 2021 he received the Black Box Press Foundation’s Art as Activism Grant. Coleman’s artwork is included in the collections of The Janet Turner Print Museum, The University of Colorado, Wichita State University, the Ino-Cho Paper Museum in Kochi, Japan, The Yekaterinburg Museum of Art in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Ewing Gallery Collection, and The Artist Printmaker and Photographer Research Archive among other public and private collections. Coleman’s hobbies change yearly but currently include cultivating rare, terrestrial African orchids. Additionally, he is a husband, dog lover, and workaholic.
To learn more about Aaron visit www.aaroncolemanprintmaking.com.
The Rio Grande Valley, where I was born and raised, remains a unique place for its fusion of Mexican and American cultures. Coming from this expansive stretch within a marginalized region, I feel divided by these two nations while simultaneously composed by them. My identity mirrors my engagement with traditional rendering and my challenge with contemporary drawing and painting. Much of my artistic execution is compositionally divided and involves a mixture of traditional representational, and abstract approaches. This duality in approach serves as a metaphor for my upbringing along the U.S./Mexico border.
I continue to seek and gain a better understanding of my ethnic background while framing and contextualizing ideas on Mexican-American identity, assimilation, acculturation, repression, civil rights, immigration, cultural misconceptions, and the individual qualities of the people around me. Ultimately, my artistic endeavors reflect border concerns, contemporary socio-political trepidations, and the ever-shifting American political landscape.
Alejandro Macias (b. 1987) was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, along the U.S./ Mexico border. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Brownsville in 2008 and a Master of Fine Arts in 2-D Studio Art from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2012.
Macias has received numerous notable residencies, including Vermont Studio Center, Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France, The Studios at MASS MoCA, Wassaic Project, and the forthcoming CALA Alliance. He recently participated in group exhibitions at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Mexic-Arte Museum, Amarillo Museum of Art, Carlsbad Museum of Art, Las Cruces Museum of Art, and Arizona State University Museum. He’s also held solo exhibitions at Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Presa House Gallery, Tucson Museum of Art, and was featured in the West Issue #156 of New American Paintings, juried by Lauren R. O’Connell, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Macias currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Arizona School of Art in Tucson, AZ.
To learn more about Alex visit www.alexmaciasart.com.