A starry evening of music and artwork at ICA North

A starry evening of music and artwork at ICA North

On a chilly, clear Friday-the-Thirteenth night—in between days of downpours—over 100 individuals turned out for an art-and-music occurring on the six-acre campus of ICA North, the Encinitas half of the Institute of Modern Artwork San Diego.

The occasion mixed the abilities of ICA Artist-in-Residence Shellie Zhang with the abilities of Artwork of Elan, a small however mighty musical staff that has been bringing modern classical music to numerous audiences for over 15 years.

“We’ll be collaborating with every of the artists-in-residence, making an attempt to boost their subject material musically,” mentioned Kate Hatmaker, Artwork of Elan’s govt director, who can also be a violinist with San Diego Symphony. “We’re all the time striving to search out new methods to spark pleasure.”

As a result of Zhang, born in Beijing and based mostly in Toronto, explores East-West connections and the way individuals who transfer to different international locations handle to create a way of residence of their new tradition, Artwork of Elan invited world-renowned composer Lei Liang to take part within the Jan. 13 program. A distinguished professor of music at UC San Diego, Liang was additionally born in China and explores comparable connections in his compositions.

Kate Hatmaker and cellist Alex Greenbaum playing Lei Liang’s Gobi Canticle.

Kate Hatmaker and cellist Alex Greenbaum taking part in Lei Liang’s Gobi Canticle.

(Maurice Hewitt)

The night included time to view Zhang’s three-part exhibition on the hilltop Artists’ Gallery adopted by an out of doors gathering for dialog and music within the backyard behind the street-level Training Middle. Earlier within the day, my photographer/husband and I toured the exhibit together with her, studying that Andrew Utt, govt director of ICA San Diego, initially contacted her on-line a yr in the past, after seeing a few of her items on the NADA artwork truthful in Miami.

“It was a collection referred to as ‘Choices to Each Previous and Future’—the identical sort of hyper-saturated images you’re seeing right here, however all fruit,” Zhang mentioned. “And since ICA’s theme for this season was consumption—what it means to devour tradition and the objects and issues round us—he needed to know if I used to be pondering alongside comparable traces.”

She occurred to have two current our bodies of labor that match proper in: a collection referred to as “Technique of Change”—5 large-scale still-life pictures of synthetic flowers, gift-wrappings, kids’s toys, and Christmas ornaments, all made in China, present in Canadian greenback shops, and bought in large portions to patrons from all around the world.

Lei Liang and Shellie Zhang before their evening conversation.

Lei Liang and Shellie Zhang earlier than their night dialog.

(Maurice Hewitt)

The second collection, “Facades,” is a lineup of 4 lightboxes impressed by storefront indicators Zhang had seen in Canadian Chinatowns—small retailers that was once neighborhood gathering locations however at the moment are out of enterprise. She eliminates the Chinese language phrases that informed what they bought; solely the eye-catching outlines stay, evoking nostalgia with no clear reminiscence of what was as soon as there.

Throughout her month-long residency, Zhang started work on a brand new collection: “Grass is Greener on the Different Aspect,” inspecting the variations in merchandise bought on either side of the San Diego/Tijuana border. She invited guests to be a part of the exhibit by filling out procuring lists and pinning them to a wall within the gallery, exhibiting what merchandise have been necessary to them.

An array of products

An array of merchandise from either side of the border that shall be a part of Grass is Greener on the Different Aspect, a brand new picture collection.

(Maurice Hewitt)

Zhang’s childhood was stuffed with border crossings. Her household immigrated to Baltimore, then returned to China, the place she attended grade college in two totally different cities earlier than they determined to relocate to Canada, settling in Windsor, Ontario. 13 years in the past, she moved to Toronto, which she now calls residence. However she beloved her time at ICA North, hanging out with gallery guests, even chatting concerning the worth of eggs with pleasant strangers in an area grocery store. And she or he beloved the chance of getting an audience-friendly dialog with Lei Liang concerning the thought of residence earlier than the night’s five-piece live performance, after presenting her personal discuss her life and artwork.

Earlier than the conversational duet, we heard “Mom Tongue,” Liang’s three-minute digital piece stuffed with scrambled sounds generally heard in dim-sum eating places. “Chinese language individuals like to be loud—individuals shouting, clanging dishes,” he mentioned. “It’s efficiency artwork!” Zhang responded with enthusiasm: the primary job she ever had was in a dim sum restaurant.

One of the Facades lightboxes.

One of many Facades lightboxes.

(Maurice Hewitt)

Liang’s subsequent piece, “Gobi Canticle,” was completely totally different, impressed by songs a Mongolian trainer sang to him a few years in the past. He launched it by saying: “I bear in mind what it felt like listening to him sing—so religious, a lot about motherland and about lacking residence. Aren’t all of us in search of residence? I exploit music to connect with the place the place I’m from but in addition to the place I’m now—and to preserving our residence on this planet Earth.”

That feeling got here magically via within the heartfelt efficiency by violinist Kate Hatmaker and her husband, cellist Alex Greenbaum. It was the spotlight of the night, warming up the chilly evening air, stirring up a mixed sense of historic spirituality and present-day hopefulness, and giving us all a real feeling of being at residence.

Shellie Zhang: What We Convey and Depart

The artist is now again in Toronto, however her exhibition stays via Feb. 12, and guests’ procuring lists are nonetheless welcomed.

ICA North:

1550 S. El Camino Actual, Encinitas

Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 12-5 p.m. Free admission.

To maintain up with ICA North and ICA Central occasions go to icasandiego.org or @icasandiego

To search out out about Artwork of Elan occasions, see artofelan.org

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