Stephanie Syjuco, Detail: The Visible Invisible, 2018. Image courtesy of the Artist, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco and Ryan Lee Gallery, New York

Stephanie Syjuco: The Visible Invisible

October 17, 2020—January 9, 2021

Stephanie Syjuco’s work confronts the media-driven ways in which models of citizenry, immigration, and identity are dramatically evolving in the United States. The Philippines-born, San Francisco-based artist’s insights will all be all the more relevant in 2020, in the lead-up to what promises to be one of the most intense and existential elections of our time. In today’s heightened socio-political environment where one’s ethnicity is taken to presume their allegiance, people are too easily captioned by assumed cultural tropes we regard as “natural.” As color becomes an increasingly fallible, if no less politicized measure of assigning identity there within, this exhibition will focus on Syjuco’s examination of supposedly “neutral” colors and patterns. Looking to supposedly benign applications of gray, white, black, and green, she mines the abuses and projections that color provides within the escalating negotiation of being/belonging. The physical and conceptual nexus of the exhibition is Syjuco’s 2019 installation Dodge and Burn (Visible Storage): a room-sized “still life” which interrogates color calibration charts (used to check for “correct” color) as a coded narrative of empire.

The Blaffer will also present installations and participatory works by Syjuco across the University, bringing a series of flags representing invented shadow nations to the M.D. Anderson Library and a curtain installation questioning the legibility of citizenship to the atrium of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design. The exhibition showcases the new participatory artwork entitled Public_Public_Address. This continually evolving and expanding project by artists Stephanie Syjuco, Jason Lazarus, and Siebren Versteeg creates a platform for public protest during the pandemic. It features an endless stream of virtual “marching” protesters collaged from photographic and video submissions of supporters from across the country. Any and all viewers are invited to participate by sending a short video of themselves protesting that will be stitched into a moving collage and included in the live stream. 

This exhibition is organized by Steven Matijcio, Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator at Blaffer Art Museum.


Exhibition Essay
Text by Daniel F. Castro Pantoja

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