The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present two upcoming spring exhibitions by Deborah Aschheim and Kumasi J. Barnett that focus on civic engagement, social justice and systemic racism.
“Deborah Aschheim: The Never Facebook Drawings & Center for Civic Engagement PLACE Project” will run until March 24. After being presented in a virtual format last year, “Kumasi J. Barnett: The Amazing Black-Man” will return to COC’s Gallery 206 from Feb. 15 to March 31.
“We are very excited to share these two timely and thought-provoking exhibitions with our community,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Lewis. “We had fewer folks on campus for the fall semester, so having more students on campus for spring is thrilling. I can’t wait to welcome everyone back into our gallery spaces.”
Known for creating large-scale immersive installations, sculptures, drawings and public art projects, Deborah Aschheim focuses on the invisible worlds of memory, communication and information.
“Deborah Aschheim: The Never Facebook Drawings & Center for Civic Engagement PLACE Project” features two of Aschheim’s most recent projects.
“The Never Facebook Drawings” are a visual diary capturing current events, starting with the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. Aschheim’s drawings include people she has met at protests and vigils. In order to share these powerful images without giving up any rights to her content, she created a website called NeverFacebook.com as both protest and a vehicle.
The exhibit also features drawings Aschheim created in conjunction with the college’s Center for Civic Engagement as part of the Partnerships for Listening and Action by Communities and Educators project team.
The PLACE Project brought together the Center for Civic Engagement, the city of Santa Clarita, Bridge to Home and the Santa Clarita Senior Center to examine issues of housing insecurity and other pressing equity issues in the community.
Aschheim’s portraits feature people across the Santa Clarita Valley who work to help the diverse community thrive, including COC staff members who support student access to food, housing, financial aid, and resources for mental health and well-being.
A special Zoom lecture with the artist is scheduled to be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8.
“Kumasi J. Barnett: The Amazing Black-Man” features recent works by the Baltimore-based artist, which highlight the artist’s ongoing exploration of race, class, gender, sexuality, politics and other contemporary issues in the United States. Drawing inspiration from the aesthetics of comic books, Barnett remakes those classic narratives into incisive commentary on contemporary culture. The comic books used for these paintings are sourced from Barnett’s own collection, which he started at a young age.
Barnett alters the covers of old comic books to transform classic good versus evil stories into a reflection on the problems that plague society: systemic racism, police brutality, corporate greed and political corruption. In Barnett’s paintings, beloved superheroes like The Hulk and Spider-Man are reimagined. The Hulk becomes The Media’s Thug. Spider-Man becomes The Amazing Black-Man, his super hero’s iconic red and blue mask and suit obliterated and replaced with carefully painted jeans, a brown face, and what has become an equally iconic garment since the murder of Trayvon Martin: a gray hoodie.
A special Zoom lecture with the artist is scheduled to be held 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24.
For more information about these upcoming exhibits, visit the COC Art Gallery page at www.canyons.edu/academics/artgallery.
In order to ensure the health and safety of the COC community, all campus visitors must wear a mask while indoors and will be required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or a negative test from within 72 hours of the performance date, to be admitted to the COC Art Gallery. Home tests will not be accepted.