Neighborhood Watch

Organized By Vincent Ramos

The political implications inherent within these projects not only underlie their collective group actions, they also influence each of these three artist’s practices outside of their respective collaborations. Through their individual work, they are continually examining larger notions of community via archives, history, language, performance, research, and site-specificity. Considering that we are living in a time tainted by uncertainty on all fronts, all of this material as a whole becomes that much more relevant and vital. The work in Neighborhood Watch will highlight these numerous expressions to promote a cross disciplinary dialogue between the three artists, the general public, and the community of Woodbury University.

In 2015, the artist Diana Sofia Estrada initiated an online project entitled Our Prime Property (OPP), where she invites artists to rely on the potentiality of fantasy to conjure up an idealized state of how and where their work would function in a type of “perfect” scenario. Considering that artist are forever working against all odds in regards to the adequate presentation and ultimate understanding of their work, its purpose is to temporarily suspend that position to achieve something devoid of atypical art world (and beyond) barriers and bullshit. Aside from pursuing her own multi-disciplinary practice, she has created an experimental space for her colleagues to expand on their ideas in a runaway train type fashion, where the parameters remain in flux and forever fluid.

The artist and writer Carribean Fragoza is the co-founder of the South El Monte Arts Posse (SEMAP), who (in their words) are “a collective of artists, writers, urban planners, educators, scholars, farmers, ecologists, swap meet vendors, and youth dedicated to engaging with the South El Monte and El Monte community through the arts by rethinking our use of space and transforming how we inhabit it.” A native Southern Californian who is currently based in Fresno, her personal writing is a complex reflection of her working class roots. Additionally, her work in journalism runs mirror-like and parallel to these ideas by focusing on subjects and stories that, when given the careful attention that she provides and that they deserve, uncovers newfound narratives rich in capturing the beauty and resilience of these marginalized communities.

In the mid 1990s, the artist Patricia Valencia was deeply involved in the cultural center Regeneración, a vital space for that moment for urban Chicano youth in Los Angeles. Located in the then barrio of Highland Park, before it was permanently scarred by gentrification and the ongoing mass displacement of its long term Latino residents, it unified art, culture, and politics at a troubling time in the cities history. This early experience proved important for Valencia, who since returning to the city from a period in New York, has made work utilizing these same themes, but now investigating them through a prism of regional and personal history via numerous research-driven yet poetic film and video projects. https://www.kcet.org/shows/departures/regeneracion-public-resource-center

Vincent Ramos received his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2002 and his MFA from Cal Arts in 2007. Past Curatorial Projects include “The Poet Blinded by the Sun”, Elephant, Los Angeles and “After the Gold Rush: Reflections and Postscripts on the National Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 1970”, Vincent Price Museum East Los Angeles College. In 2014 Vincent Ramos received a Mid – Career Fellowship from the Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA), 2010 Artists Fellowship from the California Community Foundation. His work is in the public collections of Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. In addition to numerous National and International solo and group exhibition Vincent Ramos was selected to exhibit his work in the Pacific Standard Time J. Paul Getty Sponsored LA/LA Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) “ A Universal History of Infamy” in September 2017.

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