January 9  -  February 7, 2010

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Tessie Barrera-Scharaga has been making art in the San Francisco Bay Area for over fifteen years. While her background is in Ceramic Sculpture she works primarily in mixed-media installation and assemblage.  She uses her art to address issues of family, history, memory, and loss. From the early to mid 90’s, her work followed a keen interest in the politics of gender subjectivity.

Describing herself as a “witness whose record is art” she has used her observations and research to tackle numerous social issues, among them oppression, displacement, and bias, as experienced by women in the U.S.A., where the artist has resided for most of her adult life, and in Latin America, where she spent her childhood. Many of her installations nod to the idea of women’s work, making visible issues of domesticity, but only to join the general discourse of post-modernism, not to subscribe to particular niches of gender or race.

Tessie Barrera-Scharaga has exhibited in galleries, museums, universities, and underground sites both in the San Francisco Bay Area and abroad. She trained in Graphic Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and later received a BFA in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University, and an MFA in Studio Art from Mills College, in Oakland, California.

Tessie Barrera-Scharaga

La Burla del Burlador, Mixed-media assemblage,

18” x 36” x 18”, $3,500


Hanna Regev

& Steven Lopez

“The mystery and speculation surrounding Duchamp’s last masterpiece, Étant Donnés holds for me a particular fascination. Was it inspired by the Black Dahlia murder, as many tend to believe, or by his personal obsession with a forbidden lover? Does it recreate a crime scene or the memory of a passionate love affair? Whichever way we look at it, the facts remain the same, after Duchamp had declared to the world that he was finished with art, he spent twenty-five years working in secrecy, in order to complete the piece.

The work was begun while Duchamp and Maria Martins, a brazilian sculptor and a married woman, were in the midst of a secret love affair. Duchamp continued to work on the piece after Martins returned to her husband and ended the affair.  The central female figure in the installation was created from plaster casts of Martin’s body. Interviews with members of Duchamp’s inner circle, and a cache of letters recently released by Martins family, attest to the mental and emotional state of the artists at the time the affair ended.

My piece is inspired by Duchamp’s obsession; so strong and powerful that it overcomes and transforms the otherwise composed and collected personality of the artist. It alludes at how an idea or emotion can take hold of a person and keep them hostage, and to the effect such an obsession could have in their life and work. Like an obsession, the poem takes over the chair, encircling and transforming it.  The poem, Neruda’s Soneto XII, attempts to explain with words, what I imagine Duchamp was trying to convey with his last masterpiece.“             Tessie Barrera-Scharaga

Sonnet XII

Full woman, meaty apple, hot moon,
thick seaweed aroma, mire and shredded light . . .
between your columns, what dark clarity is opened?
what antique night does a man touch with his feelings?

Ah, to love is to travel with water and stars,
in the smothered air with brusque tempests of flour.
To love is to tilt with the lightning,
two bodies routed by a single honey's sweet.

I cover over your small infinities, kiss by kiss,
your edges, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and the genital fire, transformed to a delicacy,

runs up the narrow lanes of the blood
until it spills itself . . . a carnation nocturne flower,
until it is and is nothing, save a glimmer in the shadow.

Neftali Ricardo Reyes
 ( Pablo Neruda )

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