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We came to help you carry the sun

July 21, 2023 July 30, 2023

(Image: Sydney Acosta, Diseased, Do Not Disturb, Unsettling Feeling, Rising Level, 2022. Charcoal and pastel on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Audio: Cherisse Gray, “Waxing & Waning,” 2023.)

Gallery hours: 12 – 6pm
Opening: Friday, July 21, 7 – 9pm
Poetry reading by Jennifer Tseng and performance by Christos Tejada at 8pm

Waxing & Waning

enveloped letter
lost in transit
call her “Death”,
a return to pure surface

before, she was a message
coded & overgrown
but today, she’s envelope
four white corners, paper
thin like church wafers which pass 
from hand to hand to hand

drunk in circulation
graze at the body of Christ
chew on the symbol, this letter
so plum, illegible and veiled

Her passage transforms all shadows,
but we came to help you carry the sun

Our degradation as mediation—
and Legacy is a disease.

–Cherisse Gray 2023

Sydney Acosta (b. 1987, Yanaguana aka San Antonio, TX) lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from UCLA in 2021. Recent exhibitions include Groundwork, Dreamsong, Minneapolis, MN; When The Stones Clash, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, CA; The Death of Beauty, Sargent’s Daughters, Los Angeles, CA; of the world (with Luz Carabaño), Castle, Los Angeles, CA. She has been supported by the MacDowell Fellowship, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, the LA Lakers emerging artist grant and the American Austrian Foundation. Her current exhibition at Kristina Kite Gallery Filled With Song explores questions around mixed subjectivities, vanitas, the miraculous and death– recurrent obsessions that also fill the collaboration with Jennifer Tseng for HRLA. 

Christopher Baliwas’ central practice of photography is often taken over by other mediums such as sound, and sculpture. He is concerned with legacy, rudimentary processes/practice, and structural rigidity and produces work that engages with these themes as an attempt to inspire alternative senses of the world. Under the alias, reallynathan, Baliwas independently released the album “O” in 2020, and co-produced the mix series “Raise the Flag:” on NTS Radio. He lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Andrea Sipin, their first born, Naima, and their second child who is on the way.

Cherisse Gray (b.1990, Manila, Philippines) is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in New York City. She received her MFA in Sculpture at UCLA and her BFA in Sculpture & Linguistics from Virginia Commonwealth University. Gray works across mediums through installation, performance, sculpture, and painting. She liberally utilizes the syntax of contemporary visual culture through the playful adaptation of found objects, reappropriated images, hired actors, and the performance of classical archetypes. At this current juncture in time– her work investigates questions of otherness, porosity, boundaries vs. barriers, and the phenomenology of beauty by way of architecture, design, and assemblage.

Christos Tejada (b. 1989, Los Angeles, CA) multimedia artist & tattooist combines ritual and performance to explore thresholds of the visible and invisible expressed through the body. Performing since 2015 through their audio-visual work, Tejada’s practice creates sensory experiences of identity symbolism with a focus on integrating the spiritual with the physical. Recent commissioned performances: Our Lady of Sorrows curated by Ron Athey in 2022 at Coaxial Gallery and Neptune’s Closet curated by Jamie Ross in 2023 at William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. Most recently, in Athens, Greece, April 2023 under the guidance of Ron Athey, Frederica Dauri, Michele Occelli, and Diana Pornoterrista, Darkness Visible produced & curated by Hermes Pittakos, the artist participated in a nine-day immersive with a focus on esoterica, hypnosis, automation, somatic work, ritual, post-porn, flesh-modifying techniques, and unadulterated bliss. Tejada, with the intention of diving deeper, explores the bridge between generations/destructions and the erotic dimension of communal experiences.

Jennifer Tseng writes & teaches across genres. She is interested in collaborating with existing texts & with makers in other disciplines. Her work with Sydney began at MacDowell & raises ongoing questions about the tension between the need to tell the truth & the right to opacity; lyric & narrative powers of text & image—alone & together; & the sociality of thinking & art making. Such questions intersect with & complicate questions of multiplicity, hybridity, points of view & the ways in which time, death & culture impact our lived experiences. Tseng’s most recent book, Not so dear Jenny, poems made with her late father’s English letters, won the Juniper Prize for Poetry & will be published by University of Massachusetts Press in spring 2024. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Danish & Italian. She is a professor of literature & creative writing at University of California, Santa Cruz.