CSUN Professor Explores Coexistence Through Geometric Spaces at the Craft Contemporary
California State University, Northridge professor and international artist Beatriz Cortez will have her first major solo exhibition, which explores multicultural coexistence through geometric spaces, at the Craft Contemporary from Jan. 27 to May 12.
Cortez’s work will be displayed in the exhibition “Trinidad/Joy Station” at the museum, located at 5814 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. An opening reception will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m.
“This whole body of work is new. I have been trying to invite the viewer to imagine collective subjectivities in the future,” said Cortez, a professor in CSUN’s Department of Central American Studies. “I have been turning materials that have been used to cage children and families, and objects that have a history of destruction or that have damaged the environment, into art — but reusing it as if these were organic material. I’m trying to imagine this communal space as a space station that will allow us to have a collective, joyful experience.”
With “Trinidad/Joy Station,” Cortez said she wants viewers to get a feel for the migrant community and visualize how migration is a way of life. As an immigrant from El Salvador, Cortez said she is able to use her knowledge of shared experiences with the community through her artwork.
“Through my work, I try to imagine migration as a way of life and survival,” said Cortez. “Being a professor and interacting with my students at CSUN has enriched my views on diversity. Like the city of Los Angeles, CSUN is one of the most diverse universities in the country and it has been wonderful to experience being here. Teaching has expanded my experience of multiculturalism.”
The Craft Contemporary will hold exhibition-related workshops and events in conjunction with the exhibition, which will include an artist talk with Cortez and an igloo-construction workshop on ancient Inuit building methods.
Cortez’s solo artist talk is free and will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Then, on Saturday, March 9, the “Ancient Inuit Geometries: Igloo Construction Workshop with Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza” will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another artist talk “The Untimely Conversation with Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza” at 3:30 p.m. for $30. All artist talks and workshops will be held at the Craft Contemporary.
“It has been amazing to work with the Craft Contemporary,” Cortez said. “I made the work myself, with the help of a group of friends who are also a part of immigrant families, in a community welding shop. I was not trained as a welder — none of us were.
“I am trying to perform work and portray how [immigrants] end up doing work that they weren’t trained to do in order to survive,” she said. “The geometric structures of assembled steel segments speak of immigrant labor, industrialization, the destruction of the environment and space travel, as well as multicultural interiors that reference the coexistence of diverse cultural perspectives and the survival of indigenous peoples —and of humans — in the future.”
Cortez has another piece, “Tzolk’in,” on display at Occidental College. The work is a kinetic machine, based on the Mayan 260-day agricultural calendar.
For more information on Cortez’s solo exhibition, visit: https://beatrizcortez.com/upcoming-shows-proximas-exposiciones/.