[Photos by Charity Wu]
FOCA members gathered in the Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA on Sunday afternoon, November 17 to hear a panel discussion featuring 2013 FOCAFellowship awardees, artists Hilja Keading, T. Kelly Mason, Kori Newkirk in conversation with moderator Scarlet Cheng.
FOCA President Pam Smith welcomed guests and thanked MOCA for hosting the discussion. She also introduced and recognized Long Range Planning Chair, Linda Maggard, for her hard work in organizing the awards, along with this panel discussion and dinner at Kendall's Brasserie afterwards. Linda talked about the selection process, and introduced the panel's moderator, Scarlet Cheng, an art writer who also teaches at Art Center College of Design and Otis College of Art and Design. The three mid-career artists were awarded $10,000 each, and Ms. Cheng started the conversation off by comparing them to modern day alchemists as they take materials and transform them into art. The artists then took turns talking about their education, process, artistic journeys, and their current projects.
Hilja Keading, whose The Bonkers Devotional from 2010 was featured in the FOCAFellowship Exhibition, talked about how she created the video installation piece by filming herself alongside a trained black bear, Bonkers, spending time together in a cabin. Her works explore time in relationship with the present and infinite, and this piece in particular explores her relationship with this bear that is simultaneously filled with curiosity, fear, intimacy, and anticipation.
T. Kelly Mason talked about how he started as a sound artist interested in creating work that can't be reproduced. He has been successful in creating installation work, and is known for his series of light box installations.
Kori Newkirk shared his thoughts on the intersection between politics and entertainment that inspired his various projects. He often uses different mediums including mirrors, Tshirts, found objects to create art, transforming these found materials into art.
All three artists shared that they earned MFAs, which trained them in knowing how to teach, talk about their work, and also be able to write intelligently about their art. The artists also reflected on working and living in Los Angeles, and how the city offered them different elements of light, space, influence, and opportunity to create art professionally.
They also shared their plans for upcoming projects, and discussed how the recession has impacted artists, galleries, and collectors. Scarlet Cheng closed the panel discussion by acknowledging FOCAFellowship for the support FOCA provided to the artists.