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A soft place to land

Kevin Beasley, Margarita Cabrera,
Pia Camil, Cass Davis,
Alexandra Kehayoglou,
Tiona Nekkia McClodden,
Kaveri Raina, Liang Shaoji,
and Marie Watt

Jul 7-Jan 7, 2024

A soft place to land, installation view at moCa Cleveland, 2023. Photo: Jacob Koestler

About the Exhibition

A soft place to land highlights artists who use textiles to unpack personal histories and underscores the metaphorical and material importance of fiber arts in connecting these stories to broader cultural and societal narratives. Rooted in explorations of the physicality of memory, this exhibition demonstrates the ways that textiles function as, “containers of collective and individual memory, as devices capable of triggering emotional, psychological, and even physiological reactions, and as tools for expressing or retaining identity and narratives.” 

The artists in this international, intergenerational exhibition build upon fibrous foundations to share the moments and traditions that shaped them, elevating what may be thought of as mundane or ubiquitous objects to emphasize the immeasurable value of one’s lived experiences. Themes of resilience, homesickness, and the desire to feel connected emerge within this examination of material culture.

The artwork in A soft place to land showcases the influence of place and placemaking on one’s identity, confronts intergenerational trauma and trauma associated with upbringing, and celebrates materiality as an essential tool in self-discovery.

Installation Images

A soft place to land. Installation views at moCa Cleveland, 2023. Photos: Jacob Koestler

About the Artists

Margarita Cabrera

Margarita Cabrera

A self-defined social practices artist, Margarita Cabrera’s (she/her) work is often fueled by collaboration from community engagement to get a holistic view of social issues. Materials such as US Border Patrol uniforms and cochineal-dye are used, and transformed, to deliver a multi-tiered conversation on topics such as globalism, populism, and the migrant experience. Often in playful representation, Cabrera’s work, such as embroidered soft-sculpture potted desert plants; mimicking parrots made from found border patrol uniforms; and collaged works on paper made with cochineal dye, implores viewers to confront contentious topics by utilizing materials tied inextricably to the issue. Cabrera was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and moved to El Paso, TX at the age of 10. She received an MFA from Hunter College in New York, NY and is currently an assistant professor at the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Kevin Beasley, Site XVI, 2022, Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia Cotton, altered t-shirts, confetti t-shirts, housedress, 74 x 55 x 2 in (188 x 141 x 5.1 cm). ©Kevin Beasley. Photo: Jason Wyche, Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York.

Kevin Beasley

Kevin Beasley (he/him) lives and works in New York. His practice spans sculpture, photography, sound, and performance, while centering on materials of cultural and personal significance, from raw cotton harvested from his family’s property in Virginia to sounds gathered using contact microphones. Beasley alters, casts, and molds these diverse materials to form a body of works that acknowledge the complex, shared histories of the broader American experience, steeped in generational memories. In March 2023, Beasley released A View of a Landscape, a 300-page book and double LP record, conceived as equal elements and designed together. The publication is produced in collaboration with the Renaissance Society and The University of Chicago Press. Recent exhibitions and performances include The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, a touring exhibition curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, which traveled from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2021), to the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston (2021), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (2022), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2022); and Prospect.5, New Orleans: Yesterday we said tomorrow (2021), in which Beasley began a multiyear site-specific project in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Pia Camil. Photo by: Pirje Mykkänen
Courtesy of Pia Camil and Finnish National Gallery Kiasma.

Pia Camil

Pia Camil (she/her) is a Mexican visual artist based in San Mateo Acatitlán, State of Mexico. Her work ranges widely from painting and sculpture to performance and installation. Highlighting the importance of the collective and communal, her work is often inclusive and directly engages the viewer. Camil draws inspiration from her context with a critical and political interest around commercial culture or the frenetic pace of mass commodification. In an effort to gear away from industrialized labor, her practice is mostly done in collaboration with friends and specially skilled producers. Currently, her rural context is informing new ideas of the collective–the relationship of humans with nature and to other species. Camil is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, USA, and the Slade School of Fine Art, London.

Cass Davis. Photo: Gillian Fry

Cass Davis

Cass Davis (they/them) is a Chicago-based artist with an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their solo shows include Out of Time at Engage Projects, Revelations at University of Southern Indiana, HEARTLAND at G-CADD St. Louis, No Body on Earth But Yours with the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Of Roses and Jessamine at SITE gallery, Chicago. Davis has shown in group exhibitions and screenings at the Design Museum Chicago, IL, Bemis Center in Omaha, NE, York St. John University, UK, Tile Blush in Miami, FL, The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The American Medium in NYC, UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Springfield, IL, Terrain Biennial Oak Park and Springfield, IL, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Chicago Artists Coalition, 062 Gallery, Sullivan Galleries, and the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery, Utah. They have been awarded the Praxis Fiber Arts Residency, HATCH Residency, Oxbow Artist's MFA Residency, Roger Brown Artist's Residency, IOTO Residency, and the Shapiro Center Eager Research Grant. They have been lecturing faculty in the Fiber and Material Studies department at SAIC.

Alexandra Kehayoglou. Photo: Francisco Nocitois

Alexandra Kehayoglou

Alexandra Kehayoglou (she/her) is an Argentinian and Greek visual artist who works primarily with textile materials. She produces works combining textiles, sculpture and installation. Kehayoglou’s repertoire includes memories of various native and endangered landscapes that the artist has visited and desires to preserve over time. Her renowned pastizales (grasslands), fields, and shelter tapestries exhibit sublime realities which the viewer can contemplate or utilize. Her work is created from an ancient family tradition of weaving. She presented the No Longer Creek at Design Miami/Basel, decrying the decimation of the Raggio Creek in Buenos Aires. At the end of 2017, The Triennial of The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, included Kehayoglou’s work, Santa Cruz River.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Palais de Tokyo 2022.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Tiona Nekkia McClodden (she/her) is a visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. McClodden’s interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations. Most recently, her work has explored the themes of re-memory and narrative biomythography. Her writing has been featured on the "Triple Canopy" platform in Artforum, Cultured Magazine, ART 21 Magazine, and many other publications. She is the recipient of a 2021 Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.McClodden lives and works in North Philadelphia, PA, and is the Founder and Director of Philadelphia-based, Conceptual Fade, a micro-gallery and library space centering Black thought and artistic production.

Kaveri Raina. Photo: Zhiyuan Yang

Kaveri Raina

Kaveri Raina (she/her) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 and her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011. Raina has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Chapter NY, New York; Twelve Gates Arts, Philadelphia, PA; PATRON Gallery, Chicago, IL; M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Abattoir Gallery, Cleveland, OH; Annarumma Gallery, Naples, Italy; Assembly Room, New York, NY; Rata Projects, New York, NY; Permanent Collection/Co-Lab Projects, Austin, TX; Permanent Collection/Co-Lab Projects, Austin, TX; Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA, among others. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the National Indo-American Museum, Lombard, IL; Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Klaus von Nichtssagend, New York, NY; Luhring Augustine, New York, NY, among others. Raina is the recipient of several fellowships and awards including the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship, the Ox-bow Residency Award, and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture Fellowship Award. She is represented by PATRON Gallery, Chicago, IL.

Liang Shaoji

Liang Shaoji

Liang Shaoji (he/him) studied soft sculpture with Maryn Varbanov at China Academy of Art. For more than thirty years, Liang has been interested in interdisciplinary creation in terms of art and biology, installation and sculpture, new media and textile. His Nature Series sees the life process of silkworms as a creation medium, the interaction in the natural world as his artistic language, time and life as the essential idea. His works are fulfilled with a sense of meditation, philosophy and poetry while illustrating the inherent beauty of silk. Selected exhibitions include: Liang Shaoji: A Silky Entanglement, Power Station of Art, Shanghai; The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (touring exhibition), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Smart Museum of Art; Liang Shaoji: As If, M Woods Art Museum, Beijing; the 3rd Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, the 5th Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon the 48th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Venice, and the 6th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (1999).

Marie Watt

Marie Watt

Marie Watt (she/her) is an American artist. She is a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians and also has German-Scot ancestry. Her interdisciplinary work draws from history, biography, Iroquois protofeminism, and Indigenous teachings; in it, she explores the intersection of history, community, and storytelling. She is represented by PDX Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon; Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, California; and Marc Straus Gallery in New York City, New York. Selected collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Yale University Art Gallery, the Crystal Bridges Museum, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and Renwick Gallery, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum.

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