At NIAD : May Exhibitions//

Hailing From Parts Unknown, Organized By Curtis Turner

Inspired by questions of taste, “Hailing from Parts Unknown” is a show curated by a collector with questionable taste. Main themes draw from deep thought into aesthetic response theory, vintage professional wrestling promos and favorite colors. The works selected raise questions of origin or are characters of mystery, while others are incredible works shaped by a unique visionary.

You might find yourself asking, “What part of the brain responds to mysterious beauty?” It’s the same part that will hit the ground when your friends’ body slam you for not attending this show. 

If you do have the courage to walk down the streets of Richmond, California, the guts to darken the door of NIAD, and the gall to look eye-to-eye with the greatest artists from West Coast to East, be prepared to square off against all five senses and your bank account because the need to own great art is rarely defeated. Brace yourself for a gut punch from the otherworldly strength found in the art being produced inside the four walls of NIAD.

“Hailing from Parts Unknown” is a chance to shine a light on a collection of outstanding work by NIAD artists first, but it’s also a call out to anyone willing and able to step up to the challenge of filling their walls and shelves with great art and support an organization that is housing some of the top contemporary artists on this planet. Without support the light fades and this art hails from parts unknown.

Hailing from Blairsville, Georgia Curtis Turner has spent the last 19 years coaching Division One athletes at four different colleges as strength and conditioning coach.  To balance out his calling to coach, Curtis spends much of his free time collecting, viewing, and learning about art. In the future, Turner  — who is neurotypical — hopes to continue organizing exhibitions and become a lead advocate for art to the next generation of collectors. 

NIAD Art Center previously exhibited highlights from Curtis Turner’s art collection, but this is the first exhibition he has organized at the Art Center.

Nina Else

Neurotypical ceramicist Nina Else’s reason for creating art is contained in the final object, its form and color. She attempts shapes that have their own dynamic and energy, with a bit of playfulness added. Many are simply pods, loaves, standing blocks, or chunks of color. Sometimes Else combines components and shapes, a sort of three-dimensional collage. All of her work is hand built using different sculpture clays, with low-fire glazes and under glazes. Pieces are glazed and finished sometimes months after making them, while the small bits and pieces may wait years to get used. 

Nina Else grew up in Portola Valley, California, went to Peninsula School in Menlo Park and then to high school in Montevideo, Uruguay. She graduated from San Jose State College in 1973 with a BA in painting. In 1989 she started to transition from painting, printmaking and collage, to hand-built ceramic sculpture. She was affiliated with the co-operative Gallery House in Palo Alto from 1984 to 1998. Her ceramic work has also been handled by Virginia Breier Gallery in San Francisco, Solomon Dubnick Gallery and Exploding Head Gallery in Sacramento, Chapline Gallery in Stinson Beach, and Tercera Gallery in Palo Alto. Nina Else has been an exhibiting member of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California since 1995.

This is Nina Else’s first solo show at NIAD Art Center.

Business Casual

For the past several years, NIAD artists have been tackling the forms and function of clothing and accessories. Refurbishing or renewing gently used articles or cutting and knotting entirely new forms. Covering found jackets with dense layers of signs and symbols. With “Business Casual,” we’ll show you what clothes that look great on a wall or on you.

Oh Sister! New Ceramic Work By Lexa Walsh

“Oh Sister!” is a selection of vessel-portraits of the nuns of Lexa Walsh’s childhood at Catholic schools outside Philadelphia. They are complex characters that were teachers, facilitators, keepers of order, punishers, crushes, and more. As Walsh explores ceramics — after years away from it — she is finding the simple vessel is a natural entry point that holds inherent meaning, while the portrait, which she exploits in experimental ways in her socially engaged practice, is a chance to incite conversation about the nuanced stories of the roles of these very strong, often thorny influences from her childhood.

Lexa Walsh is a neurotypical artist and cultural worker based in Oakland, California, who examines and creates social ties in order to craft Hospitable Democracies.

She is a graduate of Portland State University’s Art & Social Practice MFA program and has a BFA in Ceramics from California College of Arts and Crafts. She was Social Practice Artist in Residence in Portland Art Museum’s Education department. She was a recipient of Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure Award, the CEC Artslink Award, and the Gunk Grant and was a de Young Artist Fellow. Walsh has participated in projects, exhibitions and performances locally and nationally at Apexart, di Rosa, The Lab, NIAD, Oakland Museum of California, Portland Art Museum, Smack Mellon, Walker Art Center, and Williams College Museum of Art, and has done several international artist residencies, tours and projects in Europe and Asia.

Her upbringing as the youngest child of fifteen informs her work, as does practicing collectivity while coming of age in the post punk cultural scene of the 1990’s.  She founded the experimental music and performance venue the Heinz Afterworld Lounge, and worked for many years as a curator and administrator at CESTA, an international art center in Czech republic, whose team created radical curatorial projects to foster cross-cultural understanding. Walsh co-founded and conceived of the all women, all toy instrument ensemble Toychestra who has performed at SFMoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Exploratorium, and Cité de la Musique. She founded and organizes Oakland Stock, the Oakland branch of the Sunday Soup network micro-granting dinner series that supports artists’ projects. Lexa Walsh is currently a 2018-19 Kala Print Public awardee.

Although she has previously organized an exhibition at NIAD, this is Lexa’s first solo exhibition at the Art Center.

“Hailing From Parts Unknown,” “Nina Else,” “Business Casual,” and “Oh Sister!” are on view May 4-23, 2019 at NIAD Art Center’s galleries, 551 23rd Street in Richmond. Opening reception is Saturday, May 18 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.