Third Street Gallery archive: 2015 Exhibitions: Status Update

Humboldt State University First Street Gallery presents, Status Update, an exhibition featuring mixed-media works by Ricardo Febré and Michele McCall-Wallace, on display September 29 to November 8. 

The exhibition explores personal interactions and the broad use and complexities of social media.  With their art, they bring attention to our society’s use of technologies to communicate, the connections made through social media, the residue such interactions create, and the void left behind when the exchange has ended.

The artists examine changes in language, culture, and the media platforms on which the public holds debate and discussion, often without filter, inflected by a belief in relative anonymity or blatant indifference.  Febré and McCall-Wallace look at how we have woven social media into our daily activities and how we use it to communally share the human experience. They examine how social media-based interactions continue to define who we are.  Through their work, they draw correlations with the near and far past while inviting us to better see our collective present.

Ricardo Febré focuses on a variety of contemporary social issues in the United States that have generated controversy across social media.  He states that:

I am aware of how the medium can easily be used to spread nonsense. A few years backs, I came across hundreds of messages that were tweeted following the release of the war movie Red Dawn, which depicts the fictional conflict between an Asian nation and the United States. These 140-character tweets were tremendously racist.

The second instance when I saw the power of the medium was during the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who followed and killed teenager, Trayvon Martin. Through social media, there were debates about gun violence, racial profiling, and unfortunately— there were the people who just wanted to be hateful.

My typographic and graphic works for this show are not a critique of the medium, but rather an exploration of our culture through social media: How we— as a society— interact through posts and threads; its effect on our psyche; and how culture acts and reacts online and in the real world.

Febré and McCall-Wallace, who both teach in the Art Department at Humboldt State University, will exhibit an array of large-scale graphics-based panels, videos, sculptural installations, sound pieces and expressive typographic works.  Some pieces are interactive, meant to engage the public in the design and the evolution actual pieces, and to encourage the public to share their creations on social media. For instance, in her piece, Old School Selfie, McCall-Wallace invites participants to draw their face on  chalkboard panels, then take a selfie with their hand-drawn self-portrait (old-school selfie), attach the panel to the wall and post their picture on the gallery's Instagram or Facebook account by identifying it with a hashtag.

A reception for the artists will be held at HSU First Street Gallery on Saturday, October 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during Eureka’s monthly Arts Alive program.  The event is free and open to the public HSU First Street Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. and is located at 422 First Street in Eureka, California.  Admission is free. Those planning group tours are encouraged to call ahead. For more information call 707-443-6363