Maccarone presents Building Loving and Distrustful Relationships, an exhibition by Edgar Arceneaux. Composed of three bodies of drawings, paintings and a two-channel 16mm film entitled, “I Told Jesus, Change My Name”, Arceneaux plots the ways in which relationship-building (changing the nature of interactions between things) has been an essential element throughout his practice for the last 15 years. Building relationships is at the heart of Arceneaux’s artistic output, bringing together seemingly disparate elements that cross genres, histories and varied materials, to express the deeper meanings about their transient present as well as our primitive past.
Arceneaux’s film is staged inside the artist’s studio, a two-story building in the backyard of his home, filled with works for this show in varied stages of construction. In the center of this open space is a woman singing the song “I Told Jesus, Change My Name” , Merc Arceneaux Sr., the artist’s mother. Her voice, no longer trained as it was fifty years ago, remains an expression of indefinable qualities of warmth and the deep yearning for shared recognition of human suffering. Now into her seventies, Merc’s song pleads for change in some form, without the resolve of ever knowing into what future. Interspersed between segments of her performance are candid exchanges among the camera crew, the artist as director and his protagonist. Accompanied by the singing, the unscripted conversations slowly reveal a portrait of life glimpsed through a central familial relationship.
Each type of drawing possesses meanings in their own right, from investigations into the social bodies of failing cities like Detroit to the intimacy of the family unit, but these connections are complicated and amplified through the representation of the mother and son relationship. The exhibition’s two-dimensional works counterpoint the open studio environment of the film, which loops fluidly back into the present.
Arceneaux graduated with an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, in 2001. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, Switzerland.; ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas; The Kitchen, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam; Gallery 400, University of Illinois Chicago; UCLA Hammer Museum; The Studio Museum in Harlem and at the Pomona University Museum, Pomona, among others. His work was included in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in the “California Biennial 2008” at the Orange County Museum of Art, and in the 2nd Moscow Biennale. Arceneaux’s work has been included in “The Artist’s Museum: Los Angeles Artists 1980-2010”, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Santa Barbara Museum of Art; The Aspen Art Museum; New York City’s First Public Art Quadrennial, presented by Creative Time, Governors Island; in “Uncertain States ofAmerica” at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Oslo, Bard College and the Serpentine Gallery, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Halle für Kunst e.V., Lüneburg; in “Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970”, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the de Appel, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ludwigforum Aachen, Germany. Arceneaux lives and works in Los Angeles.