Hufftington Post Arts & Culture
A timely exhibition called “Excuse me, can I see your ID?” is “not intended for the white gaze.”
By Priscilla Frank Apr 20, 2017
"Each artist featured in Vessel Gallery’s exhibition brings a similarly compelling narrative and utterly singular perspective to the space. Both Lee and Ehrhardt hope the exhibition sparks dialogue that diverges from the typical conversation topics."
“Excuse me, can I see your ID?” features work by Cherisse Alcantara, Rea Lynn de Guzman, Dave Young Kim, Hyeyoung Kim, Kyong Ae Kim, Omid Mokri, Juan Santiago, Sanjay Vora, and Evan Yee. The show runs until May 27 at Vessel Gallery in Oakland, Calif."
KQED Arts culture cue
By Sarah Burke APRIL 13, 2017
"Rea Lynn de Guzman — one of many Filipino artists in the show — contributes ghostly monoprints of delicate “Maria Clara” garments from the Philippines, which are made from pineapple fibers (a plant brought in by the Spanish) and functioned as a way to assimilate to Western beauty standards."
‘Excuse me, can I see your ID?’ is up at Vessel Gallery (471 25th St., Oakland) through May 27. More details here.
KQED Arts culture cue
By Creo Noveno JANUARY 13, 2017
"Rea Lynn de Guzman’s new show TL Dreams is a series of memories — a mix of her imagined and lived experiences in the Tenderloin — presented in a wash of bright acrylics and printed organza.
But more than anything, the pieces serve as a snapshot of all the different shapes liminality can take.
The earlier work in TL Dreams captures de Guzman’s life mid-transition — her immigration from the Philippines to San Francisco’s Turk Street, her shift from youth to adulthood — in a chromatic palette that’s more fever dream than true-to-life. Children are portrayed in model-esque forms, surrounded by jeepneys and other paraphernalia of a life left in the Philippines.
“I am interested in the perplexing nature of these in-between, psychological experiences that are often difficult to process or talk about but could possibly flow freely in the form of art,” de Guzman says.
The show is inspired by a specific time and place: the Tenderloin in the early aughts, as remembered by de Guzman and fellow immigrant friends in the neighborhood.
“The Tenderloin holds a unique, special place in my heart. It’s where I ‘grew up’ in the United States,” de Guzman says. She recalls the neighborhood as a place where she developed friendships with other young immigrants who were similarly struggling to find their place in a new home. The Tenderloin was also where de Guzman began her foray into the arts, painting her very first piece during an art day at the former Tenderloin YMCA.
Yet just as present in her memories are the harsh realities of the Tenderloin and the violence that sometimes erupted in her neighborhood, which de Guzman says she revisits and attempts to work out in the second, newer part of her show. “I still have many questions and unresolved emotions about these experiences,” she says, “and I have no single answer to it.”
de Guzman opts for more muted colors in her recent pieces, her subjects less defined against the cityscapes image-transferred onto organza. They almost serve as a retrospective of both her previous work and her previous self, her restrained palette intentional in both mood and message (she says her move toward brown tones is an effort to question art’s hegemonic whiteness).
Lots of changes have come since de Guzman’s time in the Tenderloin — she has long since relocated to the Castro — but her love for the neighborhood and the memories that linger within it remain close to her heart."
“I think many people tend to magnify or focus on superficial stereotypes about the Tenderloin — crime, drugs, seediness,” she says, “but to me it is full of character, with a rich history, and a place to call home.”
‘TL Dreams’ runs from Jan. 12–Feb. 23, 2017, with a closing reception and artist lecture on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7pm at the Tenderloin Museum, co-presented by Root Division. For more information, see here."
The Asian journal
By Malou Liwanag-Bledsoe
Published: January 12, 2017
"Born in Manila, Philippines in 1985, de Guzman’s parents separated when she was only six years old. Her father then immigrated to Italy to work. She and her mother moved to the United States in 1999 when her late grandmother’s petition was approved. Unfortunately, de Guzman’s two other siblings were left behind because they had exceeded the age limit (21) to emigrate with a parent.
They initially lived with relatives in San Diego then moved to the Bay Area, eventually settling in the Tenderloin, where she spent most of her formative years.
She shared that although she loved art when she was a child, she didn’t have the privilege of being exposed to it.
“I was initially a business major at the University of California Riverside. It wasn’t until I attended the City College of San Francisco, where I took art classes on a whim to fulfill some requirements, when I rediscovered my passion for art. My painting instructor saw some potential in my early work and encouraged me to pursue art. The CCSF art department nominated me for a scholarship, which enabled me to transfer to the San Francisco Art Institute. That’s where I gained further foundational skills, and found catharsis and more meaning in art; it helped me deal with the displacement and familial disconnect I experienced from my immigration to the United States from the Philippines at age 14. A few years later, I received my MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.”
de Guzman’s “Retaso” series reflects on how we view “the ideal Filipina” through the iconography of “Maria Clara,” specifically symbolizing the longstanding stereotype.”
“I am drawn by the materiality of the synthetic organza (organza as an ingredient in the ‘Maria Clara’ dresses, woven with piña fiber) and its subtle, sheer beauty, amidst its haunting/ghostly, and mysterious qualities. I focus on the synthetic to emphasize its fake-ness, echoing the expectations of the ‘Maria Clara’ embodiment in Filipinas.
“In addition, I select colors that evoke skin tone variations to highlight the spectrum of brownness to ‘Maria Clara’’s preferred whiteness as a mestiza, which has been equated to the ideal female beauty and status in the Philippines. Essentially, I want the viewer to question these imposed stereotypes, to think about unbalanced power structures and hegemony in colonized cultures. I want my work to empower Filipinas and inspire them to stop bleaching their skin and injecting glutathione. Shades of brown skin are beautiful and in no way shape or form inferior to whiteness,” she said.
At present, de Guzman is the first Filipina Teaching Artist Fellow at Root Division. Root Division is a visual arts non-profit that connects creativity and community through a dynamic ecosystem of arts education, exhibitions, and studios.
“Through this fellowship, I will be teaching art to underserved children in the Galing Bata program at the Filipino Education Center in Bessie Carmichael Elementary School,” she excitedly shared.
Her advice to other struggling Filipino artists trying to make it in the mainstream?"
“As an artist, I believe it’s important to be honest with yourself and to not force anything in the work. Engage with your interests and passion, obsess, create, research, experiment, play, fail, and try again.”