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“how we’re in time and house: Nancy Buchanan, Marcia Hafif, Barbara T. Smith” at Armory Heart for the Arts

“how we’re in time and house: Nancy Buchanan, Marcia Hafif, Barbara T. Smith” at Armory Heart for the Arts

“how we are in time and space: Nancy Buchanan, Marcia Hafif, Barbara T. Smith” at Armory Center for the Arts

In 1969, Nancy Buchanan (b. 1946), Marcia Hafif (1929–2018), and Barbara T. Smith (b. 1931), met as college students within the inaugural class of the College of California, Irvine’s MFA studio artwork program. The three artists, all divorced moms, rapidly discovered kinship of their mutual penchant for experimental genres and feminist points. After graduating in 1971, Smith and Buchanan grew to become concerned with the Southern California feminist artwork motion, whereas Hafif moved to New York to pursue her profession as an summary painter. Regardless of their diverging paths, the trio remained lifelong pals. Curated by Michael Ned Holte, “how we’re in time and house” spotlights their intersections by way of an eclectic mixture of movies, work, drawings, efficiency paperwork, and archival supplies. 

To peruse this exhibition is to meander by way of a labyrinth of non-public and creative particulars that, given time, result in all method of discovery. Works are grouped into three thematic sections—“our bodies/embodiment,” “communication,” and “dwelling”—that merge seamlessly into each other. From faculty days to current years, every artist has pushed the boundaries of conventional media whereas sustaining a dedication to mining the quotidian material of her lived expertise and environment, gathering threads of perception to weave into artwork.

Included within the present are a number of twin collaborations; however just one, a mail-art challenge initiated by Buchanan, instantly concerned all three. But the presentation’s most intriguing revelations are the serendipitous visible and conceptual affinities educed amongst works they created as people. For example, the wry humor and fanciful narrative of Buchanan’s WOLFWOMAN, 1976—{a magazine} unfold by which the artist imagines herself because the titular creature, preying on male artists when she menstruates—finds its counterpart in Smith’s wall set up, The Conspiracy, 1972/2022, that includes a sensationalistic array of semifictional character sketches, reminiscent of “Van Man: A hunted legal,” primarily based on snapshots of her assistants and cohorts.

Three items tackle these quintessential Californian themes: banality and the ocean. Put in facet by facet on the exhibition’s terminus, they make a long-lasting impression. These are Buchanan’s kitschy panorama print, After California: William Wendt, 1999–2017, depicting dismal up to date beachfront condominiums; Smith’s introspective The Westside, A Blessed Time, 2011–15, a photomontage that splices collectively city scenes, seascapes, and home interiors; and Hafif’s contemplative hour-long video Seashore Rocks, Winter, 1999, which options an all-star forged of seaside stones. Taken individually, these works won’t have appeared so vital; however in unison, they resonate powerfully.

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