March 30 - April 30, 2016

Michael Arcega

A Scene from the Anthropocene

Linfield Gallery is pleased to present a significant new solo exhibition featuring San Francisco-based artist Michael Arcega. Working with themes of exploration, map-making, and cultural exchange, Arcega's work subverts and mutates the outsider/insider narratives that form the underpinning of our national identity. It will be the artist's first solo exhibition in Oregon.

Over the past 6 years, Arcega has been exploring the cultures and customs of the Nacirema, a group famously documented by anthropologist Horace Miner. Miner describes the Nacirema as - a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east.

Drawing from his experiences living with the Nacirema, Arcega has created a body of work that brings new perspectives to a culture that is still poorly understood. The exhibition at Linfield centers on Arcega's hand-made, collapsible Pacific outrigger canoe, which he has christened BABY. The artist has used the vessel as a "medium for intercultural navigation," traversing waterways across the country and collecting material for his installations.

This spirit of exploration that animates Arecga's work takes on special significance in Oregon, where it can be considered in context with Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery Expedition and others who have shaped the American West.


Arcega, assistant professor at San Francisco State University, is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and installation. His research-based work revolves largely around language and sociopolitical dynamics. Directly informed by historic narratives, material significance and geography, his subject matter deals with circumstances where power relations are unbalanced. He has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Stanford University. His work has been exhibited at venues including the Asian Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Orange County Museum of Art, The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Cue Arts Foundation, and the Asia Society in New York, among others.

This exhibition is sponsored by the Lacroute Art Series and the Department of Art and Visual Culture. The Lacroute Arts Series at Linfield College is made possible by the generosity of Ronni Lacroute, Linfield College trustee and arts benefactor. The series, sponsored by the Lacroute Arts Fund at Linfield College, is dedicated to helping the college present art events and activities for the campus and community. It provides programs featuring artists in the areas of music, art and visual culture, and theatre and communication arts.

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