Perked up

Monca hosts interactive 1078 Gallery pop-up

“Wide Receivers” by Lauren Ruth

“Wide Receivers” by Lauren Ruth

Photo by Saunthy Singh

A Place to Say: A 1078 Gallery Pop-up Show at MONCA, shows through Jan. 28. Closing reception: Sat. Jan. 27, 6-8 p.m.
Museum of Northern California Art
900 Esplanade

Last month, the 1078 Gallery signed a lease for a new home on Park Avenue. But even though its opening has yet to be determined, the gallery’s board and volunteers aren’t waiting around. Since being evicted in May, they’ve stayed busy by hosting pop-up exhibits around town. For the latest, 1078 board member Amanda Riner organized A Place to Say, an eight-artist, multidiscipline group show that opened at the Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) last week.

Walking in, Lauren Ruth’s “Wide Receivers” immediately lassos viewers with 13 freestanding, large digital print cutouts of human ears in various shapes, colors and ages that seem to practically float in the air. There is nothing macabre here—à la Van Gogh—just human ears in all their curves and lobes, so big you can see every defined pore, vein and prickly hair. Although humorous and whimsical, the collection also points to a society that puts its ears to cellphones rather than listening to the world and people around us.

With ears open, Josh Olivera’s mixed-media “The Chirping of Lot 49” can be heard nearby. The installation is composed of five sawhorses, two equipped with battery packs that power an endless loop of what sounds like a cricket chorus. But is it crickets? Digital prints of long, lacy cicada wings adorning the sawhorses reveal the true chirpers of a song that evokes the hum of Maine-based sculptor Jonathan Borofsky’s “20 Chattering Men.”

Also in this room, Trevor Lalaguna’s “What Would You Wedge?” Four panels each holding20 bisque clay-looking plastic wedges ensconced in purple and green holsters are curious and puzzling. Looking at it from the side, the wedges offer a rhythm in contrast to the static full-frontal view. Lalaguna’s interactive piece will take on more dynamic life at the closing reception (Jan. 27, 6-8 p.m.), when he deconstructs it and distributes the wedges to viewers, requesting responses to the title question.

In the next room, Jory Harms’ “Privilege” reaches almost to the ceiling, looking like a gallows with two large weights on ropes—one with one pulley, the other with three. The lack of balance serves as a commentary on the privilege that’s afforded white males. Look for “Privilege” to come alive as a performance piece at the closing reception.

Jee Hwang gathered 53 adults for “Boarderliners,” an intimate group shot in watercolor and pencil on paper. Up close, her skill captures the demeanor of her subjects, some happy, others not; one plays an accordion, one a guitar, while another sings. The work is a multicultural cross-section of America, with subjects clad in an array of attire: trench coat, swimsuit, burqa, sweatshirt and even a Batman costume.

Stuart Mayer’s “Untitled” digital triptych painting incorporates intricate line work akin to lithograph. Initially, it could appear to be teeming with sea life, a study of anemones and barnacles on the side of an undersea cliff. But the atmospheric treatment of ochre and sienna render it otherworldly, like the surface of Mars.

For the closing reception, in addition to the works coming alive with interactive presentations, there will also be a musical performance by Donald Beaman & The Spirit Molecules. But before that, 1078 is also hosting a fundraiser—this Saturday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m., at Chico Women’s Club—with bands, food trucks and a silent auction to raise money for permits and the remodel of their new space.