MCLA Gallery 51 to Present Solo Exhibition By Eliza Barrios


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - MCLA Gallery 51 will premiere a solo exhibition of new and cumulative work by Filipina-American artist Eliza Barrios on Thursday, Sept. 26. The exhibit will include text based drawings, single-channel video projections and photographs from Barrios' collaborative project, "Mail Order Brides/M.O.B." 

This mixed-media installation, "Writing Series: (Manga) Sulat Sa Pader* (Writing on the Wall)," will draw material from both English and Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. "(Manga) Sulat Sa Pader" translates from Tagalog to English as "Writing on the Wall."

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

"Writing Series: (Manga) Sulat Sa Pader* (Writing on the Wall)" is an exploration of the written word. The work is inspired by the obsolescence of an individual's written mark, and the overall fragility of communication, according to Barrios. 

"As technology imposes itself on our methods of personal exchange and communication, we find that the act and gesture of writing is becoming obsolete," she said. 

Through a text-based environment of video, ink on paper and graphite on vellum, Barrios intends to illuminate the shift of expression that is occurring around us, and the importance of maintaining and utilizing the written word.

By including photographs by the "Mail Order Brides/M.O.B." in this exhibition, Barrios presents another dimension of her artistic practice. For over a decade, Barrios has been working with collaborators Reanne Estrada and Jenifer Wofford as "Mail Order Brides/M.O.B.," a group of Filipina American artists engaged in an ongoing investigation of culture, race and gender.

Traditionally, mail order brides are considered to be ideal and obedient women relegated to domestic settings, yet it has not escaped this trio's attention that Mail Order Brides abbreviates down to a more sinister series of initials, M.O.B., which informs the darker subtext of their "connivings and conspirings," Barrios said.

At MCLA Gallery 51, Barrios will exhibit excerpts from M.O.B.'s "Honeymoon Suites," a photographic series created at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Madonna Inn is an annual meeting place for the M.O.B. collective, who find inspiration in the hotel's grandeur and striking Central Coast setting. The artists view these photographs as a reconciliation of the disparate aspects of fantasy/reality, to the point of "ceasing to exist as contradictory states."  At the core of these images is the collective's ongoing analysis of culture, race, and gender. 

Barrios is an interdisciplinary artist who is based in San Francisco, Calif. Working primarily in new media and site-specific installation, she questions systems of belief by exploring various processes of self-reflection. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Mills College.

"Mail Order Brides/M.O.B." have been scheming, entertaining and creating together for over 18 years. Their work ranges from video and performance to public art. "Mail Order Brides/M.O.B." have shown in various museums, galleries and film festivals, including the DeYoung Museum (San Francisco, Calif.), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, Calif.), the Mix Festival (New York, N.Y), SF International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (San Francisco, Calif.) and the Luggage Store Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.).

"Writing Series: (Manga) Sulat Sa Pader* (Writing on the Wall)" will be on view in MCLA Gallery 51 through Oct. 27.

MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.

The gallery is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is at 51 Main St.  North Adams, Mass.   For more information, (413) 664 8718, or go to Gallery51.

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