Solar Flare

Organized by Manual History Machines


January 20 to March 10, 2018

Opening January 20, 2018, 6-9 PM

Solar Flare: a sudden flash of increased Sun’s brightness. According to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, this past September seven solar flares were reported in a row - the strongest in over a decade. As a result, intense, high-frequency radio blackouts and navigation disruption was reported.


Manual History Machines presents Solar Flare; an exhibition featuring artists, Sofía Córdova, Daniel Gibson, Elizabeth Folk, Paul Pescador, Heather Rasmussen, and Shanna Waddell in Gallery Two and The  Dark Room of the Torrance Art Museum. The artists in this exhibition each respond to their environment, and their life through a unique lens of recollection and mediation. They reconstruct experiences that reflect the personal, the psychological and the subjective. Their practices begin with an examination of the self; whether it be the physical body, personal memory, or a significant place. Through distinct processes, these reflections become reconstructed and removed from the artist to address larger issues that are more environmental, global, political, or existential. These larger themes become subverted and masked behind playful sensibilities; a crude, Guston-like touch of the hand, expressive or seemingly casual processes, or visibly awkward moments captured on camera- all to allow for reflection and transformation. Paul Pescador’s films locate a vulnerable version of self based on investigations of “home”. Objects and images perform relatable feelings through his humorous vignettes. Heather Rasmussen brings a video component to the exhibition as well as photos and objects that all derive their sense of tableau from the the body as a sculptural form. Conversely, Shanna Waddell’s paintings and sculptures are devoid of the body, but graft human-scaled found objects into assemblages that, like Rasmussen’s tableaus, bring in an entropic message about life, death, corrosion and reinvention. Daniel Gibson’s paintings reconstruct specific memories or fictionalized stereotypes based on his personal experiences, place and the characters therein. A constructed and critical voice makes its way into the exhibition through the explorations of the subjective experiences in Sofía Córdova’s video piece as well as through the sculptural work of Elizabeth Folk. Solar Flare serves to honor each of the artists and reinforces the crucial role of the subjective experience as a central core - which everything orbits.

Solar Flare was organized by the LA-based curatorial collective, Manual History Machines, comprised of Los Angeles-based artists Bessie Kunath, Daniela Campins, Rema Ghuloum and Tessie Salcido Whitmore. Manual History Machines formed to exhibit and support underrepresented artists through exhibitions, events and community engagement.