A 'Sea of Change' is flowing into the San Diego Art Institute

Kicking off a public reception on Nov. 30 from 6-8 p.m., the San Diego Art Institute launches its new multimedia, interactive show entitled Rising Tide featuring solo exhibitions by artists Francisco Eme, Jacob Sundstrom, and Jana Brike.

In alliance with UCSD’s Qualcomm Institute, the evening will include an interactive visual and sound installation entitled Erasure by Jacob Sundstrom. Curated by Sarah Trujillo-Porter, San Diego Art Institute’s deputy director, the exhibition also includes sculptural sound and interactive video installations from Eme entitled Parallel Planes, and a series of paintings entitled Sea of Change by Brike, all on display through Jan. 6, 2019.

Ahead of the opening reception, PACIFIC spoke with Brike about her insights on the feminine journey, spirituality, symbolism, and the changing paradigms for women in the art world.

PACIFIC: The women in these paintings are various ages and seem to be on a journey. Where are they going?

JANA BRIKE: The journey itself is the destination, like with life. You don’t live a life for the purpose of finishing it up at an end point of specific destination. Each age or stage is a value, with its unique perspectives and outlooks, each gives you very special unique revelations, and is important in itself and not because it will lead you to the next one. If there is any destination at all, then it is to lead you closer to yourself.  

What art movements inspire your work?

I do enjoy the intertextuality and rich layers of meaning of postmodern art in many of its forms, but there tends to be too much cynicism, even to a degree of hopelessness, which I would not want to be the point of my art. I do love the spiritual emphasis of symbolism, but there is sometimes too much seriousness there and floating off to other worlds instead of grounding what you believe in into this reality, which I think crucial.

How does the water (and your crashing waves) speak to the feminine?

Water and earth are the elements of the feminine as opposed to air and fire as masculine in many cultures. It does stand for the feminine as the deep dark unconscious, the dream world and the emotional plane, necessary for anything living, yet potentially violent and powerful when in a moving mass, yielding and relentless, birth-giving and life-sustaining, but being capable of annihilating the world, holding in itself the life-death-rebirth mystery.

Do each of the animals in your paintings — like the tiger, owl — have a symbolic role for women?

Yes, although some have come in quite freely and intuitively. I feel my work as a visual poem, so the meanings are not straightforward and one-sided. But there is a certain energy that we associatively connect to certain animals. A woman can be a tigress in the morning, a snake in the afternoon and a dove in the evening (smiles).

As a female artist, how have you seen women's roles in the art world change in your career?

I personally see the greatest value no so much in competing with men in a world whose main paradigms have been made, sustained and perpetuated by men through ages to boost the roles of men, but by changing these paradigms we live by altogether. Not by changing our role in the world, but by changing the world itself in a way that brings much less competitive, and much more inclusive outlooks on society to the table, where everybody has an integral and meaningful role. No one is seen as higher or lower, but in their own very special space and role like in a family. It is happening already little by little in some ways, if you compare to a few decades ago. It will happen more, I'm sure of it.

What is your advice to young female artists trying to be seen and heard in the art world?

Stay true to yourself, learn not to lie to yourself. Find your true unique voice. Talk of what is really and from the bottom of the heart with a brave honesty. It will reverberate in others. And it's not just about artists or women, it's true for everyone.

Rising Tide

When: Sept. 30 through Jan. 6, 2019 with opening reception at 6 p.m. Sept. 30

Where: San Diego Art Institute, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park

More info: sandiego-art.org

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