LEGACY:

Binta Ayofemi
Adrian L. Burrell
Rachel Bridges
Ivan Bridges
Masako Miki
Jean Isamu Nagai

January 18 - March 4, 2023
Artist Reception: Friday, January 20, 6-8 PM

Inquire


CULT Aimee Friberg is delighted to present LEGACY, a group exhibition featuring work by Binta Ayofemi, Adrian L. Burrell, Rachel Bridges, Ivan Bridges, Masako Miki, and Jean Isamu Nagai. LEGACY opens on Wednesday January 18 and runs through March 4, with an artist reception on Friday, January 20, from 6 to 8 PM. Both backward and forward looking, the artists in LEGACY recognize the influence of ancestral relationships and/or artists with whom they share a distinct affinity or life experience, and consider their own impact.

Through each of the artists’ works presented in LEGACY, the nuanced complexities of our human nature— indeed, at times, a sordidness—and also a resilience, are revealed. In Traces (An Ode to Ana Mendieta), Los Angeles-based, Filipino American artist Rachel Bridges references the work of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta through parallel themes of ancient art, power, the feminine, rebirth, spirituality and death. Bridges finds Mendieta’s work especially relevant today, in light of continuing injustices for women in the U.S. and around the world – which include Mendieta's controversial death and the subsequent murder acquittal of her artist-husband Carl Andre. Also investigating human emotion around trauma and intense experiences, Los Angeles based artist Ivan Bridges makes cinematically-inspired paintings that showcase raw emotion through the least gestures possible. Featured in LEGACY, Bridges’ two paintings–one in oil, and another in oil and charcoal, are influenced by the controversial Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, whose depictions of females in kinbaku-bi (translating to ‘the beauty of tight-bonding’) stir much debate around the male gaze.

Born in Osaka, Japan and based in Berkeley for over twenty years, artist Masako Miki references the Shinto traditions and mythology of her native Japan in her sculpture, watercolor and installation work. For LEGACY, Miki reveals a new watercolor from her Hyakki Yagyo series, and two new painted bronze works which all depict various states of the mythological yōkai –shapeshifters that can take the form of commonplace objects, animals and humans. Miki’s shapeshifter characters embodied in her paintings and sculptures are ambiguous – they are simultaneously animate and inanimate, sacred and secular, and for Miki reflect the fluidity of gender and biracial identities.Through Miki’s examination of these ancient mythologies, she addresses contemporary narratives around human identity and transformation. Miki’s two bronze Plant Ghosts were in part, inspired by her love and appreciation for Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture parks.

Through a combination of film, photography, sculpture and installation, Bay Area based artist Adrian L. Burrell’s work closes the gap between oral history, written text and moving image while creating a space for collective memory. His work focuses on notions of kinship, diasporic narratives, and the gaps between place and belonging. LEGACY features Burrell’s poetic short film The Saints Step in Kongo Time, a visual meditation on his family’s untold history spanning several generations from Louisiana to California, as well as a selection of photographs from his series It’s the End of the World, Don’t You Know It? presented at SFMOMA in 2021. In the photographic works of It’s the End of the World, Don’t You Know It? Burrell depicts his grandmother and sister posing in front of murals across Oakland, referencing his grandmother’s immense legacy and his family’s resilience amidst a backdrop of the simmering tensions and injustices witnessed and experienced by Black Americans locally, and nationally.

Jean Isamu Nagai, whose work is informed by the spiritual relationship between people and their landscapes, will show two paintings that demonstrate his departure from an unadulterated repetition of pointillism to a more dense and three-dimensional texture. Kofun speaks to the megalithic tombs found throughout northeastern Asian countries which are speculated to reference the deep cultural ties between Japan, Korea and China, or are also thought to reference evidence of aliens. His work Two Bridges, is perhaps both a metaphorical reference and indeed a literal reference to two depictions of bridges, one by Claude Monet, and the second by Katsushika Hokusai. Oakland based artist Binta Ayofemi uses urban and natural materials such as found corrugated steel and reclaimed raw and milled eucalyptus trees to evoke power, Black space and the senses. Inspired by the Black Panthers and Black Shakers, Ayofemi’s works infuse an Afrofuturist narrative; her works Untitled (Sampling; Mandala Parkway) 2023, and Black Cosmic Bases, 2023 both evoke new narratives around urban voids, economy, displacement, duration and radical imagination. Ayofemi’s work in LEGACY is dialogue with her solo exhibition as part of SFMOMA’s 2022-2023 SECA Award, on view at the museum through 2023.


Artist Biographies


Binta Ayofemi (b. Brooklyn) is an Oakland-based visual artist shaping new urban forms and urban materials to evoke power, Black space, and the senses. Inspired by the Black Panthers and Black Shakers, Ayofemi’s works infuse an Afrofuturist narrative with objects and experiences gathered, honed, milled and performed. Ayofemi’s artwork GROUND, a series of sites and buildings beginning in Oakland, generates new narratives around urban voids, economy, displacement, freedom, duration, and radical imagination. Ayofemi explores movement, making, manufacturing, and authorship of public and private space. Ayofemi’s activation of vacant sites, from an urban meadow to a reimagined corner store, suggests a state of mutability and transformation. Ayofemi’s work has been featured by Untitled Art {what city], Kadist Foundation (San Francisco), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard (Cambridge), the Wattis Institute (San Francisco), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), the New Museum (New York), dOCUMENTA [Kassel), the British Arts Council, Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation (Chicago), the American Institute of Architects, the City of Oakland, and the City of San Francisco. Ayofemi is a winner of SFMOMA’s prestigious 2022 SECA Art Award.

Adrian L. Burrell (b. 1990, Oakland) is an artist employing photography, film, and site-specific installation to examine issues of race, class, and intergenerational dynamics. His work focuses on notions of kinship, diasporic narratives, and the gaps between place and belonging. Burrell’s multimedia projects draw deeply on his own family’s history, combining interviews, video, and archival materials to trace a multigenerational journey from Senegal to Louisiana to Oakland. His photographic series It’s the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet? debuted at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in 2021, exploring themes of legacy and family with personal, incisive stories of Bay Area life. Surveying lineages of revolt against racial oppression, Burrell’s work is a call to action, drawing upon his own experience with police brutality and interrogating how we confront our past and build our future. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Burrell has lived and worked on four continents and served as a volunteer educator in San Francisco, teaching film to youth in detention. Burrell has exhibited in spaces as varied as the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China, Photoville in New York City, and at SFMOMA, where his work was acquired for the permanent collection. His work and films have been presented around the world in varied publications and venues from The New Yorker to Pop Up Magazine. Burrell earned a BFA in film from San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History, where he served as the Black Graduate Student Community Outreach Chair. His solo exhibition Sugarcane and Lightning Pt.3 is currently on display at the ICA San Jose. Burrell has just finished a residency in Dakar at Kehinde Wiley’s Black Rock Senegal.

Rachel Bridges (b. 1982, San Francisco) is a first generation Filipino American artist born in San Francisco, California. Bridges’ work addresses themes of death, transcendence, and trauma. Her large scale paintings reference lesser told historical narratives and her own familial origins, especially the impact of Colonialism. She utilizes a rigorous application of dense paint to infuse emotion and ethos, depicting strong heroines and figures caught in challenging moments of transformation and defiance. Bridges infuses her paintings with ancient spiritualism and ideology from Indigenous cultures of her matrilineal line. Her work has appeared in group exhibitions in Los Angeles at Sade, Tlaloc Studios, Spring Break Art Fair and at Vama Gallery at Los Angeles City College, and as a solo exhibition at Sade Gallery in 2022. Bridges earned a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work will be part of a two-person exhibition with Ivan Bridges at CULT Bureau, Oakland in March 2023.

Los Angeles based artist Ivan Bridges (b. 1984, Portland, OR) was born in the Pacific Northwest, and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Largely influenced by cult cinema, Bridges’ work utilizes deep emotion, trauma and heightened experiences from a selection of found images that “quicken the heart”. Bridge is interested in the psychological effect of transference and how the redirection of emotions or feelings can find expression through the trace of his hand. With a background in watercolor, and working now in oil on canvas, Bridge limits himself to the least gestures possible to render an ecstatic sentiment. His work has been exhibited at Tlaloc Studios, Spring Break Art Fair, Fun Gal, Ground Floor Contemporary and Sade, where he also had a solo exhibition in 2021. Bridges studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London in 2009 and received a BFA in 2011 from San Francisco Art Institute. His work will be a part of a two-person exhibition with Rachel Bridges at CULT Bureau, Oakland in March 2023.

Jean Isamu Nagai (b.1979 Seattle, WA) is known for his intricate abstract landscapes inspired by the spiritual relationship between people and the natural world. Nagai’s mixed-media canvases feature a Pointillist style of dotted painting augmented with unconventional materials as correction fluid, pumice, sand, and psilocybe cyanescens. By engaging in a meditative process by which the sum of many individual dots accumulate to form a larger synergic whole, Nagai’s work both creates and explores a spiritual microcosm and macrocosm that shifts between the physical, digital and political landscape. The resulting works are hypnotic and contemplative, nodding to the transcendental and unseen. Nagia received a BA from The Evergreen State College in 2004; he lives and works on the West Coast.

Masako Miki (b. 1973, Osaka) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work includes a wide range of materials. Miki’s playful and inviting watercolor drawings, felt and bronze sculptures, and immersive installations are inspired by Japanese animistic traditions and folklore. By offering unique interpretations of the ancient mythologies, Miki attempts to craft new mythologies concerning our cultural identity as social collectives. Miki has exhibited at venues including de Young Museum, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Katonah Museum of Art. In 2021, Miki completed a public art installation of nine bronze sculptures commissioned for Uber Technologies’ HQ in San Francisco and also completed an outdoor sculptural installation at the Baoan Binhai Cultural Park in Shenzhen, China. Currently, she is developing functional sculptures for the Minna-Natoma Art Corridor Project, in partnership with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Previously, Miki was a resident artist at Kamiyama Artists in Residency, Tokushima, Japan; Facebook Artist in Residence, Menlo Park, California; and the de Young Museum, San Francisco. She received the 2018 Inga Maren Otto Fellowship from the Watermill Center in New York and 2019 Master Artist Award from Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. Her works are in the collections of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Facebook, The Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation, Colección Solo in Madrid Spain, and other private collections. Miki received her MFA from San Jose State University and lives and works in Berkeley, California. She has been represented by CULT Aimee Friberg since 2013.

Current

LEGACY: Binta Ayofemi, Adrian L. Burrell, Rachel Bridges, Ivan Bridges, Masako Miki, and Jean Isamu Nagai
January 18 - March 4, 2023

Past

ZHIVAGO DUNCAN: Measuring Consciousness
September 15 - December 10, 2022

CULT Bureau: Gaze Interrupted
September 17 - November 19, 2022

AMY NATHAN: Slipknot Loophole
May 14 - August 26, 2022

Rebekah Goldstein: Welcome Home Stranger
March 19 - May 7, 2022

Sapiens / Stories at CULT Bureau
November 10, 2021 - April 30, 2022

Physics & Fiction
January 20 - March 12, 2022

Chris Fallon: Irresistible Deception
October 15 - December 18, 2021

Sapiens / Stories on 8-Bridges
October 7 - November 3, 2021

Masako Miki: New Mythologies
June 16 - October 12, 2021

Tales of Metamorphosis: Rebekah Goldstein, James Perkins, and Amy Nathan
June 3 - 30, 2021

Janus II - CULT's 7 Year Anniversary Exhibition
April 9 - May 20, 2021

Troy Chew: Yadadamean
October 17 - December 12, 2020

We’re all in this together
August 14 - October 10, 2020

Beyond Words
June 26 - August 29, 2020

Ritual of Succession
January 10 - March 28, 2020

Record of Succession at fused space
January 13 - March 27, 2020

AMY NATHAN: Glyph Slipper
September 13 - December 7, 2019

FEMALE TROUBLE 2
June 28 - August 3, 2019

RUXUE ZHANG
April 20 - June 15, 2019

MASAKO MIKI: Shapeshifters
January 12 - March 23, 2019

JASKO BEGOVIC (SKO HABIBI): HUMAN_E.T.
November 30 - December 14, 2019

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: See You On The Flipside
September 8 - November 25, 2018

FEMALE TROUBLE
June 9 - July 28, 2018

TERRI LOEWENTHAL: Psychscapes
March 2 - May 19, 2018

VECINOS
October 27, 2017 - January 20, 2018

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life
January 10 – March 4, 2017

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Release Me
October 21 - December 10, 2016

NO SHOW MUSEUM: Yves Klein, Maria Eichhorn, Daniel Knorr, Etc.
One Night Only: Monday, October 17, 2016

DESIRÉE HOLMAN: Selected Works
September 17 - October 8, 2016

SHE MOONAGE DAYDREAM:
Facundo Argañaraz, Leah Guadagnoli, Desirée Holman, Kara Joslyn, Max Maslansky, Liz Robb, Tamra Seal, Emily Weiner, & Cate White

July 16 - August 20, 2016

PABLO DÁVILA: Ladies & Gentlemen,
We Are Floating In Space

May 13 - July 9, 2016

MASAKO MIKI: Conversations with Fox, Feather, and Ghost
March 4 - April 30, 2016

SUZY POLING: Total Internal Reflection
January 15 - February 27, 2016

DAN GLUIBIZZI: You Don’t Have to be Alone Tonight
November 6 – December 19, 2015

FRANCESCO IGORY DEIANA: Haptic Render
September 11- October 31, 2015

SEXXXITECTURE: Daniel Gerwin, Rebekah Goldstein, Roman Liška, Max Maslansky, May Wilson & Jake Ziemann
July 1 - August 1, 2015

ADAM SORENSEN: In Situ
May 1 - June 27, 2015

KLARA KÄLLSTRÖM & THOBIAS FÄLDT: Village / High Hills
February 27 - April 25, 2015

PRINCE RAMA: How To Live Forever
January 25 – February 21, 2015

JOSEPH DUMBACHER & JOHN DUMBACHER: Divert (Out of Line)
November 7, 2014 – January 16, 2015

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: Passenger
September 12 – November 1, 2014

A PATTERN LANGUAGE: Michelle Grabner, Angie Wilson & Lena Wolff
June 20 - July 19, 2014

MICHELLE BLADE: Gathering Into Being
April 25th – June 7th, 2014

MIGUEL ARZABE: /*Reject Algorithms*/
March 7 – April 19, 2014

JACQUELINE KIYOMI GORDON: Drawings
March 7 – April 19, 2014

FRITZ CHESNUT: Purr Valley
& Rhonda Holberton

January 10 - February 22, 2014

UNSEEN: Miya Ando, Miguel Arzabe, Chris Duncan, Klea Mckenna & Dean Smith
November 10 - December 21, 2013

Past Off-Site Exhibitions

RHONDA HOLBERTON: Still Life 2
April 7 - May 26, 2018

LAS COSAS QUE PINTAN / PAINTING IN AN EXPANSIVE FIELD
Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino

April 9 – May 17, 2015

EBB: Gina Borg and Chris Russell at Loczi Design
December 10, 2014