Visiting Speakers Calendar
Fall 2021


The UCSB Department of Art Visiting Artist Colloquium features ten synchronous Artist Talks that are scheduled each Thursday evening from 5:00-6:50 (September 23 – November 9) in UCSB’s Embarcadero Hall in Isla Vista. All lectures are free and open to the public. For directions to location, please see this campus map.


The program offers a wide range of voices in dialogue, exploring the topics of contemporary art, theory, and cultural production by emerging and established visiting artists, as well as members of UCSB’s own campus faculty.


Please see the department archive for previous programs.

December 2: Boushra Y. Almutawakel

Zoom Link:


Born in Sana’a, Yemen, Boushra Y. Almutawakel studied in the USA and Yemen, obtaining a degree in International Business at the American University in Washington, DC. During her time as a student, she became interested in photography. She worked as a photojournalist on the university newspaper and yearbook and as a photo lab assistant at the School of Communications.


After returning to Yemen in the mid-Nineties, Boushra co-founded Al-Halaqa in Sana’a, an artists’ group which created a space for discourse and exhibitions forging links with international artists. Since then, she has worked as a professional photographer. Her clients include the United Nations, CARE International, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Social Organisation for Family Development, the National Institute for Health Education, The British Council, The French Embassy, the French Cultural Center, Nixen, Foundry, Business & Accounting Magazine, fd.Outlook, Yemen Today, as well as pursuing her independent photographic projects.


Boushra was honored as the first Yemeni Woman Photographer by the Empirical Research and Women’s Studies Centre at Sana’a University in 1999. Two years later, she won a World Studio Foundation Scholarship toward her study in advertising photography at the Portfolio Centre, Atlanta, Georgia, completing the program in 2002.


Her work has been featured and published in Yemen Times, Yemen Observer, Yemen Today, Artasiapacific Almanac 2011, El Pais, Muse, Yo Donna, De L”air, Beaux Arts, Photo, Connaissance des Arts, Harper’s Bazar Arabia Art, Punctum, The Guardian, and Mind Magazine. In addition, her work has also been featured in web magazines and blogs such as Nafas Art Magazine and photo blogs such as 500 Photographers, Greater Middle East Photo, Mrs. Deane, The Rachel Maddow, Slate’s Behold photoblog, Culturfphiles, and the New Yorker’s Photo Booth among others.


The British Museum in London, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Barjeel Foundation have acquired Boushra’s work.
Boushra Almutawakel currently resides in Dubai with her husband and their four daughters.


November 18: Marton Robinson

Zoom Link:


Costa Rican artist Marton Robinson has an interdisciplinary background informed by his studies in both Physical Education and Art and Visual Communication. He completed an MFA at the University of Southern California. Robinson’s art, which is informed mainly by African-American traditions, challenges the conventional representations of black identities in art history, mainstream culture, and the official national narratives, especially those of Costa Rica. With an often ironic and rhetorical take on the constructs of racism, this practice endeavors to confront the hierarchies and conceptions inherited from colonialism in order to subvert the mindsets and prejudices ingrained in our social experience. Robinson’s work exposes the nuances present in the Afro-Latino experience, enriching the critical discourse of contemporary works of the African Diaspora.


Robinson has participated in exhibitions in spaces such as: The Getty Center, California; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, Costa Rica; Vincent Price Art Museum, California; Fundación Ars TEOR/éTica, Costa Rica; Museo de Arte Costarricense, Costa Rica; New Wight Gallery, California; X Bienal Centroamericana, Costa Rica; Pacific Standard Time LA/LA; Aidekman Arts Center, Boston; Le Palais de Tokyo, France; Bergen Kjøtt, Bergen, Norway; Centro de la Imagen, México; ARTBO, Colombia; Prizm Art Fair; Mandeville Gallery, New York; Gallery GVCC, Casablanca; Museo Amparo, México; 21st Biennial Contemporary Art Sesc Videobrasil, Brazil.


Robinson will be speaking via Zoom on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



November 4: James Glisson


Dr. Glisson will present a talk titled “Painting the Void: Religion in Post-War Art,” addressing writers from Hegel to Greenberg who have framed Western art in terms of its increasing secularization and distance from its religious function. Some abstract painters in the mid-20th century, however, seemed to conjure a kind of secular religiosity. With its 14 black paintings, the Rothko Chapel (completed 1971) in Houston is probably the most well-known confluence of ecumenical and non-denominational Christianity with abstract painting. There are, however, other examples from the same period as this talk will explore.


The Rothko Chapel, 1971 is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas, founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen paintings by Mark Rothko.



James Glisson (Ph.D., Northwestern) is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. His projects have been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Artforum, El País (Madrid), The Atlantic’s City Lab, and The Frame (KPCC). In addition, his four books, some co-authored, have won awards from the American Library Association, American Alliance of Museums, and Choice Magazine. Before Santa Barbara, he served as Mishler Associate Curator and Interim Chief Curator at the Huntington, where he contributed to bringing contemporary art into the program.



October 28


Installation view of Andrew Freire ex-tradition acts at Riviera Parking, 2021. (Photo: Max Cleary)



Artist-Run Spaces When the Space is Closed: 

Alternative Exhibition Strategies for Alternative Venues in a Time of Contagion.



Gabriel Garza, Punto Lairs inc, Los Angeles, CA

Niko Chodor & Alex Heilbron, Riviera Parking, Santa Barbara, CA

Eben Haines & Delaney Dameron, Shelter in Place Gallery, Boston, MA


Moderated by Alex Lukas, Assistant Professor of Print & Publication, UCSB Department of Art.

Additional support provided by the University of California Placemaking Initiative.


Artist-run project spaces, DIY exhibition venues, and apartment galleries have a long history of championing the careers of emerging, marginalized, and less-than-commercially viable practices. Conscientiously rejecting the white cube, these spaces occupy an integral if ever-precarious position in an arts ecosystem. By choice and necessity, these galleries insist upon a confusion between public and private, inviting their audience into living rooms, studios, cars, and garages. Here, viewers are presented with not only an exhibition but an intimate (if occasionally awkward) window into the organizer’s personal space.


The global pandemic removed this possibility, as pre-vaccinated indoor cohabitation carried a substantial risk of contagion. In response, exhibition spaces sprouted in front yards, on flagpoles, within street-facing windows, and in miniature. These innovative display methods presented possibilities for fresh exhibition paradigms and a newly expansive, outward-facing notion of audience. This panel discussion brings together the organizers of several artist-run spaces for a conversation examining these new strategies for presenting artwork during a pandemic, asking what succeeded and what failed, what was temporary, and what methodologies might be maintained post-COVID-19.



Panelist Biographies:


Punto Lairs inc was a project in the family home of artist Gabriel Garza in the neighborhood of Silverlake, Los Angeles CA. From July 2020 to July 2021 the yard hosted 10 two-person exhibitions, a workshop for young artists, a day-long musical performance, a film screening, one off-site exhibition, and a final 40 person group show. The exhibitions started by bringing like-minded artists together who wanted to produce work for an outdoor setting, and then shifted to focusing on artists with longstanding understandings of each others’ work, starting with an exhibition of Garza’s parents whose house the project lived at. Garza attended UCLA and received a BA in Art in 2017, and currently works in a sculptural setting of signage in the form of bumper stickers and metal signs derived from drawings.


Punto Lairs inc logo alongside documentation of Ray Barsante’s installation in Punto Lairs inc, 2020



Riviera Parking was a temporary project space located in a two-car garage in the Lower Riviera neighborhood of Santa Barbara. Each artist was asked to present one work, over one weekend, made during the pandemic. This project began as a way to have conversations with artists. We were interested in knowing more about the work they are making and if or how the COVID-19 pandemic had changed their studio practice. Due to the pandemic, video-calling, emailing and phone conversations became a way for us to look and talk about artist work. The notes, texts, and images shared during our conversations became just as important as the final exhibition. The conversations and process from each exhibition is presented on our website.Riviera Parking was run by Niko Chodor and Alex Heilbron. Niko Chodor is a multi-disciplinary artist that lives and works between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Chodor graduated in 2018 from Kunstakademie Dusseldorf and has participated and shown in several international exhibitions. His work combines representations of memory, cultural fragments and personal experiences through sampling and subverting both images and texts. This exposes the dysfunctional aspects of our contemporary society in terms of information circulation and architecture when framed within a globalized, neo-liberal consensus, and extends into structural rethinking of our designed reality. Alex Heilbron’s work addresses how the female body, in physical, psychological, political, and cultural aspects, is perceived in both public and private spaces. Some topics that Heilbron’s work explores include: play and withholding as forms of resistance to expectations of progress and productivity. Heilbron received her MFA from University of California, Los Angeles in 2020 and studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 2014-2017.



Haines and Dameron with Shelter in Place Gallery.



Eben Haines and Delaney Dameron are the organizers of Boston’s Shelter In Place Gallery, a miniature art gallery created to show ambitious solo exhibitions at an accessible scale. The gallery was launched early into the pandemic to counter local artists’ sudden loss of access to studio and gallery space. at the Other Places Art Fair, San Pedro, CA, September, 2021



Moderator Alex Lukas organizes, an exhibition space on the dashboard of his 2007 Ford Ranger. Inaugurated in the spring of 2021, is rooted in a cultural understanding of car dashboards as a venue for quasi-public, highly personal displays of craft and identity. To date, has presented work by Kim Beck, Kevin Clancy, E. Saffronia Downing, Madeleine Eve Ignon, Nicholas C. Lowe, Adam Milner, Naomi Nakazato, Misael Soto, Imin Yeh & Kareem Worrell. participated in the 2021 Other Places Art Fair, and is currently a site for the 2021 Terrain Biennial, a decentralized, international public exhibition platform. The gallery is usually parked on the 300 block of W. Anapamu Street, but moves occasionally for street cleaning and trips to the grocery store. Lukas is an Assistant Professor of Print and Publication in the Department of Art here at UCSB.



October 21:   Iman Djouini


Iman Djouini (b. Algiers, Algeria) is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who works primarily in print media and public installation. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Art History from The Maryland Institute College of Art. Her research-based practice explores gender and postcolonial spatial relations and the intersections of art and identity, culture, economy, and politics. Recent works examine how language and design can be tools used to shape perception in contested cultural and political histories. Djouini has developed civic and public art projects in Baltimore City and New Orleans and has also curated numerous contemporary art exhibitions. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Djouini lectures and designs curricula that nurture a critical dialogue with the next generation of artists, designers, and thinkers.



October 14:   Yoshie Sakai


Yoshie Sakai is a multidisciplinary artist working in video, installation, performance, and sculpture. She received her BFA from California State University Long Beach and her MFA from Claremont Graduate University. She attended residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE, Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency, and Ali Youssefi Project Artist Residency. Sakai received the 2012 California Community Foundation for Visual Artists Emerging Artist Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, and the bar-fund Artist Grant. She has shown work throughout the United States in film festivals and art exhibitions at institutions such as the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, California State University Dominguez Hills University Art Gallery, Verge Center for the Arts, Antenna, University of Albany University Art Museum, Chinese American Museum Los Angeles, and the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as internationally in Cambodia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Korea.





October 7:   Carlton Wilkinson


Nashville-based photographer, curator, educator, and self-described “art hustler,” Carlton Wilkinson has long been fascinated by the arts of the African diaspora, and an emotional disconnect for many African-Americans from the continent of Africa, including loss of languages, aesthetics, histories, and most tragically, the disconnect from ancestors and families. This fascination led him to create the series African Male Museum depicting black bodies and challenging stereotypes through figurative studies, poetry, and portraits that seek to redefine a sense of the black male. Wilkinson’s On the Altar of Liberty series portrays churches prominent in the Civil Rights Movement, evoking memory, loss, and longing. In 1986, culture and community organizer and UC Santa Barbara Department of Black Studies professor Dr. Shirley Graves Kennedy arranged an exhibition of the early photographs of this series in Santa Barbara.



Wilkinson has exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute, Frist Art Museum, University of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, and California Lutheran University. Additionally, the curatorial team at the Nashville Parthenon organized a 25-year retrospective of his photography titled Coming Home. He recently lectured at Harvard University and the University of Houston.



September 30:   Jane Callister


Originally from the Isle of Man, UK, Jane Callister is a Southern California-based artist who works across the mediums of painting, sculpture, drawing, and installation. Over the past 20 years, she has exhibited in many notable shows, such as the 2003 1st Prague Biennale at the Veletrizni Palace, Prague, the Czech Republic. Her 2005 exhibitions include Extreme Abstraction at the Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, New York, and Step into Liquid, curated by Dave Hickey for the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Santa Monica, California. In addition, her work was included in the 2006 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California. Other group exhibitions include the 2014 Stationary Realms at The Museum of Art, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Pictures of Everything at the Harris Gallery, University of La Verne, La Verne, California. In 2016, her work was featured in the British Invasion at the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, California, and in 2017 at Art Toronto: Focus on Los Angeles.


Callister’s recent solo exhibitions include the 2018 exhibition Baroco-pop at the Los Angles gallery Royale Projects, which represents her work, and the 2019 show It Started With a Crocofish at the VITA Arts Center, Ventura, California.


Callister’s work has been featured in notable publications, including Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting with an essay by David Pagel and published by Phaidon Press, 2002; Abstract Painting: Concepts and Techniques by Vicky Perry published by Watson & Guptil, 2005; LA Artland by Chris Krauss published by Blackdog Press, London, 2006; and Acrylic Illuminations, by Nancy Reyner published by North Light Books, 2014.



Blue Man, Digital Print



Her work is part of numerous private collections, including The Art, Design and Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara, The New Museum in New York, and The Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo. In 2019, her work was accepted into the Library of Congress and The NYARC (New York Resources Consortium) as part of the ArtSlant archive.


From September 25-November 13, 2021, you can see her work on view in the group show Menagerie: All Creatures Great and Small at the Vita Art Center in Ventura, California. Her work will be included in the Common Ground: Artists Reimagining Community exhibition at the William Roland Art Gallery, Cal Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California, opening in February 2022.



September 23: Dion Johnson


The UCSB Department of Art Visiting Artist Colloquium series is pleased to host Los Angeles-based artist and curator Dion Johnson.


An Ohio native working in Los Angeles, Johnson’s painting combine and explore dynamic opposites: expansiveness and compression, surface and depth, and darkness and light. Gradient color fields are juxtaposed to and interwoven with planes of precise hard-edge abstraction. These color fades are both intimate and vast – they may reflect internal moods with wandering thoughts and insightful realizations, or they may suggest vivid sunsets on Mercury or Mars with chemical skies and radiant perspectives. The hard-edge shapes seem to reach up and stretch down; their elongated curves, interlocking contours, and bold colors allude to kinetic sensations and evolving environments.


 It’s something like shifting gears in a high-performance automobile, only smoother and swifter and, when you stand back and take in the complex rhythms that Johnson has orchestrated, defined by a kind of simultaneity that is not possible in race cars, whose engines have gears that must be moved through sequentially. – David Pagel, ‘Abstract Painting in Los Angeles,’ Gallery Magazine.



L: Outer Orbit, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 32” x 36”
R: Excite, 2021,  acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48”


As a gallery director at the University of La Verne, Johnson’s curatorial work represents a rich cross-section of approaches and subject matter. He has exhibited a diverse range of art and artists: the feminist identity work of Ruby Osorio, the environmentalist art of Ichrio Irie, the transgender activist art of Việt Lê, the family-themed work of Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, and the social activist art of June Edmonds.



Johnson’s current exhibition curated for the Harris Gallery at the University of La Verne is New Histories, on view from September 7 – October 28, 2021. New Histories is a group exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Walpa D’Mark, June Edmonds, Asad Faulwell, and Erin Trefry. With an idiosyncratic use of images, and signifiers, these artists offer access into rich visual worlds of personal reflection, layered symbolism, and prophetic vision.


June Edmonds,  Innocence, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36” x 48”