The Oxnartians Have Landed
In a small art department 50 miles north of Santa Monica, Christine Morla and Ichiro Irie teach painting, drawing and design at Oxnard College, in a city perhaps better known for its agriculture, military base, and punk rock than for its visual art. Irie and Morla are current and former residents of 18th Street Arts Center, respectively, and both are alumni of Claremont Graduate University. Each brings an unconventional teaching style that emphasizes both traditional techniques and newer approaches in art making to a community, which despite its proximity to Los Angeles, has limited exposure to contemporary art. This mixed strategy, implemented with a tight-knit set of students and faculty, has generated a prominent core group whose works are commensurate with college and university art students across Southern California. Disciplines, genres and styles encompass conceptual and post-conceptual works, low-brow and street art, photography and illustration, and architecture. The Oxnartians Have Landed features recent students of Oxnard College who represent the most promising talents from the past 5 years.
Many have transitioned to four-year academic institutions such as UCLA, UC Berkley, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State L.A., Cal State Long Beach, and Otis College, while others that have completed their undergraduate educations have done so with aplomb. As most of the young artists in this exhibition have relocated to the greater Los Angeles area, it is clear that the Oxnartians have landed, and they are here to stay.
Christine Morla is an interdisciplinary artist and arts educator. Her practice includes drawing, painting, and installation. Ms. Morla graduated with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University and received her M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as at Art Frankfurt, Germany, Rimjaus Gallery, Mexico City, The Armory Show, New York, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Riverside Art Museum, Huntington Beach Art Center, Raid Projects, Los Angeles and 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica. Recent solo shows include The Space Between at CSU Channel Island Napa Gallery, Fields of Color at Left Coast in Goleta, CA, and an upcoming show of new works at Carnegie Museum in Oxnard, CA. Currently, she teaches at Oxnard College, and is Gallery Director of the McNish Art Gallery. Her numerous curatorial projects include “The Color of God: Contemporary Expressions of Spirit, Race and Justice” at the Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University and “Tabo(o) an exhibition of Filipino-American artists at Claremont Graduate University’s White Room Gallery. From 2002-2004, she served as an independent co-curator of exhibitions at Crazy Space Gallery in Santa Monica, California. Her work is featured in New American Paintings, issue #85, Spring 2010.
Born in Tokyo and raised in Los Angeles, Ichiro Irie received his B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara and his M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. In 2001, Irie went to Mexico City on a Fulbright fellowship, and has maintained an active relationship with the visual art community in Mexico. Irie has exhibited his work internationally in galleries and museums such as Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles, Gallery Lara Tokyo, CSW Museum in Warsaw, Museo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City, and Hendershot gallery, New York. Since 2009, he has had solo shows at Yautepec gallery, Mexico City, CAM Contemporaneo, Guadalajara, Casa Del Tunel, Tijuana, Sam Francis Gallery, Santa Monica and eitoeiko gallery, Tokyo. In 2013 he has exhibited at University Art Museum, Long Beach, CA, and as part of the Mexicali Biennial at Vincent Price Museum in Los Angeles, CA. As a curator he has organized over 30 exhibitions at venues such as 18th Street Arts Center and Raid Projects in Los Angeles, Art & Idea and MUCA Roma in Mexico City, and Kyubidou Gallery in Tokyo. Irie currently lives and works in Los Angeles, teaches at Santa Monica College and Oxnard College, and is an artist in residence at the 18th Street Arts Center. He was Founding Editor of RiM magazine, and is currently Director of JAUS, Los Angeles.