Borderline Art Collective is a Bay Area artist group. The members share the desire for a cooperative environment to work alongside peers, the aspiration to sustain art in the Bay Area, and the commitment to community involvement and social justice.
This show is a digital iteration of Borderline Art Collective’s ongoing project: Slow Build, a collaborative format art exhibition. The four artists of Borderline Art Collective have each collaborated with an artist from outside of the collective, engaging in a call and response digital exchange of visual language. The Borderline artist begins the conversation with a single digital image of her own work. The selected artist responds in kind with a work inspired by the first image, to be posted two weeks after the first post. The Borderline artist will then respond to that image with another work, and finally, the selected artist will submit the fourth work, inspired by the progression thus far.
Slow Build: An Essay by Chris Cohoon
Two of my favorite exercises to engage people with art are Blind Contour Portraits and Exquisite Corpse Drawings. The fun, imaginative collaborations bypass inhibitions for those of us conditioned to fear failure, because there is no way to win or lose. Both activities live in the freedom of ridiculousness. Exquisite Corpse was born from absurdity. Surrealists exited the Dada movement, which expressed the existential vacuum of reason amidst the madness of Humanism’s technological triumph in gaseous trenches. Andre Breton, Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prevert, and Marcel Duchamp searched for meaning from within without the constraints of conventional philosophy. Together, they employed play; shedding conscious thought to uncover the automatic synaptic storms of the subconscious. As a communal exercise, Exquisite Corpse is the chimera of the collective subconscious.
The partnership between Museo Eduardo Carrillo and Borderline Collective for Slow Build is not the Surrealist, nonsensical juxtaposition performed as a conceptual work that it may appear to be at first. Given context, the only opportunity for the insertion of chance is the initial meeting between members of the two groups. Everything else makes perfect sense.
In January of 2020, I was involved with Monterey Museum of Art’s Art of the State Symposium. The theme was California Community: Artist Colonies and Collectives Past, Present, and Future. Traditional geographic communities such as Monterey/Carmel by the Sea and Arroyo Seco/Laguna Beach were covered in the program along with the Dada and photographic communities that developed in San Francisco. Despite the disparate seeds from which each community sprang, whether cheap housing, beautiful vistas, or strong personalities, the golden thread that connected each of the historical accounts was charity among artists – not feel good philanthropy, but that ancient understanding that the greatest of virtues is to put the needs of others above your own.
The final presentation of the symposium covered the present and future potential for artist communities. Borderline Collective spoke about their practice as a contemporary collective in the Bay Area (with one member in Chicago). They take on the virtue of generosity drawn from their communal, artistic predecessors and blow it up in the best way possible. Rather than existing as a collective for the benefit of their own work, they developed a practice that is about giving to other artists by creating spaces to promote art that would otherwise have little opportunity to exist. The collective provides a place for art to live which may not be marketable but adds substantial value to the present cultural conversation to shape a better future.
As chance, fate, or providence would have it, Betsy Andersen, Executive Director of the Museo Eduardo Carrillo (MEC), attended Borderline’s presentation and recognized a kindred spirit to that of the Museo’s namesake. Eduardo Carrillo was known for his generosity. As a prominent member of California’s Chicano Arts movement, his work brought recognition to a grossly underrepresented community. He founded El Centro de Arte Regional, Baja, California’s first Art Center, to mentor youth and develop arts in Mexico. He then returned to the U.S. and became a respected artist and professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he often allowed students and even passers by to pick up a brush and contribute to his murals. Like it’s namesake, MEC continues to share Chicana/o art, generously partnering with other institutions and creating incredible education programs. In the spirit of Carrillo, they design mentorship opportunities for young Latinx artists to work with and learn from older artists. And, as evinced by this exhibition, they seek out artists who give of themselves so that others flourish in an act of multiplication. For Slow Build, MEC sketched out the opportunity, unfolded the paper, and handed it to Borderline who drafted a beautiful concept, unfolded the paper, and handed it to others. Generative art, that which creates beyond itself, doesn’t get more exquisite than this.
Danielle Andress is a Chicago based artist. She produces primarily non-functional weavings that investigate our relationships with consumable images and objects. She earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the California College of the Arts. Danielle is a co-founding and active member of Borderline Art Collective (San Francisco) and an Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Marissa Geoffroy moved from New York to the Bay Area in 2014. She received her MFA in Fine Art from California College of the Arts (CCA). Marissa is a painter, photographer and sculptor. She is intrigued by spaces and architecture, and by the philosophical implications of human perception. She is also a founding member of Borderline Art Collective, which aims to support local artists, provide a venue for discourse, and expand art appreciation in the Bay Area. www.marissageoffroy.com
Amy Lange is an artist based in San Francisco, California. She received her BFA in Fibers from the University of Oregon in 2009, and received her MFA from California College of the Arts in spring 2017. She is a founding member of Borderline Art Collective in San Francisco. Amy makes objects, images, and installations inspired by the surfaces of other worlds using repurposed textiles as a jumping-off point. www.amy-lange.net
Tescia Seufferlein is an Oakland based installation and textile artist. Born and raised in the Silicon Valley, Tescia earned her Bachelor in Fine Arts and Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley in 2005. Tescia lived in New York City and Brooklyn from 2005-2015, working and living as an artist, costume designer and fabric painter. Although, she is a classically trained painter, her work today is based more in conceptual installations with political and social undertones. Most recently, Tescia’s work has been grappling with public displays of mourning and how we as a society cope with death and tragedy. Tescia graduated with her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017. Seufferlein has shown work in Bushwick, Manhattan, Paris, and San Francisco. www.tesciaseufferlein.com