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 Gallery
Initiating Artworks see artist reflections on the work»
Response #3 see artist reflections and view video
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.
Initiating Artists’ Introductions/Reflections
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
Responding Artists’ Introductions/Reflections
Elana Adler (b.1986) is a multidisciplinary artist who portrays social hierarchies and systems. She is interested in how the web of hierarchies and systems breathes and functions alongside systematic and symbolic boundaries, creating exclusion and inclusion. Utilizing the grid as an accessible visual language to discuss complex systems and structures of power; she challenges expectations of material potential. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017.
Responding to Danielle Andress’ “Untitled (When Surface Was Depth)”
The main objective of my work employs methods of distortion, transformation, dark humor, absurdity, contrasting color palettes, and the play between positive and negative space. Often, the imagery is overtly apparent, resembling certain icons found in popular culture, science fiction, and nature, while other times they are more concealed. By exploiting these situations through the juxtaposition of opposites, I hope to incite ideas that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction and between beauty and ugliness.
Responding to Marissa Geoffroy’s Untitled (Wood Puzzle Collage)
In this piece, I worked from a photograph of a garden that I had visited in Japan from a few years ago during a residency. I found similarities between the colors and textures of Marissa’s piece to be comparable to the imagery of the Japanese garden.
In reaction to Marissa’s piece, I wanted to use the same type of collage method but through a different medium. My approach to printmaking incorporates collage-like methods of printed cut out shapes. I have had this unfinished print hanging in my studio for some time. Once I saw Marissa’s work, I immediately drew a correlation between the color, shape and textures of her piece and my mokuhanga print.
Nathan Becka is from Kansas City, and is curious about all of the things we are surrounded by and understanding our emotional attachments and their unnoticed significancies.
Nathan Becka IG
Responding to Amy Lange’s Crust #4
When Amy asked me to collaborate on this project I was immediately excited. Our practices are so different that could not imagine what we would end up making. But as I made my response to her, it occurred to me that it might mostly be our materials that are different.
The images in my video all came from a collection I have of old chemical industry and technology business-to-business magazines. I wanted to pull out anything that could relate to space or space travel. Deciding what to do with my out of context scraps reminded of other work Amy’s made which involved shredding second-hand clothing into strips that she wove and crocheted into a spacesuit and survival gear for other planets. Unraveling a magazine is not so different from a sweater. I look forward to seeing what happens when we weave it all back together.
Anna Rotty lives in Oakland, CA. Growing up in Massachusetts, she received a BFA in photography from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011. Anna has been part of the San Francisco Artists Studios since 2017 after a month-long residency with One Plus One Plus Two Collective. She is the co-founder of Work in Progress, an art discussion and critique group bringing together individuals practicing activism through creative outlets and promoting collaboration and support through the arts. She has recently exhibited with Incline Gallery, SF Camerawork, PhotoPlace Gallery and UMass Amherst. Projects have been featured with Stay Home Gallery, Juxtapoz and Six Feet Photography, and her alternative-process photography was recently recognized by the Denis Roussel Award. Community and collaboration is an important part of Anna’s practice. Anna is currently working as a Poll Worker Coordinator with the San Francisco Department of Elections.
Responding to Tescia Seufferlein’s “Repeated Reflections Series-M14 Freeway Lights”:
Contemplating Vastness and Worm’s Eye View
In response to Tescia’s piece “Repeated Reflections Series-M14 Freeway Lights” I began thinking about the lack of tactility in digital space and perspective. She created an insular repeated space that felt both vast and meditative, and similar to when a thought won’t escape, repeating over and over in an attempt to revise itself into something digestible. I wanted to see it bigger and touch it with my hands.
I printed the piece out and started to live with it on the wall of my studio, getting to know it, changing its direction over time, and moving the light source to see how it interacted with my physical space. I could see the image subtly in reverse on the backside of the paper and thought about an exchange. It bent and moved partly in my control, but with the print being so large, and me being alone, it had the ability to move in ways on its own. I let it dictate the space and I documented how light and shadows played into it, eventually piercing holes through the paper thinking about impact and transparency.
Initiating Artists Respond
Danielle Andress responds to Elana Adler’s “not consisting of an ever-changing flow of time but a calculable set of things”
Marissa Geoffroy responds to Kristi Arnold’s “Untitled”, Mokuhanga and colored pencil on paper” with “Untitled (Wood Wave)”
I am really responding to the squiggly curving branches and roots in Kristi’s drawing. I am picturing them coming to life in 3D as wooden twig-like forms. I am also planning to mimic her palette in this drawing – the spectrum of yellow to green to blue, the interplay of the pink and purple, and the white of the paper.
My first piece for this project was constructed of wood, and Kristi’s response depicted trees as the subject of her drawing. Her representation of the living wood is very evocative of the material for me, and so for my response piece I have returned to my initial medium. I have abstracted the branches and roots into wave forms, and have painted the sides with acrylic paint, using the color palette of Kristi’s work.
Amy Lange responds to Nathan Becka’s untitled video
Final response video by Amy Lange: “Mars was a distant shore, and the men spread upon it like waves”
Alternative Realities: Tescia Seufferlein responds to Anna Rotty’s “Alternative Horizons” with “Fire Tree”
As Anna and I have gone back and forth we have been playing with light, indoors and out. I began to play with the light of the fires, the orange sky seeping into my windows. Anna was doing the same!! I had a great image of this mini palm trees shadow against the orange light; it was gorgeous. I then began playing with my kaleidoscope and the light. It began to create these stain glass windows type images.
Final Responses from Responding Artists
Homage to Rohm A: Elena Adler Responds to “Trick Mirror” by Danielle Andress
Inspired by Robert Rohm, who made a series of instruction based installations using instruction and manila rope. I have been recreating my own versions of these installations. The images are documentation of the performative process.
Kristi Arnold Responds to Marissa Geoffroy’s “Untitled: Wood Wave”
AC On: Nathan Becka’s responds to Amy Lange’s video “Mars was a distant shore, and the men spread upon it like waves”
Sisyphus: Anna Rotty responds to Tescia Seufferlein’s “Fire Tree”
Tess’s piece “Fire Tree” gave me the sense of being within a space just outside a larger reality. Both repetitive and ethereal I couldn’t help but think of my days spent in Church as a kid, beneath an ornate ceiling, contemplating the stories of faith and forgiveness, but also of shame, guilt and punishment. Over the last few months, Tess and I have both been working with materiality, light and reflection to create seemingly larger worlds within the walls of our home. With the fires and the virus penetrating everyday thought, I considered my safe and privileged distance from these threats, thinking about interior and exterior, finally landing on an image reminiscent of a fiery hillside, conjuring consequence. I’ve been contemplating the human perspective and our impact on the land and the resilience and power of nature.