January 14, 2022

Harmonia Rosales: Entwined
Mona Kuhn
835 Kings Road

Art, Design & Architecture Museum at University of California, Santa Barbara

Harmonia Rosales, The Creation Story, 2021. Oil on wood panel. © Harmonia Rosales. Courtesy of the Artist and UTA Artist Space. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Mona Kuhn, Viva, 2021. Chromogenic dye coupler print. © Mona Kuhn.

The Art, Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A Museum) at the University of California, Santa Barbara presents the 2022 Winter Exhibition series with a focus on the painting and photography of two female artists, Harmonia Rosales and Mona Kuhn. Both exhibitions reimagine familiar stories and spaces, ranging from Greek mythology to the architecture of Rudolph Schindler, intentionally situating women and individuals of color as their protagonists.

Harmonia Rosales: Entwined presents the debut of a new and dynamic body of work by celebrated Afro-Cuban American artist Harmonia Rosales. Rosales’s interweaving of representations from ancient Greek and Yoruba mythologies invites viewers to challenge their ideas about identity and empowerment. Women and people of color, the protagonists of her canvases, assume roles of power and beauty in exquisite imaginings of ancient myths and Renaissance paintings.

Harmonia Rosales is a Los Angeles-based artist whose multicultural Afro-Cuban background is presented through her paintings of African diaspora. Entwined builds upon the themes of Black female empowerment and inclusion in Western culture, her specialties since the beginning of her career. Born in Chicago, Rosales grew up around art, emulating her mother who illustrated books with stories and fairy tales that celebrated Black people and figures. Rosales centers Black and Latinx figures in transformative ways by reframing ancient Greek mythology and Black history through vibrant and tactile paintings.

Harmonia Rosales: Entwined is organized by the AD&A Museum and is curated by Helen Morales, the Argyropoulos Professor of Hellenic Studies, in collaboration with the artist, Dr. Sophia Quach McCabe, and Polyxeni Trikoulis. Generous support is provided by the Argyropoulos endowment in Hellenic Studies and the Departments of Classics, Religious Studies, Black Studies, [email protected] Studies, History of Art and Architecture, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Capps Center, the Center for Black Studies Research, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Division of Humanities & Fine Arts, and the Society for Classical Studies’ “Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities” initiative.

835 Kings Road tells a story about an unrequited love unfolding on different planes of time and space in a multimedia installation by photographer Mona Kuhn. The story's protagonist is a mysterious woman, purportedly a past lover of the architect Rudolph Schindler, who longs for his presence as she sneaks into his vacant and shadowy house. By adopting techniques employed by the surrealists at the time the house was built, Kuhn explores the power of photography to play with one's temporal and spatial senses. Additionally, the photographer emphasizes the fictional narrative’s psychic and emotional drive by investing the Schindler House with its own phenomenological dimension. Corresponding to the story's elusiveness, the exhibition takes the form of large projections, which, choreographed with original music, underscore the immersive qualities of the visual fiction. Archival materials from the Schindler collection—the genesis of this innovative audiovisual project—complement the installation.

835 Kings Road is organized by the AD&A Museum and is curated by Silvia Perea, Curator, Architecture and Design Collection, in collaboration with the artist, composer Boris Salchow, Associate Professor of Theater Design Greg Mitchell and graphic designer Wonho Lee. The exhibition has received generous support from Victoria Hendler Broom, Kai Loebach and Lee Miller, Sharyn and Bruce Charnas, Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin, Diana Miller and Brian Hershkowitz and the Joseph S. Melchione Endowed Fund for Photography.

Exhibition programming

Regeneration Artist Talk: Harmonia Rosales
Thursday, January 27, 4pm

The Greeks are Then, the Orishas are Now: Harmonia Rosales and the Black Atlantic, lecture by Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta
Thursday, February 10, 5:30pm

835 Kings Road, a conversation with Mona Kuhn
Thursday, February 17, 5:30pm

Decolonizing the Orishas: Harmonia Rosales & the Un-Whitewashing of Black Atlantic Divinity, lecture by Professor Elizabeth Pérez
Thursday, February 24, 5:30pm

Cultural Appropriation, Syncretism, and Authenticity, lecture by Professor Vilna Bashi
Thursday, March 3, 5:30pm

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