| COC Art Gallery Announces Spring Exhibits

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present two upcoming spring exhibitions by Deborah Aschheim and Kumasi J. Barnett that will focus on civic engagement, social justice and systemic racism.

“Deborah Aschheim: The Never Facebook Drawings & Center for Civic Engagement PLACE Project” will run from February 8 to March 24. After being presented in a virtual format last year, “Kumasi J. Barnett: The Amazing Black-Man” will return to the COC’s Gallery 206 from February 15 to March 31.

“We are thrilled to share these two timely and thought-provoking exhibitions with our community,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Lewis. “We had fewer people on campus for the fall semester, so having more students on campus for the spring is exciting. I look forward to welcoming everyone back to our gallery spaces.

Known for creating large-scale immersive installations, sculptures, drawings and public art projects, Deborah Aschheim focuses on the invisible worlds of memory, communication and information.

“Deborah Aschheim: The Never Facebook Drawings & Center for Civic Engagement PLACE Project” features two of Aschheim’s most recent projects.

“The Never Facebook Drawings” is a visual diary capturing current events, beginning with the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. Aschheim’s drawings include people she met at protests and vigils. In order to share these powerful images without giving up any rights to its content, she created a website called as both a protest and a vehicle.

The exhibit also features drawings that Aschheim created in collaboration with the college’s Center for Civic Engagement as part of the Partnerships for Listening and Action by Communities and Educators project team.

The PLACE Project brought together the Center for Civic Engagement, the City of Santa Clarita, Bridge to Home, and the Santa Clarita Senior Center, to examine issues of housing insecurity and other pressing equity issues in our community.

Aschheim’s portraits feature people from across the Santa Clarita Valley who work to help our diverse community thrive, including COC staff members who support student access to food, housing, financial assistance and resources for mental health and well-being.

A special Zoom conference with the artist will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8.

“Kumasi J. Barnett: The Amazing Black-Man” features recent works by the Baltimore-based artist, which highlight the artist’s ongoing exploration of race, class, gender, sexuality , politics and other contemporary issues in the United States. Drawing inspiration from comic book aesthetics, Barnett transforms these classic narratives into incisive commentaries on contemporary culture. The comics used for these paintings come from Barnett’s own collection, which he started at a young age.

Barnett alters the covers of old comic books to transform classic stories of good versus evil into a reflection on the issues plaguing society: systemic racism, police brutality, corporate greed and political corruption. In Barnett’s paintings, beloved superheroes like Hulk and Spider-Man are reimagined. Hulk becomes the media thug. Spider-Man becomes The Amazing Black-Man, his superhero’s signature red-and-blue mask and costume erased and replaced with neatly painted jeans, a brown face, and what’s become equally iconic attire since the murder of Trayvon Martin: A gray hoodie.

A special Zoom talk with the artist will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 24.

For more information on these upcoming exhibitions, visit the COC Art Gallery page.

In order to ensure the health and safety of the COC community, all campus visitors must wear a mask indoors and will be required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or a negative test within 72 hours of the date of performance, for admission to the COC Art Gallery. Home tests will not be accepted.

Please click here for more information on the college’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for visitors.

Learn more about the artists

Aschheim exhibited her widely throughout the United States and abroad. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Barnett’s work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including Lowell Ryan Projects, BravinLee Programs, SPRING/BREAK Art, City Lore, Con-Artist Collective, Arsenal Gallery, Sulfur Bath Studio and at the Brooklyn Public Library. Barnett currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her work has been featured in Artforum, Ammo, Vibe, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, Other, Artnet News, and The Guardian, among others.

William E. Bennett