By Claudia Pardo 07/28/2011
One Night Stand
Organized by Oxnard College’s art professor Christine Morla, Project One Night Stand is an ongoing series of site-specific art exhibits borne out of a need to maintain opportunities for artists — especially newly graduated art students — to exhibit their work locally and gain experience toward becoming professional artists. “There are many elements to putting a show together,” says Morla. “ Installing, lighting — artists are getting curatorial experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have.” Project O.N.S. offers new and unexpected settings throughout Ventura County to showcase experimental art by local art students, alumni and established artists. Project O.N.S. acts as a forum for exchange between emerging and professional artists, art students, faculty, the local art community and the public.
The psychology of space
As part of Downtown Oxnard’s Art Beat, Project O.N.S. acquired a former law office for its fourth hit-and-run exhibit, “For This Purpose Only.” After the walls and carpeting were stripped to create a contemporary, industrial space, several artists created works that are specific to the function of the space. Issues such as sexual harassment, personal injury, immigration procedures and domestic violence are addressed by the participating artists through experimental, video and performance art — formats new to Oxnard yet favorably received. Spontaneous and random, previous exhibition spaces include Morla’s own garage — where participating artists created work that specifically dealt with the context of a garage space — and a U-Haul truck. “The purpose is to bring artists from all levels,” says Morla, “and to create art that deals with the psychology of the particular space.”
Four the win
Active and consistent participants of Project O.N.S., and crucial to its survival, are artists Aaron Dadacay, Gladys Rodriguez, Olguin Tapia and Maria Villote. All four are Oxnard College alumni. Under the instruction of Morla, they became a tight-knit collaborative force with what Morla describes as an “exceptional caliber of work.” Today, as their network expands (Dadacay just graduated from UCLA; Villote from UC Berkeley), the four are proactive artists in their community, with art work ranging from figurative drawing to experimental performance art. Along with Morla, these artists have organized and participated in all of the One Night Stand exhibitions. Their work has increasingly become recognizable in the community as they establish a niche in Oxnard for a new form of art. “There’s a core group [that’s] supporting the arts in this town,” says Morla, “we are finding new venues to show art.”
More on Morla
A first-generation Filipino American, Morla believes strongly that culture plays an important role in the development of a community. Her own work explores the influences and cultural nuances of her personal cultural history. As an educator in her community, Morla, who teaches art full time, strives to instill in her students a sense of artistic responsibility for their community. “It’s an elaborate process,” says Morla. “Even though the last thing some of the parents want their kids to pursue is an art degree, there are benefits.” From an instructor’s standpoint, Morla takes great pride in watching her students — many, first-generation immigrants — create opportunities for themselves and, equally important, offer something back to their community. “Oxnard may be perceived as a quaint farm town,” says Morla. “Sometimes that might carry a negative stigma; through the arts, we can change the view of Oxnard.”
For more information about Project O.N.S., visit http://oxnardcollegeart.wordpress.com.
For more information about Christine Morla, visit www.christinemorla.com.