ICA San Diego’s annual NextGen exhibition presents the work of seven graduating artists from regional art programs, chosen by a jury of art professionals. NextGen celebrates emerging artistic voices and highlights the innovative work being produced across the San Diego region. The artists selected for this year’s exhibition work across media–from painting and photography, to installation, sculpture and video–combining found objects with personal mementos, mining their family histories, cultural legacies, and identities.
Leila Khalilzadeh Aghdami, MFA, San Diego State University
Matthew John Bacher, MFA, San Diego State University
Cat Gunn, MFA, University of California San Diego
Hazel Katz, MFA, University of California San Diego
Heige Kim, MFA, University of California San Diego
Arlene Mejorado, MFA, University of California San Diego
Lorena Ochoa, MFA, University of California San Diego
While the works on view are as varied as these individual artists themselves, each installation finds a common connection through the investigation of embodied experience. This is made manifest in the explosive physicality of Matthew John Bacher’s paintings, the suffocating restraint placed on the bodies in the work of Leila Khalilzadeh Aghdami, and Heige Kim’s meditations on the hierarchical relationship between organic and synthetic matter, and our bodies’ eventual return to dust. Through their photographs, Arlene Mejorado considers how a body is shaped by place and memory, while Lorena Ochoa’s painting and sculpture activate the migrant body as a carrier of memory, indigeneity, and intergenerational trauma. Cat Gunn’s material investigations are aimed at recovering their untold Filipino family history, weaving those stories into their personal narrative as a queer trans person. In her video installation, Hazel Katz eulogizes Sulka, one of the first transsexual porn stars, presenting the body as a complex site of politicization and euphoria, agency and exploitation.
Beyond inclusion in this exhibition, the artists receive mentoring from the ICA’s curatorial staff, as well as professional development opportunities designed to broaden their networks and support their practice as they move into the next phase of their careers. The 2023 NEXTGEN Award winner will be announced during the ICA’s C You Saturday event on September 16. This award recognizes the artist who received the highest total ranking across the jury panel.
We are so grateful to this year’s jury: Dinah Poellnitz, Co-founder, Curator, and Director of Development of The Hill Street Country Club, Oceanside, CA; julia elizabeth neal, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Marie Sarré, Curator, Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and Ryan Campbell Garrett, Founder, RCG Art Advisory, San Diego.
ICA San Diego Exhibition Support Provided by the Linda Brandes Foundation, the City of San Diego, Sahm Family Foundation, Buttgenbach Foundation, Tippett Foundation, County of San Diego, California Arts Council, and Techbuyer.
NextGen is supported by the Seth Sprague Education & Charitable Foundation, Deborah & Marc Dentico-Olin, Claire & Troy Johnson, Anupama Naidu, Shamala Saripalli, Melissa & Gordon Swanson, and Kim & Erik Tyrrell-Knott.
Follow us on Spotify and discover the NextGen 2023 artists’ collaborative playlist – A fusion of fresh tunes, that’ll have you grooving all day!
ICA Podcast: A Conversation Between NextGen 2023 Artists and Jordan Karney Chaim, PhD, Curator at ICA San Diego