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Sunday April 23 2pm terrace level

Moderator: Alessandra Moctezuma with

Alexandra Carter & Christiana Updegraff

current exhibition pdf release

Alessandra Moctezuma is Gallery Director and Professor of Fine Art at San Diego Mesa College, where she leads the Museum Studies program and teaches courses on Chicano Art. She earned Bachelor of Art and Master of Fine Arts (Painting/ Printmaking) degrees from UCLA. She is also ABD for a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literature at the State University in New York, Stony Brook. Ms. Moctezuma has extensive experience as a curator, instructor, as an artist and as public art administrator. Ms. Moctezuma has curated exhibitions for other art spaces including the Oceanside Museum of Art (Twenty Women: NOW, 2021, Borderless Dreams, 2005 and Through a Lens Sharply, 2006) and unDocumenta (2017) as part of the Getty’s initiative Pacific Standard Time LA/LA and more recently she co-curated a retrospective of Chicana artist Judith F. Baca, Memorias de Nuestra Tierra, for the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach (July 2021 – March 2022). She represents District 3 in the San Diego Arts Commission. She serves on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the Women’s Museum of California, Medium Photography and Friends of the Villa Montezuma, a historical house museum. She is on the advisory committees for the Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Latin American Arts Council (SDMA), the Oceanside Museum of Art and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. In past years she has served in the San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst committee and the City of San Diego Public Arts Committee.

As a visual artist, Ms. Moctezuma critiques social gender conventions and assumptions through the use of irony and satire. She painted the mural Homage to Siqueiros (1998) with Eva Cockcroft, in East Los Angeles at the former location of the arts center Self-Help Graphics. Ms. Moctezuma is one of the founding members of the Latino architect-artist collaborative ADOBE LA. With ADOBE LA, she curated a series of installations and produced a video and catalog for two exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. She also was part of the performance group Collage Ensemble and collaborated with artist Leda Ramos in several projects. She had an exhibition at the Athenaeum Art Center in Barrio Logan in 2019 and was one of the Chicana/ Mexican artists in Ni Solo Mujeres at Southwestern College Art Gallery in 2017.


The figurative paintings of Alexandra Carter mine the sensations of the female body through themes of fertility, the monstrous feminine, and maternity. Carter is heavily inspired by folklore and classical mythology, while the details of the paintings reference her body and background. Vivid washes of acrylic ink build up an abstract, ethereal realm for the figures, emphasizing liquidity and permeability of the maternal, postpartum, or otherwise marginalized body.

The visceral sculptures of Christiana Updegraff examine gender constructs through concepts of corporeal deterioration, fear, infertility, and stagnation. The work draws strongly from the entanglement of the home, family, and career while referencing history, literature, personal memories, and contemporary society’s chauvinist zeitgeist. Material and process subversion lend a hand to intrigue, secrecy, frustration, and solitude.

Together the artists explore their experience of the female body through a lens of both fecundity and loss, of excess and containment. Scale and material play a pivotal role in both artists’ work, defying expectations with installations that confront and engage the viewer’s body. Both of them mothers, the title Tether alludes to the sensation of being inextricably tethered to the body of others — to their children certainly but also to partners, and to the varying social expectations of artist / mother / woman.

Tether also examines their technical processes: Updegraff merges a multitude of materials together in her sculptures, using the delicacy of substances like thread and paper, then shackling them with industrial touches of cement, wood or metal. Carter works in a similar way with imagery, building up layers of images and melding them within her paintings, tethering them all back into one space onto one surface.

Christiana Updegraff is a cross-discipline 3-dimensional artist, born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1979. She completed her MFA from San Diego State University in 2011. She received her BFA in 2007 from Kent State University. Christiana has maintained her studio in Los Angeles and San Diego for the last 15 years. During this time she has been creating and exhibiting work nationwide, as well as teaching Fine Art in higher education in Southern California.


Alexandra Carter (b. 1985 in Boston) lives and works in San Diego, California. She received an MFA from  Goldsmiths University of London in 2015 and a BA from Rhodes College in Memphis in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include “A Sense of Heat in Her Brain” at Luna Anaïs Gallery Los Angeles (2020), “Berries for Baubo” (2019), and “All gods are hot” (2018) at Radiant Space Los Angeles. Other solo exhibitions include Fusion Gallery (Turin, Italy), Southfork (Memphis), Projecto’ace Foundation (Buenos Aires), and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. She has been selected for residency projects nationally and internationally, including the Kone Foundation’s Saari Residence (Mynämäki, Finland), Rogers Art Loft (Las Vegas), KulturKontakt Austria (Vienna), Qwatz (Rome), Graniti Murales (Sicily), Vice~Versa Foundation (Goa, India), RECSIM (Jashipur, India), Galerija-Muzej Lendava (Slovenia), and the Kentucky Foundation for Women (Prospect, KY).


upcoming exhibition | reception May 6