The University of California San Diego Department of Visual Arts announces textile artist Diedrick Brackens as the 2019 – 2020 Martha Longenecker Roth Distinguished Artist in Residence, the department’s second residency supported by the estate of the late artist and educator Martha W. Longenecker Roth.
A renowned artist celebrated for his weaving and tapestries, Brackens will begin his month-long residency at UC San Diego in late October, practicing his craft and mentoring students during a critical stage of their artistic development. Brackens will present a community talk on his work, and close the residency by welcoming the public into his campus studio.
“We are honored and excited to have Diedrick Brackens as our 2019 Longenecker Roth Artist in Residence,” said Department of Visual Arts chair Amy Adler. “Diedrick will bring his exceptional skills and experience to share with students and faculty in the department, as well as the extended UC San Diego and regional community.”
Born in Texas, Brackens works in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. He received his MFA in textiles from California College of the Arts in 2014. He is the 2018 recipient of the Brandford/Elliott Award for Excellence in Fiber Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s 2018 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize. The inaugural Wein Prize was awarded in 2006 to UC San Diego MFA alumni Lorna Simpson ‘86.
“Employing the traditional practice of weaving, Brackens explores social, political and personal issues — including what he describes as his blackness and queerness — through a contemporary lens,” Culture Type said in announcing Brackens as the 2018 Wein Prize recipient. “He makes wall hangings, sculptures, and installations that weigh matters of race, representation, class, gender, and sexuality.”
Brackens’ work has been shown in solo exhibitions at The New Museum, New York; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles; and Johansson Projects, Oakland. His work was included in the Hammer Museum at UCLA’s group exhibition “Made in LA 2018,” the museum’s fourth biennial that closed Sept. 2, 2018. He is currently a professor at California State University, Long Beach.
“I discovered weaving before I found content,” Brackens told Artland ahead of his October 2018 Sunday Art Fair solo booth, in conjunction with the Steve Turner Gallery. “As I learned more about the craft and its historical significance, I realized it was a way to talk about the issues I cared about, relative to movements of enslaved people, the shaping of American culture through African and European aesthetics, and the production of cotton in the country among other things.”
Brackens is recipient of the Barclay Simpson Award from the California College of the Arts and Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund. Additional group exhibitions include SOMArts, San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley; Third Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Museum of Geometric Art, Dallas. He will have a solo exhibition at Steve Turner Gallery in September 2019.
The Martha Longenecker Roth Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Endowment at UC San Diego was established in March 2017 by the estate of the late artist and educator Martha W. Longenecker Roth, founder of the Mingei International Museum in 1978. The program brings exceptionally talented, high-caliber artists to the Department of Visual Arts, within the Division of Arts and Humanities. The inaugural artist in residence was Anna Sew Hoy.
This year’s artist-in-residence selection committee consisted of UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts faculty members Anya Gallaccio, Monique van Genderen and Nicole Miller.