For immediate release: Thursday, May 31, 2018
THE MAIN PRESENTS EXHIBITION OF WORK BY L.A. ARTISTS
MILTON DAVIS AND VICKIE UYEDA
First major museum presentation of the vibrant and complex paintings,
drawings, and ceramics by long-time L.A. artists
Work created over a combined 80+ years at ECF Art Centers, an L.A.-based nonprofit
program supporting artistic opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities
Images: (left) John Wayne by Vickie Uyeda; (right) Kusama by Milton Davis
Los Angeles—This summer, The Main Museum in Downtown Los Angeles will present Milton Davis and Vickie Uyeda: Common Ground—an exhibition pairing the work of two L.A. artists whose practices together span more than 80 years. The exhibition will highlight the complex paintings, drawings, and ceramics of Milton Davis (b. 1949) and Vickie Uyeda (b. 1958) which feature subjects ranging from serene depictions of the natural world to portraiture with a playful emphasis on pop culture. The Main will present the exhibition from July 8 to September 2, 2018.
This exhibition is organized by The Main’s director Allison Agsten and curatorial associate Monica Rodriguez, who together met Davis and Uyeda in 2017 while interviewing 20 finalists out of more than 600 applicants for the museum’s Artist-in-Residence program. Davis’s work stood out for its level of detail and graphic quality while Uyeda’s use of color and expressive brushwork were notable.
“I have not encountered artists with more intensive practices than Milton’s and Vickie’s,” said Agsten. “Their devotion to their work is evident in a variety of ways—from technical acumen that has been developed over many years to depictions of people and places that benefit from repeated exploration.”
Davis’s work, which is often tightly patterned with lines and circles, pulls inspiration from textile and folk art as well as the African diaspora. Uyeda’s sumptuous, expressive paintings use color in unexpected ways and—in their layered richness—possess a tactile quality. Through her lens, such well-known figures as John Wayne and Dennis Rodman transcend conventional depictions, appearing sinister or heroic, respectively. And as with all of Uyeda’s subjects, these men return the viewer’s gaze with an unnervingly, penetrating stare.
All works in the exhibition were created during the artists’ time working with the adult art program at the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF)—a pioneering 72-year-old L.A. nonprofit dedicated to creating artistic opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Both Davis and Uyeda have been active for decades in the ECF Art Centers Program. Artists at each of ECF’s four Art Centers across L.A. create in a studio environment modeled after professional art studios, with mentorship by highly trained art instructors. ECF is the only organization of its kind in California that offers a full continuum of lifespan services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and other special needs. As ECF’s longest participating artist, Davis has spent five days a week for the last 50 years honing his practice at the organization’s South L.A. and Westside Art Centers. Uyeda has participated in the ECF Art Centers since 2004 and also devotes five days a week to artmaking.
Image (left to right): ECF’s Program Supervisor Eugenia Barbuc, artist Vickie Uyeda, The Main’s director Allison Agsten, artist Milton Davis, and The Main’s curatorial associate Monica Rodriguez looking at Milton’s and Vickie’s work at ECF
Working on this exhibition prompted The Main to more closely consider how its offerings could be made more accessible to people of all abilities. To that end, The Main is working with ECF and other partners to learn about and implement better accessibility measures throughout the museum. Visitor resources for this exhibition will include audio guides in Spanish and English, artworks mounted at comfortable viewing heights for greater accessibility, and exhibition materials offered in larger type and with enhanced contrast for increased legibility. Programming throughout the run of the show will focus on accessibility and will include verbal description and ASL programs.
“The Main learns by doing and also learns with the help of our community,” said Agsten. “We’re so fortunate to be able to work with the team at ECF and Milton and Vickie to consider how we can continue to make The Main as accessible as possible to L.A.”
Milton Davis and Vickie Uyeda: Common Ground will be on view at The Main Museum from July 8 to September 2, 2018 (Wednesday–Sunday, 12–7 p.m.). Admission is free. The Main Museum is located at 114 W. 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
About Milton Davis
Milton Davis was born in 1949 in Fordyce, Arkansas, and now lives and works in Inglewood, CA. He practices at the Exceptional Children’s Foundation Westside Art Center and has been developing a prodigious body of work for 52 years. Davis works primarily in pen and ink and his technique can be described as draftsmen like. He uses repetitive lines to create pattern, shape, and figures. He pulls from a strong visual language of African American art, media, and a surreal imagination. His work is meticulous, utilizing a fine line that references geography, wood grain, and a meditative state of making.
About Vickie Uyeda
Vickie Uyeda is a Japanese American artist whose creative practice has been supported by the Exceptional Children’s Foundation Art Centers program since 2004. She comes from a family of artists and began drawing when she was 8 or 9 with the encouragement and mentorship of her father. She loves cherry blossoms because they symbolize her Japanese heritage. She remembers her mother telling her that cherry blossoms happen only in the morning and at night. She enjoys painting animals, landscapes, nature scenes, geysers, and waterfalls. She’s inspired by the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Her paintings explore gesture, color, and abstraction and are highly process driven. Her work reflects her handling and accumulation of paint from her desk to a given surface, her worn brushes, and her sense of humor. Uyeda also loves to cook and plans on one day producing a cookbook. She enjoys learning how to prepare food, but appreciates eating the food she prepares more.
About the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF.net)
ECF was founded in 1946 by a group of parents and community activists who sought to establish a day training program as an alternative to institutional care for individuals with developmental disabilities. Over the years, ECF’s services expanded to meet the changing needs of its target population. The agency successfully developed and implemented early intervention programs for infants and toddlers, as well as residential, work, and day programs for adults. In 2008, ECF merged with Kayne Eras Center (KEC), adding a K–12 school and a comprehensive Mental Health Program to its services. Today, with an annual operating budget of $27 million and 375 staff, ECF serves approximately 4,000 children, adults, and their families at 15 ECF service sites, in clients’ homes, and in community settings throughout L.A. County.
About The Main Museum
The Main Museum's mission is to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles. As a non-collecting museum with a residency program at its center, The Main forefronts artists in its work and supports wide-ranging practices from artists at all stages in their careers. When complete, The Main will include a variety of exhibition galleries, additional studio spaces for its artist residency program, and a restaurant. For more information on The Main and to sign up for updates, visit themainmuseum.org.
Media Contact: Alex Capriotti, Deputy Director, The Main Museum | firstname.lastname@example.org