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Statement

Whoever thinks, offers resistance. – Adorno

Abstraction has been described as the most universal form of communication. It has also been called irrelevant. In times like these of political, cultural, environmental, and economic crisis, I often ask myself if painting abstract pictures has a place. Is it still a useful way of communicating or do we need narratives, manifestos, interventions, and action? In this moment of speed and oversaturation can we afford slow, investigative practices?

Recently, I read in Stuart Jeffries’ book, Grand Hotel Abyss, that The Frankfurt School, formed in 1923 to counteract fascism through cultural research and critique, was later denounced for being too abstract, for dealing too much in theory and not enough in practice, for thinking rather than acting.

These paintings in my studio are the most strange and tentative works I’ve done, yet they are coming closer to something accurate. And this uncanny accuracy seems important. I think about beauty, but all I want is the struggle and some kind of reckoning with it. That is the roughness I’m looking for. But I also want a tentative touch, and it is almost impossible because I constantly jump ahead or fall behind it.

I don’t recognize this work. Each day I dig myself deeper into that fact. The peculiar roughness is somehow accurate. It isn’t about expression or angst exactly. It is more quiet than that, maybe more controlled, and definitely more awkward. Also more bare.

One is tempted to say: once he was certain of eventual failure, everything worked out for him en route as in a dream. – Walter Benjamin

They are sick, insecure, fake. They are all line. They are not enough in their timidness, utterly lost and muddled. But it isn’t angst or anger that will lead out of this, and it isn’t thinking. It is listening. This is the stage where content is planted.

And then, suddenly, I finish a small painting and it seems that three months of empty frustration caused me to land on this quirky and true thing.

There is a fine line between a painting that will fail utterly and one that will fail on its way to being something.

We cannot even imagine how to be humble. – Agnes Martin

Sometimes you just need to do nothing because the alternative is to go in circles. This was said at an all day sit today in reference to samsara and nirvana but it applies to painting. I keep trying to fix things and that is not working. It takes discipline to wait and to get out of the way. To make just one small mark and stop there instead of trying to resolve.

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Bio

Marlene Angeja is a Bay Area artist who has been exhibiting and teaching for over twenty-five years. Painting as process, with its inherent flaws and failures, is central to her work. Angeja completed her MFA at California College of the Arts in 1990, where she received the Barclay Simpson Award for her multi-media installation, The Yellow Wallpaper. She has shown throughout the United States, as well as in Portugal. Her work is in the collection of the Capelinhos museum in Faial, Azores, Portugal as well as private collections. She recently retired after nineteen years of teaching in the Department of Art and Art History at San Jose State University.

CV

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2019
    • This Storm is Called Progress, The Fourth Wall Gallery, Oakland, Ca. Artist talk, June 22.
  • 2018
    • Ground: Paintings by Marlene Angeja and Manuel Angeja, Gavilan College Art Gallery, Gilroy, Ca. (two-person)
  • 2011
    • Farol (Lighthouse), Interpretation Center of Capelinhos Volcano / Capelinhos Museum, Faial, Azores, Portugal
  • 2008
    • Volcão dos Capelinhos: História, Geografia, e Migração, Centro Do Mar, Whaling Museum, Horta, Faial, Açores, Portugal.
  • 2007
    • Olhares de 2 Artistas Luso-Americanas, Centro Municipal de Cultura, Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. (two-person)
  • 2006
    • Island Paintings, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, Ca.
  • 1996
    • Tulips, Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego, Ca.
    • Marlene Angeja / Hifumi Ogawa. Matrix Gallery, Sacramento, Ca.1995 (two-person)
  • 1990
    • The Yellow Wallpaper Installation. The Alice Hotel / Alice Arts Center, Oakland, Ca.
    • Madwoman in the Attic, Cassandra Kirsting Gallery, Oakland, Ca.

Group Exhibitions

  • 2018
    • Eight at The Fourth, Fourth Wall Gallery, Oakland, Ca.
  • 2015
    • Five from 415. Amy Simon Fine Art, Westport, CN.
  • 2013
    • Faculty Exhibition. Natalie & James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University
  • 2009
    • In Between: The Tension and Attraction of Difference. Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino, Ca.
    • Passive/Aggressive. Southern Exposure, Video screening at Artist Television Access, San Francisco
  • 2008
    • Capelinhos: História, Geografia, e Migração. Centro Do Mar, Whaling Museum, Horta, Faial, Açores, Portugal
    • Obsessive Nature, Winter 2007-2008 Exhibition curated by Jane Salvin, Heritage Bank, San Jose
  • 2007
    • Faculty Exhibition. Natalie & James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University
  • 2005
    • Women in Portugal and the Diaspora. Worth Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley
  • 2004
    • Monumental. Video screening. Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco
    • CCA See. Oliver Art Center, Oakland, Ca.
  • 2003
    • Faculty Exhibition, Natalie & James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University, Ca.
    • 23rd Annual Fall Auction. San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Ca.
  • 2002
    • Shikishi: Gifts of Art for the New Year. Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, Ca.
    • 22nd Annual Fall Auction. San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Ca.
  • 2001
    • Talking to Myself: Culture, Fantasy and the Domestic Condition. Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego, Ca.
    • I/O Public Video Program, Quotidian Gallery, San Francisco, Ca.
  • 2000
    • Flowers, San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park
    • Gallery Artists. Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego
  • 1999
    • Twelve Attitudes: A Multimedia Exhibit of Women Artists. Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego
  • 1998
    • Pictorial Faculty Exhibition. Natalie & James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University
    • Art in City Hall. Veteran's Building, San Francisco
  • 1996
    • Confess. Southern Exposure at Project Artaud, San Francisco
  • 1995
    • About Drawing. Meridian Gallery, San Francisco
    • American Color. Louis Stern Gallery, Los Angeles and Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego
    • Embarcadero Window Series. Curated by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
  • 1994
    • Odun De Odun De, Oliver Art Center, Oakland, Ca
    • Bay Arts 1994, San Mateo County Arts Council, Belmont, Ca.
    • Spaces, University Art Gallery, California State University, Hayward, Ca.
  • 1992
    • Nine. Walter and McBean Galleries/SFAI, San Francisco
    • Telling Stories. Preito Gallery at Mills College, Oakland
  • 1991
    • Chain Reaction. San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco
    • Wet Paint. Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco
    • BACA Seventh Annual, Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, Ca.
    • A Mulher de Portugal aos Estados Unidos, Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society, Sacramento, Ca.
  • 1990
    • The Yellow Wallpaper Installation. The Alice Hotel / Alice Arts Center, Oakland, Ca.
    • CCA Third Annual Barclay Simpson Awards Exhibition. Barclay Simpson Gallery, Lafayette, Ca.
    • CCA M.F.A Exhibition, Oliver Art Center, Oakland, Ca.

Public Collections

  • Interpretation Center of Capelinhos Volcano / Capelinhos Museum, Faial, Azores, Portugal

Awards and Publications

  • 2019
  • 2012
    • Twenty-five Years of the Barclay Simpson Award, Exhibition Catalog, California College of the Arts
  • 2008
    • Capelinhos: História, Geografia e Migração, Açoreano Oriental, June 29
  • 2003
    • Rosa Simas ed., Women in the Azores and the Immigrant Communities, Empresa Grafica Açoriana:Ponta Delgada
  • 1992
    • Kenneth Baker, Art Institute's Topical Turn, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 9
    • Robert Friedman, Female Culture, San Francisco Sentinel, Sept 24
    • Nine, Exhibition Catalog, essay by Patricia Davidson. Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco Art Institute
    • SECA nomination, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • 1990
    • Barclay Simpson Graduate Award, California College of the Arts
  • 1988/1989
    • California State Fellowship

Education

  • 1990 California College of the Arts, San Francisco. MFA, Painting
  • 1975 Saint Mary's College, Moraga, Ca. BA, Painting
  • 1973 Sacramento City College, Ca. AA, Fine Art

Teaching and Residencies

  • 1997-2016
    • Department of Art & Art History, San Jose State University, San Jose, Ca., Lecturer.
  • 2002-2003
    • California College of the Arts, Oakland/San Francisco, Ca., Adjunct Professor
  • 1999
    • Artist in Residence, Ecole de Beaux Arts, Aix-en-Provence, France, July.