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 special needs and 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.
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.