Painter Eva Struble’s work treats distressed urban and natural landscapes, whose seemingly serene atmosphere belies the socio-political and environmental issues at their heart. Struble brings her critical eye and versatile brush to San Diego in Produce, a new series that offers a contemporary update on the landscape tradition. In these paintings, she pursues a recently developed interest in agriculture and migrant work, while simultaneously covering new material ground in her practice with experiments in screen printing and paper collage. In preparation for the project, Struble conducted in-depth research into the agricultural industry of Southern California and the laborers who travel to the area for work, mining historical photo archives, visiting farms around North County, and interviewing migrant workers from Oaxaca, Mexico. While the paintings draw their sense of place from her research, Struble introduces the migrant workers’ presence by inserting into the paintings passages of silkscreened textile patterns from the artisan traditions of their native region. The resulting jewel-toned, clamorously verdant scenes address the intersection of immigration, labor, and the agricultural industry on which San Diego depends daily for its food.
Eva Struble: Produce is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego with major funding from the 2014 Creative Catalyst Fellowship Grant, which was made possible by the Ariel W. Coggeshall Fund of the San Diego Foundation Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.