"Where are you FROM from?" series. A series of 5 women in side-to front-to side profiles representing the artist's mixed heritage
Jun 2 – Aug 28, 2023


Cellular Memory at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art presents excerpts from Lisa Solomon’s expansive previous bodies of work. Her elaborate and research-based practice navigates conversations around complex identity politics as the child of an immigrant mother, the dark history of Japanese internment in California, and reverent celebration of ancestral resilience. The most recent work included are five portraits of the artist dressed in traditional garb from the countries that represent her true ethnicity, a response to the lifelong question Solomon has received: “But where are you from from?” The portraits are depicted in watercolor on paper with colorful cutout paper garments and geometric shapes pinned to the surface. In the center of the gallery, one hundred and eight gold-leafed small stone pagodas form a circle on the ground, functioning as a reliquary to those who were interned. Small works on paper depict evidence of racism in the signage from businesses that had to close and the maps posted and used to collect residents. Concepts of human repression, fear and racial bias became of interest to Solomon in the production of this work as she faces the reality that our nation is once again confronting, resisting and reasserting white racist and colonial ideals. More abstractly, also included are crochet embroidered depictions of toxins in our world, and an ambitious, 535-knot net reflecting the geometric pattern Amime, a geometric pattern based on fishing and bird hunting nets, rooted in Japanese history. This netting, and Solomon’s practice at large, serves as a symbol of resilience and victory. 

About the Artist
Solomon was born in Tucson and raised in Los Angeles through middle school and then moved with her parents to Santa Barbara for high school. She currently lives in Oakland where she has lived for nearly 30 years with her family. Solomon is bi-racial with a Jewish American father and Japanese mother. Solomon received her BA in Art Practice at UC Berkeley and her MFA from Mills College. She is currently an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University. Last fall, Solomon’s work was included in the show,
The New Domestics: Finding Beauty in the Mundane at the Monterey Museum of Art and Art and Activism: Drawing the Line at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York. In 2019 she was an artist in residence at the Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, CA. Solomon has participated in other residencies that have allowed for a greater exploration of social practice including AIR at the Palo Alto Art Center; Kala Art Institute; Irving Street Projects; and the Underground Artist in Residence at the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, KS where she had a solo show of her work. She recently completed a collaborative commission with the artist, Christine Buckton Tillman for The Wharf in Washington DC. Solomon has done several private and corporate commissions including recent works for Chan Zuckerberg in Redwood Hills, Meta in Fremont as well as Google and Hall Capital in San Francisco. Her work is included in several collections across the US. Solomon is represented by Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.

Cellular Memory

Artist Lisa Solomon recounts her experiences and inspirations behind her artworks included in SLOMA’s exhibition.

Exhibition Highlights

Related Programming

SLOMA's curator leads a docent training event. A young woman with short blonde hair and a white sweater refers to a painting while three other women holding clipboards listen and take notes for future gallery tours

Every Saturday at 11 AM: Join a free tour of the exhibition led by our trained docents. Check in at the front desk.

Contamos con visitas guiadas en español, las puedes solicitar al correo esaperstein@sloma.org para agendar.


Learn more about Cellular Memory in our media mentions. #SLOMAinthenews

Fast Times at SLOMA. LA Weekly, Shana Nys Dambrot. Aug 24, 2023.

This exhibition is generously supported by:

Liz Mason & Todd Peterson

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