TRYST Alternative Art Fair ~ Torrance Art Museum

TRYST Alternative Art Fair ~ Torrance Art Museum

OCTOBER 27-29, 2023

VIP Preview: Friday Oct. 27th, 4-6pm
HOURS: Saturday + Sunday (Oct. 28-29): 12-6pm
ADDRESS: Del Amo Crossing, 21515 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503


Organized in partnership with Torrance Art Museum and the City of Torrance, TRYST is the world’s largest international art fair for artist run initiatives featuring painting sculpture, video art, installation art and more from over 60 international artist-run spaces.

This event is alongside Nomad II, a 3-day pop-up exhibition of Southern California based Contemporary art.


Curatorial Statement

by Vuslat D Katsanis

MPAC is pleased to present Familiar, an exhibition of new works by MPAC-affiliate artists, Nathaniel C. Praska, Ilknur Demirkoparan, and Naomi Middelmann. Familiar sits at the intersection of the known and the unknown, the familiar and the strange, and the here and the gone, to reckon with the ever morphing history of the present and its various enduring imprints. All that is familiar, both material and affective, is simultaneously estranged. The works of the artists in this exhibition encourage viewers to thus make a double-move: at once turning inward to their own family and personal stories in a process of seeing with insight, and outward across time and space to contemplate the fractures of lived reality, political memory, and material culture in comparative and connective ways. 


Nathaniel C. Praska’s layered paintings exude with the unfiltered grit of graffiti aesthetics set against an obsidian backdrop where traces of prior etchings linger like unfinished past lessons on a school chalkboard. His subject matter–discarded items, gasoline canisters, and abandoned places–morph into enigmatic symbols representing anxiety, absurdity, isolation, and paranoia. Praska positions these objects alongside monstrous analogies, forging a visual language that encapsulates the mounting recognition of societal despondency and the precariousness of the post-1980s socio-economic paradigm in the United States.


Ilknur Demirkoparan’s work is informed by Turkish material culture, mysticism, and aesthetics, particularly the abstract symbolism of Turkish kilims (rugs) and the ornate lines of Hat Sanati (calligraphy). Her paintings are often characterized by biomorphic forms that coalesce into intricate patterns, like stars in the night sky, with a decidedly monochromatic palette of saturated blacks against vast color fields. Demirkoparan draws from the interplay of identity, heritage, and migration to grapple with a perspective that defies easy categorization. Her abstraction seeks to engage in a nuanced exploration of identity and belonging as both familiar and inherently strange.


Naomi Middelmann’s work explores the difficulty of remembering through a variety of mediums including found objects, textile installations, drawing, and painting. Her current work involves the act of recollecting the landscapes of memories across space and time. Whether meticulously cutting out the roadways on the vintage maps of colonized Africa in the 1920s, or transcribing foreign words from the book her grandfather wrote on her family roots dating back to 1412, Middelmann’s process recalls the inherent paradox of memory: that the thing one tries to attain is at once and already lost. In the bizarre Sisyphean act of writing words which one cannot read, or reconstructing roadways which one cannot cross, Middelmann’s work hovers in the proximal space between knowing and feeling.


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