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Virtually There Opening Reception

Virtually There

OPENING RECEPTION: 6-9pm, Saturday, January 28

Exhibit Run: January 28 - February 26

Gallery hours: 11am-4pm Wednesday - Friday

Virtually There presents six emerging San Diego artists whose work inhabit virtual spaces. Exploring how individual and societal identities are shaped by the connectivity possibly through digital and network technologies. Featuring the work of Stefani Byrd, Gabi Schaffzin, Rebekah Blesing, Zachary Kaiser, Jessica Frelund, and Jessica M Buie.

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Artist Biographies:


Gabi Schaffzin is pursuing his PhD in Art History with an Art Practice concentration at the University of California San Diego. His art and research consider a technologically mediated world dominated by a privileging of data over all else. He is a recovering capitalist who spent years working in the commercial world. These experiences inform his practice, which draws on the imagery and rhetoric of advertising and product design. You can see the emerging dialog between his research and artistic practice at


Zachary Kaiser is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Experience Architecture at Michigan State University. Prior to his current appointment, Zachary co-founded Skeptic, a Boston-based research and design studio, and served as a visiting lecturer in various design schools in Boston. Much of his work is spent in the pursuit of interrogating the preferred situations manifest in the designed world in which we live, asking for whom (or what) these situations are preferred and why. Zachary seeks to offer his students and others the opportunity to question the hegemony of the preferred situations created for them, to problematize the designed systems and artifacts that privilege a certain worldview, and to propose alternative visions. Zachary regularly exhibits and lectures both in the U.S. and internationally.


Rebekah Blesing recently received her MFA from Michigan State University where she was the 2016 recipient of the College of Arts and Letters’ Varg Sullivan Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. Her work has been presented both nationally and internationally including the presentation of Mined Intervention at the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the 2014 Dlectricity Light Festival and as a presenter at the 2015 Vancouver International Symposium on Electronic Art. She teaches part-time at Kalamazoo College and Michigan State University.


After spending her formative years in New Mexico and Minnesota, Jessica Frelund went on to receive her BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2005 and is currently a MFA candidate at the University of California, San Diego in the department of Visual Art. Engaged in experimental practice and boundary-work, she investigates normative behavior, relationship networks, and structures of presence. Frelund actively pursues new avenues of materialization through sculpture, performance, video, drawing, writing, and collaborative installation. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, alternative spaces and non-traditional public forums through lectures, interventions, and partnerships in such spaces as Fort Houston in Nashville, TN, Overture Center in Madison, WI, San Diego Art Institute, The Grunwald Gallery, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, NY, and A SHIP IN THE WOODS, San Diego, CA. Frelund’s first exhibition-review will be published in Number Magazine later this month. She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, FLOAT, and IdeaXFactory. Frelund has been a teaching assistant at the University of California San Diego, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.


Jessica Buie is a photographic artist based in Southern California. Born in 1991 in San Antonio, Texas, she pursued her undergraduate B.A degree in Studio Art at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She is currently enrolled in the Visual Arts Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of California San Diego. Buie has participated in numerous exhibitions across the US and recently completed an artist in residence program in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. She is currently producing a photo book to be published in early 2017.


Stefani Byrd's practice includes video, new media, and interactive technologies. She is most noted for her interactive temporary public art installations that are a hybrid of video and performance art. Her current work focuses on the creation of interactive and immersive media environments. The larger focus of Byrd’s practice is to shed light on the complicated nature of communication within a contemporary culture where social stereotypes often define our interactions. Her work confronts or undermines these stereotypes by turning the tables on traditional power relationships and is described as a hybrid of biting social satire and sociological experimentation.

Humans learn through experience and her work explores how empathy, often something we assume is innate, can be learned. As a technologist, she also focus on how the mediating effect of technology alters the ability to internalize the process of experiential learning as well as emotional fluency in interpersonal relationships.

She has received grants and support from groups such as: Creative Capital of New York, Flux Projects, the San Diego Art institute, the San Diego Art Fair, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, and Idea Capital. Her work has been featured in such places as Public Art Review Magazine, the Huffington Post, the Atlanta journal Constitution, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and Art Papers Magazine. Byrd's work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and the Columbus museum of American Art. Her work is also archived as a part of the Public Art Database project. Stefani Byrd received her BFA degree in Photography from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, in 2008. In 2016 Byrd earned her MFA degree from the University of California San Diego in New Media / Art + Technology, where she is currently a Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts (ICAM) program.

Earlier Event: January 21
Tiny House Big Community Fundraiser
Later Event: March 3