Headlands Center for the Arts

Sherwin Rio

california | visual
Graduate Fellowship Program 2019—2020, San Francisco Art Institute

Artist Statement

As an interdisciplinary artist, I use visual metaphors to materialize the historical, social, cultural, and cognitive oppositional forces that confront and affront human vulnerability. Through installation, performance, video, and sculpture I challenge viewing participants to reframe, refocus, and reposition “misvisibility”—the tactical misguiding of visibility leveraged by both the powerful and those seeking power, which can sometimes be ourselves.

While at Headlands

With its reliquaries of the past and important location at the mouth of the Bay, the Marin Headlands is full of possibilities for site-specific intervention and installation.

As a Graduate Fellow I will research, design, and execute a multi-part sculptural and performance-based project centered on the wreckage of the SS Rio de Janeiro that crashed off the coast of the Point Bonita Lighthouse on February 22nd 1901. This vessel, still underwater today, is fabled to have burned its own topmasts as fuel to get across the Pacific when coal ran out. It also once served to bring U.S. troops from San Francisco to Manila to fight in the Spanish-American War that resulted in the U.S. takeover and colonization of the Philippines. Coincidentally, “The Rio”—as it’s known—shares my surname and wrecked on the day of my birth, exactly 91 years earlier.

Selected Works

Personal Website