This Basic Asymmetry

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) is pleased to announce This Basic Asymmetry featuring work by artists Patricia Ayres, Simone Forti, Miguel Angel Payano Jr., Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Gabriela Ruiz.

On view Saturday, February 5 - Sunday, April 17, 2022

Through internal sensation, emotion, and cognition we develop a fluid but strong sense of self that allows us to perceive the complexities and nuances of our personal experience. By contrast, it is only through external sensation, especially vision and observation, that we find the ability to develop an understanding of others, splitting our experience of self from others into an asymmetrical paradigm. Having studied this phenomenon in depth Emily Pronin, Associate Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University proposes, “this basic asymmetry has broad consequences,” potentially leading to misunderstanding and disconnection. Pronin suggests that we tend to perceive ourselves via ‘introspection’ and others via ‘extrospection,’ judging others based on what we see, but ourselves based on what we think and feel. 

This Basic Asymmetry presents the work of five artists whose practices make available their personal processes of introspection, creating a space for the viewer to reflect on their own relationship to their bodies and how that informs one’s perception of others. Addressing the dissonance in our reckoning between self and other, the works exhibited here accommodate space for mutual exploration. Through vulnerability, observation, recognition, and recollection the artwork in This Basic Asymmetry explores new opportunities for perceptions that are inclusive of both self and other. As Pronin states: “understanding the psychological basis of those differences may help mitigate some of their negative effects.”*

*Pronin, E. (2008). How we see ourselves and how we see others. Science, 320, 1177–1180.

This Basic Asymmetry is curated by Alexandra Terry, Chief Curator, MCASB.



Generous support for This Basic Asymmetry provided by LaPau Gallery, Paulina Lara, Make Room Los Angeles, Matthew Brown Los Angeles, MCASB Board of Trustees, MCASB Visionaries, Paseo Nuevo, Jamie and Andrew Schwartzberg, The Box Los Angeles, Jason Underhill, and Vielmetter Los Angeles.

This project was made possible thanks to Anabella Acevedo, Barba Property Management, Alex Blair, Bradley Brown, Eric Chirnside, Alexandra Cole, Sarah Dildine, Emily Engel, Andrea Garcia, Nathan Hayden, Madeleine Ignon, Owen Jenkins, Jacquelyn Klein-Brown, Sarah Klein, Kendyl Kring, Laura Macker Johnston, Davin Mantell, Marni Margerum, Izzy Mondragon, Miguel Moreno, Giuliana Mottin-Mitchum, Manuela Pelaez Bassan, Debby Peterson, PIP Printing, Pecos Pryor, Christian Ramirez, Maria Rendón, Leah Skoyles, Crosby Slaught, Topa Topa Brewing Co., and Val-Mar Records.


  • February 5, 2022 - April 17, 2022


The main galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

653 Paseo Nuevo
Santa Barbara CA, 93101

Learn more