2003-2004 Academic Year

"Envisioning the Future"
Pitzer College to Host Opening of Judy Chicago Project

November 13, 2003 - From the dystopian renderings of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell to the cinematic imaginings of The Matrix, artists have struggled to project their visions of the future of humanity.

Judy Chicago
Judy Chicago

And while the future can be a messy place, the “Envisioning the Future” project under production by Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman, nine facilitators and more than 70 artists brings a fresh perspective to the challenge of providing the art-viewing public with windows into the world we march toward every day.

Pitzer College will host the opening of the project to the public with a Web cast of a lecture by Judy Chicago to galleries and living rooms throughout the world 3-4:00 p.m. Jan. 10, 2004, in the Avery Auditorium.

The artists work in several media, including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, digital media, video and the performing arts. The participants and facilitators from throughout Southern California were selected through a rigorous application process. The facilitators’ intensive training is based on Chicago’s participatory art pedagogy, honed over a 30-year period through arts activism, teaching and the production of four major collaborative projects.

Pitzer's Nichols Gallery will house the works of painters involved with the Envisioning the Future project. Seven talented painters envision diverse futures. Deane Swick bravely depicts five parallel outcomes for the Middle East conflict. Marsha Shaw wittily combines kitchen and laboratory in the Joy of Cloning. Esther Shaw elegantly shows us four roles women have yet to achieve. Victoria Delgadillo leaves little to the imagination in three political pieces regarding worker exploitation. Alison Kuo takes the future personally in her plexiglass pieces regarding the ingrained issue of prejudice. Holly Boruck weaves the masculine and the feminine together to form a balanced whole. Lastly, Susan Krieg, facilitator of the painting group, imagines the self-help books needed to get us through whatever the future brings.

"We're All in the Same Boat" by Judy Chicago from the "Resolutions" Show, 2000

What the artists in the Envisioning the Future project have in common is the charge to reject abstractions and employ figurative imagery, symbols and other concrete forms so the artists’ messages resonate with the general public rather than just the artist elite.

Nelson Trombley, curator of Pitzer’s Nichols Gallery, serves as the facilitator of the documentary photography group for the project. Trombley will have personal works on display at the exhibit as well.

“This project brings together works that are both diverse and divergent. The future as seen by these artists ranges from optimism to severe pessimism and from the micro level of the family unit to the macro level of the world at large. As a facilitator, my role has been to critique works on an ongoing basis with an eye toward quantity, quality and clarity of message,” Trombley said.

Trombley and Bob Markovich, a Riverside photographer whose works are scheduled to appear in the documentary photography group, met recently for a consultation on Markovich’s project and its relationship to the theme of “the future.”

Their exchange was exemplary of the collaboration typical of “Envisioning the Future.”

Markovich, who manages the photography facility at Chaffey College, plans to use photos of his child’s birth as his vision of the future. Trombley’s advice as a facilitator for the project included the suggestion to provide subtext in connection to the photos to capture the moment and explain the project to the audience.

“The great thing about this artists’ project is that it includes a range of views,” Markovich said. “I was drawn here because I was interested in working with a community of artists.”

The project includes artists from eight California counties spread across 47 communities and is the largest Judy Chicago has ever done.

Markovich, like many of the artists involved in “Envisioning the Future,” has exhibited works in a wide array of arenas, including Great Britain and Italy, and in print publications such as World of Interior Design, Interior Design and Domus, an Italian magazine.

Pitzer will serve as the hub of the opening of the project. After the reception with Chicago and the Web cast, the event will shift to the Nichols Gallery in the Edythe and Eli Broad Center to view the works of painters involved in the project.

Transportation will be provided to the venues playing host to the other openings. These sites include the Latino Gallery on First Street in the Claremont Village, the Millard Sheets Gallery at Fairplex in Pomona, and the Pomona Arts Colony in downtown Pomona.

Spearheaded by Dean Barbara Way of Cal Poly Pomona, this project exemplifies an extraordinary public/private partnership, one that has brought together the art, academic and business communities of the Pomona Valley to promote the power of art to educate, inspire and promote change. The project, which has been in development for two years, aims to have a lasting impact through community development.

For information: www.envisioningthefuture.org

Visit Judy Chicago's website.