January 24 – March 26, 2015
Lenzner Family Art Gallery
Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory investigates the distinction between native versus invasive species as determined by the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee, a scientific organization charged with creating a statewide “living list” of invasive species since late 2009. The discourse surrounding a list of “invasive” or “alien” flora and fauna species has interesting and fruitful correlations to policies regarding immigration, multiculturalism and evolving ideas about national identities that are inherently tied to the identity of border cultures. The project allows viewers to engage in a meaningful and nuanced way with how these issues are thought of in direct and applicable terms.
Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory takes a number of forms, including a comprehensive index of the invasive species found on-site; a large-scale projection—a portrait of all the plants collected and a record of their growth during June 2014; and a light-box image of their incubated sequestration. The exhibition also features two sculptural works, one of which is an index of the more than 100 plants collected, in the style of a classic botanical herbaria rendered in detailed handmade paper silhouettes. The second sculpture refers to the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants, which is a window into the common presence in 1892 of what are now rare California native plants. This piece, which features a seemingly empty vitrine, is a nod to the fears of the ultimate disappearance of natives in the wake of the encroachment by alien species that fuels the discourse around this issue.
The Botany Seminar Series at Ranch Santa Ana Botanic Garden Friday, March 6
Dr. Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist, Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University
and Adjunct Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory has been produced with support byKonstnärsnämnden / Swedish Arts Grant Committee.
The exhibition is also generously supported by the GuestHaus Residency, Kungliga Konsthögskolan / Stockholm Royal Institute of Art, and art+environment – an interdisciplinary program at Pitzer College funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
With very special thanks to:
Joe Clements, Arboretum and Grounds Manager, Pitzer College
Ciara Ennis, Director/Curator, Pitzer College Art Galleries
Dr. Paul Faulstich, Professor of Environmental Analysis, Pitzer College
Nicolas Galindo, Lead Groundskeeper, Pitzer College
Cheukwa Jones, Curatorial/PR Coordinator, Pitzer College Art Galleries
Rachel Kessler ’14, Assistant to the artist, Pitzer College
Dr. Muriel Poston, Vice President/Dean of Faculty, Pitzer College
Lance Neckar, MLA, MALA, Director, Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern
California Sustainability and Professor of Environmental Analysis, Pitzer College
Angelica Perez, Preparator, Pitzer College Art Galleries
Pomona / BFS
Dr. Wallace M. Meyer III, Assistant Professor of Biology, Pomona College and Director of the Bernard Field Station, Claremont, CA
Ronald Nemo, Lead Groundskeeper, Pomona College
Harvey Mudd / BFS
Dr. Nancy V. Hamlett, Visiting Professor of Biology, Harvey Mudd College; Volunteer Researcher and Habitat Coordinator at the Bernard Field Station, Claremont, CA
Keck Science Department, Claremont Colleges
Dr. Susan M. Schenk, Biology Laboratory Instructor/Coordinator and Lab Lecturer of Biology, W.M. Keck Science Department, Claremont Colleges
Fred Carlson, Lead Groundskeeper, Scripps College
Lola Trafecanty, Director of Grounds, Scripps College
Liv Townsend ’14, Documentation Photographer, Scripps College
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Dr. J. Travis Columbus II, Research Scientist; Professor of Botany, Claremont Graduate University
Nick Jensen, Master’s Student, Claremont Graduate University Botany Department
Evan P. Meyer, Seed Conservation Program Manager, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Dr. Jeffery Morawetz, Postdoctoral Researcher, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Dr. Mare Nazaire, Herbarium Collections Manager, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Irene Holiman, Library Specialist, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Jenny Brown, Collection Manager, Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, Harvard University Herbaria
Dr. Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard; University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Lisa DeCesare, Head of Archives and Public Services, Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria
Mary Anne Hamblen, Special Collections & Archives Librarian, Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library, The Corning Museum of Glass
Dr. Chris MacDonald, Desert Natural Resources Advisor of Cooperative Extension San Bernardino County, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Robert Perry, FASLA, USC School of Artchitecture Adjunct Professor, Professor Emeritus at California State Polytechnic University
Nisreen Azar, Habitat Restoration Specialist at Glenn Lukos Associates, Inc.
Noreen Murano, President of Wildscape Restoration, Inc. and the CEO of Resource Conservation Partners, Inc.
Bill Neill, Desert Protective Council
Drew Ready, Sustainable Landscape Program Manager at the Council for Watershed Health
David Bachman, Professor of Mathematics, Pitzer College
January 24 – February 27, 2015 Barbara Hinshaw Gallery, Grove House
Organized by Pitzer College Art Galleries
Comprising prints, flowcharts (graphical algorithms) and objects, Bachman’s work straddles the physical and mathematical world. Through translations of mathematical equations into three-dimensional models Bachman transfigures objects derived from the every day into complex and intricate forms that resemble midcentury modern aesthetics. Deploying a 3D printer, Bachman’s mathematical abstractions are produced in a variety of materials, including plastic, sandstone, ceramic and metal.
David Bachman is a Professor of Mathematics at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He received his PhD in 1999 from the University of Texas at Austin, and has since published 16 research articles and two books on Geometry and Topology. For the last 25 years Bachman has also enjoyed a number of non-academic pursuits, from lighting design for nationally touring musical acts to building furniture. Six years ago Backman’s background in Mathematics and his affinity for working with his hands converged when he began to experiment with 3D printing and design. Since then he has created unique mathematical sculptures by using several CAD modeling packages (Rhino 3D, Grasshopper), a variety of 3D printers and a garage full of tools.
January 24–March 26, 2015 Nichols Gallery, Broad Center Curated by Ciara Ennis
Joshua Callaghan, Chris Cobb, Michael Decker, José Clemente Orozco Farías, Clare Graham (MorYork), Nina Katchadourian, Alice Könitz, Elana Mann, Rachel Mayeri, Melanie Nakaue, Jenny Perlin, Steve Roden, Vivian Sming, Stephanie Syjuco, Chris Wilder, Jenny Yurshansky and First Street Gallery Art Center artists: Herb Herod, Evan Hynes, Joe Zaldivar
In contrast to current museological models that derive their practices from their nineteenth century counterparts, the wunderkammer—generally regarded as a prototype for the first museums—can provide an alternative. Distinguished by their eclectic and all-encompassing collections, these early museums celebrated heterogeneity and difference as accolades—objects collected ranged from functional everyday artifacts to biological anomalies. Their interdisciplinary and all-inclusive practice resulted in a non-hierarchical approach; value was assigned according to the object’s polyvalent signifying power, its ability to be endlessly interpreted rather then categorically determined. As their name suggests, these museums championed wonderment as a vital tool for knowledge acquisition.
By providing a different rubric, these early models can offer an alternative lens to critique prevailing exhibitionary practices by calling attention to the codes and conventions of current display strategies, chronological placements, and exhibition typologies. By interrogating these classificatory norms it is possible to examine how these taxonomic structures dictate behavior in other areas of our lives—labor, leisure, culture—and by extension their impact on how we self identify or are identified by others—race, class, sexuality, gender. As a result, the wunderkammer model provides an opportunity to examine how knowledge is produced and disseminated, controlled and manipulated.
Through the objects and installations, the artists and practitioners in the exhibition explore these ideas through the production of archives—fictional and real; via unique and eclectic cosmologies; by privileging the mundane and forgotten above the conventionally celebrated; the historical as a part of the contemporary; and the nonprofessional versus the established. Furthermore, through the use of specific representational systems these artists reveal and critique established ideological constructs that govern issues of inclusion and exclusion within the contemporary museum.
Wunderkammer is a set of connected exhibitions at Pitzer College’s Nichols Gallery and Barbara Hinshaw Gallery, and the First Street Gallery Art Center of the Tierra del Sol Foundation.
January 24 – March 26, 2015
Curated by Ciara Ennis
Pitzer College Art Galleries
105 pages, with color reproductions, 8″ x 6″
Foreword by Glenn Harcourt
Essays by Christopher Michno and Ciara Ennis
Catalogue designed by Stephanie Estrada
Barbara Hinshaw Gallery, Grove House;
McConnell Living Room, McConnell Center
The exhibition presents paintings that reflect on indigenous and global discourses of nature, sustainability, and development in the Amazon. There is a particular concern with the cosmologies and historical experiences of the Macuxi Indians and other groups of Northern Brazil. Macuxi artist Jaider Esbell is spending the semester at Pitzer as a visiting professor.
The exhibition is funded by Art+Environment program, the Pitzer College Art Galleries, and the External Studies Department. Curated by Daniel Segal.
Artists: Liz Cohen, Edgar Endress, EJ Hill, Todd Gray, John Jota Leaños, Nery Gabriel Lemus, Charles McGill, Amitis Motevalli, Dread Scott, Alice Shaw, Kyungmi Shin, Texist, Ian Weaver and Jay Wolke
Racial Imaginary is an interdisciplinary exhibition that looks at the intersection of poetry, prose and contemporary art. It is a further iteration of the book and will feature the visual artists who have struggled alongside their literary counterparts in constructing a creative discourse that focuses on its subjects not as objects, of individual outlines discernable apart from the overwhelming contrast of their landscape. The creative imagination is framed by its palpable confines; the history of women is primarily written in relationship to men, of Blacks (and others) in relation to Whiteness. How does an artist—literary, visual, performative—contrive a vernacular that is rich and evocative but doesn’t reproduce familiar narratives and binaries?
The show forms part of a larger project that includes a book of the same title edited by award-winning poet Claudia Rankine, who just received the prestigious Jackson Poetry Prize for exceptional US poets, and author Beth Loffreda from the University of Wyoming. The book examines race, gender and cultural representations, and comprises poems and essays, which have been further articulated through the addition of artworks, curated into the book, by artist, Max King Cap.
Saturday, September 20, 2-4 p.m.
Thursday, October 9, 11 a.m.
Artist Amitis Motevalli will join Professor Bill Anthes and his First Year Seminar students to discuss her work.
The Annual Murray Pepper & Vicki Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artist & Scholar Lecture Series
Monday, November 10, 4:15 p.m.
George C.S. Benson Auditorium
In conjunction with the exhibition, Claudia Rankine will discuss her book Racial Imaginary with co-editors, Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap.
“Art in Writing” workshop led by Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap
Tuesday, November 11, 11 a.m.
All events are free and open to the public.
About the Artists
Claudia Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely and the plays, Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue (co-authored with Casey Llewellyn). Rankine is co-editor of American Women Poets in the Twenty-First Century series (Wesleyan University Press). Forthcoming in 2014 are That Were Once Beautiful Children (Graywolf Press) and The Racial Imaginary (Fence Books). A recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the National Endowment for the Arts, Rankine teaches at Pomona College.
Liz Cohen’s performance art/photography has been shown extensively throughout the US and Europe. Cohen is represented by Salon 94, Galerie Laurent Godin and David Klein Gallery. She is an artist-in-residence at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Edgar Endress teaches new media and public art at George Mason University. Born in Chile, he has exhibited extensively throughout the Americas. His work focuses on syncretism in the Andes, displacement in the Caribbean and mobile art-making practices. He received his MFA in Video Art from Syracuse University. He has received grants and fellowships from numerous institutions, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Creative Capital Fund.
EJ Hill is a performance artist who continually struggles with the complexity of the body’s cultural and historical inheritances and implications. A native of South Central Los Angeles, Hill’s work has been exhibited throughout the US and internationally. He received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Todd Gray is a professor of art at California State University, Long Beach. Gray has shown his work throughout the US and internationally. He is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MOCA, Los Angeles; University of Parma in Italy; and other collections. He received his BFA and MFA from California Institute of the Arts.
John Jota Leaños is a social art practitioner who utilizes a range of media focusing on the convergence of memory, social space and decolonization. His work has been shown at the Sundance 2010 Film Festival and the 2002 Whitney Biennial, among others. Leaños is a Creative Capital Grantee and a Guggenheim Fellow (2013) who has been an artist-in-residence at many institutions. Leaños is an associate professor of social documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Nery Gabriel Lemus is a Los-Angeles based artist whose work addresses issues of stereotype and immigration, the intersection of racial and dissociative racism; and the poverty, abuse and neglect that can lead to the failure of families. Lemus is a recipient of a COLA Fellowship Grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles, and the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Fellowship Award. He is represented by Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles. Lemus received his BFA at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.
Charles McGill is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited in the US and Europe and has been reviewed in The New York Times and Art in America. A recipient of the 2014 recipient of the distinguished Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, an Art Matters and New York Foundation for the Arts grant, as well as fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, he is a former artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. McGill received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is is an Assistant Professor at The Borough of Manhattan Community College in in NYC. He is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York.
Amitis Motevalli was born in Iran and moved to the US in 1977, prior to the revolution. She explores the cultural resistance and survival of people living in poverty, conflict and war. Her working-class immigrant background drives her art that contests stereotypical beliefs about people living in diaspora and criticizes of the violence of dominance and occupation, while invoking the significance of secular grassroots struggle. Motevalli works with transnational Muslims, across economic and political borders, to create an active and resistant cultural discourse. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. In 1989, the entire US Senate denounced his artwork and President George H. Bush declared it “disgraceful” because of its use of the American flag. His work is exhibited in the US and internationally. A recipient of a Creative Capital Grant, his work is included in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Alice Shaw is an artist and educator based in San Francisco, CA. Her photographs have been shown internationally. Shaw is represented by Gallery 16 in San Francisco. A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and a recipient of a 2002 Artadia Award, Shaw often infuses personal/reflexive documentation with humor and poignancy. She has practiced photography for more than 25 years and she has been a visiting lecturer at University of California, Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State University, The California College of Art and The San Francisco Art Institute. Her book, People Who Look Like Me, was published in April of 2006.
Kyungmi Shin, a sculptor and an installation artist, has received grants from the California Community Foundation, Durfee Grant, Pasadena City Individual Artist Fellowship and LA Cultural Affairs Artist-in-Residence program. Since 2004, she has created numerous public art projects across the nation, including Los Angeles, CA, Winston-Salem, NC, Chicago, IL, and Norfolk, VA. She received her MFA from UC Berkeley.
Ian Weaver is a Chicago-based visual artist and teaches in South Bend, IN. He received his MFA in Visual Art from Washington University in St. Louis and his work has been seen at many museums. He has been a recipient of numerous residencies, including Yaddo and the Millay Colony, and his awards include grants from Artadia and the Joan Mitchell foundations.
Jay Wolke is an artist and educator living in Chicago. He has authored three photographic monographs, including most recently Architecture of Resignation: Photographs from the Mezzogiorno (Center for American Places– Columbia College Press, 2011). Wolke earned his BFA at Washington University, St. Louis and his MS at IIT Institute of Design. His photographs are in many permanent collections. He is a professor and chair of the Art and Design Department, Columbia College, Chicago.
A *candy factory project September 20 – December 5, 2014
Lenzner Family Art Gallery
American Sitcom is a new site-specific work by Takuji Kogo and Mike Bode of Candy Factory made for Pitzer College Art Galleries. A multi-channel video installation, American Sitcom uses text animations of transcriptions of monologues taken from online V-loggers’ videos that have been uploaded to YouTube. The artists’ subjects cover such disparate ground as divorce experiences, porn addiction and commentaries from people wanting to join the Air Force. These text animations have been overlaid onto animated backgrounds which have been adapted from online sources such as GIF animations, desktop designs, forum avatars, furry toys and cartoons, many of which carry references to pop art, wallpaper designs, and various forms of popular culture. The resulting work is both visually stunning and at the same time disarmingly familiar. American Sitcom asks the audience to consider how we engage with cyber culture, specifically, what kinds of online environments do we inhabit? Who are we talking to when we upload a testimonial and, what kind of visual languages do we use?
Mining the Internet for visual and domestic content, Kogo and Bode have meticulously animated transcriptions of voices—word for word—using flash-based software. Although American Sitcom employs “real” peoples’ monologues it is not a documentary work, instead it uses and re-uses everyday online media as material. American Sitcom is presented as a multi-channel installation in the gallery space and uploaded to YouTube and distributed online.
About the Artists
Japan-based artist Takuji Kogo is the organizer of Candy Factory Projects. He has produced a large body of work both as a solo artist and in various collaborations. His ongoing solo project NON_SITES is a series of photo-sculptures, digital kaleidoscopes made by looped and mirrored sequence shots taken from moments of standardized everyday life environments. He has presented his work at MediaScope-MOMA/The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Media City Seoul, South Korea; Singapore Art Museum; MAAP Multimedia Art Asian Pacific, Beijing; Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; Yokohama Triennale, Japan; Nam June Paik Art Centre, Seoul, South Korea; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Takuji Kogo is the director of the Art Institute Kitakyushu, which organizes the Kitakyushu Biennial, and lives in Fukuoka, Japan.
Mike Bode is a visual artist and researcher based in Sweden. He is presently working on a research project Re-configuring actuality, which is an enquiry into the construction and configuration of material taken from online media. He is also developing a discursive platform in Stockholm with the publisher Max Valentin called PLASMODIA, which organizes talks, discussions, presentations and exhibitions with the aim of critically exploring new media and the use of new technologies and their contextualization in documentary art practice. He received a PhD at the University of Gothenburg in 2008 and has presented and exhibited work at Kunst Werke in Berlin; The Rooseum in Malmö; The Center of Contemporary Art in Vilnius, Lithuania; The Nobel Museum in Stockholm; Secession in Vienna and the Kitakyushu Biennial in Japan. He has been a member of *candy factory projects since 2001. Mike Bode is based in Stockholm.
Saturday, September 20, 2-4 p.m.
Artist lecture in conjunction with the exhibition and Pitzer College’s Munroe Center for Social Inquiry (MCSI) event:
Tuesday, September 16, 4 p.m.
Kallick Gallery, West Hall
Artists Takuji Kogo and Mike Bode will discuss their works on this year’s MCSI lecture series, themed: “Virus: Mindless, Efficient and without Morals.”
Virginia Anton, Heather Bejar, Juliana Bernstein, Corinne Monaco, Yeyo Nolasco, Maiana Radack Krassner, Maggie Shaffran, Pete Siegel, Elena Thomas, XL Wee, Jaya Williams
May 1-17, 2014
Pitzer College Art Galleries: Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Grove House
Salathé Gallery, McConnell Center
I am on a search to understand and accept myself and my personal hardships through my artwork. As a young woman living with cystic fibrosis and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, my work examines concepts of erosion, health and life/death.
I begin all of my work with a concept or a challenge and choose what material will work best to communicate that particular idea. I take pleasure in bouncing around from medium to medium and experimenting with new materials. I am influenced by artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bob Flanagan and Wolfgang Tillmans, artists who do work that explores their own personal narratives.
I have to take a minimum of thirteen medications and medical treatments daily in order stay relatively healthy. This is a huge part of my life and has been difÿcult for me to come to terms with, but I have found a way to speak about it through my artwork. In this project, Living Plastic, I have chosen to work with plastic to represent the medical paraphernalia that permeates my life. Through a small degree of dark humor I want people to see that beauty and positiveness can be found in the worst of situations. [clear]
How are children implicated into adult patterns of thinking?
How do social pressures eclipse natural growth and development? Is the transformation of our culture exacting a price on our youth?
Are they shadows or memories that ignite the sensation of our fears and unveiled truths? [clear]
This project is based around the idea of episodic memory, a psychological term demonstrating an individual’s recollection of autobiographical events. Many people may remember a time or place by recalling a smell, a friend’s laughter, or a certain emotion, but for me, these moments have become stills. In my own mind, this recollection of personal memories manifests itself through images, frozen in my mind as singular representations of place. The images collected here call to a detached intimacy of a specific place or moment in my own memory. In the simplest terms, when I close my eyes and remember a place, this is the image I see. I chose to combine photography and painting in order to recreate some of my recollected memories, painting those images of places whose exact details I could not fully remember. My hope with this project is that my own personal images and moments may stimulate the viewers’ recollection of their own memories, and the mental images that go along with them. [clear]
Growing up a first-generation only-child in the melting pot of New York City, I have always felt a sense of disconnect. This feeling of isolation led to an unconscious otherizing of myself that in many ways hindered my ability to formulate and maintain close relationships. As such, I have always been fascinated by the nature of human interaction, and the parameters by which it operates. As a species constantly interacting with our environments, we are creating a multitude of connections with and among each other. My objective is to capture and reflect upon the thought, the feeling and the action incumbent in the moment; the moment of interaction, the moment of relation, the moment of connection.
Influenced by the principles of relational aesthetics, Fluxus and social practice, I seek to present the tangible remains of ephemeral spaces of interaction. Since spaces of intimate connection are transitory by nature and completely based on relational experience, this is an ongoing venture exploring human interaction through a variety of organized “happenings.” The objects displayed will serve as small reminders of our fleeting existence in an ever-shifting reality; chronicles of past nostalgia that harbor a longing for past and future moments of connection. By doing so, I hope to spawn conversations among the viewers in which they question their own relationships with the people and objects around them, as they move in and between different environments. [clear]
The Deep Sea Project is an installation in which participants explore a polluted underwater realm. Terrestrial detritus, the stuff of junkyards and landfills, is strewn throughout the space as a commentary on humankind’s uncanny ability to make a mess of all earth’s biospheres. The only light emanates from somewhere within the sea creatures that live there; an internal spotlight highlighting the relationship each has to its transformed environment. For better or worse, this realm is comprised of the organic and inorganic, and as viewers navigate these dichotomous elements, the line dividing them becomes blurred.
The Deep Sea Project encourages the viewer to wonder about transformed and manipulated natural environments. What might the introduction of terrestrial objects into an aquatic ecosystem mean for the flora and fauna that live there? How might these creatures be forced to adapt to or deal with their altered world? In what ways might humanity’s junk have become incorporated into such terrains? The Deep Sea Project considers these questions through the use of materials that would otherwise wind up in landÿlls and junkyards; objects manipulated to simulate the natural world. [clear]
Maiana Radack Krassner
This project dismantles the personal narrative to reveal only the most essential elements of a story. The process of deconstructing this narrative, being my own, began with extracting and curating memories and diary entries. From these extracted pieces of my life over the past year, I created twenty mixed-media illustrations on clay canvas board, which are irregular in style and content, to accentuate the disarray of plot, character and setting into distinct images. Phrases I have plucked from my writing have been manipulated and presented along side the illustrations to further allude to the disrupted state of the narrative. This process allows for the circumvention of traditional linear narrative in favor of a more dynamic and interactive set of impressions. These impressions or moments, be they metaphoric or literal, coalesce in a kind of multiplicity that is both my own autobiography and simultaneously the narrative construct of the viewer. Settings, emotions, character development, etc. are defined through an autobiographical process, but the deconstruction and radical openness of the form they take as illustrations opens them up to a multitude of readings, which begin to illustrate the story of their reader, rather than their author. [clear]
Having an itinerant childhood meant I learned early on that loss and impermanence are unavoidable parts of life. My work is inspired by my experience with saying goodbye to friends I wasn’t ready to leave. Drawing these friends started as my way of staying close with them after moving and has evolved into a way of preempting the eventual separation by monumentalizing ordinary moments of friendship. These drawings embody our relationship as well as the setting that is the backdrop to our friendship.
I use a camera to capture a moment that feels authentic and I turn it into a drawing so the final piece becomes a unique, unrepeatable image. The drawing process becomes an intimate labor that mimics the struggles and satisfactions of close friendship.
Having each aspect of the image painstakingly rendered highlights the importance of the objects we live with and how they inform the setting for our friendship. This allows the body of work to also explore the theme of college culture and how our generation lives and presents itself. In breaking with current culture the work also operates as an anti-selÿe; the subjects are vulnerable, but also trusting as they give over control of the way they are represented. In this way the work evokes a familiar bond of friendship. [clear]
Through varied levels of abstraction, this series of sculptures blurs the boundaries between sculptural forms and (sub)urban/industrial forms—the former being conceived with artistic intent, the latter born of necessity and utility. These sculptures encourage one to reassess one’s environment using a combination of kinesthetic and spatial awareness, in the same way that a skateboarder evaluates the topography of the metropolitan landscape.Through varied levels of abstraction, this series of sculptures blurs the boundaries between sculptural forms and (sub)urban/industrial forms—the former being conceived with artistic intent, the latter born of necessity and utility. These sculptures encourage one to reassess one’s environment using a combination of kinesthetic and spatial awareness, in the same way that a skateboarder evaluates the topography of the metropolitan landscape.
My fascination with urban, suburban and industrial terrains stems directly from my background as a street skateboarder; street skateboarding being the act of using the obstacles of a cityscape, forms that are not originally intended for skateboarding, as the primary means of interaction. By applying the visual rhetoric of street skateboarding to sculptural forms within the gallery, I invite the viewer to reevaluate their attitude towards the everyday urban environment.
I draw inspiration from contemporary artists like Bruce Nauman, who examine themes of play and functionality in public sculptures. Street skateboarding in itself is a playful mode of intervening with space, and my sculptures draw attention to the evidence of this intervention: chipped corners of a ledge, paint from the skateboard’s undercarriage smeared atop a handrail, or the residual wheelmarks streaked across the sidewalk. Using the point of view of the street skateboarder as a reference, I want to uncover the ways that people project their own interpretation of functionality into a space. [clear]
Climbing trees has always been a freeing experience for me. As a child, I was exceedingly sensitive, and whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would climb to the top of the pine tree in my front yard. Up in that tree, I always felt more grounded than I ever did standing on terra ÿrma. I learned, as I got older, that while trees provided a unique sense of comfort for me, heights and climbing of any kind provided me with a similar emotional stability.
Notions of stability through climbing have reoccurred in my work as a series of climbable wood sculptures, and trees are a continuing motif in many of my pieces. In my thesis, I address the feeling of comfort and the idea of an emotional escape. By creating wooden sculptures of tree branches, installed in the staircase of the gallery, I intend for viewers to have a feeling of climbing up into a tree as they walk up the stairs. My desire is to share with the audience the sense of beauty, wonder and stability through this experience. I want my piece to inspire people to be more aware, and to have a greater consideration for the sense of well-being one can find in a personal retreat. [clear]
Xiau-Ling (XL) Wee
In this body of work, I capture images of dancers in unexpected places, and then further re-imagine the environment by painting abstract designs on top of the printed photographs. Growing up as a serious athlete, I had a very structured childhood with very little free time, which later propelled me to make the most out of everyday occurrences. I have a history of doing handstands in unconventional settings, which stems from my background as a gymnast. As a dancer, I bring this notion into my thesis project by capturing dance in familiar and unexpected settings, including a public restroom, a grocery store and a parking garage. My continuous quest in searching for creative fun in our everyday lives shows up in my photographs, which portray vitality, movement and imagination. My painting evokes an abstract style, focusing on shapes and lines, with which I intuitively connect. I want to challenge our everyday surroundings, and to find fun in seemingly mundane situations. I hope to call attention to the possibilities available in everyday situations, inspiring creativity in everyday life. [clear]
My design work imposes a critical take on the social, political and cultural issues surrounding food consumption and branding deception within contemporary marketing. I’ve worked with items that aren’t necessarily deemed healthy but inhabit blatantly deceptive packaging. Through this, I have reproduced familiar visual signs and branding and arranged them into critical pieces of product packaging.
Beyond taking a critical approach, I’ve also made the packaging and branding more readable, digestible, honest and aesthetically pleasing. Through many design iterations and product choices, I narrowed my selection down to three items that all occupy a similar space in our diets: the vices and indulgences. More speciÿcally, I chose beer, bacon and chocolate—the foods we hate to love.
n addition to designing the packaging, I also wanted to start from scratch and create each food by hand—taking time to analyze the processes and conditions in which these foods are made. The beer is a double IPA homebrew, the chocolate was cooked, molded and wrapped in my kitchen, and I shrinkwrapped and repackaged the bacon in the Grove House.
Though I use a variety of materials and processes in each project, I’ve kept a consistent and cohesive theme. Each piece is linked by recurring formal concerns and through the subject matter. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the work.
January 21-May 17, 2014 Lenzner Family Art Gallery
The idea of housing a large population of strangers from varied backgrounds is a time-honored tradition among institutions of higher education. However, as a result of this abrupt integration, the student is torn between desiring social acceptance and the need for solitude and existentialist reverie. The physical remnants of this dynamic are embodied in the customization of the individual’s dorm room with personal effects and use of limited furnishings. This aesthetic formula privileges the visual over the verbal, creating an environment for the softening of differences and a condition for personal freedom.
Martin Durazo’s installation explores dorm-room aesthetics using a combination of his own personal objects merged with found and collected artifacts from Pitzer’s archive. Included are large mirrored components offering occasions for self-reflection and relational participation with others in the environment. Referencing iconic socio-political and historically-specific moments, several objects, such as a replica of Huey P. Newton’s peacock wicker chair, will be re-examined through the lens of rave culture using a fluorescent painterly approach. The same painting treatment will be applied to hanging macramé and disparate artifacts.
As a gesture to Pitzer College’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, additional elements will be woven into the fabric of the installation that reference Durazo’s own experiences as a student and dormitory dweller. These individualized memories will be combined with oral narratives from several Pitzer alumni and mementoes sourced from Pitzer’s archives that reveal a complex and hidden world of varying social interrelations.
Opening reception: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Closing reception and catalogue launch of Martin Durazo’s Sleep to Dream exhibition:
Saturday, May 3, 2014, 2–4 p.m.
Lenzner Family Art Gallery,
Pitzer College Art Galleries
*The artist will be present for a book signing
Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane January 21 – March 28, 2014
Curated by Ciara Ennis and Rebecca McGrew
Pitzer College Art Galleries
184 pages, with color reproductions, 11” x 8”
Essays by Maria Elena Buszek, Peter R. Kalb
Section texts by Andrea Bowers
Interview by Ciara Ennis
Introduction by Rebecca McGrew
Catalogue designed by Kimberly Varella