New Zealand artist Joyce Campbell presents two recent series of photographic works that explore the history, mythology, and ecology of two sites: one located on Maori tribal land in New Zealand, the other a brown-field in Los Angeles. Te Taniwha explores Lake Waikaremoana, in Te Reinga—situated on Ngati Kahungunu tribe territory—and follows the quest to find two ancient snake-like water species: the Taniwha and the giant longfin eel. A place of great historical significance, where mid-nineteenth century colonial wars were fought against English occupying forces, Te Reinga remains a contested space where land, water, beach and forest rights are continually sought and fought over. In addition, Lake Waikaremoana has rich and layered mythological associations, whose fantastical sea creatures are believed to have spawned the Ngati Kahungunu tribe.
Crown Coach Botanical series, made on-site also using nineteenth century ambrotype techniques, documents the botanical specimens growing in a polluted industrial site in downtown Los Angeles known as the Crown Coach brownfield. Part of a larger series titled “LA Botanical” Joyce Campbell uses these ambrotypes to chart the needs and resources of the Los Angeles inhabitants becoming a “survival guide” of edible and medicinal plants that have grown in Los Angeles since the city’s birth. This manifestation paints Los Angeles as a field of abundant life as opposed to an industrial wasteland.
Bringing these two series of work together—Te Taniwha and Crown Coach—provides an opportunity to discuss the spiritual and symbolic connections between the two sites through the use of 19th century spiritual photographic techniques. And presents an opportunity to explore the relationship between sacred plants and traditions, land rights and access (public and private), both pertinent to Te Taniwha and Los Angeles.
Saturday, September 15, 2-4 pm
An Opening Ceremony, Powhiri (Blessing) will be performed by Maori native and historian, Richard Niania.
Thursday, September 13 at 2:45 pm at Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College
Tuesday, September 25 at 2:45 p.m.
Broad Performance Space, Broad Center, Pitzer College
Panelists include: Edgar Heap of Birds, Cheyenne Arapaho artist and professor of Native American studies and fine arts at the University of Oklahoma; Leda Martins, associate professor of anthropology, Pitzer College; Stacey McCarroll Cutshaw, editor of exposure; and artist Joyce Campbell. The panel will be moderated by Bill Anthes, associate professor of art history, Pitzer College.
In the Shadow of Numbers: Charles Gaines Selected Works from 1975-2012 September 4 – October 21, 2012
Curated by Ciara Ennis and Rebecca McGrew
Pitzer College Art Galleries
94 pages, with color reproductions, 10.75” x 8”
Essays by Michael Ned Holte, Charles Gaines
Foreword by Ciara Ennis and Rebecca McGrew
Catalogue design by Kimberly Varella
In the Shadow of Numbers: Charles Gaines Selected Works from 1975-2012
September 4 – October 21, 2012 Lenzner Family Art Gallery
The Pomona College Museum of Art and Pitzer Art Galleries, Pitzer College are pleased to present In the Shadow of Numbers: Charles Gaines Selected Works from 1975-2012. Based in Los Angeles, Gaines investigates the relationships between aesthetic experience, political beliefs, and the formation of meaning. His work over the last forty years has typically employed systems and rule-based procedures to explore how we experience and derive meaning from art. Gaines is often linked with early Conceptual artists who came to prominence in the 1960s questioning subjectivity and traditional formal and material concerns. However, he identifies more closely with John Cage’s examinations of indeterminacy in both composition and performance and focuses on linguistic tools such as metaphors and metonyms.
In the Shadow of Numbers: Charles Gaines Selected Works from 1975-2012represents the first collaboration between the Pomona College Museum of Art and Pitzer College Art Galleries. The exhibition consists of photographs, sculptures, video, and drawings from several bodies of Gaines’s work over the last several decades, including the “Explosions,” “History of Stars,” “NIGHT/CRIMES,” “Shadows,” and “Walnut Tree Orchard” series, among others, presented at the two Claremont College venues. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes writings by the artist, Michael Ned Holte, Ciara Ennis, and Rebecca McGrew.
Opening reception: Saturday, September 15, 4-6 p.m.
Pomona College Museum of Art
Performance: Thursday, September 20 at 7 p.m.
Pomona College Museum of Art
The Lone Wolf Recital Corp featuring Charles Gaines will present an evening of electronic, digital, and acoustical sound.
Artist lecture: Tuesday, October 16 at 2:45 p.m.
George C.S. Benson Auditorium, Pitzer College
Senior Thesis Exhibition 2012
April 26 – May 12, 2012 Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall, Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Grove House
Robbie Acklen, Elizabeth Bartolini, André Baum, James Cathey, Brandon Fernandes, Zachary London, Dean Pospisil, Leah Quayle, Reid Ulrich
Re-visiting a space of adolescence—Beneath the Bleachers (2012)—examines the effect of my culturally specific upbringing–mid-western, white American, suburban—through an installation that is both psychoanalytical and environmentally impactful. Distortion is inevitable when recalling distant memories. When I do re-call moments from my adolescence, they manifest into an incomplete picture. The dream-like objects I present function as analogies for distorted interpretations recalled from my youth. In my work, I attempt to heighten the viewer’s awareness of their own positionality as participants in our culture’s contemporary scopophilic state. By presenting the standard/traditional object of the bleacher—now made dis-functional and inaccessible—I remind us of the borders of spectatorship that is always functioning, perhaps unconsciously. [clear]
A curiosity of the unknown compels me to create. I strive to reveal hidden luminosity in the intersection of the logical and physical with the irrational and extrasensory. Improvisation is essential to my process, which is explored with music, film, drawing, and writing. These media function as representations for my subconscious urges and unconscious revelations unraveling into the impersonally sacred.
My work is inspired by synchronistic moments: intersections of experiences between others and myself that should not be mistaken as mere coincidence. These collisions often occur when creating energetically and mindfully. For me, they exemplify successful communion with the nature that governs me. These experiences give way to my use of performance to unite spiritual practices and multimedia.
It is intention that distinguishes purposeful performance from everyday life. But the two often blend. T.S. Elliot wrote, “There will be time/ to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.” In my various roles, I aim for congruent authenticity. And what is an authentic performance if not first aligned with an authentic spirit? In lieu of an answer, I surrender to the ritual of synchronistic consciousness, of that which connects not to my personhood but rather to what I do to honor its existence. [clear]
As human beings, we are all interconnected in some way shape or form, and I explore this interconnectivity in my artwork. Each piece I make attempts to answer the question: “How can human beings find themselves in each other?” Using photography and sculpture, I seek to interrogate this question—not to come to a single conclusion, but to examine the many possibilities that it throws up. I reference David Hockney’s collaging style to identify parts that make up the whole, reminding myself of the importance of each fragment. Through these photo collages, I see my subjects in a new light and find reflections between each person. This exploration has been focused on my family, and in particular my mom. I am interested in exploring my connection to her—beyond the obvious (though not insignificant) life-giving relationship. She has been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a rare degenerative brain disorder that slowly takes away one’s motor skills. As her physical being slowly deteriorates, her awareness and aliveness are still intact. Through my practice, I get to discover my mother beyond the disease, beyond her body and create myself in the process. While this exploration is not over, I know that I am proud to be a daughter of woman who loves unconditionally. [clear]
My artwork is inspired by my experiences traveling across the United States and more recently, the Middle East. I have always been fascinated by the process of decay and growth on the border between the natural environment and human society. The patterns and textures that result from these conflicting realms of the organic and the synthetic form the basis of my inspiration.
Utilizing film and photography, I document both the purity of natural objects and places, as well as the waste and damage resulting from excessive production and consumption of material goods. The soundscapes that I compose are important in establishing immersive spaces that complement the projected images. Field recordings and synthesizers are the tools used to create an ambient tapestry that embodies the collision of the organic and synthetic.
I use generative software to apply randomized editing and sequencing to forcefully combine and fragment both the audio and video media. The result is a space that metaphorically embraces the timeless beauty of nature while simultaneously introducing the caustic results of rampant industrialization. By applying generative methods to my work, a detachment from linear space and relation is created. The original media is transformed into a cacophony of fracturing elements that coalesce into a unified theme of uncontrollable destruction. [clear]
When I create an artwork, I deliberately use inexpensive materials such as glue-guns, dollar spray-cans, Christmas lights, brown canvas paper and other items that are freely available on the college campus setting in order to bring attention to their accessibility and economic value. Influenced by graffiti writing styles and the “Street Art” scenes in Los Angeles as well as other parts of the world, my artwork draws from urban art practices and incorporates the use of stencils, calligraphy-writing, LED drawing, and other sculptural forms. In my most recent drawings I have become interested in creating complex forms and shapes referencing different angles. I consider these drawings complete when they show a considerable amount of repetition, balance, depth and symmetry. Similar to the role of a DJ whose practice consists of sampling bits and pieces to construct a collective whole, my drawings are only complete once they have integrated the geometric shapes and angels into the complex designs which keeps the viewers eye traveling. [clear]
On The Bald Prophets
“On a smog-encrusted morning late last August, the otherwise innocuous Mount Baldy was abruptly transformed into the most eminent archeological site in the Western Hemisphere. Upon the incidental discovery of a ceramic protrusion, my team and I conducted a routine dig, which resulted in the most significant excavation of my career. Embedded just beneath the sprawl of a few Yuccas lay an archaic time capsule—a cryptic codex of exceedingly peculiar artifacts that had been deliberately embedded in the soil. The most jarring and prophetic of these specimens was a small shield, emblazoned with the ubiquitous corporate logos and industrial scenery of our present era. I was quick to deem the findings a hoax, however, rehydroxylation tests revealed that the object was 800 years old.
Of the progenitor’s culture we know very little. Their cosmology is hardly revealed through the obfuscated objects they bestowed to us. My credentials as an archeologist compels me to speculate and prescribe narrative to these inscrutable peoples, to elucidate their way of life so that we may confidently add another patch to the elaborate quilt of human history. But I remain mystified. Lo, we have dug up the whole mountain, and they have left us nothing more.” [clear]
Expanding the Grove House
My work attempts to expand the unique position that the Grove House occupies socially, historically and physically within the Pitzer community and the surrounding area by modifying the viewer’s relationship to the space. I will create a forum for new connections to be forged within the context of the Grove House, as an experiment in relational aesthetics. I will be collaborating with Grove House community members and the caretaker, Julie McAleer, to present a collection of relational pieces that include a core website, an exhibit of the space, and a series of workshops. The website, will allow viewers to explore a library of information about the house’s history, function and current activities. I will also alter the physical space of the house by restoring traditional furniture and bringing in new objects for the house’s activities.
My guides and workshops will provide information on a variety of skills useful within the Grove House, from how to cook a recipe to how to arrange an internship at a neighboring farm. The overall purpose of these workshops and guides is to enable participants to take action and care for the space. This project encourages viewers to expand of their perceptions of how this collective space is experienced and how it can be altered by each individual. [clear]
I know of no better tactic than the illustration of exciting principles by well-chosen particulars
—Stephen Jay Gould
One of the most basic features of the nervous system is analogy, the ability to form relationships between different sets of information. I believe it is our unusually high propensity to analogy that has driven some of the most valuable developments in human culture. Language came from the translation of images into sounds, and the translation of sound back into images resulted in written language. Thus by translating one set of information into a radically different domain, the way we share and form meaning can be deepened. In my science thesis I argue that analogy has derived from the evolutionary pressure to integrate information across the basic senses. By fusing sculpture and electronics, I seek to explore analogy at the most basic level through the creation of new relationships between our senses. By directly re-organizing the viewers modes of hearing, seeing and touching, these artworks will prompt the viewer to experience the potentialities of the radical reconstruction of our perceptions. [clear]
When we bury our dead, we preserve them in dreams and memories, mirages and choruses. We enter as others exit and so we join stone with soil and wait for grass to grow. In every life led, there is revolution. As we build our monuments, we fail to preserve their victory, their transformations. Instead, we profess to the ear of the future the persistent sensations of existence. When we speak to the living, we speak about suffering, about renewal, about protest. And then we meander.
In every word spoken and image shared a defeated revolution lives. Here and now, I am attempting and failing to revolt against a number of effects. I am attempting to speak about things that can’t be said with a voice that can’t be heard. I am demanding that we share the gift of loss and the life of death.
Liz Glynn: No Second Troy
January 21 – March 23, 2012
Curated by Ciara Ennis
Pitzer Art Galleries, Pitzer College
60 pages, with color reproduction
Essay by Thomas Lawson and Ciara Ennis
Interview by Liz Glynn and Mark Allen
Edited by Susan Warmbrunn
Catalogue designed by Gabriela Contreras
January 21 – March 23, 2012 Lenzner Family Art Gallery
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
— Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
The work of Chicago-born but now Long Beach-based artist Matthew R. Ohm focuses on our interactions with the natural world and our need to measure, regulate, possess, and control it.
The centerpiece of Vanitas is a large installation of whitewashed tree branches suspended above the viewer’s head, casting multiple shadows upon the walls of the gallery. The artist reassembles the discarded limbs, leftovers from the pruning of trees, in a renewed, if fictive, landscape––creating a memento mori to, and from, the dead branches. The installation transforms the gallery into an environment that references the natural world through a theatrical distillation: nature as hunting trophy. The shadows created by the suspended branches echo the former living plants but only as ghosts. They appear on the walls like a macabre William Morris decorative device, a sepulchral swag. Further pruning levels all the branches to create a flat plane overhead thus lowering the ceiling and enlarging the audience to a domineering scale in relation to nature.
The transforming of trees into skeletal clouds is an absurdist gesture but, arguably, an ad rem response to our abusive stewardship of this planet. With public water sources being sold to private corporations in order that we may purchase, at inflated rates, that which formerly belonged to us; and our relentless encroachment upon, and devastation of, open lands to make room for urban sprawl housing and the raw materials to construct it; is it any wonder that such a fever of willful self-destruction should prove contagious? Mr. Ohm’s editorial environmentalism presents us with such a poetic vision of ecological squalor that we hunger for the next chapter in the serialization of our collapse.
Matthew R. Ohm received his MFA from California State University, Long Beach in 2009. Ohm, an artist, sculptor and woodworker, has participated in numerous solo exhibitions including, A Majestic Oak Is Just A Crazy Nut Who Stood His Ground at Marilyn Werby Gallery in Long Beach, CA (2009); Trying to Bring the Dead Back to Life at Max L. Gatov Gallery in Long Beach, CA (2007); and Sticks & Stones at Marilyn Werby Gallery in Long Beach, CA (2007). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including, Off the Wall at Palos Verde Art Center in Palos Verde, CA (2011); Anarchy at Post Gallery in Los Angeles, CA (2010); Sub-Transient (collaborative show with Tyler Ferreira) at Arts Visalia Gallery in Visalia, CA (2009); Insights 2009 at the University Art Museum in Long Beach, CA (2009); Foehn Documents at The Constant Gallery in Los Angeles, CA (2008); CSULB Six Pack at the Tahoe Gallery in Incline Village, NV (2007); and The Grand Design at Hokin Gallery in Chicago, IL (2006). Ohm has co-curated Hysteria Updated at Max L. Gatov Gallery in Long Beach, CA (2008), Polytheism at Hokin Gallery in Chicago, IL (2005) and White at Little Known Gallery in Chicago, IL (2004). He was the visiting artist at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, NV in 2007. Matthew R. Ohm currently lives and works in Long Beach.
Mark Allen is an artist, educator and curator based in Los Angeles. He is the founder and executive director of Machine Project, a non-profit performance and installation space in Los Angeles. Machine Project also operates as a loose confederacy of artists producing shows at locations ranging from beaches to museums to parking lots. Under his direction Machine Project has produced shows with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in Missouri, and the Walker Museum in Minneapolis. He has produced more than 500 events in Los Angeles at the Machine Project storefront space, and recently concluded a yearlong artist residency addressing topics of public engagement at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Allen has taught at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California San Diego, and is currently an associate professor of art at Pomona College. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York and on the Advisory Board of the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Allen received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts following a residency with the Core Fellowship of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
Thomas Lawson is an artist with a diverse, project-driven output that encompasses painting, writing, editing, curating and teaching. He has been showing paintings and developing temporary public works internationally since the late ʼ70s. Lawson was one of three selectors of the British Art Show in 1995. In the spring of 2009, selections from his older works were included in historical survey shows of the ʼ80s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and at Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble, France. His essays have appeared in Artforum and other art journals, as well as many exhibition catalogues. From 1979 until 1992 he, along with Susan Morgan, published and edited REAL LIFE Magazine. From 2002 until 2009 he was co-editor of Afterall Journal. In 2010 he launched www.eastofborneo.org, an online magazine and archive. A book of selected writings, Mining for Gold, was published by JRP-Ringier, Zurich in 2005 and an anthology of REAL LIFE Magazine was published by Primary Information, New York in 2007. Lawson has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been Dean of the School of Art at the California Institute of the Arts since 1991.
When a labor shortage threatened to derail its miraculous economic engine (the capitalist workforce was virtually cut in half by the Berlin wall) West Germany imported thousands of Turkish gastarbeiter, guest-workers, during the 1960s and 70s. A very different commodity, however, was similarly imported in the 1860s and 70s: the treasure of Troy. Bookended by these two events Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn has created No Second Troy, an exhibition featuring installation, video, and photographic works that examine the ideas of fable and obsession, desire and displacement.
Liz Glynn’s No Second Troy includes video documentation of interventions staged at archaeological sites around Turkey and crudely made but preciously embellished artifacts based on the infamous Prium’s Treasure—jewels, goblets, vases, weapons and plates made from copper, silver and gold—excavated at Troy, by amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Fabricated from trash and re-cast in gold-plated silver and bronze, Glynn’s replicas allude to both the real artifacts as well as the copies commissioned by the Pergamon Museum in Berlin that, in another purloining, were confiscated by the Red Army in 1945. Other works in the series are based on the material culture of Turkish emigrants—foods, crockery, and other consumer goods purchased from local Berlin markets—referencing both the everyday life of Turkish emigrants and the copies of Turkish treasure regularly displayed in museums.
Glynn’s practice frequently uses ancient references to explore human agency and the potential for change in the present. This exhibition represents her first major attempt to link ancient contexts directly with contemporary material culture and the occasionally disjunctive nature of this relationship.
About the Artist
Liz Glynn received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2008 and a BA from Harvard College in 2003. Glynn creates large-scale installations and participatory performances using epic historical narratives to explore the potential for change in the present tense. She has participated in numerous solo exhibitions including: Loving You is Like _ _ _ _ _ _ _ the Dead, MOCA: Engagement Party at MOCA in Los Angeles, CA (2011); Alexandria and Other Losses at the Los Angeles Public Library in Los Angeles, CA (2011); III, produced by Redling Fine Arts in Los Angeles, CA (2010); Out of the Forest & Into the Light at Machine Project & the LA Opera Ring Cycle Festival in Los Angeles, CA (2010); California Surrogates for the Getty at Anthony Greaney in Boston, MA (2010); and The 24 Hour Roman Reconstruction Project at Arthouse at the Jones Center in Austin, TX (2009) and at Machine Project in Los Angeles, CA (2008). She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including: Temporary Structures: Performing Architecture in Contemporary Art at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA (2011); On Forgery: Is One Thing Better Than Another? at LA><ART in Los Angeles, CA (2011); No Swan So Fine at Michael Benevento in Los Angeles, CA (2011); 7 Sculptors at Brennan & Griffin in New York, NY (2011); Sculpture at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, NY (2011); The shortest distance between 2 points is often intolerable at Brand New Gallery in Milan, Italy (2011); Let Them Eat LACMA at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA (2010); The Elysian Park Museum of Art at LACE in Los Angeles, CA (2010); Projects and Assignments at Saprophyt in Vienna, Austria (2010); The Generational: Younger than Jesus at the New Museum in New York, NY (2009); and Bellwether at Southern Exposure in San Francisco, CA (2009). She will also be participating in the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time Performance Art and Public Art Festival in 2012. Glynn was awarded the California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2010, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Associate Artist Fellowship in 2007 and the Alfred Alcaly Prize in 2004. Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Art Lies, Domus, Archaeology Magazine, and artforum.com. Liz Glynn currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 21, 2 – 5 pm, Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College
Artist Walkthrough: Saturday, January 21 at 2:30 pm, Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College
Artist Lecture: Monday, February 20 at 9 am, Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College
Panel Discussion: Tuesday, March 27 at 4:00 pm in the Broad Performance Space, Broad Center, Pitzer College with artist Liz Glynn, Michelle Berenfeld, professor of classics at Pitzer College and writer Andrew Berardini.
September 28 – December 09, 2011
Curated by Gabi Scardi and Ciara Ennis
Pitzer Art Galleries, Pitzer College
75 pages, with color reproduction
Essay by Jennifer Doyle, Gabi Scardi and Ciara Ennis
Edited by Andrew Bond
Catalogue designed by Stephanie Estrada (pdf)
Mounira Al Solh, Meris Angeoletti, Beatrice Catanazro, Marcus Coates, Joel Kyack, Lawrence Lemaoana, Yoshua Okon, Adrian Paci, Marco Rios, Kara Tanaka, Carlin Wing, Amir Yatziv
Mounira Al Solh, Meris Angeoletti, Beatrice Catanazro, Marcus Coates, Joel Kyack, Lawrence Lemaoana, Yoshua Okon, Adrian Paci, Marco Rios, Kara Tanaka, Carlin Wing, Amir Yatziv
Synthetic Ritual brings together a number of Los Angeles and international contemporary artists working in a variety of media including installation, drawing, performance, and video. The artists explore the idea of ritual as a faith-based activity that can be validated only within certain contexts—for example sport, religion and artistic practice—and cannot be rationally proven or substantiated.
The exhibition examines the presence of ritual and superstition in our professional and personal lives and asks why, in such an advanced and sophisticated technological and cyber driven world, ritual still occupies such an important and dominant role. Exploring the three central themes of ritual in relation to sport, religion, and artistic practice the artists provide refreshing and surprising commentary on ritualized behavior in the 21st century.
Elaborate ritualized behavior by sports fans and players dominates the world of sport. Whether it involves wearing the same unwashed jersey throughout the season, sleeping with a baseball bat to overcome a hitting dry spell, boxers drinking blood before a prizefight, repetitive rituals performed by baseball players with their gloves or feet before stepping into the batter’s box, fishermen avoiding the path of barefoot women, all of these behaviors are regarded as acceptable decorum; yet when isolated and examined, free from the clutter of a falsely normalizing setting, they are utterly absurd and hardly distinguishable from madness.
Similarly, sociocultural practices such as occultism or Freemasonry—as well as more conventional religions like Christianity or Buddhism—are sheathed in secrecy and cryptic codes, and all require adherence to specific practices and costumes. Whether it is transubstantiation or reincarnation, each has its own particular set of rules and fantastic belief systems that require faith in the irrational and the unproven.
Tic disorders, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and repetitive involuntary movements have legitimate expression in many artworks today. Examples abound, this century and last, in expressionism, abstraction, conceptual, pop and performance, and can be seen in work as far apart as Roman Opalka’s mapping of numbers one to infinity and John Bock’s Paul McCarthy-inspired deranged personae performances. Whether artists are using these “syndromes” as systems to make the work—process, series, repetition—or evoking these states to call attention to social/political/cultural aspects, the list of artists is extremely long and likely to grow.
Common to all these practices and activities—whether athletic, religious or artistic—is their reliance on behavior that is obsessive, repetitive, irrational, and unsubstantiated. The work of the artists in Synthetic Ritual all reference or employ some form of ritualistic behavior that, if taken out of the context of art, would be regarded as aberrant and unstable.
Mounira Al Solh (b. Beirut, Lebanon lives and works in Beirut)
Mounira Al Solh’s The Sea is a Stereo (2007-ongoing) documents the daily swimming habits of a group of middle-aged Beirut men, who regardless of circumstance—turbulent weather or bombing raids—are compelled to swim in the sea at the same spot everyday. With the backdrop of incessant violence and interminable conflict, their rigid swimming ritual becomes an act of defiance in the face of the uncertain and chaotic times and creates unity among them. [clear]
Meris Angioletti (b. Bergamo, Italy, lives and works in Paris and Milan)
Meris Angioletti models her practice on the methodologies and procedures of a detective, psychoanalyst and historian, allowing her to assume a number of different roles and experiment with diverse strategies. The video installation I describe the way and meanwhile I am proceeding along it (2009) examines the highly influential 19th century abstract painter, mystic, and suffragette Hilma af Klint. [clear]
Beatrice Catanazro (b. Milan, Italy, lives and works in Milan)
The Water was Boiling at 34º 21′ 29” S, 18º 28′ 19” E, (2008), is a video work which takes the form of an interview between the artist and P.C. Sorcar JR—one of the most celebrated magicians in India—about the legendary “vanishing” of the Taj Mahal in Kachipura, Agra, on November 8, 2000. The work explores the possibility of employing magic and illusion to temporarily erase monuments and the narratives that they represent. [clear]
Marcus Coates (b. London, England, lives and works in London)
Investigating the relationship between shamanism and contemporary art, Marcus Coates’ dramatic and participatory events involve ritualized performances where he attempts to enter into the ‘lower world’ to communicate with spirits of dead animals. Journey to the Lower World (2004), documents one such ritual, which he performs wearing antlers and a reindeer pelt for a group of bewildered tenants from a condemned Liverpool housing estate. [clear]
Joel Kyack (lives and works in Los Angeles)
LOCAL RECORDS is an ongoing series of projects where performance records are set in a specific site and community. These records are based around the number of times an action is repeated in a particular site over a 24-hour period. For Synthetic Ritual, Kyack will be performing a new Local Record live at Pitzer, in the 24 hours before the exhibition’s opening. [clear]
Lawrence Lemaoana (b. Johannesberg, South Africa, lives and works in Johannesberg)
Fortune Teller #5 (2008) and All Things Fall Apart (2008) explore the relationship between sport, spirituality and politics as well as role of the mass media in shaping the psyche in present-day South Africa. Using textiles employed by local sangomas, the cloth—imbued with great spiritual significance—lends authority to the embroidered text. [clear]
Yoshua Okon (b. Mexico City, lives and works in Los Angeles and Mexico City)
As with many of Yoshua Okon’s works, Parking Lotus (2001), an early photographic installation, combines humor with poignant social commentary. Installed floor to ceiling, the photographs depict security guards meditating in lotus positions in various parking lots around Los Angeles, and it is accompanied by the “Meditation Movement Manifesto”—a text supporting the spiritual welfare of security guards. [clear]
Adrian Paci (b. Shkoder, Albania, lives and works in Milan, Italy)
In Vajtojca (Mourner) (2002) Adrian Paci explores private and public mourning rituals. The video depicts a staging by the artist of his own death in his hometown of Shkoder, Armenia, where he was born. Employing a professional mourner, Paci is subjected to elaborate death rites and rituals while laid out on a table in a domestic setting. [clear]
Marco Rios (b. Los Angeles, lives and works in Los Angeles)
Untitled (Weeping Video) (2010) is a large-scale video portrait of the artist with streaming waterfalls tearing from his eyes. The work reveals his larger preoccupation with psychological and emotional states, and the exaggerated use of art historical references. [clear]
Kara Tanaka (b. Modesto, California, lives and works in Los Angeles)
The Hungry Human (Mountain Hunter) (2011) is a large sculptural installation depicting representations of sacred holy mountains found throughout the world, worshipped by pilgrims seeking enlightenment. Reflecting the larger history and conquest of these sacred sites, the work explores spiritual cultivation and the motivation for making grueling pilgrimages. [clear]
Carlin Wing (lives and works in New York)
Carlin Wing’s roles as both an internationally ranked squash player and a widely exhibited photographer come together in her series of video and photographic works Hitting Walls. Wing’s video-loop In the Eye of the Beholder (2009) records the moment when the ball hits either side of the central horizontal line, of the front wall of a squash court, with singular focus and stark economy. [clear]
Amir Yatziv (b. Jerusalem, Israel, lives and works in Berlin, Germany)
Amir Yatziv’s Compressed Ceramic Powder (Battle in the Orchard) (2007) is a video installation featuring a group of young Israeli men solemnly describing their last moments in battle before death. This surreal adherence to the Israeli narrative of martyrdom is disturbed once it is revealed that the soldiers lost a paintball battle, not their lives. [clear]
Gabi Scardi is an international curator and art critic based in Milan. She is a curatorial advisor for MAXXI (Museum of the 21st Century Arts) in Rome and co-curates CECAC (European Course for Contemporary Art Curators) – Fondazione Ratti, Como, Italy and Province of Milan. Between 2005 and 2009 she was the Contemporary Art Advisor to the Province of Milan . She has curated numerous exhibitions internationally including Aware: Art, Fashion, Identity at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2010). At the Lyon Biennale in 2009, she organized T.A.M.A. – Project “Side Effect”, a collaborative project examining the situation of Romas in Europe. Her other projects include Yoshua Okón, Canned Laughter, Viafarini, Milan, (2009); Libia Castro & Òlafur Òlafsson, Riccardo Crespi Gallery, Milan, (2009); The Mobile Archive, Viafarini Care of DOCVA, Milan, (2009); Marina Ballo Charmet, Parco, Triennale, Milan, (2008); Stéphanie Nava, Considering a Plot (Dig for Victory), Viafarini, Milan, 2008, Alfredo Jaar, It is Difficult, Spazio Oberdan, Hangar Bicocca (2008), Debora Hirsch, BR-101, Fondazione Olivetti, Roma, (2008); LESS, Strategie alternative dell’abitare, PAC Padiglione d’arte Contemporanea (Pavilion for Contemporary Art), Milan, (2006), and LESS#1 Alternative Living Strategies, section of Gwangju Design Biennale (2007).
In addition, Gabi Scardi teaches courses on Contemporary Art and Public Art at Università Cattolica, Milan; Politecnico di Milano, Faculy of Design, Milan; Università Bicocca, Faculy of Sociologioy, Milan; Domus Academy, Milan; TSM – Trento School of Management, Trento.
Ciara Ennis is the director/curator of Pitzer Art Galleries at Pitzer College and was the curator of exhibitions at the University of California Riverside/California Museum of Photography, particularly of Still, Things Fall From the Sky (2005), Ruby Satellite (2006) and Eloi: Stumbling Towards Paradise (2007). Ennis moved from London to Los Angeles where she was project director for Public Offerings, an international survey of contemporary art, at MOCA, Los Angeles in 2001. From there she became associate curator at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, where she initiated the Project Room and programmed a series of experimental exhibitions with such artists as Urs Fischer, Simon Leung, Mark Leckey, Johan Grimonprez and Eduardo Sarabia. Ennis has been director of Pitzer Art Galleries for the past three years, during that time she has curated a number of exhibitions including: Antarctica (2007); Narrowcast: Reframing Global Video 1986/2008, co-curated with Ming-Yuen S. Ma (2008); Veronica (2009); and Capitalism in Question, co-curated with Daniel Joseph Martinez (2010). Ennis’s curatorial practice blurs fact with fiction and focuses on storytelling as a means to explore the fluidity and fragility of identity, revealing the subtleties of the social, political, and the cultural issues that impact our lives. She received her MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art, London
Opening Reception: Wednesday, September 28, 5-8 p.m.
Curator’s Walkthrough: Wednesday, September 28, 5-6 p.m.
Artist Lecture: Pitzer Art Galleries in collaboration with Pomona College presents Joel Kyack
Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Lebus Court 113, Pomona College
PerpiTube: Repurposing Social Media Spaces, co-curated by Pato Hebert and Alexandra Juhasz, models a purposeful, complex, and artful use of social networking technologies and the spaces that hold them. In the gallery and on YouTube, this novel art show organizes the media of 29 invited participants along side the video production of daily visitors to the gallery, everyday YouTube users, invited community members, and you.
The Space is Now Open for All of Us. Together we will collaborate to rethink and remake liveness and delay, mobility and place, presence and absence, solitude and community, both online and off.
PerpiTube responds to many of the criticisms expressed by Juhasz and her Pitzer College students who tried to teach and learn on YouTube. Juhasz’s born-digital, free, online video-book, Learning from YouTube (MIT Press, 2011) was one end result of this immersive interaction, and PerpiTube is another.
Over two months, 29 diverse artists, activists, and academics will interact with audiences at the gallery—invited youth, community members, and educators, as well as daily visitors. Over the two months, a collection of their archived works (and your responses to them) will be available to many more on YouTube.
Each day at 10 am (PST time) the gallery will be open for a unique, fifteen minute, live, interactive event followed by fifteen minutes of refreshments and conversation. The next day, with only the smallest of delays, video documentation of the artist’s presentation and the audience’s response will be added to the exhibition’s growing archive.
For the rest of each day (10:30 am-4 pm) the gallery will be closed to live presentations and repurposed for videomaking and learning via two workstations: one for YouTube research and another for YouTube video production.
Los Angeles media artist, Natalie Bookchin, whose recent work has focused on YouTube, will present a video to open each of four themed sections based on chapters from Learning from YouTube. These themes will continue to be activated by invited participants—Italian exchange students, native California youth, women in a transitional facility, and local educators—who will attend Bookchin’s opening presentation and then a video workshop, and whose video will be placed into the show’s growing archive to kick off and expand conversation.
The unique structure of the show is designed to highlight how various spaces, on and offline, amplify the connections and contradictions between local place and digital mobility, the reception and production of social media, the tension between the ephemeral and the archive, and the “artist” and “amateur.” By so doing, the curators and participants model how social media, lived spaces, and their intentional interactions can be repurposed to empower users and communities by using digital technology in productive, intentional, and focused ways.