Emerging Artist Series #14: Cathy Akers
Pitzer College Art Galleries, February 2 – March 28, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 2, 2-4 p.m.
A Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheeler’s Ranches Reconsidered
The result of more than ten years of research, Cathy Akers’ installation A Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheeler’s Ranches Reconsidered explores two northern Californian experimental communes that closed in 1973. Examining the impulse for communal living outside conventional contexts, the exhibition focuses on utopian aspects of these intentional communities as well as their potential for dysfunction.
Included in the exhibition are a number of exploded ceramic vase-like forms, which combine photographic fragments from the communes’ archives with text that has been inscribed onto the surface of the objects. Extracted from stories narrated by the women themselves, the text articulates different aspects of communal living—surviving off the land, drug experimentation, sexual violence, and utopian idealism. Marginalized as a result of their decision to live outside conventional parameters, these women’s lives have often been overlooked and forgotten. A Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheeler’s Ranches Reconsidered gives voice to their experiences and value to their existence.
Panel Discussion: Countercultural Positions, Motherhood, and Reclaiming Craft as a Feminist Practice
with Cathy Akers, Micol Hebron, Claudia Parducci, Astri Swendsrud, and Jemima Wyman
This panel will consider the current resurgence of ceramics in contemporary art making with a particular emphasis on its use by women artists as a means to reclaim the traditionally gendered practice of craft. The panelists will also investigate the role of women as producers of counterculture in relation to Cathy Akers’ exhibition, Utopia for Some: Morningstar and Wheelers Ranches Reconsidered.
Wednesday, March 27 at 1:30 p.m.
Broad Performance Space, Pitzer College
About the panelists:
Cathy Akers works with photography, ceramics and installation. Her work has been exhibited in solo or two-person shows at Pitzer College Art Galleries, Honor Fraser Gallery, and Emma Gray Headquarters in Los Angeles. She has had group shows in Israel, Germany, the U.K., Poland, and the Czech Republic. Akers has a MFA from CalArts.
Micol Hebron is an interdisciplinary feminist artist whose practice includes studio work, curating, writing, social media, crowd-sourcing, teaching, public-speaking, and both individual and collaborative projects. She grew up in a tent with hippie parents in the redwoods of Northern California. Hebron is an Associate Professor of Art at Chapman University.
LA-based artist Claudia Parducci’s work concerns the cycles of human conflict and strategies for survival, and spans a multi-disciplinary practice that includes drawing, painting, and sculpture. Since receiving her MFA from CalArts in 2006, Parducci’s work has been shown nationally and internationally. Her next solo exhibition will take place in March 2019 at Ochi Projects, Los Angeles.
Astri Swendsrud is a Los Angeles-based artist. Much of her recent work is part of the collaborative project Semi-Tropic Spiritualists, through which she creates interactive, multi-disciplinary works exploring the histories and influences of utopian and visionary communities in California. She is also co-founder and co-director of the artist-run space Elephant and works as Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Art at Biola University.
Jemima Wyman makes work that investigates visual resistance as a social, formal, and political strategy. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at Commonwealth & Council, Sullivan and Strumpf, and Milani Gallery. Wyman’s work has been exhibited internationally in Korea, Germany, Japan, England, and The Netherlands. She has collaborated with Anna Mayer as CamLab since 2005.
This event is free and open to the public.