- Mutual Sensitivities: 2018 Senior Art Thesis Exhibition
Nicholas Campbell, Arielle Chiara, Madeline Coven, Elizabeth Lee Freedman, Ali Paydar, Eduardo Salas, Elana Scott, Esther Willa Stilwell, Emma Stolarski, Everest Strayer, Jo Terrien, Isaac Watts
April 26-May 12, 2018
Pitzer College Art Galleries:
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
The Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall
Salathé Gallery, McConnell Center
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 26 from 5 – 7 pm
These are actions of thought that connect human and non-human states.
Constantly in process, towards decay and newness, experimenting, playing, fighting, holding and eroding.
From the inside one can see the impossibility of a here.
Instead we construe a there, to nurture and embody, while maintaining its strangeness. We hope to allow the casting to be a species, able to produce, grow, and dissolve.
I paint images where subject matter is in the process of individuation from the background. Individuation describes the manner in which a thing is identified as distinguished from other things. Each painting contains figures in a different stage of individuation. These subjects loosely adhere to a geometric structure but are undefinable as respective shapes.
Soft and sensitive body is forming. Bed of salt, silk body and rock memory recording strata of absent-present half-buried and fluid traces, material formations and precipitations, biomineralizations, shell and pearl, hair and nail. These saturations, opal gels filling pores and bone casts, deserts which were once ancient seas, their water carved puffy clay mounds and salty salt flats of mind process and site. Beds laid and layered, sweet fragile constructions built up from memory-space, eroded out like precious tooth pearl, silky love pearl and fragile purse shell.
This work is a series of castings of my bathtub using dough, soap, clay, and wool. I am exploring how each of these materials relates to this space and behave differently within it. The bathtub is a place of ritual and care, making the material relate to caring for another body. Working in my living space allowed me to get to know and live alongside the material, as one would grow to know a person or place.
Elizabeth Lee Freedman
Elizabeth Lee Freedman is interested in tracing seemingly ordinary recurrences, such how pickles appear in a grandmother’s kitchen, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, and Gwenyth Paltrow’s food blog. In A Provisional Collection, she loosely draws from the literary format of the short story to explore the ritual of cooking. Plucking out stories of elaborate traditions, memorable feasts, and even musings on specific ingredients, her collection offers a processional tasting of personal and public rituals.
Ancestral cultures, through care and kinship, always impure are kept alive in the bodies that carry them. A Persian-futurism is enacted through this ritual of ingestion, multispecies collectives, and ingredients potent with symbolic meaning. These fermented honey-wines entangle these complex histories and relations, of interdependence, colonization, diaspora, death, preservation, renewal and joy. May we celebrate the porosity of bodies and boundaries together.
Veins pumping, water flowing, cracks developing, wrinkles forming; it is these overlaps: between body and nature, between aesthetic and physical that I seek to uncover. A physical, tactile awareness specific to all of life; life happening through sight and touch, bodily memory, life happening through acton and imprint, residue. The result is an interaction that continues to blur the lines between nuanced natural forms and the reimagined and recreated in man made terms.
It is about Chaos. Pain. Instability, of the most certain and change. A wonderment of survival, childhood woes and teenage fantasies culminating into adulthood… A phenomenology of quite prose, makes me quiver in fear of shame and broken laughs of what was told. Was it my fault, or your fault at all? Sex embedded bodily qualms of indoctrinated incarnations of pleasure and pain, we get hurt… Then we move on. A ploy in communication. Healing of fragmented selves. Privilege deployed, who I am, to tell you how to be thinking itself into time? Surging motifs, in qualified beliefs. Fun in a house, or a house in healing. Departed in myself. Step in please. Breathe.
Esther Willa Stilwell
Esthertopia acts as a satire of humans’ desire for utopia. Using Sims I created a video that asks questions about the nature of play and labor. I give viewers a choice: glance at the video and understand it or spend time with it and experience it. I invite you to occupy Esthertopia and fill it with your thoughts, experiences, and truths.
Some believe life was formed through clay, when the oceans were vast and we were still dust. Clay is my caregiver, my companion, and my ancestor. Our bodies linger with this memory in our subconscious, the legacy of life in the lifeless.
This work was created in conversation with the idea of space/place. How the binary of space and place create moments of movement and pause, how are these actions of movement and pause mediated by the construction of built space. The mediation of these movements in built space are a map, they are full of suggestions of how we ‘should’ interact with a given environment. The preservation of constructed spaces as a means of identity formation and collective narrative creation, is something this piece hopes to entangle. How might porous and permeable spaces complicate ideas of how to interact with a space/place and how might this destabilize ideas of identity? How might built space be recreated as a means to create opportunities for transition and melding of spaces?
As we are born and as we grow up, and until our death, as people we built. Through what our parents teach us and then through what our individual experiences show us we are constantly building our identity. Whether it be through relationships, languages or art, we are constantly changing as people. By going against the traditional portraiture, this series shows the complexity of one’s identity through deformation of the body.
Return Signal generates patterns of light and sound from the physical presence of viewers. Potential, kinetic, sonic, electromagnetic, a series of energetic transformations vibrate the space. Media are rigid and fluid, formed in transition.
Tags: Senior Art Show, Spring 2018
- INTENSION: Senior Art Exhibition 2016
I N / T E N S I O N
2016 Senior Thesis Art Exhibition | Apr 21–May 14
April 21 – May 14, 2016
Pitzer College Art Galleries:
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
Lenzner Gallery, Atherton Hall
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 21, 5-7 p.m.
Food and drink provided by the Grove House, Shakedown Cafe,
Zenia Gutierrez, Claremont Craft Ales, Walter’s, Pappas
Artisanal, Wolfe’s Market, Nuno’s and Ventana Wine.
Tags: Senior Art Show, Spring 2016
- NINE: Senior Art Exhibition 2015
Hall of Fame is meant to provoke thought on how marginalized lives are valued in today’s society, and to begin a dialogue about how entertainment affects society’s perception of young people of color. By using trading cards and posters, my work shows how our society glorifies the lives of professional athletes, yet disregards the lives of the minorities who are not entertaining the country with lightning quick crossovers, back-breaking tackles and effortless home runs.
My current focus is dedicated to putting emphasis on race and its social ramifications. I’m interested in shining light on the effect race has on the public in regards to people consciously or unconsciously perpetuating the system of oppression. In my recent video works, I’ve made spatially palpable the issues of being a black body within a post-slavery and post-largely oppressive environment of racial abuse, as well as the tensions formed through the process of racism being reconfigured and changing throughout the timeline of modern day. I’m committed to making predominantly white societies, schools, communities, cultures, work forces and institutions aware of these dislocations, highlighting issues that all too often remain unconscious.
I focused on the intersection between form and function in the automotive, motorcycle and aircraft industries. I strive to define an adrenaline-filled and athletically stimulating lifestyle through my strategic use of stills and motion pictures. By playing with the language of mainstream advertising, I’ve created a body of work composed of stories that range from motor vehicle advertisements to character-driven documentaries. My final project looks at the militarization of our nation’s airports and urges viewers to question, “What are we protecting?”
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. While I have experimented with political subjects, I always seem to draw on personal experience. My intimate experiences are more compelling when expressed through the markings of my hands and body. My subjects are personal, reflecting childhood and loss. Being an only child, I became accustomed to solitude and temporary periods of abandonment, which carried on to my adulthood through my romantic relationships.
Connecting my artistic practice to my career goals as a veterinarian I bring my love of animals and biology into my drawings and paintings. My current work depicts animals typically perceived as inferior beings. Through illustrating “undesirable” animals at human scale and in vibrant color, I am trying to dismantle the anthropocentrism of the average viewer and have them understand these animals in a new way.
When creating an artwork, the concept and message always come first, long before I know what physical form it will take; while I’ve spent most of my time at Pitzer making drawings and videos, my final piece is an interactive performance piece. Inspired by innovative artists like Tino Sehgal, Marina Abramovic and Janet Cardiff, my work explores communication by engaging the audience, challenging our tendency to avoid vulnerability by hiding behind digital walls.
I use sound, film and performance as a means of exploring somatic representation of human relationships. My movement is deeply influenced by my study of the Alexander Technique and inspired by the dynamic, confrontational choreography of Pina Bausch. Bell hooks has grounded the theory of relationship intentionality and loving in my work. My fluid sense of home began in Boston and has continued through Pittsburgh, Germany, central Illinois.
I use studio portrait photography, combined with cyanotype or “sun” printing to create photographs that are about the attitudes college students have toward their surrounding material world. By involving peers in the sun printing process, my hope is that they will feel empowered to question and strengthen their own philosophy of objects and, in doing so, become better users and makers rather than buyers and consumers.
#takecareofyourself is an audience-driven installation that shows how different levels of balance and self control create an exploration of what is considered to be “healthy.” This installation is also a reflection for the audience to not forget to treat yourself. Treating yourself is the first step in taking care of yourself. So indulge to satisfy that sweet-tooth craving with the treats provided, and enjoy.
Tags: Adrian Brandon, Alyssa Woodward, Ari Saperstein, Cameron Carr, Dan Stranahan, Leah Pomerantz, Lenzner Gallery, Leonard Schlör, Nichols Gallery, NINE, Past Exhibitions, Pitzer Art Galleries, Raz Krog, Rocío Medina, Senior Art Show, Spring 2015
- (dis)order: Senior Art Exhibition 2014
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
Zinc, 2014; Zinc pill; urethane plastic; 8.75” x 6.5”
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.
Sisters, 2014; Archival color print; 23” x 31”
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?
Re:Collection, 2014; Archival color print; 4” x 6”
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.
First Encounters, 2014, Documentation of relational event, 3’ x 3’
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.
Angler Fish, 2013; Mixed media; Dimensions variable
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.
World of Color, 2014; Gouache, pen, watercolor; 9” x 12”
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.
Biz (detail), 2014; Pencil; 63” x 42”
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.
Mapping Gesture, 2013; Plywood, hardware, canvas, acrylic paint; Dimensions variable
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.
Consideration, 2014; Digital image; Dimensions variable
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.
Communication Breakdown, 2013; Laser color print, ink; 6” x 9”
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.
Indulge, 2014; Digital rendering; Dimensions variable
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.
Tags: Past Exhibitions, Senior Art Show, Spring 2014
- AUTHENTIFICTION: Senior Art Exhibition 2013
April 25-May 18, 2013
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall
Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Grove House
Magazine Clippings (2013); Collage; Dimensions variable
Inspired by both modern and classic realists like Vija Celmins and Rembrandt van Rijn, my detailed drawings explore the fashion industry and its influence on standards of beauty through a humorous and timely critique. The title is inspired by a quote by Elizabeth Cady Stanton from her 1880 speech Our Girls: “I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” A Series of Adjectives is informed by body politics, pop culture and my personal relationship with feminism.
Using graphite, I create semi-realistic reproductions of modeling photographs juxtaposed with clippings from fashion magazines. The snippets of text underneath each drawing contextualize each photograph by bringing to light my unglamorous experiences with modeling. The layout of each drawing suggests those of Polaroids and models’ cards—both everyday items in the modeling industry.
Using editorial-like photos from a high-fashion modeling agency and presenting them with their final context of fashion magazines, I try to show the demeaning and unglamorous process in which images of still developing, body-obsessed youth make their way into women’s magazines. I explore how being on both the giving and receiving ends of this system impacted my life and ask viewers to examine the media more critically by looking at how its messages affect our sense of self.
What We Have (on fait ce qu’on peut avec ce qu’on a) (2013) (detail); Slipcast porcelain; Dimensions variable
Playing with notions of nostalgia, distortion and the functional agency of objects, my work acts as a non-traditional portrait of a family lineage. Altering found objects from antique shops and casting them in porcelain, these now non-utilitarian objects become stand-ins for those who have left us. Combining antique furniture and slide projections to create a chaotic yet comfortable atmosphere, What We Have (on fait ce qu’on peut avec ce qu’on a) strives to mimic the eclectic, disorganized nature of one’s memories.
An Anonymous Life (2013); Photo: 1936, Morton Friedman; Detail of installation; Mixed media
I am a collector of abstract histories. My experimental animation and non-linear recordings incorporate personal stories, abstract themes and distorted remembrances. The works include hand drawings, home videos, cut-outs, spoken word and photographs.
Disguised by personal and sometimes even mundane stories, my pieces transport the viewer to a place located between the individual and the collective. My work lies on the delicate boundaries of complicated and simple, important and unimportant, alienating and inviting, as I work toward creating portraits that are both general and specific.
Inspired by an African proverb, “Every time an old man dies it is as if a library has burnt down,” I use the tradition of oral storytelling to collect the experiences of an aging generation. These stories represent an entire collective memory as well as a first-person account of United States history, reminding us about all the things that came before.
“I just want to recognize anonymous everyday life.” – Do-Ho Suh
Chaparral (2013) (detail); Monoprint; Dimensions variable
My work is about connections. At first they may appear far-fetched, sometimes relating seemingly disparate ideas, people or structures. Though continuous, self-sustaining systems drive the biotic and abiotic processes of the earth, emblems of human infrastructure interject into these systems, disabling their ability to sustain their prehistoric formats. The prevailing global paradigm suggests increased connectivity; I explore the areas where this theory falls apart. In my work, fragmented imagery, broken cycles and degraded input/output apparatuses coexist with looping time and interconnected webs of movement.
Material selection plays a large role as I contend with issues surrounding consumption. By letting the material inform what I create, I relinquish a certain amount of control. The process comes first and aesthetics follow. Collecting local clay and native plants forces me to become intimately aware of the place I inhabit. I often produce utilitarian or familiar objects to invite a deeper interaction with the works. I work mainly in three dimensions utilizing ceramic and found objects. I negotiate the space between permanence and ephemerality.
Mikal Sits in a Cabin with Some of His Favorite Things (2012); Colored pen on digital photo print; 8.5” x 11”
I am an artist with an avid interest in examining how everyday use of media, specifically photography, reflects larger cultural beliefs and practices. This collaborative work is a study of how photography, as an implicitly “realistic” medium, informs the way we picture others and ourselves.
My collaborative portraits are positioned within a larger context that encompasses the historical use of photographic images to categorize, document and solidify identities. Referencing the 19th-century notion of “photography as truth,” I consider the present day use of the medium as a device for intentional reality-making in physical and online (non-physical) spaces.
Influenced by artists such as Cindy Sherman, Jim Goldberg and Gillian Wearing, my work explores the juncture where the photographer’s viewpoint meets that of their subjects’ self-image. In so doing, the notion of authorship is blurred, as is the inherent ability of the photographs to provide veritable information through visual accuracy.
This series of large-scale digital prints and their altered counterparts deconstructs the perception of photography as an inherently truthful medium by adding another dimension to how identity is formed through photographic images. Through the work’s interactive component, the photographed subjects are invited to examine and reconstruct their own relationship to the medium and to images of the self.
A desk made of Ticky-Tacky (2013); Found wood, hardware; 35” x 57” x 31”
My approach to producing work is to create synapses between the material and the viewer’s normal interaction with it. My work aims to question the tradition of handcrafted furniture by introducing reclaimed wood into the production process. Blurring the line between the sculptural and the functional, this work references the SoFa movement—which attempts to erase the line between fine art and craft. The use of the inherited ornamental features references the former life of the object. Through my approach, I find myself entering into new aesthetic grounds. By working with everyday discarded materials and the Ifading practice of craft I attempt to bring the viewer’s gaze back to the physical and constructed world that we live in. By highlighting these ideas I hope to create a new consensus regarding art and functionality.
What I Found in the Ground (2013); Processed local earth; Dimensions variable
When I dream, there is no narrative. The images themselves contain a story. I have dreamt of a place, with my friends, where I escape the monotonies and stresses of my everyday life, filled with cold, mass-produced objects that shape my society. In this world, I become so distracted, I forget the ground is alive, but when I am standing on dirt, free of concrete or flooring, the earth is full of past stories, and life, that offers new stories to write. I often run to the San Gabriel Mountains, where I have found red dirt, the color of the castle in my mind. And so I am writing stories with images instead of words, in dirt, instead of letters. I am remembering the ground and that it is alive with old and new.
An environmental and spiritual cycle is completed with the meeting of mind and matter, when my imagination is grounded and the ground is imagined.
Bearmax (2013); Three channel video installation; 4 min
My video work takes the form of short, character-driven portraits. These geometric and simply framed compositions are produced using available light with minimal work done in post-production. Similarly, my photographs—portraits of my family or close friends—are also centrally framed and geometrically composed using available light. My photographic practice is personal and sometimes unsettling, hearkening to the tradition of portraiture set forth by photographers like Nan Goldin and William Eggleston, who disturb notions of the everyday and familiar. My work also examines the way in which the familiar becomes disturbing, and goes further to try to reconcile this disruption of my everyday life. This reconciliation can be found in my video work, in which I use humor to discuss the emotional turbulence inherent in my photographs. My videos center on my childhood stuffed animal, “Bearmax,” who “talks,” using my voice, about familial tensions in an honest and dryly comedic way. My work emphasizes the right to self-representation and self-reflection broadcast on a larger scale; I bring personal issues into the gallery, and engage viewers in my process of reconciliation, coping and even self-pity. I encourage viewers to reflect on these issues and recognize both the isolating and universal qualities of family conflict.
Transformation 66 (2013); Fabric, thread; Dimensions variable
My work is a study of transformation and time through diverse materials and fabrics. The clothes that I make are designed to articulate different avatars that relate to fragments of my experience. Each one of these has its own identity and character. To actively engage the viewer in a new experience, I use fabric that is textured and optically challenging. My practice references artwork made in the ’60s and ’70s that blurred the line between sculpture and performance. Interaction and participation are major aspects of my practice, as they celebrate collaborative action. My ethnic background is completely confused. I have no definite cultural identity, and for this reason I have spent the entirety of my life exploring pseudo-American cultural identities. My exploration of these identities is meant to be humorous, not offensive.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind (2013); Monoprint lithograph; 10” x 12”
A certain fascination with industrial forms, specifically those found withing the domestic sphere, resides in my work. I am constantly influenced by my own sense of place, and an object-oriented exploration of place has become a thread throughout my practice. I work mainly in drawing and printmaking, and through many years of experimenting with these media I have gathered the essential qualities of what I find to be most effective for my work, and distilled qualities into a minimal aesthetic.
Drawing on the visual traditions of surrealism, minimalism and pop art, this series of prints isolates and decontextualizes industrial forms from their suburban infrastructure. I am working with a variety of influences, particular Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photography, Greg Eason’s drawings, and prints from artists such as Ed Ruscha and Ken Price. My practice utilizes the concept of Shibusa, a Japanese aesthetic tradition that finds balance between simplicity and complexity in everyday objects. By playing with scale, spatial positioning and repetition, I seek to activate the surreal in the everyday, to uncover underlying aesthetic and iconographic meaning within these forms.
Badwater Ø (2013); Digital print, mixed media; 42” x 66”
Influenced by the study of perception and its relationship to thought and reality, I use photography to introduce different possibilities to those realities. My images contain fractions of truth enhanced by the surreal. A sense of tension forms when it is difficult to distinguish the “real” from the “unreal” within a spatial or augmented reality.
Using photographs taken of the Mojave Desert, I push the boundaries of preconceived realities by manipulating digital images. On the surface, the images appear ghost-like and provoke a feeling of loss and isolation. However on further evaluation, the desert appears to be reclaiming itself, forming a surreal reality between nature and the contrived.
Through the use of found or re-created objects and acrylic paint, form and texture are introduced into the large-format digital prints. Negative space is used as a canvas in which to displace the fractured landscape.
Perception of reality is a fluid concept. These perceptions are influenced by our beliefs and life experiences. Using photography I invite others to contemplate possibilities related to the forces of nature.
Tags: Alycia Lang, Annie Brown, Charlotte Pradie, Ilse Wogau, Janak Tull, Kayla Friedman-Barb, Lauren Cronk, Max Macsai-Kaplan, Nick Williams, Past Exhibitions, Senior Art Show, Sky Martin, Spring 2013, Taylor Kamsler
- Living Inside Is Beautiful: Senior Art Exhibition 2012
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
In (2011); Pressure Treated Wood and Aluminum; 10 x 10 x 10 inches
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.
SpilLover (2010); Performance, Times Square, NYC; 3 hours
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.
a ________ creation (2012); Digital print; Dimensions variable
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.
Unknown Cargo (2012); Digital video; 30 minutes
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.
Repetition (2012); Stencil art; 6 x 6 inches
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.
Spear (detail) (2012); Aluminum; Dimensions variable
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.”
Grove House at Pitzer College (2012); Craftsman Era House; Dimensions variable
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.
Hear/Touch (2012); Wood; 3 ½ x 4 inches
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.
Erasure (2012); Film still
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.
Tags: André Baum, Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Brandon Fernandes, Dean Pospisil, Elizabeth Bartolini, James Cathey, Leah Quayle, Lenzner Gallery, Nichols Gallery, Past Exhibitions, Reid Ulrich, Robbie Acklen, Senior Art Show, Spring 2012, Zachary London
- phenogenesis: Senior Art Exhibition 2011
phenogenesis: an evolution of expression
April 28-May 14, 2011
Nichols Gallery, Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery
Lauren Conquist Anderson • Maia Ashkenazi • Casandra Campeas • Sophia Galano • Paula Gasparini De Oliveira Santos • Michelle E. Gross • Anja Hughes-Stinson • Evan Kelley • Sarah Lee • Avery Oatman • Morgan Pepper • Marita Pickron • Kamilla Q. Rifkin • Devin von Stade
Lauren Conquist Anderson
waiting… (2011); Mixed media installation; Dimensions variable
I find beauty in simple things: in magic and forts and confetti on a bad day; in children, and face paint, typography, and geography; in memories and mistakes. I collect images, scraps, and found objects from my daily life and incorporate them into my work as a reminder of a moment, a specific place, a collection of happenings. As my life has evolved, so too has my art. When I begin an artwork I am never exactly sure how it will end up. It is a process with unknowns and uncertainties, made up of mistakes and corrections. My work represents my journey: it is about the places and people who have touched me, where I have been, what I have gone through, and who I am because of it. I incorporate the scraps of life because I believe that trash can be treasure, that ambience can be art. I believe in creating work as a way to express yourself and share a part of who you are. I believe in using art as a way to cope with a sadness I do not always understand. This particular piece is about waiting. It’s about the not knowing, the loneliness and the pain, the uncertainty, the fear, and the hoping and dreaming of what is to come. Both of my grandmothers married my grandfathers before they deployed overseas for World War II. They waited four years for them to come home. And then I waited.
Womedia (2011); Digital mixed-media, collage and photography; Dimensions variable
My work blurs the boundaries between form and function. To me, art and design are often indistinguishable, for both deal with composing something beautiful for a purpose, whether the purpose is aesthetic enjoyment, value, utility or conveying a concept or message. My artistic practice is currently wide-ranging, but my goal in the next few years is to narrow my focus. My previous work ranges from artist books and coffee table books, photography, colorful patterns, merchandise and advertising collateral, to found-object jewelry, mixed-media and digital collage, printmaking, painting and drawing. Common themes throughout my work are bright color harmonies, juxtaposition of detail with simplicity and contrast in value, shape and scale. My work shown in Phenogenesis is a series called “Womedia.” It consists of six cover artworks, one piece for each decade from the 1950s until today. Each piece in the series includes a few lines of lyrics from a song from that decade that address how women are represented or stereotyped within that decade. Each piece is displayed on the appropriate audio playback format for its decade. The aesthetic elements used within each piece draw from the visual style of each decade, yet the viewer should note the irony that these pieces were created today in order to look “vintage.” “Womedia” deals with women’s stereotyping issues in the media as well as misogyny in song lyrics in popular music within the entertainment and music industries.
Metamorphosis (2011); Digital prints on poster board; 24×36 inches
As a child, I knew photography was something I would love from the moment I picked up my mom’s camera. It didn’t become a passion until high school. My work stems from the interactions I have with my subjects and from my love for texture and detail. Like people, I believe ideas evolve into something unexpected. I enjoy creating an environment that is both a personal and comfortable space for the subject. I am drawn to small objects and enjoy exploring how light and color can add a transitional quality to black and white photography. Through digital photography, make-up and costuming, I examine the varied emotions that occur during a transitional period. I want to experiment with color while retaining the drama a black and white image has to offer. As time moves forward, the body evolves and inevitably deteriorates, through natural or unnatural causes. I picture this deterioration as a disease in itself, similar to the shedding of the skin. My goal is to express a kind of growth and decay through multiple textures and contrast. I want this decay, in part, to represent a resistance to evolution, a refusal to accept that time moves forward regardless of whether we are prepared. Each individual processes change in his or her own way. I believe accepting life changing events contributes to an evolution of the self. Change is inevitable and resistance towards it prevents the individual from moving forward and learning from past experiences. Some individuals focus on the excitement and embrace the journey. As I begin the next chapter of my life, I am joyful yet know it will be a struggle to let go of the past.
Paula Gasparini De Oliveira Santos (GDOS)
=Voce (2011); Acrylic; 24×36 inches
(To Release, Relinquish, Unclasp, Withdraw, Unleash, To Bring Out)
To let go is to surrender and to give in to the forces beyond your control—surrendering does not mean to abandon or run away from what comes our way, but rather to immerse ourselves in everything without restraint. My work is the expression of how I live; it is effortless, though I do not mean easy, but rather without pain. I create images without regret or restraint and continually I paint over them. I value my paintings, but value the act of creation itself as paramount. Because life is transient, I let go of the permanence of images and instead recognize that it is the process of expression that remains with me eternally. My creations are free in form but are directed by an inner order and discipline—that of intuitive feeling. I drown my emotions in paint and words, so that I can free them. I let go in order to understand. My art is my self-expression—the symbols are personal but I share them and by doing so hope to inspire expression in others. I believe in the power of communication and unity, and the endless possibilities that can come from it. We were all born with the luxury of finding ourselves; I believe the power of expression is in all of us, children all over the world are proof.
Laundry Line (2011); Wood, wire, ribbon, zippers, thread and canvas, plastic; 32×60 inches
My senior thesis comprises three components using mixed media, wearable sculpture, fiber art and painting. The works are produced with unconventional materials and are constructed using traditionally “feminine” crafts such as knitting and sewing. Both the zipper and gown pieces are sewn by hand and machine, and are designed to fit my own body. The wire corset is knit on two different sized wooden needles, and can be adjusted by the back ribbons. These three works seek to question conventional ideas about femininity, domesticity, gender and sexuality. I am deeply influenced by artists exploring similar issues, such as Judy Chicago, Sharon Kagan, Annette Messager, Liza Lou and Cindy Sherman. My work also references historical symbols, such as the corset and formal gown. The zipper-halter-top strives to present a contemporary symbol of gender and sexuality. My artwork conceptualizes these issues through medium choice, subject matter and material. These works are not intended to fully reflect fashion or design, but instead meditate on aspects of gender and what it entails to be a woman. I did, however, choose the routine of dress and wearability as a means to contribute to the subject of gender. Throughout my career at Pitzer College I have attempted to explore this theme, and answer questions pertaining to gender for a young woman such as myself. These three pieces represent what I have learned in classes as well as in my everyday life.
Michelle E. Gross
Red Icon (2010); Medium-density fiberboard, fluorescent; light, red and violet gel; 12x12x36 inches
The works featured in the exhibition bring together and expose two of my obsessions within an aesthetic dichotomy: decrepit objects and light. I have been deeply inspired by the work of the Minimalist artists, Dan Flavin in particular. Flavin’s candid and innovative use of fluorescent lights challenged the formally dominant concept of a fine art medium. I admire other artists, such as Marcel Duchamp and Robert Rauschenberg, who likewise proved that even the detritus of modern existence could be art. Stylistically, my work shifts from the highly colorful and playful to work that is raw and unrefined. What excites me about used and found objects is that they are infused with an innate sense of nostalgia and history. Removing these objects from their utilitarian past and recontextualizing them into my pieces opens new lines of dialogue about function, design and art. I wanted to create an environment that evokes a different kind of perceptual experience from the one we encounter every day. The gallery space generated by my work is one where light, movement and perception combine to create a sensory experience that is enveloping and aesthetically perverse. I aspired to create a space enveloped in glow, where the interplay of light and our perception were as equally important as the objects themselves.
Saddleback from the Pasture (2010); Acrylic paint on canvas; 12×24 inches
My horse’s hooves crushing the grass with every step and the wind whipping through the dead twigs are the only sounds as we traverse a ridgeline trail high above the city. There is a feeling of peaceful, beautiful loneliness, a welcome isolation, when you simultaneously feel above it all, and yet startlingly insignificant and invisible. My passion for horseback riding, exploring and being in nature provides the unique genesis for my work. The inspiration for this body of work springs from long rides into the “wilderness.” I use this term loosely because there are very few truly wild places left, especially in this sprawling suburban area. This is a profound tragedy and something worth considering, documenting and discussing. My goal is to take the viewer with me on a journey to some of my favorite “wild” places; places which have deep meaning and fond memories. My paintings strive to capture these often unseen landscapes, allowing the viewer a glimpse of places they may never have an opportunity to explore for themselves. In addition, my work investigates mankind’s impact on nature by exploring the interaction between man-made objects, nature, and time. Nature slowly deconstructs human artifacts and reincorporates them into the natural landscape. I attempt to capture this phenomenon of the natural decay of these now abandoned, but once useful things, as well as the ephemeral feelings I experienced at the initial discovery of these lonely objects and forgotten places.
Benny “Kid” Paret (2011); Mixed media; 39×21 inches
The last two years have seen a large amount of my work focusing on the cultural history of boxing: one of mankind’s oldest yet most vilified sports. The drama of such one-on-one combat is inherent. With the competition exclusively between two individuals, and the brute (or as some would prefer, archaic) skills which value is placed on, issues of race, nationality, religion and even political association have long been brought to the front of discourse, with the boxing match as the vehicle. Throughout its history, boxing has also come under immense scrutiny due to its danger and violence as a form of media entertainment. It is not difficult to locate broadcasted video of a fight in which a fighter dies or is irreparably harmed due to damage in the ring. Some argue that this fact is proof that boxing does not deserve to be deemed a sport and should be made illegal. Defenders of the sport argue that one only need look as far as the news to see far worse violence in equally or even more grandiose depictions. Furthermore, these people argue that boxing provides an opportunity for upward mobility among the dispossessed, who are often victims themselves of predatory managers and promoters. My work for this exhibition investigates the love/hate relationships and seemingly paradoxical views boxing falls under for a media-obsessed, particularly violent-media-obsessed, American society.
Rain (2011); Mixed media; Dimensions variable
I employ mundane materials that have limited use or are doomed to end up in a landfill and transform them into an artwork that represents the majesty of our natural world. The dichotomy created using discarded materials to represent the purity of nature sparks a conflict of mind for the viewer. I enjoy manipulating material to resemble something of nature without being an exact replica of it. Our creations can never reach the intricate and complex level of nature, but through artistic representation the viewer is encouraged to question the affect of human intervention in this world, especially regarding the changing biosphere and fauna around us. I am greatly influenced by water and the elements of our natural environment. The natural world is extraordinary in its transformative capacity. I believe we have only scraped the surface of astounding life in the ocean and on land and have much more to discover. My work is a commentary on how much influence we have on life we do not even know exists. My work also asks questions and produces wonderment about what we do not know or understand.
Space must be left for the pin (2011); Linocut, digital print, mixed media installation; Dimensions variable
My work explores the paradox between the carefully crafted artwork and one that highlights improvisation and the unconscious. I am inspired by color, texture, energy and rhythm. As a dancer and artist, I work to fuse movement, complex compositional patterns, and an awareness of the body’s anatomical structures into my mixed media work. My passion for art grew out of a yearning to find treasure in odd places and the desire to explore relationships between symbols and their meanings. Linked to themes explored by the readymade and found art, I think art has the capability to distort, comment, recreate, elude, add, deconstruct, and demystify the obscurities and beauty of everyday objects. Inspired by Ferdinand Saussure’s theories on socio-linguistics and the arbitrary nature of words, I experiment with controversial systems of structure and varying modes of analysis and representation. Whether it be combining a digital image with an intaglio print, or working on wood, metal or paper, I am constantly surprised by the versatile and malleable nature of the medium employed in my work. I understand art, not only as a form of individual expression, but as a catalyst for social change that should be made accessible to a range of communities regardless of social and/or economic status.
On Point (2010); Digital print; Dimensions variable
Light and time are encapsulating themes in my work. Underwater photography offers a unique opportunity to distort the appearance of reality through water. This spectacle delves the viewer into suspended gravity and distorted optics. Photography was present throughout my life from an amateur perspective. Before starting college, I participated in a Marine Conservation Project in Thailand, learning ocean conservation and scuba diving. This is where I first got an opportunity to explore underwater photography. While at Pitzer College, this evolved to a more serious compulsion. Nights spent out in nature, I explored ideas concerning the surreal more evident in the dark of night than light of day. Night photography opened the possibility of bending expectations within photography, and through this exploration, surreality in darkness of night lead to an obsession with this phenomenon within underwater photography. My committed participation with the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company gives me access to another world of fantasy and wonderment. The combination of these themes creates a surreal experience, fusing dance and water into a photographic experience. I use ballroom dancers to exhibit the control and grace of dancing, combined with the surreality of water to create these spectacles.
Untitled (2011); Silver gelatin print; Dimensions variable
Since elementary school when my mother taught me the very basics of taking a picture with her 35mm SLR, I have become enamored with the process of photographing the world around me. I have always viewed photography as a unique tool enabling me to frame the precise moments, angles and emotions that best capture my understanding and experience of a given instant, rather than simply conveying its physical manifestation. This body of work comprises a series of photographs taken in the past two years while living in the USA, Italy and South Africa. While exploring these distinctly different countries, I was continuously struck by the beauty of socio-cultural particularities in lifestyles, social attitudes and definitions of “norm” that uniquely define daily life in each country. However, I was also very aware from my interactions with passersby and friends that there are some underlying human commonalities—the warmth of sharing a meal with friends and loved ones, music and dance, the desire to explore and learn of the unknown. Although among and even within these countries, the contents of a meal and the definition of family may vary greatly, the underlying actions and motives remain the same. As I explored, listened, and absorbed, I became increasingly aware of common cross-cultural aspirations, experiences and catalysts. I had my camera at the ready and attempted to capture what I perceived as quotidian human experiences in each country—the similar alongside the unique. I hope this collection of jumbled moments and places can inspire the viewer to question their own preconceived notions of “other-ness” as they create for themselves a sense of geographic order in the midst of confusion.
Kamilla Q. Rifkin
Egg and Molasses (2011); Silver gelatin print; 8×10 inches
My thesis represents the evolution of food as a theme throughout my work. Food has emerged as a revelatory model for my photography. The elasticity within my subjects—ridged dewy leaves of a red cabbage, gritty millet grains, a brilliantly rubbery albumen of a fried egg—has allowed me to create fantastical landscapes that play with light, shadow, and texture in innovative ways. My work draws inspiration from Edward Weston’s cabbage and bell pepper photos from the 1930s. I am interested in incorporating the practice of dramatizing and eroticizing an inanimate object into my own artwork. From the basic uncooked raw grains on photograms to foods viewed in macro format, I aim to deconstruct the edibles that we are used to seeing on the dinner plate in order to present a new range of images. My goal is to remove each food from immediate recognition, and allow it to reemerge as something more dramatic, massive, abstract.
Devin von Stade
Taxonomy (2011); Ceramic; Dimensions variable
Maine is home. Though I have spent little of the past eight years there, the landscape and its animals have remained a great influenced on my art. Originally a painter idealizing impressionist and surreal works, I spent the past four years working with ceramics. Having previously been hesitant about working in three dimensions, it was a chance to learn anew through play and guidance. Much of my college education was dedicated to the biological sciences with the arts as an outlet for my creativity, and a place to explore my understanding of the natural world. My interest in veterinary medicine, animals and their inherent differences kindles my imagination. I try to create pieces that have a bit of their own life; works that people will want to touch, as well as others that will cause hesitation as if it were an oversized bug. Through this active process, I hope to show a playful development and classification of my ideas, as they have been shaped through my time a Pitzer. Working with clay for the past four years has been inspiring. Given that much of my college education has been dedicated to the sciences, ceramics has allowed me to exercise my creativity. Exploring the development of my ideas, I slip-cast populations of forms and textures influenced by the casting process. Specific aspects that effected how the molds were made were carried through to the next piece I made. With my focused study on anatomy and biomechanics, animals often influence my thought process and guide my work. I try to create pieces that people want to touch, as well as others that might cause hesitation and repulsion, as if it were a live bug, or in the worry that the creature would be skittish. By delving into this obsession, I focused on the string of consciousness that contributes to my artistic process, considering each branch of potential development. Through this living process, I hope to show the playful development and classification of my ideas, as they have been shaped through my time at Pitzer.
Tags: Anja Hughes-Stinson, Avery Oatman, Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Casandra Campeas, Devin von Stade, Evan Kelley, Kamilla Q. Rifkin, Lauren Conquist Anderson, Lenzner Gallery, Maia Ashkenazi, Marita Pickron, Michelle E. Gross, Morgan Pepper, Nichols Gallery, Past Exhibitions, Paula Gasparini De Oliveira Santos, Sarah Lee, Senior Art Show, Sophia Galano, Spring 2011
- et al: Senior Art Exhibition 2010
April 29-May 15, 2010
Nichols Gallery, Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Salathé Gallery, Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery
Adria Arko, Paul Bergmann, Marnie Briggs, Dominique Festa, Lanie Frosh, Michael Goldberg, Jeremiah Gregory, Garbo Grossman, Leticia Grosz, Courtney Leverette, Zach Milder, Jane Philips, Cal Siegel, Eric Stern, Annie Stone, Kanae Takemoto, Katie Tonkovich
Birch 1 (2009), 24 x 24 inches, Ink and oil on birch panel.
I am fascinated by wood and the natural patterns found within it, from the intricate structure of bark, to the most basic grain found on a 2 x 4 inch plank—even wood laminate. My project is an exploration of the movement of wood grain. By drawing and painting on the surfaces of the wooden panels, I examine how my mark can either add to, or detract from, the pattern of the wood. The panels, purchased at construction stores—not intended for artwork—have been transformed to focus on the intricacy of nature in even the most ordinary pieces of wood. Through out my life, I have been inspired by the work of Gerhardt Richter, Robert Bechtle, Amedeo Modigliani and the Arts and Crafts movement. Although my art is not directly influenced by their work, I feel that my art has grown from my love of their practice.
Please Don’t Tell Me Why (2010), Dimensions variable, Mixed media.
I love to draw. The everyday doodles in my notebook are my primary source of inspiration. I believe in the honesty of spontaneity, and the genuineness of quick, intuitive marks and ideas. My influences range from children’s illustrator Quentin Blake to Marcel Duchamp. While my aesthetics lean towards that of a Realist, I tend to incorporate the ironic undertones of Dada and Conceptual art into my drawings and non-representational conceptual pieces. Recently I have been working with found readymades. Abandoning my roots as a drawer, I’ve decided to incorporate outside text into already existing paintings and objects to imbue and uncover new meanings. I create these pieces with my same intuitive application of ideas but without the burden of new physical representation. Therein, with such a simple alteration on the surface, I completely alter the original meaning and purpose of the object. Therefore, I am producing art that achieves meaning after it has been produced.
Ursula (2009), 30 x 54 inches, Collograph.
In these works, I deliberately employ an illustrative style reminiscent of the art found in the children’s books that were my rst artistic influences and remain a continuous inspiration. I have been experimenting with this aesthetic approach, in combination with more mature, adult concepts to achieve a darker depiction of the imaginative dream world. Imagination is something we need to consciously exercise in our post-childhood years. My own art is a personal attempt to invent a space, through the portrayal of different characters interacting in fantastical, surreal worlds, that allows for the exercise and expansion of the imagination. The scenes are meant to loosely describe nonlinear narratives that are abstract in content. In the past, I have limited the use of color in my artwork, typically only working with black ink on white paper. However this current body of work requires a whimsical color scale to imbue a youthfulness to the darker imagery.
Order (2010), Dimensions variable, Mixed-media installation.
Small events in my life beg me to act appropriately, a request to which I diligently try to comply. Each time I dress in the morning, take public transportation to work, raise my hand in class, cook, clean, shop, drink, laugh (too loudly), talk (too forcefully), I nd myself keeping in line with an imaginary, but painfully durable conception of what a woman is and how she (re)acts. Who is this imaginary woman and why does she matter to me? In this body of work, I look for answers to this question in psychoanalytic theory, semiology, and postfeminism. If the Lacanian subject is constituted through its inception into the symbolic realm, then his/her gender subjectivity is similarly constructed. This concept amazes me, and I have let it inform my installation piece, Order. I use string, as a stand-in for language, to erect a stage upon which objects are manipulated into submission, enabling a ‘quintessentially feminine’ setting, much the same way the symbolic realm constructs and enforces heteronormative gender narratives. The audience is invited into the space thus implicating them in the perpetual maintenance of gender stereotypes through our unwitting, performative consumption and discourse.
Untitled (2010), Dimensions variable, Clay and custom glaze.
With graduation on the horizon I have been forced to think about my future, and ironically this process led me to the past. In the future I want to study ceramic design and potentially pursue a career in this field. Making utilitarian ceramic objects has allowed me to be creative and utilize the skills and knowledge I have acquired from studying mathematics. I am truly enthusiastic about continuing to work in this field, but I recently realized that I have a minor setback. I have very little knowledge of ceramic history. I feel that having knowledge of the history of ceramics is critical in continuing to develop my personal perspective, style and voice. For many years I have enjoyed learning to create functional forms on the pottery wheel, but I had never been taught the history of this art and I wanted to change that. The works I have created for the exhibition are in response to overcome this setback. I researched four genres of ceramic history and produced a work that is influenced by the genre, but is modern and a reaction of my perspective.
As a passionate observer of people, my art is inspired by human interaction. I am drawn to portraiture and its attempt to reveal some veiled truth. I am inspired by twentieth century painters such as Giovanni Boldini and Egon Schiele as well as portrait photographers such as Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus. My current work concentrates on baseball, an American pastime played by millions of youth today. Having been a member of the Pomona-Pitzer baseball team for the past four years, it is hard to be objective and to fully express the passionate yet grueling experience of a college athlete. The very morals cultivated through athletics are suddenly tested as the desire for personal and team success threatens to surpass the traditional innocence of the very sport. A true athlete must be selfish, for a team is only as strong as its weakest link. To what extent will one go to overcome such weakness?
Homunuculus: The Sacrifice (After Brontosaurus) (2010), Dimensions variable, Single-channel video installation.
We have lost touch with the power of the old ways, and drift half-blind with a terrible weight. We have developed new magic and a new religion, though, battling the darkness with incandescent flame and propelling our life force through modern alchemies for every state of the body and mind. The power, however, belongs to those who manipulate the dark, viscous currents that ebb beneath us and those who cast spells in green numerals. Nashville-born conceptual artist Jeremiah Gregory examines the black blood that sustains us and the gilt spirit that wills our volition. In the wake of failing sorcery and false prophets it is time to reconsider our blind devotion to golden gods, and re-examine our ties to each other and primal earth before those ties bind us to our present course of necromancy. As John Freccor writes introducing Robert Pinsky’s translation of Dante’s Inferno, “The dominant theme is not mercy but justice dispensed with the severity of the ancient law of retribution.”
iemoto (2010), 17 x 22 inches, Digital print.
I create idiosyncratic and bizarre imagery because I have always been attracted to the strange and the somewhat nonsensical. My influences include the amorphous and deviant work of Aubrey Beardsley, BLU, Odd Nerdrum, Francis Bacon, and Hieronymous Bosch. Inspired by these artists, I create detailed sketches of distorted bodies. This exploration of the human form led me to fuse body parts to create weird creatures that form their own disjointed narratives. Recently, I was involved in large mural project in downtown LA, where I became fascinated by the combination of street and fine art—I was forced to reconsider what breathes life into a community and how art allows for a place to be reimagined. My current work is a further exploration of combined figures that perform odd aerobics together. The images are sourced from photographs of friends and found faces. These creatures are precise and quiet, while at the same time remaining stubbornly unapologetic. Inked as part of a card deck, these figures establish their own ordered world.
C’est Pas Facile, (2010), 8 x 8 inches, Graphite and ink, on paper.
I am a Los Angeles based artist who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and raised in the San Fernando Valley. I work primarily in photography and various drawing media. I am deeply motivated by my diverse background influences—religion, Spanish language, mother, brother and grandmother—which I explore in my work. I investigate form while simultaneously exploring the various communities to which I am connected and the converging identities that exist in the city in which I live. I am a graduating senior double majoring in Fine Arts and Religious Faith and the Ethics of Social Practice. I plan to continue teaching various subjects including fine arts after graduating from Pitzer College.
La Cage (2009-2010), Size 4, Nickel-plated chain (360 feet).
The purpose of my art is to challenge preconceived notions about what is fashion versus what is wearable art/sculpture. I believe a piece of clothing can be both. The art world and the fashion world have often worked hand in hand and inspired each other. It’s my goal to create works that can exist in both worlds. Their purpose is to be aesthetically pleasing as well as wearable. By using non-conventional materials, I am able to experiment with techniques and create unique forms that could not be created from fabric. Uncon¬ventional materials lend a unique texture, movement, and shape to my dresses and add a dimension of interest that would not exist had I used traditional materials. In the future I hope to continue to experiment with an even wider variety of materials and techniques, in the hopes of pushing the boundaries of what is considered wearable fashion, wearable art, fashion as art, and art as fashion.
This is George Carpenter (2010), Dimensions variable, Mixed-media installation.
To me, every object has an arsenal of associations, preconceptions, cultural references and worth (both inherent and imposed). These objects also have color, shape, time, smell, and taste. I arrange these different facets of the objects to create a stunning visual experience that offer insightful perspectives into the beauty and struggles of humanity within its environment.
Toaster (2010), (Detail), 54 x 75 inches, Quilted, Hand-dyed, second-hand cotton fabric stretched over wood frame.
Jane Philips (Steeping Sweet Comfort)
In a gesture to embrace their artistic daughter, my parents adopted the expression, “life is an art project,” as I have, for most of my life and integrated it into my daily life and activities. Through process-heavy mediums I make objects and images for personal and communal use. My projects have repeatedly depicted and embodied associations with comfort and home as I deeply relish simple daily routines and happenings. Besides the wide variety of materials I continually find and play with, I’ve repeatedly returned to sewing, hand-dying fabric, wheel-throwing pottery, and working with black and white photography. I’m attracted to mainly contemporary artists including Melanie Bilenker, William Eggleston, Andy Goldsworthy and Harrison McIntosh. Although they use very different mediums, each works within their own process to create unique, bold, and refined pieces while retaining a modesty and simplicity. Additionally, I’m continually influenced by the people—their work, obsessions—and personalities, and places of my everyday life. My most recent projects reflect a strong influence to ’60s kitchens and appliances.
El Mestizo Nuevo (for Viteri) (2010), 28 x 38 inches, Archival inkjet print from color negative.
Throughout their history, photographers have sought some sense of “truth” within the photographic image as well as the execution and presentation of the image resulting in distanced adoration. My work seeks to revert this search for truth, from the photographer to the viewer, treating the image as a mirror and leaving any sense of narrative within the work obscured; privileging instead a deadpan and empty impression, to be completed by the viewer themselves. Cinematic in scope, the works evoke disparate and varied associations. The photographs don’t seek “objectivity” in a documentary respect, rather, a space for exchange between the figures represented in the image and the observer.
Untitled (2010), 57 x 48 x 90 inches, Wood and LED lights.
I consider all language foreign. I find words are imposed upon me like historical baggage. I would rather communicate with touch. I often wonder what it is like to be a tree. Do they dream? What do they think about? Most days I want to run away to a mountainside, far away from everything human, and just sit and look up. I love the stars. I try to remember what it was to have been part of a star. I long to return to one. I spend my nights thinking and my days dreaming. I can’t turn off my mind. I like to take everything apart and put it all back together in strange permutations. Sometimes I don’t eat for a few days, just so that if it happens I know I will be ok. I build to keep myself tethered to this world; otherwise I would float up through cosmos and never take another glance back.
Moonlight (2010), 32 x 40 inches, Oil paint on canvas.
Painting is the way I understand the world around me. Each stroke is an exploration of the form and meaning of the subject I am painting. I work primarily in oil paints, painting people and places. With my painterly expressive style I try to keep my canvases fresh and chromatic. When I paint a person, I try to evoke a certain part of that person through the language of the composition. In my most recent project, I am exploring the complexities and contradictions inherent in the female form specifically the inherently feminine aspects of strength and sensuality.
Untitled (2010), Dimensions variable, Ink on paper.
I grew up in Japan and came to US to study when I was sixteen years old and continue to travel back and forth between these two places. I employ Japanese motifs in my work, which represent my hybridized identity. I am very influenced by shojo manga, comics designed for girls, which I read when I was young, especially the delicate line and graphic sensibility. I employ a similar aesthetic style in my work and use black ink as my medium. From my studies in art, I have been inspired by many artists and have gradually built my own style which is focused on form, meticulous lines, negative space, working in a series and depicting female body parts. My current work is a compilation of those concerns. I would like to depict the serenity, strength, and fragility embodied in being a woman, which can’t be expressed by words.
Down pour (2010), 16 x 8 inches, Monoprint.
I grew up in Seattle, the home of evergreens, parks, and downpours, and came to Los Angeles for the promises of sunshine, salt water and outdoor pools. Dynamic and flowing, the effortless nature of water in motion has always amazed me. Perhaps it is due to my lifelong proximity to water, the 70% of me composed of H2O, or chlorine poisoning resulting from my excessive journeys between lane lines, but I can’t get enough of water. It is my pure escapist fantasy: submerged, the outside world is irrelevant. Drawing is the simplest form of creativity and water is the simplest form of bliss. My work is a marriage of these two passions.
Tags: Adria Arko, Annie Stone, Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Cal Siegel, Courtney Leverette, Dominique Festa, Eric Stern, Garbo Grossman, Jane Philips, Jeremiah Gregory, Kanae Takemoto, Katie Tonkovich, Lanie Frosh, Lenzner Gallery, Leticia Grosz, Michael Goldberg, Nichols Gallery, Past Exhibitions, Paul Bergmann, Salathe Gallery, Senior Art Show, Spring 2010, Zach Milder
- TWELVE: Senior Art Exhibition 2009
April 23-May 16, 2009
PITZER COLLEGE ART GALLERIES:
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center; Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall;
Salathe Gallery, McConnell Center; Barbara Hinshaw Memorial Gallery, Grove House
Puzzled Hearted (2009), Digital Print, 66 x 44 inches, Courtesy of the artist
Soo Kyung Bae
I am a senior at Pitzer College, majoring in media studies and art. I have been taking photographs since high school and dreaming about being a photographer since I served in the Korean military in 2007. My work, Puzzled Hearted, takes the form of a large-scale photograph. I explore interpersonal relationships, particularly the pain from separation. As society becomes more sophisticated technologically, more emphasis is placed on money, competition and individualism. As a result, relationships often suffer. I am interested in the relationship between artist, audience and object, and creating a dialogue between them. My work is influenced by Korean filmmaker Kiduk Kim and the feminist photographer Cindy Sherman. Kiduk’s films deal with the intense and insatiable desires that affect us all. His characters are socially isolated and suffer, and he brutally depicts their conflicts. I am impressed by Cindy Sherman’s untitled still cuts and her ugly and brutal photographs of figure models. While her bloody and brutal pictures do not depict beauty, I thought she was grappling with different types of beauty.
Welder–Chefchaouen, Morocco (2008), Digital print, 72 x 48 inches, Courtesy of the artist
Allison Kate Cherkis
My work should not be dissected for a hidden agenda or purpose. I take photographs of ordinary moments in life with the intention of transporting the viewer to another place. My travels through Spain, Morocco and Portugal in the spring of 2008 taught me how to capture the grit in the everyday, notice subtle variations in light and movement and generate a truthful conversation about the people who surround me. As a child growing up in an artistic home, I learned the skill of visually composing a picture. So while backpacking, I found myself seeing the world that way. I would cite Chuck Close, Ryan McGinley, Artemisia Gentileschi and Louise Bourgeois as my main influences, and I aspire to create the same intimacy, thought and wisdom as my work and life evolve. These artists have broken boundaries through a spirit of rebellion. My blog, The Fantastical Adventures of a Curious Cherkis, serves as a running portfolio for my photos and writing.
Dream Painting (2007), Oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches, Courtesy of the artist
My passion for art and painting has been with me ever since I was very young. At an early age I knew my ambition—my dream—was to become a fine art painter. My mentor, an expert in trompe l’oeil, focused my training on 18th and 19th century masters like Vincent Van Gogh and John Singer Sargent. His teachings and attention to detail greatly influenced my work. Therefore, my approach has been from a traditional and academic standpoint. My work describes the human condition and one’s relationship to the self. Although classically rendered, the compositions and subject matter place my work in the present. Despite my impressionistic style, which verges on abstraction, I am dedicated to being a contemporary artist. Recently in Italy, I immersed myself in Renaissance art, but realized upon return that my relationship to my own traditional painting and sculpture had shifted. While I will always have an appreciation for 18th and 19th century painting, I am much more interested in contemporary concerns. Recent studies of English and world literature have led to a fascination with the uncanny. My works explore unspoken fantasies, fears and dreams. Fearless of vivid color and bold brush strokes, I draw the viewer into the dreamscapes of my canvasses and hold them in a trance.
Tall Duel Twin (2009) Burnt wood, 89 x 121 x 4 inches, Courtesy of the artist
My work explores how process plus diverse materials creates exciting and unpredictable results. I am especially interested in processes that take advantage of the material’s natural properties in new and innovative ways. I am currently exploring wood in its many forms. Among other things, wood can be carved, bent, burnt and used in its raw state. In Tall Duel Twin (2009) I used fire to shape the wood. I began with a series of indentations and drilled holes in the wood. I then set fire to the wood using lighter fluid and wax. Fire cannot be completely controlled, adding to the spontaneity and unpredictability of the work. The color changes that resulted from the burning are an important aspect of the work—sooty black, gradations of umber, the natural tan of raw wood. I am greatly inspired by Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses (1996), which influenced both the scale and physicality of Tall Duel Twin.
Loom (2009), Mixed media, 120 x 96 inches, Courtesy of the artist
I do not see art as a field of study, but as a lifestyle. I create daily—painting, cooking, improvisational expression, real human interaction, artful knot-tying. I believe that art is a form of human consciousness and a way to interact infinitely with the universe. I weave and stitch together natural and man-made objects, finding beauty in the mundane, in nature’s subtle harmonies of color and texture. I take scraps and random objects from my daily life and transform them into artworks. Orange peels, pistachio nuts, avocado pits, fallen leaves, dead butterflies, driftwood, ripped pages of a book, discarded bus tickets, used tea bags, broken fence posts and lone feathers form beautiful patterns and details in the world and in my daily existence. By placing these overlooked objects on a pedestal, viewers re-experience things they may have missed. I utilize unusual natural forms to recreate a new understanding of nature. The improvised and repetitive knots that I tie retrace the tangled lines back to my childhood when I first began weaving and knitting. I find joy in meticulous and intricate processes. I find that my art is not just the result of my work, but also the meditative journey along the way. I want to make people look, both to nature and to themselves, to see and seek their own interpretations of what is beautiful.
Trom Bone (2008), Eucalyptus wood, 29 x 6 x 4 inches, Courtesy of the artist
As an artist I believe in acquiring the necessary skills and craft to master the materials I work with, which in my case is wood. I have been working intimately with wood—learning to carve, shape and connect—for some time and believe that in my work art, labor and craft become one. My aim is to breathe new life into the once living, now dead, material so it can trigger a memory of its former self. Although these works can be experienced both formally and conceptually, the inherent sensuousness of the beauty of the wood can be understood intuitively. A certain level of craft and expertise is required to manipulate the wood in specific ways. An intimate understanding of what tools can do and how they function is vital. When I begin to work on a sculpture I am not sure how it will develop. This uncertainty excites me, and allows me to make full use of my imaginative potential and to enjoy the journey along the way.
I started making artwork as soon as I could hold a crayon. Throughout my career as an artist, I have painted murals, explored multiple media including airbrush, oils and acrylics and organized several exhibitions and artwalks. Since 2005, I have been making large-scale mixed media sculptural works that are politically and conceptually engaged. These works explore familiar American cultural, political and corporate icons, which are deconstructed to create new objects that reflect on dominant symbols in our consumer-driven society. These symbols are ubiquitous, embedded in every experience we have. The materials I use include candy canes, Christmas lights, wood, vinyl, foam, fabric and many other diverse materials. Many of my installations are, at first glance, humorous or shocking—an attempt to draw the viewer into a conversation about the issues and concerns raised in the work.
As an artist, the process of creating—transforming clay into a smooth vessel or yarn into an enchanting object—holds the most meaning. Art has many functions—it can serve as a creative outlet, be used as a therapeutic tool and may be incorporated into our daily lives. I have formed an intimate relationship with my art practice, deriving both calming and stimulating benefits from the act of making artwork. When my hands are creating, my mind is soothed, immersed in the serenity of the process. My work is influenced by Liza Lou’s meticulous artistic practice and by Phil Borges’s sublime portraits. I have great respect for the tradition, skill and everyday themes inherent in Maria Martinez’s pottery as well as Felix-Gonzales Torres’s gift for engaging the viewer in his work. In Untitled (2009), I explore the range of responses that impacts the viewer. Drawing on craft techniques learned in childhood, I strive for clarity through clean lines and repetitive forms as a means to create a space of contemplation—aesthetic as well as spiritual reflection. Immersed in the work, the viewer will undergo a tranquil and intimate experience that will reflect my ideas as well as allowing for their own interpretation of the work. Untitled comes alive with the interaction and participation of the viewer whose mind may wander in the way that mine often does while working with my hands.
Feather in a Knot (2009), Ink on paper, 9 x 12 inches, Courtesy of the artist
Kyla Van Maanen
My work is influenced by my exploration of biological and ecological systems and my fascination with natural history. Through an investigation of the subtle beauty in plant and animal life forms, I intend for viewers to take a closer look at the intricate and ornate detail in the natural world. Influenced by a family of artists, I have kept sketchbooks throughout my life and documented my travels through drawings and writing. My recent work is influenced by memories and photographs I took during a five-month stay in Costa Rica, a country full of astounding biological diversity. With meticulous, topographical line work and close attention to detail, I depict both rare and mundane biological phenomena in ink and pencil.
1492 (Detail) 2008, Oil on canvas, 24” x 36”, Private Collection, Courtesy of the artist
My work is a visual exploration of the processes by which the mind constructs the world—the negotiations with knowledge, memories, feelings, impulses and desires that constitute our sense of self. The notion of history as a continuously shifting understanding of our position in time and space is utilized as the framework for the unfolding of these concepts—history provides the geology upon which humanity ultimately constructs its identity. Informing the content of my pieces is a fascination with the role science plays in the endless oscillation between opposing viewpoints observed in the evolution of human ideas. From a very early age, my interests have been fueled by a great curiosity and objective examination of the natural world and the creatures inhabiting it. On the canvas, ideological arrivals and departures are reenacted both as an acknowledgment of inherited conversations, as well as in a bid to achieve that—perhaps ultimately unachievable—solace that comes from addressing a problem in a way that transcends the materiality of the work.
Untitled (2008), Gelatin silver print,14 x 11 inches, Courtesy of the artist
As a photographer, I am fascinated with vision. It began as a simple interest in how natural light is transformed through the camera lens onto film—an interest in the difference between how we see “reality” in person and in photographs. The sets and scenarios I constructed in my photographs explore notions of vision, seeing, visibility and looking – the difference between passively receiving images and actively looking. I play off these ideas through my very formal photographic process and presentation. I incorporate visual puns to push the viewer to further question conventional ways of seeing. I am especially concerned with how the viewer looks at a photograph. I present posing figures whose ability to gaze out at the viewer has been taken away from them—I intentionally place the viewer in this uncomfortable, voyeuristic position so they must begin to question how and what they are seeing and its implications. It is a means of exploring our relation to privacy in the technological world in which we live.
Tags: Allison Kate Cherkis, Amy Glasser, Angel Villanueva, Celeste Voce, Chelsea Spiro, Jordyn Feiger, Kyla Van Maanen, Matthew Garber, Past Exhibitions, Perry Marks, Senior Art Show, Soo Kyung Bae, Spring 2009, Will Levin