Spring 2014

    (dis)order: Senior Thesis Exhibition 2014
  • (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”
    Zinc, 2014; Zinc pill; urethane plastic; 8.75” x 6.5”

    Virginia Anton

    I am on a search to understand and accept myself and my personal hardships through my artwork. As a young woman living with cystic fibrosis and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, my work examines concepts of erosion, health and life/death.

    I begin all of my work with a concept or a challenge and choose what material will work best to communicate that particular idea. I take pleasure in bouncing around from medium to medium and experimenting with new materials. I am influenced by artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bob Flanagan and Wolfgang Tillmans, artists who do work that explores their own personal narratives.

    I have to take a minimum of thirteen medications and medical treatments daily in order stay relatively healthy.  This is a huge part of my life and has been difÿcult for me to come to terms with, but I have found a way to speak about it through my artwork. In this project, Living Plastic, I have chosen to work with plastic to represent the medical paraphernalia that permeates my life. Through a small degree of dark humor I want people to see that beauty and positiveness can be found in the worst of situations. [clear]

    Sisters, 2014; Archival color print; 23” x  31”
    Sisters, 2014; Archival color print; 23” x 31”

    Heather Bejar

    How are children implicated into adult patterns of thinking?

    How do social pressures eclipse natural growth and development? Is the transformation of our culture exacting a price on our youth?

    Are they shadows or memories that ignite the sensation of our fears and unveiled truths? [clear]

    Re:Collection, 2014; Archival color print; 4” x 6”
    Re:Collection, 2014; Archival color print; 4” x 6”

    Juliana Bernstein

    This project is based around the idea of episodic memory, a psychological term demonstrating an individual’s recollection of autobiographical events. Many people may remember a time or place by recalling a smell, a friend’s laughter, or a certain emotion, but for me, these moments have become stills. In my own mind, this recollection of personal memories manifests itself through images, frozen in my mind as singular representations of place. The images collected here call to a detached intimacy of a specific place or moment in my own memory. In the simplest terms, when I close my eyes and remember a place, this is the image I see. I chose to combine photography and painting in order to recreate some of my recollected memories, painting those images of places whose exact details I could not fully remember. My hope with this project is that my own personal images and moments may stimulate the viewers’ recollection of their own memories, and the mental images that go along with them. [clear]

    First Encounters, 2014, Documentation of relational event, 3’ x 3’
    First Encounters, 2014, Documentation of relational event, 3’ x 3’

    Yeyo Nolasco

    Growing up a first-generation only-child in the melting pot of New York City, I have always felt a sense of disconnect. This feeling of isolation led to an unconscious otherizing of myself that in many ways hindered my ability to formulate and maintain close relationships. As such, I have always been fascinated by the nature of human interaction, and the parameters by which it operates. As a species constantly interacting with our environments, we are creating a multitude of connections with and among each other. My objective is to capture and reflect upon the thought, the feeling and the action incumbent in the moment; the moment of interaction, the moment of relation, the moment of connection.

    Influenced by the principles of relational aesthetics, Fluxus and social practice, I seek to present the tangible remains of ephemeral spaces of interaction. Since spaces of intimate connection are transitory by nature and completely based on relational experience, this is an ongoing venture exploring human interaction through a variety of organized “happenings.” The objects displayed will serve as small reminders of our fleeting existence in an ever-shifting reality; chronicles of past nostalgia that harbor a longing for past and future moments of connection. By doing so, I hope to spawn conversations among the viewers in which they question their own relationships with the people and objects around them, as they move in and between different environments. [clear]

    Angler Fish, 2013; Mixed media; Dimensions variable
    Angler Fish, 2013; Mixed media; Dimensions variable

    Corinne Monaco

    The Deep Sea Project is an installation in which participants explore a polluted underwater realm. Terrestrial detritus, the stuff of junkyards and landfills, is strewn throughout the space as a commentary on humankind’s uncanny ability to make a mess of all earth’s biospheres. The only light emanates from somewhere within the sea creatures that live there; an internal spotlight highlighting the relationship each has to its transformed environment. For better or worse, this realm is comprised of the organic and inorganic, and as viewers navigate these dichotomous elements, the line dividing them becomes blurred.

    The Deep Sea Project encourages the viewer to wonder about transformed and manipulated natural environments. What might the introduction of terrestrial objects into an aquatic ecosystem mean for the flora and fauna that live there? How might these creatures be forced to adapt to or deal with their altered world? In what ways might humanity’s junk have become incorporated into such terrains? The Deep Sea Project considers these questions through the use of materials that would otherwise wind up in landÿlls and junkyards; objects manipulated to simulate the natural world. [clear]

    World of Color, 2014; Gouache, pen, watercolor; 9” x 12”
    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. [clear]

    Biz (detail), 2014; Pencil; 63” x 42”
    Biz (detail), 2014; Pencil; 63” x 42”

    Maggie Shafran

    Having an itinerant childhood meant I learned early on that loss and impermanence are unavoidable parts of life. My work is inspired by my experience with saying goodbye to friends I wasn’t ready to leave. Drawing these friends started as my way of staying close with them after moving and has evolved into a way of preempting the eventual separation by monumentalizing ordinary moments of friendship. These drawings embody our relationship as well as the setting that is the backdrop to our friendship.

    I use a camera to capture a moment that feels authentic and I turn it into a drawing so the final piece becomes a unique, unrepeatable image. The drawing process becomes an intimate labor that mimics the struggles and satisfactions of close friendship.

    Having each aspect of the image painstakingly rendered highlights the importance of the objects we live with and how they inform the setting for our friendship. This allows the body of work to also explore the theme of college culture and how our generation lives and presents itself. In breaking with current culture the work also operates as an anti-selÿe; the subjects are vulnerable, but also trusting as they give over control of the way they are represented. In this way the work evokes a familiar bond of friendship. [clear]

    Mapping Gesture, 2013; Plywood, hardware, canvas, acrylic paint; Dimensions variable
    Mapping Gesture, 2013; Plywood, hardware, canvas, acrylic paint; Dimensions variable

    Pete Siegel

    Through varied levels of abstraction, this series of sculptures blurs the boundaries between sculptural forms and (sub)urban/industrial forms—the former being conceived with artistic intent, the latter born of necessity and utility. These sculptures encourage one to reassess one’s environment using a combination of kinesthetic and spatial awareness, in the same way that a skateboarder evaluates the topography of the metropolitan landscape.Through varied levels of abstraction, this series of sculptures blurs the boundaries between sculptural forms and (sub)urban/industrial forms—the former being conceived with artistic intent, the latter born of necessity and utility. These sculptures encourage one to reassess one’s environment using a combination of kinesthetic and spatial awareness, in the same way that a skateboarder evaluates the topography of the metropolitan landscape.

    My fascination with urban, suburban and industrial terrains stems directly from my background as a street skateboarder; street skateboarding being the act of using the obstacles of a cityscape, forms that are not originally intended for skateboarding, as the primary means of interaction. By applying the visual rhetoric of street skateboarding to sculptural forms within the gallery, I invite the viewer to reevaluate their attitude towards the everyday urban environment.

    I draw inspiration from contemporary artists like Bruce Nauman, who examine themes of play and functionality in public sculptures. Street skateboarding in itself is a playful mode of intervening with space, and my sculptures draw attention to the evidence of this intervention: chipped corners of a ledge, paint from the skateboard’s undercarriage smeared atop a handrail, or the residual wheelmarks streaked across the sidewalk. Using the point of view of the street skateboarder as a reference, I want to uncover the ways that people project their own interpretation of functionality into a space. [clear]

    Consideration, 2014; Digital image; Dimensions variable
    Consideration, 2014; Digital image; Dimensions variable

    Elena Thomas

    Climbing trees has always been a freeing experience for me. As a child, I was exceedingly sensitive, and whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would climb to the top of the pine tree in my front yard. Up in that tree, I always felt more grounded than I ever did standing on terra ÿrma. I learned, as I got older, that while trees provided a unique sense of comfort for me, heights and climbing of any kind provided me with a similar emotional stability.

    Notions of stability through climbing have reoccurred in my work as a series of climbable wood sculptures, and trees are a continuing motif in many of my pieces. In my thesis, I address the feeling of comfort and the idea of an emotional escape. By creating wooden sculptures of tree branches, installed in the staircase of the gallery, I intend for viewers to have a feeling of climbing up into a tree as they walk up the stairs. My desire is to share with the audience the sense of beauty, wonder and stability through this experience. I want my piece to inspire people to be more aware, and to have a greater consideration for the sense of well-being one can find in a personal retreat. [clear]

    Communication Breakdown, 2013; Laser color print, ink; 6” x 9”
    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. [clear]

    Indulge, 2014; Digital rendering; Dimensions variable
    Indulge, 2014; Digital rendering; Dimensions variable

    Jaya Williams

    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.

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    Detail, Black Flag Macramé (2013); Plexiglass mirror, aluminum rod, macramé rope, raku ceramic bead
  • Sleep to Dream

    Site-specific installation by Martin Durazo ’90

    January 21-May 17, 2014
    Lenzner Family Art Gallery

    The idea of housing a large population of strangers from varied backgrounds is a time-honored tradition among institutions of higher education. However, as a result of this abrupt integration, the student is torn between desiring social acceptance and the need for solitude and existentialist reverie. The physical remnants of this dynamic are embodied in the customization of the individual’s dorm room with personal effects and use of limited furnishings. This aesthetic formula privileges the visual over the verbal, creating an environment for the softening of differences and a condition for personal freedom.

    Martin Durazo’s installation explores dorm-room aesthetics using a combination of his own personal objects merged with found and collected artifacts from Pitzer’s archive. Included are large mirrored components offering occasions for self-reflection and relational participation with others in the environment. Referencing iconic socio-political and historically-specific moments, several objects, such as a replica of Huey P. Newton’s peacock wicker chair, will be re-examined through the lens of rave culture using a fluorescent painterly approach. The same painting treatment will be applied to hanging macramé and disparate artifacts.

    As a gesture to Pitzer College’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, additional elements will be woven into the fabric of the installation that reference Durazo’s own experiences as a student and dormitory dweller. These individualized memories will be combined with oral narratives from several Pitzer alumni and mementoes sourced from Pitzer’s archives that reveal a complex and hidden world of varying social interrelations.

    Related Events

    Opening reception: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 5 p.m.

    Closing reception and catalogue launch of Martin Durazo’s Sleep to Dream exhibition:
    Saturday, May 3, 2014, 2–4 p.m.
    Lenzner Family Art Gallery,
    Pitzer College Art Galleries
    *The artist will be present for a book signing

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    Catalogue Cover - Andrea Bowers
  • Catalogue – Andrea Bowers

    Andrea Bowers: #sweetjane
    January 21 – March 28, 2014
    Curated by Ciara Ennis and Rebecca McGrew
    Pitzer College Art Galleries
    184 pages, with color reproductions, 11” x 8”
    ISBN: 978-0-9856251-3-9
    Essays by Maria Elena Buszek, Peter R. Kalb
    Section texts by Andrea Bowers
    Interview by Ciara Ennis
    Introduction by Rebecca McGrew
    Catalogue designed by Kimberly Varella

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    Catalogue cover - Arthur Dubinsky: The Life and Times of Pitzer College
  • Catalogue – Arthur Dubinksy

    Arthur Dubinksy: The Life and Times of Pitzer College
    January 21-May 17, 2014
    Organized by Ciara Ennis
    Pitzer College Art Galleries
    120 pages, with black and white reproduction
    ISBN: 978-0-9829956-6-2
    Essays by Laura Skandera Trombley and Stacy Elliott
    Edited by Susan Warmbrunn
    Catalogue designed by Stephanie Estrada

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    Anonymous demanding justice for a teen raped by members of the high school football team, Steubenville, OH, 2013. Photo: Andrea Bowers
  • #sweetjane

    Pitzer College Art Galleries
    January 21-March 28, 2014

    Pomona College Museum of Art
    January 21-April 13, 2014

    The exhibition “#sweetjane” includes new work by Los Angeles-based artist Andrea Bowers that examines the notorious Steubenville, Ohio, high school rape case. In addition to a new series of drawings, “#sweetjane” comprises a video based on Bowers’s three trips to Steubenville that documents the protest surrounding the trial and activities of “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Her return to Ohio to document the Steubenville case is a form of personal mapping of thirty years of violence against women.

    The exhibition unfolds over two campuses and is the second collaborative project between the Pomona College Museum of Art and the Pitzer College Art Galleries.

    Related Events

    Saturday, January 25, 5-6 pm
    Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College Art Galleries

    Saturday, January 25, 6-7 pm
    Pomona College Museum of Art

    Wednesday, March 12, 4:15 pm
    George C.S. Benson Auditorium, Pitzer College. Reception to follow at the Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College Art Galleries.

    Maria Elena Buszek is an associate professor of art history at the University of Colorado, Denver, and the Bowers catalogue essayist.


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    Catalogue cover - Arthur Dubinsky: The Life and Times of Pitzer College
  • Arthur Dubinsky: The Life and Times of Pitzer College

    January 21-May 17, 2014
    Founders Room, McConnell Center, Pitzer College

    Edward Sampson, Associate Professor of Social Psychology, holds two bumper stickers: “International Days of Protest Vietnam Day Committee, Oct. 15–16” and “Stop the War Machine.” Taken September 16, 1965 in his office.
    Edward Sampson, Associate Professor of Social Psychology, holds two bumper stickers: “International Days of Protest Vietnam Day Committee, Oct. 15–16” and “Stop the War Machine.” Taken September 16, 1965 in his office.

    The Life and Times of Pitzer College surveys photographs by Arthur Dubinsky from 1964 through 1978 documenting the community and campus of Pitzer College. Revealing the unique culture of Pitzer’s early days, Dubinsky’s work documents the College’s compelling evolution from a fledgling women’s college with only three graduates in 1965 to a robust, student-driven, co-ed campus with almost 200 graduates only 15 years later.

    The photographs are grouped around themes which explore aspects of college life, including dorm room culture and campus life; campus development and construction; the College’s unique system of shared faculty and student governance; and Commencement and special events. These images reflect the rich visual history and singular identity of Pitzer College.

    In addition to the photographs, audio excerpts from oral history interviews with Pitzer students from 1968 through 1996 will be on iPods, providing a range of perspectives on life at the College. An illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibit, which will include an introduction by Pitzer College President Laura Skandera Trombley and a brief biography of Arthur Dubinsky.

    Related Events

    Panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition and catalogue launch:
    Saturday, May 3, 2014, 11:15–12:30 p.m.
    Founders Room, McConnell Center, Pitzer College

    Panel discussion:
    The Intimate Visual History of Pitzer
    will explore the spatial dynamics of the campus and its psychological impact on the intimacy of Pitzer culture.

    Lew Ellenhorn, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Pitzer College
    Paul Faulstich, Professor of Environmental Studies at Pitzer College
    Char Miller, W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and Director, Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College
    Sheryl Miller, Professor of Anthropology at Pitzer College
    Lance Neckar, Professor of Environmental Analysis and Director, Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability at Pitzer College

    Moderated by Stuart McConnell, Professor of History at Pitzer College

    Catalogue: Arthur Dubinsky: The Life and Times of Pitzer College

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