- Catalogue – Edgar Heap of Birds: Defend Sacred Mountains
January 20 – March 29, 2018
Curated by Bill Anthes and Ciara Ennis
Pitzer College Art Galleries
66 pages, with color reproductions, 10 7/8” x 7 1/4”
Essays by Bill Anthes and Charlotte Jones
Interview by Ciara Ennis
Edited by Mary Bartlett
Catalogue design by Terry Vuong
Photography by Ruben Diaz
Art Design Coordination by Cheukwa Jones
Tags: Catalogues, Edgar Heap of Birds, Spring 2018
- Curatorial Internship Project #2
Elizabeth Lee Freedman ’18: Between Visibilities
Thursday, April 26, 5 p.m.
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
Between Visibilities brings together five contemporary works that appropriate technological communication in a unique way, using the now-familiar format to question and provoke our comfort with these mediated realities.
Elizabeth is a graduating senior at Pitzer College, majoring in studio art with a minor in media studies.
The 2018 Curatorial Internship Project #2 by Elizabeth Lee Freedman ’18 is the second chapter in the ongoing series of art exhibitions realized through the Curatorial Apprenticeship course created and taught by Ciara Ennis PhD, Director and Curator, Pitzer College Art Galleries.
Tags: Curatorial Internship Project, Spring 2018
- 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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
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? [clear]
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. [clear]
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. [clear]
Tags: Senior Art Show, Spring 2018
- Edgar Heap of Birds: Defend Sacred Mountains
Curated by Bill Anthes and Ciara Ennis
Pitzer College Art Galleries
January 20–March 29, 2018
January 20, 3-5 p.m.
Nichols Gallery, Broad Center
Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture
Edgar Heap of Birds
January 23, 4:15 p.m.
According to noted artist and activist Edgar Heap of Birds, the exhibition Defend Sacred Mountains is a message both ecological and spiritual. Pitzer College Art Galleries is helping him deliver the message.
In Defend Sacred Mountains, a suite of Edgar Heap of Birds’ text prints calls attention and rallies resistance to the desecration of four mountains that are sacred to Native Americans: Bear’s House/Devils Tower, Wyoming; San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, Arizona; Bear Butte, South Dakota; and Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Edgar Heap of Birds documents the history of the sites and the struggle over land rights connected with these four mountains in 64 monoprints that reveal how lands venerated by Native Americans are being plundered. It is this cultural contempt against which Edgar Heap of Birds is crusading.
While the notion of rock-climbing on Mount Rushmore is unthinkable, Edgar Heap of Birds reveals how just such desecration is happening at another hallowed ground: Bear’s House. The name Bear’s House may be unfamiliar; most of us know it by another name: Devils Tower. It is where the aliens landed in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is the first National Monument in the US, designated by President Theodore Roosevelt, and draws nearly half a million tourists annually. But Bear’s House is older than the US National Park Service and more important than a tourist attraction. This igneous butte, standing 875 feet tall, is a sacred site to many Native Americans: the Lakota, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, and Shoshone. Yet platoons of climbers drive in spikes as they ascend it.
Nearly 1,000 miles southwest of Bear’s House stand the San Francisco Peaks outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. This area is a harvesting ground for sacred medicine plants used in healing and ceremony for the 300,000 tribal members of the Diné/Navajo nation. Here, waste water is being used to create artificial snow for skiing and snowboarding, causing a melt-off that is deadly and harmful to the numerous Diné medicine plants. Edgar Heap of Birds’ monoprint from this series succinctly skewers the careless pollution: CLEAN YOUR CHURCH WITH SEWER WATER.
The artist evokes the revered nature of Bear Butte in South Dakota in a print that reads THE HILLS WHERE PEOPLE ARE TAUGHT, referring to the site as a sanctuary of fasting and prayer for the Cheyenne people. Thousands of motorcyclists, however, descend upon the sacred site annually for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, named for the nearby small town of Sturgis, SD. Nearly half a million visitors a year gather on the sacred ground for corn dogs, country music and wet t-shirt contests. It is this place where Cheyenne people fast and renew vows with a commitment of four days without food or water.
Edgar Heap of Birds also turns our attention across the waters of the Pacific to the dormant volcano Mauna Kea, the largest of five sacred volcanoes on the island of Hawaii, rising nearly 14,000 feet above sea level. Despite the existence of four obsolete telescope structures at Mauna Kea, plans are underway for a new telescope structure on the summit, the most sacred place in the Hawaiian Islands. Protest, blockades and arrests have followed.
Writing in the Smithsonian Magazine about these plans, geographer Doug Herman described the conflict as “between two ways of knowing and being in the world.
“For many Native Hawaiians and other Indigenous peoples, sacredness is not merely a concept or label. It is a lived experience of oneness and connectedness with the natural and spiritual worlds. It is as common sense as believing in gravity. This experience is very much at odds with the everyday secular-humanist approach of Western thinking that emerged out of the Enlightenment and which sees no ‘magic’ or ‘enchantment’ in the world. And of course, seeing nature as inert facilitates both commercial exploitation and scientific exploration.”
Edgar Heap of Birds is more succinct: WE ARE LAND LAND IS US.
The exhibition and programming are generously supported in part by the Office of the Dean of Faculty at Pitzer College, Agnes Moreland Jackson Diversity Program Fund/Campus Life Committee, the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability, and the Murray Pepper and Vicki Reynolds Pepper Distinguished Visiting Artists and Scholars Endowed Fund.
A survey of the work of Edgar Heap of Birds can also be viewed at Garis & Hahn art gallery in Los Angeles from February 10 to March 10, 2018.
Tags: Edgar Heap of Birds, Nichols Gallery, Past Exhibition, Spring 2018