S a n J osé St ate U n ive r sit y Contributing Authors Sarah Dragovich Laura Dunkin-Hubby Maayan Glaser-Koren Susan O’Malley Heather Kathleen Peterson Whitney Moon Linda Walsh Editor Anthony Raynsford Executive Producers Alex Gibson Nick Trammer Art Director Timo McIntosh Image Specialist Eric Baral Designer Nick Gonzalez We thank the San José Institute of Contemporary Art (560 South First Street, San José, CA 95113, phone 408.283.8155 www.sjica.org) for their sponsorship of the accompanying exhibition. C ontents Curator’s Statement Artists Susan O’Malley James Allison Rod Ayers MFA Advisor’s Statement Nikki Ballere Callnan Linda Walsh Eric Martin Baral Ryan Carrington Process, Form, Material Steve Davis by Laure Dunkin-Hubby John Eames Jessica Eastburn Time/Nature/Transformation Ron Garavaglia by Sarah Dragovich Alex Gibson Dana Harris Context/Function/Symbol Evan Hobart by Maayan Glaser-Koren Melody Kennedy Presley Martin Imagination/Memory/Perception Timo McIntosh by Whitney Moon Windy Rhoads Nancy Sevier Identification/Performace/Reflection Nick Tranmer by Heather Kathleen Peterson Curators Statement Susan O’Malley Curator, San José Institute of Contemporary Art Central to the mission of the San José Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is inspiring creativity by enabling artists to make new work, in- novate and comment on the world around them. That is why this joint venture with San José State University’s (SJSU) art department, now in its seventh year, continues to be such a meaningful partnership. This diverse group of San José State graduates reflects the next genera- tion of cultural makers and the creative vibrancy of our community. This year’s multi-disciplinary exhibition showcases works in painting, sculp- ture, photography and installation. The varied artworks speak to issues of labor, digital culture, mapping, science, urbanization, family, human relationships as well at the incredible possibilities inherent in creative practice. From addressing personal histories to popular culture and social critique, the artwork challenges, inspires and reflects on the ideas and culture of our time. While Lift Off marks a completion of three to four years of study in the Fine Arts Program at San José State for these 19 graduates, it also signi- fies a beginning of their post-graduate artistic endeavors. We invite you to pause and engage with the objects, images and concepts put forth by these artists as they embark on the next steps of their artistic journeys. The ICA would like to thank Linda Walsh at SJSU for her continued com- mitment to this unique partnership. Most importantly, we are grateful to the artists in this exhibition for their hard work and continued enthusiasm for Lift Off. It truly has been a privilege to work with each of them. 01 02 M FA G raduate Advisor ’s Statement Linda Walsh Graduate Advisor, Professor of Art SJSU The Lift Off 2011 group exhibition represents the culmination of the research pursued by students in the Master of Fine Arts program at San José State University. Historically the program had four distinct areas: Digital Media, Pictorial Art, Photography and Spatial Art, but as we move more deeply into this new century, the overall attitude of both the faculty and the students is interdisciplinary, with groups frequently working as teams that share skills. The distinctions between disciplines are increas- ingly blurred. In the last several years, as MA Art History/ Visual Culture students and faculty and MFA students share critical theory and writing seminars, there has been an enriched critical dialogue that you will see illustrated in the following pages. The School of Art and Design has seven student galleries with exhibitions changing weekly, giving students and faculty a chance to meet and have vital discussions about the direction of new work and work in progress. Prior to mounting their thesis exhibition, MFA candidates go through two full faculty review presentations. The final presentation, Advancement to Candidacy, is open to the public. To our students, on behalf of the Department of Art and Art History and the faculty who have had the pleasure of working with you, we wish to say: this show is an impressive representation of the many individual directions and challenges you have pursued; thank you for your inspiring work; congratulations on this great show; and good luck in your future pursuits. Collaboration between the Institute of Contemporary Art and San José State University’s art program could not have happened without the vi- 03 sion and tireless efforts of Cathy Kimball and her staff. On behalf of the graduating class of 2011 we would like to express our thanks to Cathy Kimball and the curator of this show, Susan O’Malley, and to all our friends at the ICA. Thanks to Dr. Anthony Raynsford, who shepherded Art His- tory/Visual Culture students and the MFA candidates through the writing of this catalog, and thanks to Timo McIntosh, Alex Gibson, Eric Baral, and Nick Gonzalez for their hard work putting the catalog together. 04 Process/For m/Material by Laura Dunkin-Hubby The art-making process is often as important, if not more so, than the finished result. Nikki Ballere, John Eames, Ron Garavaglia and Jessica Eastburn have all placed their own artistic processes at the core of the work that ultimately emerges. The internal dialog that comes out of each artist’s process of experimentation with different objects, forms, and compositions, leaves its unique imprint on the end-results. These art- ists are all inspired by the unpredictability of different elements in their work, whether in the properties of found objects, the heat of the kiln, the instantaneous flashes of electrical current, or the interactions of form- generating rules. By isolating or combining these elements in unexpected ways, they achieve new ways of looking at and understanding the world around them. The decaying rural landscape of John Eames’ childhood inspires his cur- rent body of work. The objects he finds are a mix of industrial, rural and natural castoffs which either have no obvious function or have decayed to the point where their function has been reduced to naught. Connecting these objects into often functionally absurd assemblages, Eames conveys a sense of frustrated kinetic energy. The end-results are dysfunctional tools that comment on our relation to technology, which is supposed to make our lives more efficient but sometimes manifests in the irrational form of the fetish object. Two axe heads connecting to either end of the same handle becomes an enigmatic, surreal gesture, on the order of Man Ray’s famous clothes iron studded with nails. Many of the objects Eames uses in his pieces are on the verge of breaking down, bringing them closer to their “roots” in the natural world and imparting to them the character of ruin and obsolescence. His process of discovering and 05 recombining such objects brings their fading functions into startling, new configurations. The firing process is a gamble. You never know what you will get. The balance between controlling form and following happy accidents is at the core of Nikki Ballere’s work. As a ceramicist, Ballere is constantly learning through her art, evolving her style and technique as she works. She likes to explore figurative pieces and let the apparent personality of the emerging form dictate the directionin which she goes. The unex- pected patterns and textures in nature inspire her work, especially as these emerge in the process of firing the piece itself. Her work ranges from more functional objects to anthropomorphic sculptures that almost seem to move or gesture, with numerous pieces straddling these two ex- tremes and thus giving the viewer dancing vases or gesturing bowls. The three main veins of her work consist of asymmetrical bottles, elongated, abstract forms and more animated vessels, although there is no strict separation between these various ways of working. Ron Garavaglia’s work is the result of a unique process of exposing pho- tographic negatives to electricity in order to create striking images, often resembling modernist abstractions. The negative sits on a copper plate, and the “exposure” takes place when a pipe with a ground wire running through it touches the plate, completing the connection. The process is reminiscent of László Moholy-Nagy’s photography experiments and light machines in which new dimensions of space and time become apparent. Garavaglia uses this art-making process to investigate an unseen universe that can only be experienced indirectly through such elaborate process- es. The images Garavaglia has chosen to display out of the hundred or so negatives he has made are based on a quasi-religious, personal interpre- tation of what he sees in each image. Rather than projecting a universal- izing model of this spiritual vision, the images remain open-ended. The 06 internal dialogs of the artist’s process become enigmatic signs for the public to read. Jessica Eastburn’s current body of work is a series that is loosely inspired by the high tech culture of Silicon Valley. Her compositions use perspec- tive and symmetry to impose order on the shapes within them, and yet the abstract nature of the shapes dislodges the viewer from any sense of actual perspective. The result is a combination of yantra-like motifs and mathematical structures that echo the early three-dimensional, comput- er-generated graphics. Perspectival forms, which have been historically praised for faithfully depicting reality, are used here merely as parameters for an abstract and indeterminate composition. She utilizes different ele- ments of language, music, design, and other communication systems and reinterprets and reassembles them through shape and color synthesis. The result is not necessarily a harmonious whole, but rather an imagined universe where the rules of order have been used as ends in themselves. Repeated and juxtaposed with other rules, they produce works that curi- ously combine logical precision and inscrutable content. 07 T ime/Nature/ Transfor mation by Sarah Dragovich When confronted by the art of Evan Hobart, James Allison, Eric Baral and Nick Tranmer, the viewer’s experience of time is concentrated into a single, suspended moment, or else expanded across geological eons. These works evoke the effects of time on multiple levels that cut across our usual distinctions between culture and nature; between stasis and transformation; or between presence and trace. All of these artists ex- hibit quite different aesthetic or material approaches to these themes. The common thread, however, is that of reproducing the effects of time whether on nature, the artifacts of civilization, or our perceptions of both. All four artists suggest the idea metamorphosis, which lies at the root of all phenomena and their inherent impermanence. Whether in the detailed and contemplative photographs of natural transformation by Eric Baral, or in the photographic realist paintings of ordinary scenes by James Allison, or in the miniature, frozen cities of Evan Hobart, or in the surreal, industrial cloud sculptures of Nick Tranmer, the viewer is offered a new and fresh approach to art that transforms the very history in which it resides. Captivating but also incisive, the work exhibited by these four artists redirects contemporary art beyond the exercises in postmodern irony and towards a reinvestment in allegorical content. Evan Hobart builds his cities in layers, beginning with a sculpted clay bone, upon which he constructs and excavates clay roadways and skyscrapers, mimicking the very process by which dense modern cities are built on islands or narrow peninsulas. Hobart’s sculptures capture the imagination and trigger a multitude of questions about nature and cities, and the ways in which they interpenetrate or mutually transform. The buildings that rocket into the sky and the door handles and acces- sories on the cars and construction vehicles are all extremely animated. 08 With roads wrapping in and out of tunnels and cars moving together on never ending freeways, the cities are assembled over and inside of magi- cal artifacts evocative of paleontological skulls. These teeming cities are built directly into natural structures they challenge. Walking around these sculptures, looking into the winding tunnels and through the streets, the viewer enters into a miniature urban world which has eaten into or over- taken an ancient animal bone, ambiguously suggesting a kind of parasitic growth, a city fossilized into a skull, or the carved talisman of an Inuit shaman. These objects speak to the fragility and mutability of the natural landscape but also to that of the city as organism or future relic. Nick Tranmer also addresses the transformation of nature and industrial society in his large sculptures constructed of clay, wire and found objects. Asking the viewer to reassess the conventional opposition between na- ture and machine, he offers instead new hybrid landscapes, with clouds, ambiguously signifying either pastoral skies or industrial smoke, envel- oping or attaching themselves to mechanical clusters. Tranmer’s cloud- machines appear to move with a whimsical fluidity and sculptural weight, combining both the smooth texture natural to clouds and the sharp edges and geometrical precision of industrial objects. The congested machines or miniature urban fragments that sit atop or within these clouds, seem thus shrouded or elevated in the manner of Baroque saints. By marrying these two ideas in often-surreal images, Tranmer creates a visual mythol- ogy for a technological world transforming nature before our eyes and thereby generates a new twist, both on the romantic idealization of the natural landscape and on the transcendent symbolism of clouds. James Allison transforms photographs in his oil-on-canvas paintings, freezing and monumentalizing a single moment in our often-overlooked world of daily life. Allison’s large canvases lure the viewer into the gal- lery through life-sized canvases with bursting colors that form objects familiar to most audiences. Using techniques of photographic realism and 09 trompe l’œil, Allison transforms a photographic frame so that it hangs in the balance between real life and illusory artifice, thereby re-framing and concentrating a single slice of space and time. Focused on the figurative objects of daily life, these paintings are reminiscent of genre and still life paintings. The subjects are centered on objects, such as a refrigerator door covered with its temporary collection of magnets and paper me- mentos, focusing on the details the objects. The careful cropping of each frame draws out the hidden visual relationships that underlie such daily scenes. Allison’s inspiration ranges from artists, such as Wayne Thiebaud, whose still-life paintings focus on objects of mass consumption, to art- ists, such as Fairfield Porter, whose everyday landscapes and domestic interiors evoke extraordinary movement through painterly techniques of pattern and light. Allison’s large scale paintings bring a new and fresh approach to the still life and genre painting by combining a new set of subjects with a meticulous attention to framing, composition and detail. Time is seen most forcefully in nature through the transformations of growth and decay. Eric Baral documents this time in honest and beautiful photographs of his Grandmother. Representing her life through black-and-white or color im- ages, he documents his elderly grandmother as an intimate reflection on the metamorphic life each of us lives. The series of photographs focus on the beauty of the delicate, aging skin of his grandmother’s hand, or the vi- sual contrast of generations as a gracefully aged woman curiously works on a computer. Through Baral’s clear and sharp camera lens the indelible traces of time and experience become lyrical plays of light, shadow and texture. Motivated by an obvious passion and love, Baral’s careful choice of photographs tell a story of generational passages and the overlap- ping temporalities of history and biology. Although the story represents Baral’s own experience, it is also one of the most universal, reminding viewers of something they have probably experienced, or will someday and offering them a moment for contemplation. 10 C ontex t /Function/Symbol by Maayan Glaser-Koren Although we generally associate objects and materials with the way we use them, such functional associations are readily transformed when either context or material shifts. For example, a bicycle is associated with transportation; its parts, such as the wheel, symbolize the spinning, forward motion of the bicycle. But when the bicycle’s wheel is attached to a different object, such as a stool, and thus taken out of its original con- text, its symbolism changes as it combines with the elements of its new context. In the early twentieth century, Dada and Surrealist artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Hans Arp and Man Ray re-appropriated everyday materials and objects, often grafting them together or arranging them in ways that undermined their commonsense meanings. In a manner similar to that of Dada and Surrealist artists, Ryan Carrington, Presley Martin and Nancy Sevier re-appropriate found objects and materials in their artwork. However, unlike these earlier artists, their purpose is not to shock the viewer or undermine conscious reason. Rather, it is to reflect on the pro- found resonance of things, whether in the world of labor, nature or music. Ryan Carrington employs common tools and worn out personal objects, such as work boots, construction cones and baseball caps, placing them into dioramic installations or using them as props in performances. He casts these objects in various industrial materials, such as concrete, soap and aluminum. This change of material transforms functional objects into useless artifacts or mementos. Construction cones cast in concrete become massive burdens, barely portable. His squeegees made of soap are very fragile and leave soapy residues, becoming useless for cleaning windows that are ironically inscribed with the word “honor.” His baseball caps and work boots cast in aluminum can never be worn again. The transformation from an old and used boot to an aluminum replica on a 11 pedestal in the gallery, removes not only the original function but also the boot’s value, from a piece of faithful equipment to a memorialized relic of past labor. Presley Martin’s artworks challenge the distinction between intention and accident, or between cultural fabrication and natural process. His choices of materials and objects often bring into play cultural and natural agents that interact with each other. In his artwork, A Chair For You, the artist found a man-made chair through which a tree had grown, a chance en- counter with a surreal intertwining of nature and culture. This piece also bears some resemblance to the Surrealists’notion of “Objective Chance” where events that have no rational explanations are verification of a real world hidden to common sense. Furthermore, Martin’s dialogue with Sur- realism continues with his other pieces especially, in artworks in which he experiments with the agency his materials. In his latest series, Mar- tin paints a wooden surface with graphite and then pours liquid clay in organic and biomorphic shapes. When the clay is dry, he removes it from the surface, revealing its print. As a result the clay becomes a somewhat unexpected participant in the process. Martin uses common materials but then challenges their presumed functions and appearances. Thus, he al- ters paper with clay and graphite in a way that makes them appear similar to metal or plastic objects. Nency Sevier uses found objects in her assemblage installations. She is interested in the continuing symbolism of the object after it has ceased to be functional. For example, in Reconfiguring Memories, Sevier com- bines malfunctioning piano parts with old slides, a funnel and an electric light. In this sculptural combination, the piano’s parts continue to produce haunting associations with the piano, and thus to symbolize its music. The part retains its musical function even though we cannot hear the sound. The other objects all begin to converge on this silent musical expres- sion. For example, the piece incorporates a common funnel that normally 12 would be used to channel liquids. However, when it assembled with the piano parts, it plays a different role. The funnel’s form and function seems to channel sound in the manner of a Victrola horn. Sevier’s fascination with memory of sound and music emerges also in her artwork New Ar- rangements, where she combines violin cases, a ruined guitar, piano parts, stacks of notes and a vintage trumpet. During the exhibition, Sevier incorporated a performance piece in which she rearranged the piano parts each day. In doing so, she created an ever-shifting dialogue among the objects and with the surrounding space. 13 Imagination/M emor y/Perception by Whitney Moon As adults, we often try to place the things we experience into context. Comparing them to past experiences or encounters, we look at objects and place them into categories to which we believe they belong. Rather than being carefree and letting the rest of our minds take hold and ex- plore these objects with a sense of wonder, our critical brain takes over, and it is often difficult to observe something with an open mind. However, particular artistic manipulations can alter our perception, such that our minds are confronted by the artifice of conventional memory and our imaginations allowed to expand into new levels of visual meaning. A spe- cific color choice or displaced icon can alter the ground of our conven- tional perception. Through such art, our imaginations are given the op- portunity to come to life again. Melody Kennedy, Dana Harris, Rod Ayers and Alex Gibson are all artists who transform objects in unexpected ways to release imagination from the tight grooves of ordinary memory and perception. Fascinated by the concept of memory and dreams as subjects, and how they are regenerated through images and objects, Melody Kennedy trans- fers her memories to the ambiguous forms of traces and icons. While she begins with a personal vocabulary of symbols, she represents these to the viewer as enigmatic objects, often in what appears to be diagram or hieroglyphs. Her symbols lead us to try to interpret their meanings, and her found objects seem to provide clues to a deeper but unknown history. As in the work of Magritte, she uses precisely rendered, sign-like objects that repeatedly appear in different pieces: a ladder, a cinderblock, a piece of rope. In her archiving of found objects and diagrammatic approaches to silhouettes and lines, she borrows from the authority of the museum and the textbook in order to represent the private symbolism of the art- 14 ist’s dreams. Her work might begin with her own memories and anxieties, but they become a more universal commentary on the mechanisms of symbolic construction. Using soft silhouettes and objects that evoke a leisurely old-fashioned past against a hectic and uncertain present, Dana Harris’s work aims to investigate the desires that surround reminiscence and nostalgia. The vague lines of Harris’s work create a dream-like, soft atmosphere in which figures from her own memory, such as hot air balloons or sailboats, take us into a state of reverie as though we ourselves were remembering such objects. Items such as pages from her grandmother’s address book, a lace doily, and fabrics with previous functions, all examples that can be found in her artworks, provoke within the viewer the sense of memory itself becoming sedimented within discrete artifacts and dissipated through a haze or film. Not only do such items provide personal meaning to her work, briefly letting us into her life, the layering of these artifacts provides texture, and reveals the way we produce memories and how the become faded over time. It is through the montage of symbols and the juxtaposition of textures and layers that the wistful quality of her art is formed. Rod Ayers creates illusionistic sculptures that undermine the distinc- tion between documentation and imagination. Many of his works are constructed models of fictional objects that have never been, such as his “Plan for the Temple of Nyx”. It is because of his attention to detail and the precision with which he executes each invention that we ques- tion whether they are real. \Our attempts to decipher some real referent is playfully diverted into the artist’s imaginary mappings. Though in our observation of his work we might assume his creations are actual models of architectural concepts or designs in reality they are purely fabricated artworks devoid of any historical reference. Ayers offers us an opportu- nity to explore our imaginations and contemplate things that might have 15 existed, but never were. In this way we are confronted by the artifice of memory, by the myriad ways in which public memories, in particular, are constructed out of documents, records and charts of some past or existing world. The dynamic abstraction of Alex Gibson’s art draws us in through our at- tempt to perceive and recognize objects in them. Unusual and unstable, his work is captivating because of its visual ambiguity, even mobility. In his manipulation and arrangement of materials optical qualities become altered to create a new and elusive object. Rather than producing a specific image, the biomorphic characteristics of works, such as “Lure,” confuses our perception, and our imagination instantly attempts to asso- ciate the image created with something from our memory. Perplexing as well as intriguing, his work gives us the opportunity to explore our minds and our mechanisms of perception. The abstraction inherent in his work is reminiscent of Minimalist art, which aimed to alter viewers’ experience of the work as a self-contained composition. Instead, we are expected to explore the possible alternative perceptions of the work and to expand our idea aesthetic experience as such. Avoiding any personal references, Gibson’s work allows our imaginations to take hold and be the primary factor in deciphering his work. 16 Identif ic ation/Per for mance/Ref lection by Heather Kathleen Peterson Many artworks since the 1960s have critically engaged with issues of identity, but some of the best have also interrogated the subjective mechanisms of identity formation. The work of Windy Rhoads, Timo McIntosh, and Steve Davis creates a moment and a space for us to think critically about our own identity, to question the very fabric of how we self-identify and are identified. In bringing us as subjects into various theaters of reflected identity, these works also confront us with the social and collective processes out of which we construct personal memories, accept idealized roles, or find ourselves in and through our uncomfort- able encounters with others. The work of these three artists deals with the shifting and subtle boundaries between a collective identity and a private identity. Their work holds a mirror up to our face and asks us, what do you really see? In her show Sensory Evidence: a Kleenex Project, Windy Rhoads illu- minates, in window-like boxes, family photographs printed on tissues. These light boxes are reminiscent of early 19th century back-lit theater dioramas. However, unlike the dioramas, Rhoads’ photographs are not intended to be perceived as present reality but to invoke a nostalgic past. This feeling is accomplished through intimate subjects and scale, remi- niscent of the assemblage boxes of American Surrealist, Joseph Cornell, and through an alternative photographic process which eliminates detail, creating a ‘fuzzy’ image, like that of a memory. Because of this loss of detail also, the memory represented no longer seems specific to Rhoads but expands to that of an entire generation who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s. If we are of that generation, we peer into Rhoads’ modest light boxes as though they were windows onto our own past, projecting 17 our own memories and experiences onto the vaguely familiar and generic scenes before us. With his Timo’s How To performances, pamphlets and websites, Timo McIntosh satirizes the immensely popular self-help culture, using some of the same media through which these often convincing messages of self-improvement are propagated. His use of mass media that combine slick images and text to criticize contemporary commercial culture recalls the work of American conceptual artist, Barbara Kruger. Unlike that of Kruger however, McIntosh’s work is less about representations of power and more about the manufacturing, performance and ultimate shallow- ness of a collectively acceptable identity. In his pamphlets, in person, or on-line, McIntosh physically acts out, in irony, what contemporary society has deemed to be ideal social roles, presenting himself as an authority on how to become, in a few all-too-easy steps, the individual to which we might aspire in the manner of distracted consumers of identity. By exaggerating the types of packages, images and instructions that often masquerade as substantive cultural ideals, his pamphlets ask us to reflect on our heedless consumption of, and active participation in, superficial standards of identity. The figurative works of Steve Davis are life-sized sculptures, shaped from modeled paper over a steel frame. Davis’ resistance to glorifying the hu- man form recalls the work of American Figurative artist Kiki Smith. How- ever, unlike Smith’s psychologically distant subjects, Davis’ installations compel us to enter a world of nearly nude men wearing welding masks or dead clowns suspiciously penetrated by plungers. The incendiary imag- ery and presentation of Davis’ work draws on the theatricality of a 19th century wax museum, with its chambers of horrors. Davis’ figures, how- ever, implicate us uncomfortably as participants in the scene, whether through consciousness of our voyeuristic desires or through disturbing i 18 dentifications with the figures. We see in the uncanny and twisted figures our inner thoughts, fears, and insecurities, the us we do not necessar- ily want the world to see, and often try to suppress. This recognition becomes even more pronounced when we realize that the narrative we initially reacted against was provided by our own imagination. 19 20 Bacon for Guests, 2011, oil on panel, 6.5" x 11.5" 21 james allison I have been continuing to explore my connection between everyday life and painting and to work with the photograph as the departure point for most of my new work. In this work I explore how the experience of everyday life can translate into painterly terms. My intent is to paint what is there yet also create an intuitive matrix of color and light, such that the painting itself becomes the subject matter even as it continues to em- body the physicality of the materials. Time has become a major theme of my new work as well. Archiving records society and assigns time to it. I am interested in history and the experienced moment; in how time can be captured and can create a vis- ceral response that, in turn compels my urge to continue making. I look to find identity in things, i.e. everyday objects in contemporary settings that convey quiet moments of thought and cause one to reflect on what and where these things are. 22 Kitchen Sink, 2011, oil on panel, 4.5" x 18.25" California Rust, 2011, oil on panel, 9" x 37.5" 23 Cluster, 2011, oil on canvas, 36" x 48" 24 Rhino War Palace, 2009, mixed media, 36" x 36" x 24" 25 rod ayers My artistic creations stem from an obsession with the interaction of shapes, colors, and textures at their most carnivalesque, and the end goal of all my work is the creation of joy. My creations always start out as explorations of spatial relations or the interactions of moving objects, but eventually they also engage curious social or scientific phenomena. My work is both an immediate, child-like exploration and an intellectual inves- tigation of what pleasurable and joy-creating objects are, with each piece being equal parts toy and heady representation of science or philosophy. Of course, this examination of joy means that some of my sculptures must take on playfully frightening imagery. Dancing skeletons, a flirting fascination with weaponry- these are tied up with excitement and play, especially from a youthful perspective. Constructed of found objects, my projects tend to be expressive in concrete cultural and symbolic terms, even moving into the category of Pop-Surrealism. In addition to crafting delightful objects -esthetically at- tractive and evoking emotions- I have generally steered away from more nebulous concepts. I endeavor for the work to examine the more concrete human creations, both their physical appearances and their dynamic interactions, rather than having the work chase its tail in pursuit of dream- like abstractions. I believe that my work, as it communicates intelligent concepts through of its objective but exuberant imagery, pleases and speaks to the viewer in the most direct way possible. 26 Back Milagros Sign, 2010, acrylic on masonite 20" x 12" x 1" 27 Miniture Arcade, 2010, acrylic on wood, 2" Hip Milagros Sign, 2010, acrylic on masonite 24" x 12" x 1" 28 Rhapsody 1, 2011, wheel Thrown and alteredreduction fired stoneware, 24" 29 nikki ballere c allnan As a ceramic artist, I create objects which reference a clay tradition steeped in history and yet also responsive to the contemporary world. For me, the key to this balance lies in an individual expression that honors a natural organic approach to functional ware but also pays respect to formal innovation, often allowing for the aesthetic beauty of form to trump function. Naturally, my hands play a significant role in creating clay objects. Whether they are wedging, throwing, trimming, glazing, loading kilns or firing, they are in constant contact with the medium. This tactile intensity helps me to better experiment with every stage of form build- ing, allowing me a closer, more intimate conversation with what I make. I push, paddle, carve, cut, attach, and smooth. My hands and personality are expressed through the work, giving the work a unique signature and personality all of its own, like that of a fingerprint. 30 Split, 2011, wheel thrown single piece cut in half and reassembled into two pieces, 15" 31 Rhapsody Thesis Show 2011, Gallery 2, wheel thrown and altered forms that range from 24" to 13" Groupies, 2011, wheel thrown and altered, 13", 15", 16", 12" 32 Untitled, 2010, digital print 33 eric mar tin baral Several years ago, I watched the process of my grandfather’s death. I wanted to photograph his last days but was not emboldened enough to do so. I made the decision a year and a half ago to begin the documenta- tion of my grandmother’s last years of life. This was to be not only a docu- mentation of the end of a life, but also a preservation of moments within that life and a catalyst for the memory of what is dear to me. In this body of work I am including a single formal portrait, candid pho- tographs, and a partial photographic archive of the belongings in my grandmother’s house that are important to her and have come to signify her. These photographs are not meant to be melancholy but rather a celebration, sometimes quirky, of the process of life as they capture, for example, my grandmother navigating her way through new technology and the challenges that come as a part of aging. 34 Untitled, 2010, digital print Untitled, 2010, digital print Untitled, 2010, digital print Untitled, 2010, digital print 35 Untitled, 2010, digital print Untitled, 2010, digital print 36 American Gothic, 2010, aluminum, electrical wire, 204" x 38" x 94" 37 r yan c ar rington My work highlights blue-collar workers as hardworking heroes of our society. It honors their perseverance and loyalty in taking unglamorous jobs seriously and executing them with both incredible precision and an artistic touch. The dwindling appreciation that society yields to blue- collar workers is alarming, and through my work I attempt to elevate the status of all blue-collar workers in America. Within this body of work I deal with a wide range of issues that con- nect labor, class, economics, my personal history and family. Using cast objects that combine craftsmanship with symbolic irony, deployed in both performances and gallery installations, I am able to communicate my thoughts, ideas, and memories on themes of labor. I use my life’s experiences as a springboard for my ideas to develop. Having worked as a landscaper, maintenance man, and construction worker, I have gained an appreciation for this select group of workers who comprise the engine that runs this great country. 38 Homage, 2010, aluminum, 63" x 56" x 32" Plaid Drawing #6, 2011, chalk snap-line, plywood, 42" x 1" x 34" 39 Workmens’ Warehouse, 2011, neckties, D.O.T. reflective tape, dimensions variable With Pride, 2010, cast soap, bucket, 96" x 30" x 75" 40 Family Portrait, 2011, paper maché, steel, metal lathe, found objects, 72" x 72" x 72" 41 steve davis I am interested in the interactions that take place between unlikely char- acters. When I moved to California, I became increasingly interested in social interactions and the ways in which personal opinions and experi- ences shape those interactions. My work is a reaction to my environ- ments. Thus, the characters in my work are often an amalgam of people in the various theatres of my life. As it turns out, they don’t always get along or jive in real life, which is to say I might not invite them all to the same party. However, with my work, I can bring them all metaphorically to the same party and watch what happens. We tend to view work through the lens of our own experience. It has been said about my work that it is like a cab ride that drops you off 3 blocks before the destination. What is interesting to me is to see how viewers use their past experiences to get them to their particular destinations. I enjoy watching where people end up with my work. 42 Math Teacher, 2010, installation (life sized figure) 144" x 144" x 96" Turf War, 2011, bronze, 9” x 12” x 12” 43 Permutation #2, 2011, gallery 2 installation Turf War, bronze, 9" x 12" x 12" Permutation #3, 2011, gallery 2 installation 44 Untitled, 2010, found objects. 92" x 4" x 4" (near) and 88" x 40" x 6" 45 john eames MCMLXXVIII Toconveyknowledgeoforinformationabouttomakeknowntocommuni- cateastorytorevealbyclearsignshisfearcommunicateditselftohisfriend- sandcausedittopassfromonetoanotherlikesomediseasesthatareeasilycom- municatedtoreceivecommuniontotransmitinformationthoughtsorfeeling- sothattheyaresatisfactorilyreceivedorunderstoodtwosidesfailingtocom- municatewitheachothertoopenintoeachothertheroomscommunicate 46 Untitled, 2010, ash and steel, 84" x 6" x 3" 47 Untitled, 2010, Paper installation 48 Gung Ho, 2010, acrylic and gouache on paper, 60" x 96" 49 jessic a eastbur n I make drawings that mimic the digitization of our lives by employing the same sort of precise and mechanical style as computer-generated imag- ery. However, I produce the drawings wholly by hand using “antiquated” technology such as the ruler and compass. The work itself illustrates an inner-world of mappable but unknowable universes. At the outset of a drawing, a loose set of parameters is de- cided upon to inform color and spatial relationships. These parameters act as an arbitrary system to inform and limit the composition. I take elements of language, music, design, and other communication systems, and reinterpret and reassemble them through shape and color synthesis. While the drawings may be informed by my surrounding environment, this is not necessarily what I am trying to delineate. The imagery that I use is subordinate to the systems themselves. In this way the work is akin to meditation maps wherein the process of creating the work is as impor- tant for me as the outcome. 50 Tenement Row, 2010, acrylic and gouache on paper, 60" x 84" Big Bang, 2010, acrylic and gouache on paper, 60" x 120" 51 Isotope, 2011, acrylic and gouache on paper, 11" x 15" Wipeout, 2011, acrylic and gouache on paper, 11" x 15" 52 Untitled, 2010, pigment print, 40" x 50" 53 ron garavaglia Applying a high-voltage, high-frequency electric current to an object produces what is known as a corona discharge. When placed on photo- graphic film, objects energized in this way produce something similar to a photogram. In this application, however, the objects expose the underly- ing film by emitting the light themselves instead of partially blocking an external light source. I am using this technique to discover images in a way that is not predictable, so in effect, treating it as a machine of indeterminacy. My visual sensibilities, informed by a childhood upbringing in Catholicism, include the idea of the existence of an impenetrable mystery; a world be- yond physical experience that cannot be completely known yet somehow exists, parallel to my own. With this in mind, I used this project to inves- tigate and test first hand, in a poetic way, a convergence of sacred and artistic concerns. 54 Untitled, 2010, pigment print, 40" x 50" 55 Untitled, 2010, pigment print, 40" x 50" Untitled, 2010, pigment print, 40" x 50" 56 Wilson Island, 2011, laminated glass, ceramic pigment toner, digital inkjet print 20.5" x 32" 57 alex gibson Our experience of ‘reality’ is constructed internally through the mind’s negotiation between external stimuli and the mediation of our individual personalities and beliefs. What this means, then, is that the reality that each individual experiences is largely a function of his or her own psyche. Reality is self-created. My work explores the grey area between environ- mental and internally driven existence as well as how individual psycho- logical filters affect the larger, collective concepts of history and truth. Much of my work is non-representational, and I use shadows and emboss- ments as “non-marks” that, depending on a number of variables, includ- ing the perceptions of the viewer, either complete or obscure the “real” marks that are present. Through this type of ambiguity I aim to open up a dialogue within my viewers about their own role in understanding, inter- preting, and creating their own unique individual reality. 58 Untitled (Solipsistic Super-Collider I), 2010, toner, colored pencil, ink, embossed paper, etched plexiglas, maple, 52" x 36" x 2" Lure, 2010, laminated glass, graphite, motorized light, wood, nails, lenses, dimensions variable / looped projection 59 Turning a Nut, 2008, serigraph, handmade tone-based inks 30" x 42" 60 Spinning, 2011, oil, collage, and encaustic on canvas, 72" x 38" 61 dana har ris My work focuses on shared, disputed and invented memory. I layer objects from my childhood beside those from a distant past to spark memories in myself and my viewers. Objects, such as a hot air balloon, a carousel horse, or a spoon are drawn and printed in a fragmented way, leaving the narrative open. I choose to focus on the connection between the objects as they end- lessly rotate, as if in a dream. The elements can then come forward and recede, undulating in a rather flat, ethereal space. I am interested in investigating the inconsistencies over time between memory and fact. Growing up with a twin sister, I shared her history, yet our recollections of events often vary drastically. I am not attempting to capture a true narrative of our lives, but rather the feeling of being unsure as to how one story overlaps with the other. 62 The World As I See It, 2011, two-color lithograph with monotype, 30" x 22" 63 We Go Up, And We Go Down, 2011, mixed media on fabric and plexiglass 18" x 36" 64 Oracle, 2011, ceramic, 28" x 18" x 16" 65 evan hobar t The art I make is very much inspired by my surroundings. A fourth gen- eration bay area resident currently living in San Jose, I have been pro- foundly affected by this environment, and it has entered into the art and imagery I create. My artwork emerges out of an interrogation of modern life, consumerism, corporate greed, global climate change, and the cul- tural consciousness of these phenomena. Bumper to bumper traffic, war, pollution and the over-developed, excessive life style we live often dis- tress me, and I am compelled to comment on these conditions. My work addresses these contemporary issues and is a reflection of my position as a participant in this society. “Away we go” is my most recent ceramic sculpture and is a depiction of a polar bear skull with a city built upon it. Roadways penetrate the cavity of the skull while buildings crowd its surface. The work seeks to comment on the overlap of humanity and nature suggesting a few of the potential re- sults from this intersection. The use of the buildings and roadways on the skull is inherent to the aesthetic quality of the work. The work attempts to stimulate in the viewer thoughts and emotions about human activity. The city in my work becomes a symbol of the human race. My work is, in fact, a political and social protest against modern humanity, globalization and corporate greed. These all fall under my interest in the phenomenon of modern ecology – encompassing physiology, genetics, evolution, the behavior of the human race and its impact on the natural world – all of which I express through this body of work. 66 Contemplating the View, 2011, charcoal on paper, 88" x 41" Maze, 2011, charcoal on paper, 22" x 16" 67 Away We Go, 2011, ceramic, 36" x 21" x 18" Once There Were Giants, 2010, ceramic, 46" x 20" x 18" 68 Industrial Studies, 2010, Acrylic on wood, 71" x 49" 69 melody kennedy For years, I have been seduced by the alchemy of objects and the psy- chological associations we develop with these personal symbols. I am exploring such objects and the ways their meaning may change within a space. My work vibrates with personal, autobiographical, and emotional tension. Turning to personal memories and anxieties as inspiration for my work, I treat objects as a disrupted and discontinuous archive of our own personal histories. The sense of solitude or attachment that passes through my work reveals traces of obsession and deconstructs the opera- tion of memory. Conversely, when I weave my personal symbols into the space, the objects no longer seem displaced or abandoned but are given new life in autobiographical form. Our lives are punctuated by objects, that are endlessly retrieved and fused with our feelings and ideas. I seek to create a subtle invasion of the everyday, allowing forgotten objects the chance to reveal a new significance. 70 Transference, 2010. Drywall carving, 90" x 48" Transference, 2010. Drywall carving, 90” x 48” Housing Crisis, 2011, found doors, acrylic, vunyl, 56" x 78" 71 Mine & Yours, 2011, Cinder Block Installation, Mine:163" x 63", Yours: 228" x 63" Mine & Yours, 2011, Cinder Block Installation, Mine:163" x 63", Yours: 228" x 63" 72 A Chair For You, 2010, ailmathus wood and found chair 73 presley mar tin Growing up with scientist parents trained me to be a curious observer of my surroundings. As an artist, I try to live a simple life that allows me to draw inspiration from ordinary moments of everyday life, whether finding weeds growing along the freeway or observing marks left by clay on pa- per. When I started walking to work, the roadside natural world came to life as never before and has continued to provide a lasting influence and inspiration for my work. I also found inspiration in mixing clay; I noticed clay’s ability to form a shape on a substrate, then dry, be removed and reveal itself as a separate object through its impression or trace. What interests me about these phenomena is the contrast between the reality I observe and the preconceived notions we have about materials or life forms. My work explores these contrasts by pairing discovery with obses- sive activity. The resulting pieces are as much records of events as they are works of formalist sculpture. 74 Elevator Installation, 2009, porcelain 75 What We Were And What We’ve Become, paper, porcelain and zip ties What We Were And What We’ve Become, paper, porcelain and zip ties 76 Giga Timo, 2011, Digital composite image. Photography: Julia Weber and Eric Baral. 54" x 85" 77 timo mcintosh Timo’s How To: Helping You Live a Better Life in 5 Easy Steps American middle class culture has run itself into the ground. It has short- circuited the connections between individual behavior and social conse- quence. Institutional participation has dwindled and become hypermedi- ated. Abstracted media-bits replace dialogue, resulting in a society where self-analysis and identity reinforcement are absent. The Timo’s How To (THT) guides are a series of satirical brochures that call into question the circumstances of this failure. How does the middle class grapple with life’s questions? The answer is il- lustrated by and embodied in the THT guides. They manifest the mecha- nisms by which the middle class succeeds or fails in bolstering institutions and identities within society. The inquiry becomes a looped meditation about finding meaning in life. What comes first; the middle class or the institution; the guru or the guide? THT leaves the audience with these paradoxes and in them, solutions. In a moment of contemplation a reader may find a richer if not a better life. 78 SPE West, 2010 Live Performance and presentation. Photo: Julia Weber Timo’s How To Brochures, 2008–2011, Paper Tri-fold brochures. 8.5" x 11" 79 Timo’s actual Mug and Polo Shirt, 2010, Ceramic Mug, and cotton shirt THT: A close Look, 2011, Masters Thesis Show, San José State University School of Art and Art History 80 Sensory Evidence: A Kleenex Project, 2010, wood, kleenex, custom electronics with LED lighting, 9" x 9" x 3.5" 81 windy r hoads As an artist I work with themes of identity, psychosexuality, spectacle and current myth within a global culture. I create images of artifice by means of clay, Kleenex, video, photography, sewing, and the mixed media pro- duced by their combination. I am no longer constrained by the medium of the “photograph” but continually try to transform its character into new genres. My recent installation is a mixed media piece entitled “Sensory Evidence: a Kleenex Project”. This work uses Kleenex as a substrate for images within light-boxes. The work is ephemeral and diaphanous, created by making a copy of a copy of a copy, of found family ‘snap-shots’. Entering the very dimly lit gallery, the viewer encounters a place of reflection and interpretation of abjected emotions within the lit Wunderkammers. Pushing my conceptual ideas to a more intellectually intense level, both materially and psychologically, I strive to resolve such themes and make art that is both engaging and visually intelligent. 82 Sensory Evidence: A Kleenex Project, 2010, wood, kleenex, custom electronics with LED lighting, 9" x 9" x 3.5" Sensory Evidence: A Kleenex Project, 2010, wood, kleenex, custom electronics with LED lighting, 9" x 9" x 3.5" 83 Sensory Evidence: A Kleenex Project, 2010, wood, kleenex, custom electronics with LED lighting, 9" x 9" x 3.5" Sensory Evidence: A Kleenex Project, 2010, wood, kleenex, custom electronics with LED lighting, 9" x 9" x 3.5" 84 Reconstructed Memories, found objects; piano parts, transparancies, funnel, wood, light 85 nancy sevier A sound is made. It dissipates, and it is gone. Silence represents that inherent loss of reverberations. Memory serves as its record. My work is an attempt to play with the ephemeral sounds and visions of past and present. Organs, pianos and guitars hold familiar connotations. As objects, they are steeped in history and exist as part of our collective memory. To shift the purpose of these objects is to shift our understanding of their significance. Cassette tapes hold recordings of sound. When we can’t hear them being played, our memory serves as the archive. When the tape is used as a visual line in a music staff, our understanding shifts back and forth between the recorded sounds from the past and the possibility of new music in the moment. In my work I seek to accomplish this subtle shifting in consciousness that occurs when encountering old musical de- vices, re-purposed or re-constructed into the visual suggestions of sound. 86 Opus 67 (detail), magnetic audio tape of Laurie Anderson Opus 67 (Installation), melted audio cassette holders in shape of seven foot violin case and magnetic tape on wall, size specific to site 87 Liner Notes, found objects; piano parts, violin cases 88 Lenticular Revelation, installation view, ceramic, e-waste, steel chain 89 nick tranmer Humanity is a force of nature. Natural phenomena are often seen as irrelevant to modern life, even though the systems that support human- ity are completely dependant on natural systems like weather, tides and plant growth. We like to believe otherwise because it allows us to justify a myriad of unconscionable activities. Equally ignored is the landscape of commerce and industry, the physical manifestation of civilization. It is im- portant to our survival to pay attention both to what we have constructed and to what allows us to construct, each often ignored in the flurry of contemporary life. I am fascinated by environmental forms, both natural and built. My fantas- tic landscapes bridge the line between the real and the surreal and there- by strive to inspire consideration of the complex and layered systems that make up our world. Mixing the scenery of industrial technology with that of the natural world, my work undermines our usual assumptions about their relationships and frees them to take on new meanings and associa- tions. It suggests that, as a culture, we have strayed so far from nature that reality is the new surreal. Other Life 90 Lenticular Revelation, detail Cloud Cloud, ceramic, found objects, 22" x 53" x 13" 91 Iceberg Iceberg, ceramic, stainless steel, 14" x 30" x 14" Obscured by clouds Obscured by Clouds, installation view, ceramic, found objects, 108" x 144" x 72" 92 thank you .
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