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works words

newsletter - fall 2003

articles

Untitled Until - Architecting Space

The success of this exhibition (February 6 through March 8, 2003) rested on the collaboration of the three artists: Jim Haynes, Dianne Jones, and Mike Meyers - and Mike's ability to transform the basic rectangular space of Works' gallery into a completely different spatial experience for viewers.

As Jim explains it, Mike "had come up with a system of blocking off the front entryway and then allowing the entrance to be guided by a kinesthetic sculpture" creating a sort of runway that led into Dianne's huge photograph of air traffic paths crossing directly over downtown San José. The "runway" catapulted audiences into this piece and then diverted them into a more enclosed chamber that housed other works by Dianne and Jim.

Dianne's large, beautiful, color photographs allowed her to "feel ever so slightly closer to the changes" that cities are going through and to deal with choices that are being made in cities - in which she feels left out of the conversation. Her observation of these changes occurs through a 4 by 5 large camera format, on a tripod, which allows her to make exposures lasting more than one hour - each particular observation is then compressed into one single huge digital print.

Jim's photo installations also deal with the process of change. His grids are composed of photos that have been treated with copper sulfate, ammonium chloride, rust and water - and those solutions interact with the silver nitrate inherent in the photo development process. "I found it interesting to build an inner clock" into these pieces via a dynamic process. Coupled with these grids are sounds that Jim has created - "sounds that are…parallels to rust and decay…static and shortwave controlled feedback" he explains, as well as rubbings of rock, glass, and metal. These sounds parallel the chemical changes taking place in his photographic grids.

Altogether, a very integrated, dynamic experience - facilitated by Mike's architectural playfulness, which helped create a rhythm, a language, a geometry that positively differentiated this exhibit from others.

Nora Raggio

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New California Masters - Redefining the Rules

Works made a bold new move this year by changing the rules of the game and redefining what used to be a non-juried show of San Jose State University (SJSU) Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) graduating class into a competitive, juried exhibit of MFA graduates from art schools across California - curated by Christian Frock. This show took place March 26 through April 23, 2003.

Many applied to this exhibit, but few (only sixteen) were chosen. The lucky ones were Carol Bierach, Reneé Billngslea, Jennie Braman, Jenny Hager, Raymond Haywood, Amanda Hughen, Eirik Johnson, Jennifer Levy, Michelle Mansour, Francis McIlveen, Maria Park, Manisha Patel, Heather Patterson, Jason Rogowski, Marie van Elder, Maria Vasconcelos.

What was notoriously absent from the show were any works dealing with video or internet media - instead, there were some fresh perspectives on painting, photo and spatial traditions.
Jennifer Levy's (SJSU) "sculptural installation" comes to mind - where she recreated a self-contained pantry with Southern roots - very bare on the outside, and full of southern comfort pantry items inside - along with mason jars Jennifer cast in iron - with family names on them - some of the jars bubbling up - "sort of rotting from the inside, like secrets" explained Jennifer.

Maria Vasconcelos, a San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) graduate, was adamant about using paint alone, and not paint on canvas. The layers of pure acrylic paint - like a huge colorful lagoon on the floor or neatly cut into a shiny acrylic shawl strewn on a pedestal - combined elements of decoration and fashion.

Politically charged pieces included Reneé Billingslea´s (SJSU) quilt addressing antimiscegenation laws and focused on "exposing parts of history that are neatly tucked away and don't come up very often." Also, Raymond Haywood's (San Francisco State University - SFSU) Nigger Flag - addressing the artistic oppression he felt after 9/11 - a personal flag made out of stenciled paintings on corrugated metal and wood.

Other notorious pieces included:

  • Michelle Mansour's (SFAI) heavily layered and gelled circular painted surfaces, referencing a petri dish or a look through the microscope;
  • Carol Bierach's (SJSU) work combining painting and drawing on a level playing field;
  • Jennifer Hager's (SJSU) sculpture combining iron and satin (referencing the textile and casting industries);
  • Jason Rogowski's (SJSU) wood sculpture referencing tension and energy flows;
  • Eirik Johnson's (SFAI) huge color chromogenic photo prints addressing areas of the urban environment "where it starts to break down" - borderlands, tidal flats, abandoned lots;
  • Manisha Patel's (SFAI) paintings, commenting on the immateriality of the material.

Christian Frock, curator of the show, added that the show was entirely of Bay Area school artists. She therefore assumed that artists are doing their best work in the Bay Area -"it's great to see MFA graduates in context with each other…how their work dialogs in the same space together."

Nora Raggio

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Relish - Works Member Show

This year's (May 8 through June 6, 2003) show of Works members was diverse and tasty. Many members displayed their talent on the gallery walls.

During the public reception evening three Bay Area performance artists - Sheila Malone, Joe Miller, and Jack Toolin - added variety to the already myriad works including painting, photo, and sculpture.

Joe Miller read a poem to an old Motown beat, Sheila Malone managed to create an interactive dialog chant with selected kids in the audience, while Jack Toolin handed a political rant as he lifted weights made out of TV dumbbells. But hey, here is Jack's version of his performance J "Strangers In the Night". A strange man entered the 2,000 sq ft exhibition space dressed in dapper attire, a paint-dripped suit. He stood, and stood some more, and even more, before breaking into a quaint little story about the fall of mankind in the light of a discouraging market. Those who listened to his sad tale wept one collective, cathartic weep at the conclusion.

Jack + Joe + Nora

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Home and Away - June 12 thru July 1, 2003

Curated by Davey Hubay, an MFA graduate from San José State University, this photo exhibit compared views from home and abroad.

Davey Hubay, a native Californian, seems to feel more comfortable in Europe. Her series of photo installations dealt with what is found at the level of sidewalks - perhaps her most successful series was that dealing with the destruction/reconstruction of stock market sites - (always from a sidewalk perspective) across different European cities.

Other photographers included in this exhibit focused on sequencing - how it affects the viewer's experience of a group of pictures. Richard Gordon spoke at length about the careful process of sequencing, how different he felt the experience was of sequencing photos for a book as opposed to sequencing photos for a grid meant to hang on a gallery wall.

Jason Francisco also focused on sequencing of his two pieces in the show. One kind of sequencing was more personal, combining appropriated photos from the New York Times and his own pictures and choosing carefully how to space and build relationships between these two collections of pictures. His other work in the exhibit was a collaborative sequencing experiment with the fourth person included in the show - Paul Mueller. They decided to work together on a series of photographs each had taken of different parts of Eastern Europe, Jason explained, because Paul and he "have the same photographic instincts." Starting the process at first as if the photos were like a deck of cards, Jason and Paul finally created more of a dialog in the way they pieced together the series of sequenced diptychs for this show.

Nora Raggio

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Poker Face

This past month, WORKS presented Poker Face, a new site-specific project by d3ms, a Reno-based collaborative. The group members J. Damron, Joseph DeLappe, Russell Dudley, Laurie Macfee and Tamara Scronce have previously collaborated in unconventional spaces such as garages, warehouse, barns, and office spaces in their hometown as well as in Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv. While this installation represents their first gallery project, it holds true to their practice of integrating video, installation, projected images and photography to create a theatrical environment laden with remnants of transitory actions.

The unifying element for the exhibition is a work titled Poker Face.3. Within a blue curtained room, five monitors are arranged to define a circular space. Each monitor shows fractured glimpses of an individual engaged in five card draw, seven card stud and other poker variations. In an interview with DeLappe, the artist explains that the installation emerged as a result of completing a project for the exhibition Office Space: Art on Site 2 in Tel Aviv. The five members played a poker game, with a camera documenting them from above. Just days before the declaration of war in Iraq, the video demonstrated the strategies and implications of bluffing and risk-taking. Although the game of poker can be associated with current political events, it has particular resonance for artists from a gambling driven town. Poker Face explores issues of regionalism and identity in addition to negotiating the space between truth and deception. What is it like to live in Reno? An environment - as seen in Dudley and Damron’s respective photographs of snowstorms and desert vegetation - that is characterized by extremes. The participating artists also face the challenge of reconciling their individual artistic identities within the framework of a collaborative endeavor. Finally, WORKS was particularly pleased to present Poker Face since it represents a quasi homecoming for DeLappe, who was the first graduate from the CADRE Institute at San Jose State University.

Kristen Evangelista

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Kelda Van Patten - AIR

Kelda Van Patten was our Artist-in-Residence from December 2002 through February 2003. I was impressed with the way she used her time to experiment with painting, often working 5 days a week from 9 – 5 pm. Her work with acrylics is done with lots of layering and reflects her interest in cake decorating. The paint is thick and creamy, like icing: greens, bubblegum-pinks, red lettering. She often uses lace, rhinestones, beads, razors, candy hearts and pom-poms that add texture to the flat surface of the canvas.

“I look for cast-off objects, usually in my house, specifically related to adornment and ornamentation,” she says, “or items related to the body, such as costume jewelery, mirrors, corsets, fake flowers, fabric/clothing, etc. After collecting some of these objects, I became interested in 'frosting' them with paint. I liked the way it sort of ‘mummified' them and turned them into artifacts, altering their function. Another element is the text. I often work with dictionaries, books, or poems to 'collage' text. I look for relationships between text and images that invite a new perspective and change the meaning somehow.”

Kelda received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1995. “I am influenced by the pattern and decoration movement of the 70's, and the feminist movement,” she says, “as well as artists such as Kiki Smith, Squeak Carnwath, Miriam Shapiro, and the Brazilian painter, Beatriz Milhazes. I have traveled quite a bit and the crafts, colors,
textiles, and folk art of Mexico, Central America, Bali, and India inspire me very much.”

Susan Field

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Kavita Bali - AIR

Tell us about yourself and the range of artwork you're interested in creating.

I'm still figuring out exactly what to call myself. I've never liked labels and dodge attempts to categorize my creativity. I guess if I had to, I'd call myself an intermedia artist, visual communicator or simply an Urban Peacock :) I got my BFA in 1987 at RISD, and studied Film at NYU before moving back West to work in information architecture and design management.

What motivated you to apply for the Works residency?

I was feeling an incredibly strong desire to work large and knew I needed to devote some serious, uninterrupted time toward this quest. I wanted to paint non-stop and allow my imagination to pour itself onto paper, canvas, anything so I could rid myself of the ideas that were welling up inside of me. I was thirsting for an avenue to express myself, and decided that it was time to take a chance and see what happened.

How did your artwork benefit from your residency at Works?

Previously I'd been working in ink, photography, film and poetry. In 2002 I wanted to get away from everything B&W or computer related and explore the power of color and texture. WORKS allowed me to go full throttle ahead with the speed of my emotions.

Anything else you would like to add?

I'm really thankful for the warmth and support I've received from everybody at WORKS. Every time I went into that studio, I felt humble and empowered in the same breath. I wanted to paint and just live in there. The experience has inspired a confidence in me to continue forward with my explorations in painting and see where it takes me. Thank you for being such an inspiring haven in the midst of all that's silicon in this valley! You can find out more about my artwork at: http://www.urbanpeacock.com.

Interview by Nora Raggio

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Brief Notes from an interview with Artist in Residence (AIR)
Shannon Wright, currently teaching at San José State University (SJSU)


her current work
Shannon Wright's current work in animation emanates, in part, from her interest in Taylorism. She describes this movement as  "scientific management (created) around the nineteenth century, in which people started streamlining workers' lives and inventing the assembly line…making laborers perform a super menial task repetitively so that they lost all their dignity".  This principle extends into a sense that there seems to be "this structure of people laboring to create a sort of
fiction for a small elite group of people".  There's an animation in which a machine structure drives a woman in the well-known game of "pat the head, rub the stomach". In another animation, a horse walks in endless circles hitched to a giant clockwork wheel above him, which in turn allows a "bucking bronco" ride connected to the wheel to bob up and down.  These animations are designed and drawn by Shannon and then implemented into animations in collaboration with Frank Pichel, a motion-graphics designer in Los Angeles.
Shannon is also currently working on a set of illustrations that she plans to set on tiles,
inspired by instructional manuals. This particular piece illustrates thirty-four steps suggested
for the safe use of a public restroom.

how her teaching influences her work
"I'm teaching my students the principles of tensile structures; sometimes I'm inspired to do similar things in my own work once I've done the research on the engineering" explains Shannon.

her life and art education/experience
Shannon was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and lived in Sydney, Australia for ten years - then moved to Gloucester, Virginia. She got her undergraduate degree in sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University.  She adds "I went to school with GWAR, a crazy rock band that happened to take sculpture classes so that they could make the rubber outfits that they wore on stage…I was really into the music scene, punk rock and early industrial bands."  Her early sculpture was based on found objects and her influences at the time were people like Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Beuys, and Arnulf Rainer.  She would also make suits out of highly reflective highway sign material, so
that she looked like a cartoon character as she walked down the highway at night, brilliantly lit by car headlights - she would make videos of these journeys. Then, she happened to take a video class, a furniture class, and an architecture class all in the same semester. That influenced her to start making complex "props" for videos. During her graduate studies at the Chicago Art Institute, she worked on constructing kinetic art, such as a machine that tested her knee reflex every few seconds.

plans for the future
"I kind of want to do other things other than the kinetic work", says Shannon. "I have plans for a lot of different animations and videos and a lot of sculpture that is maybe articulated, but not actually kinetic. I have a lot of ideas for sculpture that have nothing to do with machines.  For example, a group of aluminum trees that would be a play on the idea of a collapsible fake tree, but that would involve telescoping parts, the way that a nice tripod has nice telescoping parts". She is currently working on a series of paintings called "'The saddest thing I ever saw", based on a documentary she saw about ten years ago, which shows "this dolphin that's owned by a restaurant in Florida.  The restaurant is up in stilts and the dolphin is in this sad, gross little lagoon, he's a lone dolphin and it's really hot, and as he swims around he has this pet inflatable alligator that he pulls around by a rope. I wanted to make some paintings from that scene because it's kind of melodramatic, pathetic" Shannon concludes.

her residency at Works
Shannon explains that everybody at SJSU knows about Works, and her longtime mentor Elizabeth King, one of her teachers at Virginia Commonwealth University, had had a show at Works in the late 70s - so it already came highly recommended. Of her experience as an AIR, Shannon adds "well, it's been very cool at Works…there's been some great shows coinciding with my open studios so it's been an honor to show with the people who have been showing in the gallery".

Interviewers: Gianfranco Paolozzi and Nora Raggio

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New Art Educational Outreach Programs at WORKS

Works has developed a new program called Youth and Family Arts Connection (YFAC). This program consists of four hands on art making workshops during the summer months that are free to kids ages 7-14. This summer’s workshops consisted of contour line drawings, collage making, photography with photo transfers and block printing. The goal of these workshops is to enrich family unity, educate and provide a creative outlet. Participants of the workshops will be displaying their artwork from the workshop in the 1st annual YFAC art show on December 13, 2003. In addition to the workshops Works is starting a teen advisory board in August of 2003. This teen board will have the opportunity to help with the workshops, attend board meetings and help install and de-install the YFAC show. The goal of this teen advisory board is to have the teens understand and be involved with all aspects of how a gallery operates. If you are interested in participating in next year’s workshops or becoming a teen advisory board member please contact Works at (408) 295-8378 or email Jean the educational outreach coordinator at jean2@earthlink.net.

Jean Skamra, Educational Outreach Coordinator

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Log-on and tap-in

by Kristen Evangelista

While the current economy may make pursuing a career as an artist even more daunting, it encourages us to be more resourceful. You may be surprised to find that there is a wealth of on-line information geared specifically to artists. Just visit the arts discussion forum on craigslist.org and you’ll be able to interact with others facing similar dilemmas. And most importantly, almost all of this information is FREE. We’ve complied a list of the most useful links to slide registries, jobs, exhibition opportunities, and career advice. Check these out and let us know if anything pans out!

Slide registries:

http://www.artistresource.org/studious.htm
http://www.artistspace.org
http://www.genart.com
http://www.whitecolumns.org

Jobs:

http://www.artcareer.net
http://artistresource.org
http://artjob.com
http://www.artswire.org
http://cac.ca.gov
http://www.craigslist.org

Exhibition opportunities:

http://artdeadlineslist.com
http://artdeadline.com

Career advice:

http://artadvice.com
http://www.artbusiness.com
http://www.collegeart.org/caa/career/index.html
http://www.sfai.edu/database/career_resources.asp

Arts events:

http://www.laughiingsuid.org
http://www.sfstation.com
http://www.sfarts.org
http://www.artsopolis.com

Calls for entries:

http://www.artswire.org
http://www.artopportunitiesmonthly.com

 

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New and re-newed Works members list, since February 2003

Alice Moraga
Alyssa & Mark Erickson
Amanda Hughen
Anjee Helstrup
Anna Koster
Anne Lamborn
Anne Reidy
Anton Orlov
Arthur Scott King
Bernadetta Balunova
Bernie Ross
Beth Yarnelle Edwards
Bob Lamp
Bob Martin Willing
Bob Rose
Carmela Rizzuto
Carol Bierach
Carol Ponsaran
Cati Efira
Clayton Moraga
Colleen McCrystle
Daniel Herrera
Darla McKenna
David Cajigas
Dawn Martinez Oropeza
Demetra Paras
Diana Wirt
Donnasure Jacobi
Dr K. Knox
Drathima Hosaholalu
Dustin Dumas Weeks
Eirik Johnson
Emanuela Harris Sintamarian
Erin Malone
Fanny Retesek
Francis McIlveen
Frank & Marylin DeMarco
Fred Roessler
Fredrick Spratt
Geri Witting
Gianfranco Paolozzi
Gloria Knowles
Grace-Sonia E. Lee
Heather Patterson
Jaclyn Calderon
Jade Bradbury
Janet Norris
Jason Rogowski
Jason Towne
Jennie Braman
Jennifer Ahn
Jennifer Levy
Jenny K. Hager
Jenny Villanueva
Jim Haynes
Jim Shurter
Judith Spiegel
Julia Bradshaw
Karen Callaghan
Karen Carlo Salinger
Kelly Robart
Kerstin Willmann
Kristen Evangelista
Lam Kim Phuong
Lawrence & BJ Bryan
Lawrence Jensen
Lawrie Brown
Le Thi Que-Huong
Linda A. Judson
Lisa Renee Falk
Lisa Venditelli
Lynn Letterman
Lynn Powers
Manisha Patel
Marc D'estout
Marcia Briggs
Margaret Stanton Murray
Maria Park
Maria Vasconcelos
Martha Stephens
Mercedes Guerin
Michael Rodriguez
Michele Thomas MacNair
Michelle Mansour
Morgan Riccilli Slade
Nacera Guerin
Nancy Fowler
Natalie Hala
Nga Thi Vu
Nguyen Thi Thanh Tri
Nicole Freilier
Patricia Carman
Pilar Aguero-Esparza
Ralph & Sheila Pickett
Raymond Ashley
Raymond L. Haywood
Rebecca H. Palmer
Rhianon MacFadyen
Richard Andrews
Robert Pesich
Robert Zepernick
Robin Schaufler
Rodger Hobbs
Ron Davidson
Roxanne Zuniga
Ruth Eckland
Ryan Jensen
Sam Richardson
Sandra Ledesma
Sarah Puckitt
Sarah Ratchye
Scott Hinton
Scott MacDonald
Shana Sundstrom
Susan Field
Susan Ogren
Suzanne Sarro
T.S. Anand
Tasneem Faruqui
Tony May
Una Nakamura
Vicky Bialas
Vu Nguyen
Zack Luchetti

Gianfranco Paolozzi

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