newsletter - fall 2003
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.
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
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:
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."
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
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.
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.
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,
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
teaching influences her work
and art education/experience
Interviewers: Gianfranco Paolozzi and Nora Raggio
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 email@example.com.
Jean Skamra, Educational Outreach Coordinator
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!
Calls for entries:
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