Alejandro Casazi mentioned in SB Arts Scene

Portraits (and Anti-Portraits) of the Artists as Award Winners
With the flagship '2011 Individual Artist Award Winners' show at the Arts Fund Gallery, there's a particular freshness in this year's crop


A certain and palpable buzz descends on the Arts Fund Gallery once a year, when all concerned know "it's IAA time." In the most important group show of the year in the Arts Fund Gallery, a handsomely acquitted hot spot in Santa Barbara's beach-adjacent "funk zone," the winners of its annual Individual Artist Award com­petition go public. This year's group is a particularly fresh bunch.

Many names and artistic "faces" are involved, among both winners and runners-up, including as-yet familiar figures on the Santa Barbara scene well worth keep­ing a lookout for. Each year, the categories shift, and the 2011 points of visual art focus were 2D Figurative Work (winner, James Petrucci, honorable mention going to Mary Carol Kenney and Henry Rasmussen) and Print­making (winner, James Hapke, alongside honorary men­tion holders Alejandro Casazi and Stephanie Dotson).

We'll be seeing more of the winners next year, as both Petrucci and Hapke earn one-person shows in this space as a coveted part of the IAA prize. To some degree, we might pay more attention to the honorable mentions in the house, whose presence here is, for now, more fleeting.

'Quadroon Queen'
Henry Rasmussen
Stephanie Dotson
James Petrucci 

Serenading the gallery space, representing the winner in the sonic sphere of this year's "solo vocal" catego­ry, is the fine tenor Geoffrey Hahn, laying out the dul­cet tones of Ralph Vaughan Williams' art song "Wither Where I Wander," on a YouTube video.

In some way, that luminously sung classical piece is the most traditional artwork in the room, but actually not the only music-related piece. The most intriguing piece here is by Casazi, whose etching and lithography pieces are delicate, ephemeral affairs."4'33," dedicated to conceptualist-composer John Cage's famous "silent" piece for inactive pianist, of course is not silent or stat­ic, reliant instead on what sounds occur in the concert hall where the piece — noise, and life, go on.

In Casazi's piece, the artist alludes to the aleotoric airs of the Cage original, with markings both clear, de­ceptively rational and Cage-ily cryptic.

Printmaking winner Hapke works many angles to­ward some malleable middle in his works, mixing up imagery and text, scruffy surfaces and data conjuring mash-up intrigue. We look for clues into the heart and mind of the artist, for instance, in the piece he calls "Cumulative Self-Portrait #2," with its mysterious and tasty matrices of slapdash picture-making, teasing and power words, and the occasional religious icon. But we sense that the artist, too, is on a search for self-defini­tion, which becomes both a subplot and a super-plot in the work.

Dotson, one artist in this group who has been making her odd and oddly delightful artistic presence known around the Santa Barbara art scene in recent years, goes in a different, but not necessarily more easily self-reveal­ing direction with her print "Portrait." In this compact compression of pictorial information, a vintage wom­an's photograph is caught in a clenched pile-up of a drawn tree limb, a few extra eyes for cosmic flair, and murky swipes of pink and gray. All of this central imag­istic activity is adrift in a cleansing broad perimeter of white void space. It's a portrait and anti-portrait, in one strangely seductive package.

In the IAA awards figurative zone, various enticing roughneck strategies are afoot. Kenney's richly but also ruggedly painted nude scenes respect painterly con­ventions while also twisting up our expectations. In "A Different Kind of Marriage," a lounging nude couple — possibly pre- or post-sexual contact — uniformly gawk off to our right, as if numbed by an unseen televi­sion."Close Distance" is a sumptuously realized study of a healthy, happy nude woman, one of a more Ruben­esque proportion, off to the left of modern emaciat­ed model standards. In his paintings, Rasmussen steers away from tradition more fervently, into the realm of what could be called post-punk painting. Faces loom large in the compositional frame of his pieces, but the details have been smudged into a defacing blur. We get a general feeling of primal energy and graffiti-inspired, Banksy-esque prankster modernity.

And in his own special way, IAA figurative art win­ner Petrucci also mucks about with the orthodoxy of the painting art, and is finding his own way through the historically loaded thicket of the medium. Of par­ticular interest in this show is "Adrift," a quixotic paint­ing of a young man in a chair, in a kind of apparently neutralized — "adrift" — emotional state. His affect is enhanced by the distinctive painting style with details roughed-up and fragmented, without losing the essence of the pictorial substance at hand.

There is an intriguing expressive paradox at work in Petrucci's work, which has the effect of whetting out appetites for his one-man show, coming soon enough in this rewarding — and awarding — art space.

When: through Nov. 5
Where: Arts Fund Gallery, 205C Santa Barbara St. Gallery hours: 1 to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Saturday Information: 965-7321,

Faculty member Philip Argent in solo show, downtown Santa Barbara

Please see our calendar page for more info:

Faculty member Philip Argent in solo show, downtown Santa Barbara

Please see our calendar page for more info:

Graduate Penelope Gottlieb featured in the 'Art Platform' exhibition, Los Angeles

OCT 1 - OCT 3, 2011
Opening Preview Friday, September 30
L.A. Mart®

More information available here:


Passiflora vitilolia     36x25"   acrylic and ink over Audubon print  2011


Professor Richard Ross featured in October issue of Harper's Magazine; Launches new website

By Richard Ross


For the past five years, Richard Ross has interviewed and photographed more than 1,000 juvenile detainees, some as young as eight years old, in more than 350 detention facilities in thirty states. Of the series, Ross states: “In a country that incarcerates one out of every one hundred adults, the juveniles have the least voice and are the smallest victims of a system under stress.”


Pictured: Six youths rest in their cells at midday from a regimen that begins at 5:30 a.m. at the Challenge program, El Paso, Texas, which was formerly a boot camp.


Website now online:

Richard Ross is a photographer based in Santa Barbara, California. His work will be on view at the Nevada Museum of Art in the fall of 2012. His monograph Architecture of Authority was published by Aperture in 2007.

Professor George Legrady awarded two major research fellowships

Professor George Legrady received two major research fellowships, A Robert W. Deutsch Fellowship to be shared with the Allosphere, and a National Science Foundation Fellowship for "Distributed Imaging Through Networks of Robotically Actuated Cameras".  This will enhance the Art Department's focus in computational photography.

The ExpVislab is a visualization focused research and experimentation lab. Students have come from a broad background that include media arts, engineering, computer science, design and architecture.

Research Direction: It is dedicated at this time to two directions of research and experimentation: 1) Data visualization and 2) Computational photography. The ExpVislab promotes hybridization in multi-media based visual/spatial data visualization; arts-engineering collaboration; interactive public installations and optical-computational visualization processes that integrates the fundamentals of engineering with the cultural and aesthetics traditions of the arts.

Visualization Emphasis: Focus is on advanced knowledge about the nature of how images function, expertise in the syntax of visual language, and acquired skills in the ability to construct complex images. Such expertise involves an apprenticeship in aesthetics and semiotics, which are acquired through training in the disciplines of architecture, graphic design, fine arts, visual linguistics, visual culture, etc. areas outside of the typical engineering educational model. When such aesthetic, perceptual and syntactic skillsets are integrated with computation and mathematical skills, deeper results can be achieved, significantly advancing the understanding of technological visual systems.

Funding: The lab currently has funding from the Robert W. Deutch Fellowhip for data visualization, and a National Science Foundation for experimentation in multicamera imaging. TA positions are available for the M259 Data Visualization course and the M594 Optical-Computational course. Artistic projects have been funded by Corporate Executive Board; Los Angeles Metro Rail; Seattle Arts Commission; Creative Capital Foundation, New York; NASA Science Center; NSF IGERT; Daniel Langlois Foundation for the Arts, Science, Technology; Canada Council for the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; Siemens Kultur Programm; Centre Pompidou, Paris; University of California Santa Barbara Research Across Disciplines.

Facilities: The ExpVisLab has a dedicated multi-purpose space, studio 2611 which is used as a classroom, exhibition space, lecture space, etc. It includes 2 imaging workstations, a three projection wall, 6 channel surround sound

Researchers attached to the lab: Javier Villegas, Andres Burbano, Angus Forbes, Marco Pinter, Robert W. Deutch fellows Danny Bazo, Karl Yerkes and Qian Liu, and visiting faculty Kyujung Kim.

Projects and Installations: SOMArts Gallery, SF (2011); Media Biennale, Poznan, Poland (2010); Vancouver Olympics (2010); LHS Museum, Berkeley (2010; Shanghai eArts (2010); Wellesley (2009); Commission by Corporate Executive Board, Arlington, VA (, 2008); National Theater Poitiers Prize (2008), France; Art Center College of Design and CalTech NASA Spitzer Center (2008).

Recent Conference Presentations/Publications: TEDxsv Palo Alto (2011); Net-Sci Budapest (2011); ZKM  Karlsruhe (2011); CAA NYC (2011); ISEA Istanbul (2011); IEEE InfoVis (2010); IDEA Festival Louisville (2010); ACM Multimedia Beijing (2009) and others. 

Graduate Van Tran featured in Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association exhibition

Please see the event page at:

Graduate Jae Hee Lee featured in UCLA exhibition

UCLA  Circulate, Exchange (Diaz detail)  DEPARTMENT OF ART
Circulate, Exchange:
Nugget & Gravy

September 22
October 6, 2011
Opening Reception: Thurs, September 22, 58pm

The exhibition Circulate, Exchange: Nugget & Gravy features the work of 17 artists from Southern California MFA programs. The works in this show manifest themselves as commodity fetish, exchange, currency, labor, relational sociability, and sharing. In the context of this show, the marketplace is a medium, a moment of reaction, a place of negotiation, and a thing to ignore.

Curated by UCLA Department of Art graduate students Mathiew Greenfield and Christine Wang

New Wight Gallery
Broad Art Center, Suite 1100
240 Charles E. Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Gallery Hours:
Friday, 9:00am-4:30pm

Admission is free

Daily parking in Lot 3: $11
Short term parking (payable at pay stations) in Lot 3 North. $3/hr.

Directions to Broad Art Center

For further information, call (310)825-0557



Josh Cho
Chris Coy
Misael Diaz
Kyla Hansen
Jae Hee Lee
Perry B. Marks
Qunton Jones McCurine
Paul Pescador
Sarah Petersen
Kari Reardon
Christopher Reynolds
Owen Schmit
Rowan Smith
Sean Townley
Son Vo
J. Patrick Walsh
Joe Yorty ucla_arts_logo

Graduate Laura Krifka showing at Atkinson Gallery, SBCC

When: through Sept. 23, 2011
Where: Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Dr.
Hours: 10am  to 7pm Monday through Thursday, 10am to 4pm Friday and Saturday
Information: 965-0581, Ext. 3484,

Laura Krifka shows her evolving focus as a painter and sculptor who deals with the light and dark, realism and fantasy


ImageIn what may be the closest thing to a signature, leitmotif piece in Laura Krifka's fascinating new exhibition at the Atkinson Gallery, her large painting "A Song for the Field" vividly draws us in even as it refuses to give us easy answers.

Two young people in a semi-nocturnal woodsy setting are seen gazing up in startlement at the crepuscular sky above. We don't know whether it is awe, collective epiphany or abject fear that serves as the powerfully motivating force that has seized them to the. point of craning their extra-long, extra white necks - which, in a way, are the primary subjects and visual focus of the painting. What we don't know lures us in, and begs questions that may be left hanging in the artist's simultaneously vibrant and enigmatic way with a painting (and, occasionally, a sculpture).

If anything, the gist of Krifka's work, as seen in this show titled, with tongue way in cheek, "Milk and Honey," has to do with the intertwining and even symbiotic powers of light and dark. Krifka's easily identifiable aesthetic may be familiar to art-watchers in Santa Barbara. An MFA graduate of UCSB in 2010, Krifka left a memorable mark on those who caught her strangely video/sculpture/painting fantasy alcove in the back of the UCSB Art Museum's MFA show a year and a half ago. Her work showed up again in a group show at Contemporary Arts Forum, stirring the pot and unsettling our senses, to expressive ends.

Seeing a cohesive one-person show, and in this almost absurdly idyllic gallery space at Santa Barbara City College, no less, brings us closer to understanding her intriguingly cryptic work, with its built-in challenges, teases arid taunts. Starting the City College's admirable art exhibition season with a show this strong bodes well for things to come in the next academic season.

In Krifka's paintings, the faux innocent, fantastical and vaguely myth-basted scenes seem to tap into a range of influences, from pre-Modernist art-historical references to fairyland kitsch, with post-modernist twisting and twining of references and potential meaning all along the way. In one corner, we see hints of 18th-century French dandy Fragonard, in another, the fairy-dusted realm of nymphs, fairies and goblins.

Sexuality and allusions to sexual awakening (again, in tones of both light and dark) sneak into the pictorial vocabulary, often as not. On the sweet; epically romantic side, the largest painting in the gallery is the cagily titled "Mine Eternal," in which young, sleeping, mythical lovers, nude and on a literal bed of pink roses in the woods, are being gently drawn into awakening by diagonal beams of morning sunlight, the alarm clock of the gods.

ImageAn adjacent painting, "Windswept," finds another pair of lovers aswirl in true love, as well as, apparently, an actual gale force wind. With these paintings, the cliches are piled on, to the point of suffocating nicety or sentimental gravitas through sheer excess.

But just across the gallery on the opposite wall, there hang two paintings whose less-innocent demeanor can't be ignored. "River Letch" is a meticulous painting of the small, mixed media tableau before it, called "Skinny Dip," in which a strangely caricatured man/ creature from the black pond makes unwanted advances on a young woman. Beware the river letch! In "Seduction of a Young Squaw," a libidinal drama between four young figures down by the river, under a theatrically violet-suffused sky, piques our curiosity about the dynamics and possible misdeeds at hand.

Just in case we might get lulled by the lighter side and purely visual, visceral pleasures of taking in Krifka's art, nothing so nuanced or ambiguous is to be found in the small -- but big in impact -- figurine sculpture "Fallen Women," a dead, nude woman in a pool of blood around her 18th-century-esque bonnet. References to the banality of violence, and sexual violence, creep around the undercurrents of Krifka's art, subtly inflected with feminist rage even as it carefully avoids overstatement or a ham-fisted approach to delivering a message. It's all in the margins and the luminous, campy, beautiful palette.

In the end, the dance of light and dark returns to the viewer's mind here.  Throughout the show, with just the right amount of pieces to keep it full but not over-stuffed, the artist pits light against dark, elements of which inform, contradict and create a warming friction in the meeting.

Far from home, art student makes dreams reality

Article By Olivia Damavandi / Special to The Malibu Times

Many people have read Robert Frost's “The Road Less Traveled,” but few have actually taken it. Among them is Malibu native Michael Rubin, who was planning on attending medical school after graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2007. But life had something different in store.

“I did well enough on the admissions exams, though ultimately decided med school wasn't for me,” Rubin said. “It was then that my girlfriend and I decided to move out of our apartment, sell our car and travel to South America for a while. We've been doing that for about nine months now.”Image

This isn't the average story about a post-graduate gallivanting about the globe to postpone the inevitable fate of a nine to five. Through his travels, Rubin further cultivated the Bachelor of Fine Arts he earned from UCSB. His first international solo exhibition, “Mind Your Hands,” is set to open at P.O.P.A. Galeria De Arte in Buenos Aires, Argentina next month. The exhibition, he said, blurs the lines between sculpture, photography, video and performance. As an emerging artist, he has pulled if off with no financial backing from institutions or grants.

Rubin's art is far from ordinary. One photo called “S-Curve” is a head-on shot of a man driving a car filled with Styrofoam bubbles. Another, “Botoga, Colombia,” shows pedestrians walking past the side of a building, where the bottom half of a man's body is protruding from it onto the sidewalk. A half-headed skull with a bulging brain, a man wearing a rabbit mask draped in cartoon-generated rabbits' feet, and a plate of kabob with a rainbow halo are just some examples of what you'll find on his Web site,

Want to see what it's like to spend three days on a cargo ship on the Amazon River, or watch a lamb eating grass for five minutes and twenty-five seconds? Check out the blog section of the site. You'll be inspired to travel.

While Rubin's work is fun to admire, the intellect behind it should not be ignored.

It seems his pre-med school ambition is still very much a part of his creative mind. Each piece of his art, especially those featured in “Mind Your Hands,” is developed through immense research.

Rubin said one of his favorite works in “Mind Your Hands” is an installation piece for which he is currently seeking donations to help him assemble. It is a performance piece that explores people's relationships with objects that represent their subconscious minds. (A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.)

“Currently my research revolves around the specific relationship a person may develop with objects created from their own subconscious,” Rubin said. “This is achieved through a series of interviews that are conducted in a control setting I've designed in my studio.”

The investigation, he said, primarily circles a particular dream or memory to which the interviewee ascribes a certain level of importance. Rubin's task is to recreate the dream through art, using objects that represent it.

“As a result, these two forms of subconscious information inadvertently supply ample amount of visual material from which I choose to create an object, image or performance based on the confessed event,” Rubin said. “I then present this realized manifestation to the person I'm interviewing and use single channel video recording to document the response. The unique experience felt by the singular person at the precise moment of the initial interaction is the work itself.”

Rubin's eye-catching work has garnered the attention of many who are eager to see the exhibition. One of them is his former professor, Kip Fulbeck.

“His drive to excel and constantly learn is enviable,” Professor Fulbeck said. “Mike used to ask me [like many students do] for extra recommendations in film, art, literature, etc. But the difference between him and the other students was he'd consume the work immediately. I'd give him a half dozen films to see and the next week he'd come to my studio to talk about all of them. I'm looking forward to seeing his new work.”

Rubin plans to go back to school to get a master's degree in Fine Arts but said the lessons he has learned thus far are perhaps just as valuable, if not more, than those taught in the classroom.

“I've learned to just have the confidence to pursue a role where your true interest really lies,” Rubin said. “It may be one of the most difficult decisions in your life, but ultimately the most valuable. I suppose I could have gone through with the decision to attend medical school, and received a nice paycheck on the regular, but the day-to-day wouldn't have made me all that happy. Pursuing a career in the arts can initially appear next to impossible and be fairly intimidating in regards to the zero or little financial security, but once I went for it head-on, it all worked out for the best. Just goes to show you that if you're so inclined you can achieve more than most people account for.”

Though his route from Malibu to South America may lead some to label him a nomad, it appears Rubin knows exactly where he's going.

“Mind Your Hands” opens May 14. Donations can be made and more information can be obtained online at

Kip Fulbeck asked multiracial children: 'Who are you?'

LA Times: The kids in these photographs don't look like they belong in a museum. They're having too much fun. They gloat and grin, share secrets and show off their retainers and rock collections. "I wanted to capture them exactly as they are," says artist Kip Fulbeck. " 'If they liked soccer,' I told them, 'Bring a ball.' 'If you're a goof be a goof.' I just wanted to avoid that posed Christmas card thing." Most of all, Fulbeck wanted to give these children -- all of whom are of mixed racial heritage -- the freedom to answer the simple but potentially fraught question: "Who are you?" Which is why the UC Santa Barbara art professor created "Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids," an exhibition that opens this weekend at the Japanese American National Museum downtown. The museum is an apt location for the show because it's estimated nearly one-third of Japanese Americans are of mixed ancestry. The museum also hosted the premiere of Fulbeck's first multiracial exhibit, "Part Asian, 100% Hapa," in 2006. For "Hapa" (a Hawaiian term used to refer to people who are part-Asian), Fulbeck photographed 1,200 volunteers and asked them to write responses to "What are you?" ("I used that wording because that's what we get asked," says Fulbeck, Chinese-Irish-English-Welsh.) He selected 80 images for the exhibition and 120 for a book published at the same time. For "Mixed," Fulbeck photographed about 500 children 12 and younger in California, Hawaii and New York. He selected nearly 80 images for the exhibition and roughly 125 for a companion book. Fulbeck, 44, says the main inspiration for his latest project was the birth of his son, Jack, who just turned 1. Also, he says, he liked that "kids have a certain honesty that eludes adults" -- especially when it comes to race. Where the statements in "Hapa" might be political, poetic or self-categorizing, the children wrote or drew about what they liked to do or how they felt. "That's how they tell you who they are," Fulbeck says. "One kid said, 'I'm a little boy that has no friends.' You'd be hard-pressed to find adults who'd say that." Parents were asked to describe their experiences raising multiracial children. Times have changed since he was growing up, Fulbeck notes. The census, for instance, now allows people to check off more than one box to describe their ethnic background. Even so, he still heard about students being taunted at school or mothers being asked, "Are you the nanny?" "Everyone wants to tell their story," says Fulbeck, who included lots of interactive opportunities in "Mixed." Activities planned for the exhibition, which runs through Sept. 26, include a visit June 12 by President Obama's half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng -- who like her brother is of mixed ancestry. Soetoro-Ng, who wrote the foreword to Fulbeck's new book, will arrive June 12 to commemorate Loving Day, the annual celebration of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving vs. Virginia that legalized interracial marriage in every state. Original article can be found here: MSNBC clip:

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