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
BY JOSEF WOODARD
SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
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.
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.
'2011 INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AWARD WINNERS'
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, http://www.artsfundsb.org
Please see our calendar page for more info:
Please see our calendar page for more info:
OCT 1 - OCT 3, 2011
Opening Preview Friday, September 30
More information available here:
Passiflora vitilolia 36x25" acrylic and ink over Audubon print 2011
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 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.
Please see the event page at:
|UCLA||DEPARTMENT OF ART|
Nugget & Gravy
September 22 – October 6, 2011
Opening Reception: Thurs, September 22, 5–8pm
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
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
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, http://gallery.sbcc.edu
Laura Krifka shows her evolving focus as a painter and sculptor who deals with the light and dark, realism and fantasy
BY JOSEF WOODARD
SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
In 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.
An 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.
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.”
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, www.mikerubin.org.
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 http://www.mikerubin.org