I’m pleased to be exhibiting two works in Binding Desire: Unfolding Artists Books at Otis College of Art and Design’s Ben Maltz Gallery in Los Angeles. The group show features approximately 120 works from Otis Millard Sheets Library’s Special Collection of 2,100 artists books dating from the 1960s to the present. Otis’s book arts collection is one of the largest in Southern California.
My displayed pieces are Cryo Primer 1 and Vostok. Cryo Primer 1 was produced during a Xerox PARC art residency and casts an eye on the experimental and speculative nature of human cryopreservation. Reverse-printed text pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s journals while suggesting that novel technologies, such as cryonics, also warrant ‘reflection’ for proper assessment. Ink-jet printed throughout, the laser-cut eight-fold structure is fashioned from a single sheet of vellum featuring pop-ups on all three spreads, and is housed in a laser-etched rubber case bound with aluminum screw posts. It was issued in an edition of 25 copies.
Cryo Primer 1 is part of a larger project titled Polar Book Lab that juxtaposes science, art and narrative in considering the broader sociological implications of cryogenics, cryobiology, and cryonics. The project derives its aesthetic sensibility from the sculptural quality inherent to scientific instrumentation and material.
Vostok was produced in collaboration with Dolphin Press in Baltimore during a visiting faculty residency at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The title refers to the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica. Lake Vostok is a relatively recent discovery and research suggests that it supports active micro-organisms that evolved in isolation for several millions of years. This book speculates on those life forms, as well as those that may lie outside Earth’s atmosphere.
The text and images are letterpress and screen printed on French Dur-o-Tone cover stock and the coptic-bound signatures are cased in hinged wooden covers. The wood is a nod to Ernest Shackleton’s Aurora Australis whose covers were cut from wooden provision cases in 1908 to create the first book ever published in Antarctica.
The exhibition is on view from January 25 – March 30, 2014. Gallery information and the list of exhibiting artists can be found on the press release here.
Projections 2 and 3 are my contributions to MFA Now 2014, an exhibition of 17 Bay Area grads at Root Division in San Francisco. The two floor-and-wall installations are situated perpendicular to each other, functioning as a diptych. They engage in dialogue with one another through threads strung overhead suggesting transmission wires or similar paths of communication. On the wall these lines splay into shadows and drawn graphite lines suggesting a larger, possibly infinite web bound by cosmic phenomena.
The exhibition remains on view till February 22, 2014. Root Division is at 3175 17th Street at South Van Ness in San Francisco and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 2-6 P.M. or by appointment. Admission is free.
In the studio, I’m working on a piece titled Phase Transition that utilizes metallized polyester film, commonly known by the trade name Mylar, to explore light, color, material, and reflectivity. The wall installation treats light in a painterly manner, blurring the boundaries between Mylar, wall, and reflection to reference concepts of transition, modulation, and mutation.
Phase Transition also addresses shifts across time. Its composition is based on a line graph accompanying a recent study which tracks Arctic sea ice extent over the last 1,450 years. The uppermost ribbon of Mylar accurately traces the peaks and valleys of the timeline, concluding with an abrupt and precipitous drop to the floor.
It also speaks to translating indexical data into subjective and symbolic imagery. Diagrammatic in origin, the installation’s multitudinous ‘eyes’ and bulbous, viscous tendrils acquire a biotic constitution, suggesting a perpetual state of vulnerability and transformation in which human presence is complicit.
Over the next three months I’ll be teaching my first solo class at Stanford. The course is titled ARTSTUDI 230: Interdisciplinary Art Survey. Geared towards Art majors and minors, the course combines lecture, seminar and studio time to cover media from drawing, painting, video and digital media to printmaking, photography, sculpture and performance art. It runs throughout the Winter quarter from January 6 through March 14, 2014.
I’m excited to be included in MFA Now 2014, an exhibition featuring 17 Bay Area grads. The juror, Donna Napper, curator of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, selected seventeen works from submitted archive materials to be shown at Root Division for the month of February. The MFA Now 2014 Archive will be published concurrently with a full page dedicated to each contributing artist.
The exhibition will take place during February 5-22, 2014, with opening reception and archive project release happening on Saturday, February 8 at 7-10 P.M. Root Division is at 3175 17th Street at South Van Ness in San Francisco and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 2-6 P.M. or by appointment. Admission is free.
On the installation side of the studio, I’ve created two companion pieces to Projections 2. They are collectively titled Projections 2+3+4.
Three spotlights are aimed directly at three mirrors, projecting beams vertically up the wall to interact with wood, thread, and paper elements to create an array of ‘sculptural drawings’ over the walls and ceiling. Measuring about 12 feet across and 2 feet deep, the installation draws on musical notation, cosmic imagery and the notion that everything in the material world has a narrative.
My latest Long View sketchbook page deals with the theme of marine litter. The accumulation of trash in the Earth’s seas is severe to the extent that it impacts remote Antarctic ecosystems. Learn more about this urgent environmental issue and the efforts to address it on my latest Long View blog post.
Projections 2 is an installation I created for the 2013 Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards exhibition currently on view at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. The artwork consists of a spotlight directed at a 24″ square horizontal mirror at floor level, casting double shadows of a rotating hoop and swinging orb onto a reflected beam shooting vertically up the wall. Movement is powered by a small electric motor as well as by hand.
My construction addresses humankind’s quest to understand and visualize the universe from both scientific and artistic perspectives. I’m interested, for example, in the artist Joseph Cornell’s celestial boxes whose suspended spheres, shifting rings, and itinerant sand articulate his interpretation of the cosmos. I see his sculptures as analogous to contemporary astrophysicists’ three dimensional maps of galaxies that mark the distribution of matter in space, in that both attempt to comprehend the patterns seen in nature and the laws of physics.
Projections 2 also alludes to our connection with the cosmic sublime. Artists continually strive to re-state the vocabulary of mathematics in a graspable visual form that communicates a sense of awe and wonder. I attempt this here by referencing the physics of light, movement, space, and time by symbolic means. My approach to this work was inspired by Elizabeth Kessler’s course and book titled Picturing the Cosmos which in part addresses how artists translate indexical data into subjective imagery to describe the workings of the cosmos and humanity’s drive to comprehend its breadth and complexity.
Long View Sketchbook Page 059 pictures the constellation Pavo, visible in the southern hemisphere. Pavo represents the Greek myth of Argo, the hundred-eyed giant slain by Hermes and placed in the heavens by Hera as a peacock.
Gazing up at the faraway bird, one might ponder the limitlessness of the cosmos. Astrophysicists certainly have, and their discoveries now question the notion of the universe’s stability in the long run. Read about the ‘finite zipper,’ as I picture it, in the latest post to my Long View blog hosted by the California Academy of Sciences
The jurors were Justin Hoover, the Gallery Director and Curator at SOMArts in San Francisco and Monica Ramirez Montagut, the Associate Director and Senior Curator of MACLA/San Jose Center for Latino Arts.
An exhibition of artwork by Murphy and Cadogan awardees will take place at SOMArts Cultural Center during September 3-28, 2013. The public reception takes place on Friday, Sept 6, 6:30-9:00 P.M. with an awards ceremony at 7 P.M. SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th) in San Francisco, CA. Admission is free.