Projections 2 at SOMArts SF

September 27, 2013

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.

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LV Sketchbook Page 059

August 31, 2013

2013-08-30 LV Sketchbook Page 059-Zipper Closed-450x288

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

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Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards

August 29, 2013


I’m pleased to be among the recipients of the 2013 Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards. The fellowships are administered by The San Francisco Foundation with funds from the Jack & Gertrude Murphy Trust and the Edwin Anthony & Adelaine Boudreaux Cadogan Trust.

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.

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LV Sketchbook Page 060

July 30, 2013

2013-08-30 LV Sketchbook Page 059-Black Hole + Hydra Const-450x300

My newest Long View sketchbook entry depicts Hydra, the single largest constellation in the sky. Visible from Antarctica in the austral winter, Hydra stretches across 102.5° to represent the water-serpent from the Greek myth of Heracles’ Twelve Labours. The sewn fabric composition features the constellation’s brightest star, some of its galaxies, and a black hole that spews iron into the cosmos. Read more on my Long View blog.

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Antarctic Item 056

June 30, 2013

Item 056 is the latest Antarctic discard posted to my Long View blog. I speculate on the object’s function and history in my text.

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Gabe Bartalos: Abhorrence and Obsession at UAM CSULB

June 20, 2013

My brother, special effects artist Gabe Bartalos, is having a show of his work at the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach from September 7 to December 8, 2013. The exhibition, titled Abhorrence and Obsession, showcases twenty-eight works including seven large-scale pieces he produced for Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle. The show will also feature his visual effects and character design for a range of cult horror films.

Loughton Candidate, 1994, Cremaster 4 (Matthew Barney): foam rubber, cloth, & fiberglass. © Matthew Barney.

The opening reception takes place on Saturday, September 7, 6:00 – 8:00 P.M., followed by a conversation between Gabe and Matthew at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. More information here.

In addition, UAM CSULB is collaborating with Long Beach Cinematheque to host special screenings in partnership with the exhibit on the CSULB campus in October 2013. All screenings will be free and open to the public. Details, dates, and titles can be found here.

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Moebius Landing Strip at Ltd Los Angeles

June 10, 2013

I’m one of nine artists invited by Julia Scher to participate in her “Welcome Aliens” show, part of a larger exhibition titled A Short History of Cologne with Frances Scholz and Mark von Schlegell now on view at Ltd Los Angeles. Each of the invited artists contributed an ‘alien landing pad’ of their own concept and design alongside Julia’s musings on potential encounters with extraterrestrial life.

My piece, titled Moebius Landing Strip, welcomes aliens with an endless arrival to Earth. On touching down, alien craft proceed to loop in eternity, echoing the infinite dimensions of the cosmos from where they came, and where we reside. The object is constructed of paper, graphite, and glue.

The other landing pad artists, who include Julia’s students at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, are Roman Hahlbrock, Jeff Cook, Karin Lingnau, Christian Sievers, Vanja Smiljanic, Amir Sorek, David Hahlbrock, and Heiko Diekmeier. The exhibition is up till July 3 at Ltd LA, 7561 W. Sunset Blvd #103, Los Angeles CA 90046 | 323.378.6842

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Antarctic Item 055

May 30, 2013

Item 055 is among the many artifacts I retrieved from Antarctica for my Long View Project. I’ve been cataloging my collection by function, shape and material. With this current LV blog post I shift focus away from round metal objects over to folded pieces of fabric.

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Frontrunner Magazine Interview

May 3, 2013

Tomorrow's Headlines, floor installation, 2012.

Frontrunner Magazine features an interview with me in their Art section this month. Frontrunner is a new media collective supporting creative entrepreneurs through the medium of storytelling. The Q & A was conducted by Edward Symes, founder of Frontrunner Magazine and Here and Now Films.

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Antarctic Bookshelf 7: Aurora Australis by Ernest Shackleton, 1986 Reissue

April 25, 2013

Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909, also known as the Nimrod Expedition, made great breakthroughs in polar exploration, science, and even publishing, for it was this trip that produced Aurora Australis, the first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in Antarctica.

Eighty years after its original publication, this rare letterpress-printed book was re-issued as trade edition, allowing the larger public to experience the Nimrod crew’s creativity from cover to cover. An added attraction of the re-print is an introductory essay by Aurora Australis researcher John Millard that provides useful information about the original edition.

I discuss this edition, Millard’s text, and online access of Aurora Australis in my latest Long View blog post, hosted by the California Academy of Sciences.

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