PRESS RELEASE: , 2008
A survey of Southern California artists, architects, and designers who pose aesthetic inquiries that express a unique logic, ecological reasoning or discourse.
Cypress College Art Gallery
9200 Valley View,
January 28–, 2009
Opening reception: January 28, 6–8 p.m.
Artists include: Calvin Abe, Kim Abeles, Samantha Fields, Sant Khalsa, Manfred Menz, Kathryn Miller, Lothar Schmitz, Glen Small, and Joel Tauber.
Curated by Patricia Watts, ecoartspace
Environmentalists often find it hard not to be sarcastic, or even angry, when working with individuals, organizations, and institutions that are ignorant of opportunities to protect the environment. The use of humor and metaphors is often employed by activists to point out playfully what is obvious to some, a way to open minds to new ideas. Artists have long pointed out the not-so-obvious through visual imagery, offering up symbols that can lead cultures to a new awareness. The following artists share this practice. Their work displays a type of logic that questions its viewers to think deeper and harder, and to make sense of what they present. An ecolOGIC, if you will.
Calvin Abe: ah'bé www.ahbe.com
ah'bé landscape architects, an award-winning, –based firm renowned for creating artful and ecologically sustainable urban infrastructure spaces, began a series of indoor art installations entitled Shreddings in 2003. Questioning our assumptions about what we do, this fourth iteration of recycled paper towers, or an abstract forest, furthers the dialogue on our current methods of waste disposal.
Kim Abeles www.kimabeles.com
Abeles creates poignant or apt signifiers of environmental conditions. In her Signs of Life series, which she started in 2004, she uses satellite photographs to pinpoint or map plant life as sculptural objects. Using model trees, she creates a magnified landscape of what little nature exists in urban areas.
Fields’s paintings depict nature’s extreme, environmental drama, unrestrained atmospheric landscapes, the sublime. She documents devastation from wildfires that questions our understanding of natural cycles and human impacts on the land. These dreamy, apocalyptic works remind us of our ability to forget that we live in a precarious, temporal world.
Sant Khalsa www.santkhalsa.com
Khalsa creates typologies of nature, as in her Western Waters series artworks, which describe the proliferation of water stores in the Southwest. Consisting of over two hundred stores to date, these black-and-white photographs of store facades and signage signal a trend: clean water is either a limited resource, or it is an economically driven commercial product.
Manfred Menz www.manfredmenz.com
Since 2004, Menz has created an ongoing body of work entitled Invisible Project. Documenting famous sites around the world, where snapshots are usually taken by tourists, his digitally enhanced large-scale photographs reveal only the locations’ plant life. By removing the built environment, the artist shows us the evidence of nature’s role in today’s world.
Miller’s work is deeply rooted in environmental issues, concepts, questions, and concerns. As a keen observer of the natural world, she combines knowledge of art and biology to illuminate human impacts on ecological systems and native habitat. With her dry sense of humor and sense of the absurd, she invents advertisements of green denial.
Glen Small www.glenhowardsmallarchitect.com
Small, a visionary “outsider” architect and founding member of SCI-Arc in , developed a socially and environmentally responsible sensibility with his early projects in the 1970s, when he conceived of the Biomorphic Biosphere and Green Machine. His designs were inspired by his goal to transform the Los Angeles basin into a futuristic eco logical region.
Through sci-fi like laboratory dioramas and sculptural systems, Schmitz shows how we shape nature with our desire to bring order or progress to our lives. With coiffed domestic settings, interiorized gardens, we have sealed off the natural world and have become psychologically immune to its unrestrained aesthetic.
Joel Tauber www.joeltauber.com
In his video work entitled Sick-Amour, Tauber falls in love with a sycamore tree, an emblem of our fragmented relationship with nature. Struggling to assist the sycamore to survive in the middle of a parking lot, the artist becomes an eco-warrior, a guerilla gardener, a fake civic worker—all to save the tree.
Closing Reception: Saturday, February 29, 2009, 7–9 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; Tuesday–Wednesday, 6–8 p.m. The gallery is closed Friday, except by appointment
For more information, please contact gallery director Paul Paiement at
Monday, January 05, 2009
PRESS RELEASE: , 2008