EcoLOGIC: 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
January 28 – February 28th, 2009
Opening reception January 28th 7-9pm
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 are often employed by activists to playfully point out 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 are of this practice. Their work displays a type of logic that questions its viewers to think deeper, harder, and to make sense of what they present. An ecolOGIC, if you will.
Calvin Abe: ah'bé
ah'bé landscape architects, an award-winning, Culver City 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 4th iteration of recycled paper towers, or an abstract forest, furthers the dialogue on our current methods of waste disposal.
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 paintings depict nature’s extreme, environmental drama, unrestrained atmospheric landscapes, the sublime. She documents devastation from wildfires that question 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.
Khalsa creates typologies of nature, as in her Western Waters series that describes the proliferation of water stores in the southwest. Consisting of over 200 stores to date, these black-and-white photographs of store facades and signage, signals a trend that either clean water is becoming a limited resource or an economically driven commercial product.
Since 2004, Menz has created an ongoing body of work entitled “Invisible Project.” Documenting sites around the world, where famous snapshots are usually taken by tourists, his digitally-enhanced large scale photographs reveal only the locations plant life. By removing the built environment, we see 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.
Small, a visionary “outsider” architect and founding member of SCI Arc in Los Angeles, developed a socially and environmentally responsible sensibility with his early projects in the 1970’s 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 ecological 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.
In his video work entitled Sick-Amour, Tauber falls in love with a sycamore tree, an emblematic of where we are in the world today. Struggling to survive in the middle of a parking lot, the artist becomes an eco-warrior, guerrilla gardener, a fake civic worker, to save the tree.
CLICK ON THE IMAGES (RIGHT) TO GO TO THE ARTISTS WEBSITES
Gallery Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-2pm, Tuesday-Wednesday 6-8pm
The gallery is closed Friday except by appointment
For more information please contact Gallery Director Paul Paiement at 714.484.7134