Fine Arts News

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Celluloid Salutations
BlazeVOX, 2014
Paperback, 142 pages, $16

Celluloid Salutations is the second book by alumna Elizabeth Block (MFA Writing 2002, MFA 2003).

Juliana Spahr says: “It’s all here: love, work, child. And the writing. Mainly the writing. It takes over all these other things and yet it is built out of all these things. This is how Elizabeth Block erases Elizabeth Block, as one poem claims. She does this automatically, animalistically, while wailing forward, gracefully and with improvisation.

Bill Berkson says: “Elizabeth Block’s poetry moves through those ‘layers of noise’ we all contend with and goes a long way toward conquering by absorbing them. Page by page, the intervals, apparent blanks and interruptions between word clusters, vibrate tellingly with each tabulation of event, the actuality in and of the words as Block arranges them. Here is urgency and nuance. The matter never gets figured out we want it to we think all day long on. Take time to read this magnetic book.

The cover artwork is by noted CCA alumna Amanda Hughen (Graphic Design 1999).

Block won the Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fiction Fellowship for her first novel, A Gesture Through Time, which was fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts. She was a Poets & Writers grantee for the presentation of new work at the Lab in San Francisco.

Block has won many other awards and residencies, including an award from Poets & Writers and another from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program Tread of Angels Fellowship. Her writing has appeared on stage, in film, in public art, in books, on audio CD and podcasts.

She is also a filmmaker whose film poems have traveled extensively throughout the United States and elsewhere. She has published work in many genres and in many journals, and her work has also appeared on the public radio stations KQED and KSFR. She often collaborates with musicians and visual artists.

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Horizontal Book 2013: The Neverwere Exhibits and Other Work
Blurb, 2013
Paperback/hardcover, 70 pages, $30.99/$41.99

This book by alumnus Kip Bryant (MFA 1976) contains various art projects completed in 2013, including Floating Leaf, Moonlight, and The Neverwere Exhibits.

Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 by Laura Braun

Woods (b. 1963) earned her arts education at California Polytechnic State University; the Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy; and the California College of the Arts in Oakland, where she earned her B.F.A. In addition to exhibiting with George Billis Gallery, Woods has displayed her art at Quidley & Company Fine Art in Boston (2012); Stewart Gallery in Boise, Idaho (2012); the Boise Art Museum (2010); and many other fine art venues.

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Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

On a crystal-clear June evening in summer 2013, the sun is setting in Marfa, Texas, and a dozen CCA students -- together with a dozen more students from two art schools in the Netherlands -- are settling into the evening rhythms of their tent city.

The tents are cozily nestled in the courtyard of a former officer’s club, long abandoned by the US military. Elsewhere in the building complex, an old bar has been converted into an ad hoc Internet lounge. A spookily empty ballroom houses a broken-down old piano. The kitchen has accommodated the making of many a communal dinner.

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Jim Norrena

Carol Ladewig (MFA Painting/Drawing 1991) is a Bay Area artist worth knowing. Aside from her delightful demeanor, her decades-long experience within Oakland’s art scene is formidable: artist, activist, gallerist, curator, teacher, and more.

But to know Ladewig requires us to first revisit some of Oakland's history.

Oakland's Pardee Artists

In 1932, at the southwest corner of 16th Street and San Pablo Avenue, a three-story commercial building, then known as the Wetmore Pardee Building

Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 by Allison Byers

Born in Nigeria, raised in Alabama, and trained at the Bay Area's California College of the Arts, Odutola draws on references as diverse as her upbringing, from animated Japanese serials and African carvings to the sinews of anatomical diagrams.

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Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 by Simon Hodgson

John Chiara, “20th at San Bruno,” 2002

For Bay Area native John Chiara (MFA 2004), who is preparing to create a series of photographs in and of New York, swapping the Bay Area for the Big Apple presents a few challenges.

The issue is not at all about tackling New York's art scene; having had 2013 shows at Pier 24 Photography and the de Young in San Francisco, as well as at galleries in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Zurich, it's clear that he is already coming into focus for an increasing audience worldwide.

Rather, New York will be a challenge in terms of the subject matter it offers up, given that until now Northern California has been such a looming presence in Chiara's work. The Bay Area infuses the photography of this San Francisco-born artist like the terroir of a vintage bottle of Saint-Emilion.

Posted on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 by Allison Byers

Over the weekend of November 16-17, 2013, 24 CCA undergraduates participated in Wheel Well, a “design sprint” for bicycle safety in Silicon Valley.

Organized by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Roadway Safety Solutions Team, CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life, and CCA’s Design division, the event challenged students to rapidly conceive an intervention that would: 1) improve the relationship between motorists and cyclists in Silicon Valley; and 2) encourage behavior change to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2013 by Allison Byers

Maybe the zombie paintings can also make a sort of meta-statement about art itself. “In grad school at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where I’m based now, my professors and I often debated whether painting could be considered a “zombie” medium," Pfau says, "with some art critics declaring it dead, while others saying that it has been brought back to life.”

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Posted on Friday, November 15, 2013 by Rachel Walther

Wenxin Zhang, "Self portrait by the lake," 2012

Wenxin Zhang (MFA 2013) is always redefining her reality. In her writings and photography, she describes her experiences&mdash growing up in China, her current life in San Francisco, and her personal relationships—in a voice that is melancholy and surreal. Images of fall leaves in an industrial landscape are juxtaposed with a young boy’s glassy stare. A description of nocturnal wanderings illuminates the artist’s haunted sense of displacement wherever she goes.

Zhang has exhibited her work throughout the United States. Here she discusses her future projects and reflects on how her time at CCA has shaped her practice.

Since I was little, I was always longing to go to a faraway place—to be a stranger in a foreign country. I was unsatisfied with my hometown of Hefei. It’s a smaller, inland Chinese city. Young souls would leave for a bigger place after high school, and there was nothing new really going on. I felt so trapped by the place.

My father was a journalist for a local radio station. He traveled a lot and often took me with him. In 2004 he gave me a digital camera, and I used it every day. I would take photos and try to interpret my environment, to create a new little world with my camera in order to get away from the mundane. When I was in high school I would take bus trips with my best friend to the boundaries of our hometown—to the suburbs and the countryside. Student bus tickets are very cheap, so we would go the furthest distance we could by bus and take pictures of each other as our own story characters.

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