Fine Arts News

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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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Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 by Allison Byers

So don't miss this Thursday's "METAMORPHOSIS," when the talented artist/designers from the California College of the Arts transform the Academy (and possibly you) into something unexpected. Explore a multitude of industrial, interaction, illustration, fashion, furniture and graphic designers from CCA as they showcase an amazing, cutting-edge array of work, highlighting new technologies and innovative ideas that explore the concept of metamorphosis.

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Posted on Monday, November 11, 2013 by Lindsey Westbrook

2012 SECA Art Award: Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, David Wilson
SFMOMA, 2013
Paperback, 40 pages, $9.95

Three of the four winners of the 2012 SECA Art Award are CCA affiliates: Zarouhie Abdalian (MFA 2010) is an alumna, Josh Faught is on the Textiles faculty, and Jonn Herschend is a former faculty member and visiting artist. The award, given every two years by SFMOMA, honors Bay Area artists.

This SECA exhibition catalogue features interviews and texts by the award curators Jenny Gheith and Tanya Zimbardo (MA Curatorial Practice 2005), documentation of the commissions, and illustrations of previous work.

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Posted on Monday, November 11, 2013 by Lindsey Westbrook

Seven Essential Practices for the Professional Artist
Editions Fri, 2013
Paperback, 72 pages, $7.95

Many talented people give up on a creative career because they were taught the tools and skills of their craft but not how to actually live a fulfilling life as an artist. This book by CCA alumna Michele Théberge (MFA 2004) puts forth habits, practices, and mindsets crucial for artists to create and share their work while maintaining health and a sense of well-being. It contains practical advice about how to develop and sustain a creative practice while dealing with rejection and self-doubt, the importance of crafting a vision for one's work and setting specific goals for it, and cultivating a critical and supportive community.

Living and working in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, the artist and author Michele Théberge floundered her first few years out of art school. Her daily meditation practice taught her how to lead a productive and satisfying life as an artist by creating a solid inner foundation. She is known for the quiet, meditative quality of her drawings, paintings, and installations, which are constructed from delicate materials such as paper, paint, fabric, mylar, foil, and pins. Collected internationally, her work has been exhibited in New York, Osaka, Kyoto, London, Cologne, Chicago, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Miami, and the United Arab Emirates.

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