THE BOX (and the Collectors series) by Sonja Schenk
2017 Art+Tech Artist-in-Residence (Welding)
February 20, 2018 - March 23, 2018
Opening: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 5PM-8PM
Cerritos College Art Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by the 2017 Cerritos College ART+TECH Artist-in-Residence, Sonja Schenk. During the October 2017 - January 2018 residency period, Schenk worked with faculty from the Cerritos College Welding program, as well as the Cerritos College Film and Printmaking programs, collaborating to produce the components for her upcoming exhibition, The Box.
As Schenk explained in her residency proposal, the exhibition will consist of 'a complex set of parts, carefully packed in custom paper-pulp molding, along with disposable tools, hardware, and a large image-based instruction diagram,' all located inside a non-descript metal box. When unpacked by visitors to the exhibition, the contents of this box will expand to produce an assemblage (and/or multiple assemblages) large enough to fill the exhibition space.
In the gallery, in addition to the box and its contents, a video projection, produced with the help of a Cerritos College Film student, will replicate the well-known phenomena of online 'unboxing' videos. With the visual assistance of the projected 'unboxing' simulation and the semiotic assemblage mapping of a fold-out instruction diagram, produced within the Cerritos College printmaking facilities, the exhibition visitor will be encouraged, either individually or collaboratively, to attempt to 'complete' the work on display through the manipulation of its component parts.
'Drawing inspiration in equal parts from Sol LeWitt and Ikea' the modular nature of The Box is meant to challenge simplistic conceptions of creative authorship at the same time that it highlights the ambiguous relationship between art and commerce during the contemporary collapse of late post-capitalism. As Schenk concluded in her residency proposal, 'in light of changes affecting our planet, the desire to organize, own, and occupy becomes ever more poignant; the action of buying or building ever more futile and desperate.'
In addition to The Box, the gallery will also feature The Collectors series (of which The Box is a part). Ispired by rock collectors, desert dwellers and junk hoarders, 'The Collectors' is an exhibition of art works by Sonja Schenk that looks at the very human desire to acquire, accumulate, and arrange the objects we own. Just as ancient humans came across gold and other objects of beauty and decided to keep them, we all work daily to search, scavenge, acquire, quantify and organize, all to our own mysterious purposes. But as one peels away the metaphors attached to the objects themselves - the importance assigned to precious metals, the meanings attributed to various gemstones, the healing and mystical properties believed to be inherent to crystals and other rare minerals - it becomes clear what we desire to control and quantify is perhaps the very earth itself. In light of the changes that are affecting our planet, this desire becomes even more poignant, the action of collecting or hoarding is ever more futile and desperate. 'The Collectors' consists of paintings, installation works, and sculpture, including the interactive installation, 'The Box,' created through the Cerritos College Art+Tech Residency program in collaboration with the Cerritos College welding department.
Sonja Schenk is an internationally-exhibiting multi-media artist. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Schenk studied studio art at the Université de Bordeaux, France, and she holds a BA in Visual Arts & Communications from UC San Diego and a MFA in Film from USC. Though she began working primarily with video installations, she has also since produced large-scale painting and sculptural projects. Schenk has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, California and at the Prescott College Art Gallery in Prescott, Arizona. She has created a commissioned outdoor sculpture for Porch Gallery in Ojai, California and served as the artist-in-residence at Shasta-Whiskeytown National Park in 2014 and at the Thomas McKeon Center for Creativity in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2016. Schenk has shown her work at the Yokohama Triennial in Japan, the Musee du Papier-Peint in Switzerland, the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles, the Berkeley Art Center in Northern California, and the Joshua Treenial in Joshua Tree, CA. To see previous projects by Schenk, visit her artist website at: http://www.sonjaschenk.com/
About the ART+TECH Artist-in-Residence Program: Established in 2014, the Cerritos College ART+TECH Artist-in-Residency is a unique annual program, which pairs a local professional visual artist with the amazing technology resources available on the Cerritos College campus. For documentation of the three previous ART+TECH residency exhibitions, Jeff Cain's Natural History (2014, Engineering Design Technology), Beatriz Cortez's Your Life Work (2015, Autobody Collision Repair), and Stephanie Deumer's Features of the Same Face (2016, Woodworking), please see the Cerritos College Art Gallery's online bookstore at: http://www.blurb.com/user/jmacdevitt
About the Cerritos College Art Gallery: The Cerritos College Art Gallery presents rotating exhibitions highlighting the work of emerging and mid-career artists. A special emphasis is placed on works that confront challenging and pressing issues in contemporary art and culture. In support of exhibitions, the Cerritos College Art Gallery also regularly hosts workshops, lectures, and performances. The mission of the Cerritos College Art Gallery is to serve as an educational, social, and culture enhancement for the Cerritos academic population, as well as the immediate surrounding communities.
About the Welding Program at Cerritos College: The Cerritos College Welding Department is recognized nationwide as a leader in welding education. The 12,000 square foot lab areas boast 76 welding stations, allowing students practical welding experiences on ferrous and non-ferrous plate, pipe, and sheet metal using the SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, FCAW, SAW, and OAW processes on state-of-the-art equipment. Instruction is also offered in pipe layout, print reading, and welding code classes. The program is fully approved and licensed to administer AWS, ASME, API, and state welding certifications and specializes in the Los Angeles City Welding Certifications. Full time Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI) are on staff as well as other professors and instructors noted for their expertise in the art of welding.
WINDOW DRESSING series
January 29, 2018 - April 20, 2018 Rotating installations take over the Cerritos College Art Gallery's outdoor vitrine, with each installation lasting just one week only. Don't blink, or you might miss them. CHeck them out while you can.
Jackie Bell Johnson STARBURST
Jan 29 - Feb 2, 2018
Jackie Bell Johnson's installation, Starburst, will create a literal burst of light and color within the vitrine space of the display gallery. The floating abstract pattern will be made of woven fabric - specifically cheesecloth, dyed shades of red, coral, orange, and red - lit to cast shadows and illuminate the color of the material. The material is thin, and when lit, it will look like it glows. Cut into long, thin strips, the fabric will be attached to the corner wall and then will be stretched out to the far ends of the space. The result will be a delicate, intricate pattern in cast shadows on the interior wall, mingling with the illuminated fabric.
Dakota Noot MEAT MARKET
Feb 5 - Feb 9, 2018
Noot will create an installation playing off of traditional window displays, featuring drawings turned into standing cutouts and hanging pieces. The installation, entitled Meat Market, will link masculinity and the body to the buying/selling, hunting, and eating of meat. Men will be morphed into animal-human hybrids frolicking and eating one another. Rendered in the style of children's coloring books, the drawings will be playful despite depicting horrific scenes of semi-cannibalism. By having animalistic men interacting together, the installation will play into contemporary themes of identity, sexual orientation (without didactic explicitness), and objectification. The artist will specifically draw from his rural background combined in unexpected ways with his self-identification as a gay male artist.
Diane Williams BEAUTIFUL CREATURES
Feb 12 - Feb 16, 2018
Diane Williams' installation, Beautiful Creatures, will mimic the stereotypical presentation of commercial storefront displays, but with a surreal twist. The featured objects on display will be pulled from a previous project entitled Monsters and Aliens, which involved the creation of abstract masks, monstrous (self-)portraits, made out of shredded paintings and other discarded materials. The masks will be placed on mannequins and custom-made stands, combined with shredded acrylic paintings scattered on the floor and cut-up gel rolls hanging from the ceiling. These materials are semi-translucent, diffusing light in a pleasant aesthetic amalgamation, and obscuring the masked female object, subverting the way we are conditioned to see the unfamiliar as only-ever the frightening ‘Other' - the outsider, the monster, the alien - replaced instead by fascinating, beautiful creatures.
Paula Goldman BLUSTER
Feb 26 - Mar 2, 2018
Paul Goldman's installation, Bluster, will reference the overwhelming onslaught of current events, while attempting to provide some partial relief by literally ‘blowing the news away.' On the far left side of the vitrine will be a very large photo of a woman's face in profile, posed as if she were blowing out candles. Spread across the length of the interior wall will be full-page spreads pulled from current news publications. Brightly colored streamers will be suspended from the ceiling throughout the vitrine and a small fan will be positioned in the left end of the space, aimed at the streamers and blowing in the same direction as the subject in the photograph, creating the illusion that the giant head is sharply exhaling. The wrap-around area of the vitrine will be filled with crumpled newspapers, the accumulated and littered remains of previous attempts to blow away the trauma caused by contemporary media coverage of current events.
Henderson Blumer and Suzanne Zoe A COMEDY, IN PARTS
Mar 5 - Mar 9, 2018
For Henderson Blumer and Suzanne Zoe's joint project, A Comedy, in Parts, the installation will play with the idea of "window dressing" as a façade meant to bring you in, a seduction, a mirage, a setting of the stage. Indeed, a proscenium stage often functions similarly to a window display (both architecturally and formally). The artists' will explicitly take advantage of the fact that the site can be viewed from both very far away and incredibly close up, creating a stage set that changes drastically depending on the viewing angle. In contrast to the experience of a traditional window dressing, the closer the viewer gets to this installation, the more confused they will become. Through theatrical optical illusion, changes in scale, lighting, and other techniques, the artists will create a set piece that invites closer inspection, but refuses to fully satisfy. Where the scene may look lush and inviting from afar, up close it will become oddly flat. A forest will reveal itself to be a painted mirror. Miniatures and dummies will be placed next to life-sized actors. The set will be activated by one performance, to take place during the opening. But for the duration of the installation, the structure itself will provide multiple viewing experiences. Rather than merely tantalize the viewers like the windows on 5th Avenue, this project will put impossible, incongruous demands on the brain. And yet one will not be able to look away. The installation will play with themes of real vs. fake, as well as the tension that arises from trying to reconcile multiple, simultaneous realities. Visual references throughout the installation will include Calder's Circus, movies such as Dogville and Synecdoche New York, and dioramas at The Natural History Museum.
John Waiblinger and Sean Yang JOURNEY
Mar 19 - Mar 23, 2018
The installation, Journey, created jointly by John Waiblinger and Sean Yang, proposes to narrate and navigate the process of ‘coming-out' that both artists have experienced personally, focusing on the desire for tender connections between two men as well as the journey toward, and away from, the self-actualization of a fully-realized sexual identity. The first element of the installation will be a headless and armless male mannequin, unable to embrace his true self (and, therefore, anyone else), surrounded by a low, semi-broken cinderblock barrier representing the space of "blockage/closet/suppression." Around the corner from the mannequin will be a sculpture of an "exploding head" of tangled thoughts and emotions extended via red elastic bands to all of the other elements in the installation, including to five hanging images printed on gauzy silk, representing idealized types of tender embrace/love/connection between men. The final component, a golden hued, life-sized bust of the artist Sean Yang on a pedestal, wrapped in a silk printed image, represents the figure of the self-actualized ‘out' gay man, however, a red band still connects the pedestal to the exploding head, informing the viewer that this is not a final destination or one-time stop, but rather a continuous circle and a journey that must be traveled repeatedly.
Cat Chiu Phillips REMIX
Mar 26 - Mar 30, 2018
Cat Chiu Phillips' installation, Remix, entirely created from discarded audio and visual products, will be a playful take in handling the inevitability of technology. VHS tapes, cassette tapes, slide projectors, and other modes of technology have quickly become outdated items; casted off and found in scrap piles or second hand stores. Remix is a project that transforms these obsolete materials into a playful and imaginative abstract work, but offers a perspective of its foreseeable futile existence. It is an up-cycled project that juxtaposes the hand-made to the machine-made and transforms junk into an aesthetic item. It initiates a dialogue regarding abundance, electronic waste, and frivolity in the aftermath of advanced technology. All items will be deconstructed then transformed to mimic organic forms, composed to inhabit the window as living entities. Traditional handicraft methods such as crocheting and weaving will be utilized to capture the seemingly freeform movement of the synthetic material.
Inspired by the intersection of didactic stained glass windows and the foundations of design education, Christy Roberts Berkowitz's installation, Elemental Principles, uses the elements and principles of design to ask questions about the nature of community. Art and design classes at Cerritos College, will engage with the blank, but colorfully lit back walls, to create images that attempt to answer a series of provocative questions such as: “What is the shape of the future? Who draws the line? How do you balance the sky? How does community move?” The windows of the display gallery will be covered with translucent color panels. Each window panel will ask a question that integrates the elements and principles of design with critical thinking questions about the nature of community. The questions function as a prompt to create images that attempt to answer these questions and as the week progresses, students can place their own work on the blank wall space behind each colorful panel. The work functions collaboratively because not only are the students challenged with responding to the prompt, but they are also challenged with responding to the color of the window and the lighting.
Elizabeth Tinglof A THIN THREAD TO BALANCE
Apr 9 - Apr 13, 2018
Elizabeth Tinglof's installation, A Thin Thread to Balance, will address the process of grief through conversations around gender, exposure, and symbolic penance. The primary sculpture within the installation will be an abstracted human torso made of resin and covered in areas with silver leaf, giving a contrast through the materials of the precious and the toxic, attached to a traditional dressmaking mannequin stand surrounded by a wire “cage crinoline.” The steel hoop-style petticoat made of wire has been part of the Western-world's fashion-profile for women since the 1850s and continues to be used in contemporary designs, including wedding and ball gowns. By displaying such an iconic fashion element for women, directly connected to the raw and disturbing torso, the observer will both be drawn in for a closer look while also being equally repelled. In addition to the main sculptural piece, an intricate, twisted wire element will emanate from the back of the torso, stretching from one end of the space to the other, climbing up the walls to the ceiling creating a vine-like quality. While the wire element will be intrusive to the space, there will also be a performative aspect to this element, where the artist will continue to build up the wire vines; twisting, shaping and allowing them to grow throughout the week of the exhibition, illustrating the never-ending process of grief itself. The expansive wire vine symbolizes the destructive nature of the “wild vine,” while also showing growth though the performative penitent act of the laborious twisting and shaping of wire. Combining the symbolic object with the self creates a duality to the exposure and speaks to penance not so much as a Judaea-Christian definition, but one more connected to Indian religious traditions, where the term changes from penance to “tapas,” focusing more on enlightenment then the ritualistic restaging of pain and struggle.
Connie DK Lane BRAVURA
Apr 16 - Apr 20, 2018
For Connie DK Lane's installation, Bravura, a large number of hand-made anthropomorphic forms made out of latex rubber, a simulation of apparels for all genders, will be displayed throughout the window case. Bamboo support devices will be constructed to display some of the forms; whereas, others will be hung from the ceiling or attached to the wall. In addition to dressing the window, I intend to have a live fashion show performed on the reception date. Students and audience-members will be invited to serve as models; they will put on the unique latex clothing forms and walk along inside the window passageway.