CCA Open Studios

Visited the California College of the Arts’ Open Studios today. In 5 hours, I visited something like 100 graduate fine arts students’ studios. Here’s what stuck out in my totally subjective walk-through (click on the image to see close-up):

Jessica Miller‘s control-room installation functioned to reveal her experimental foam-making process, and display her stop-motion animations. Made of silver tape, it was wonderfully, fittingly lo-fi.

Gareth Spor displayed a really cool light and mirror-based sculpture that I couldn’t help but love. When you looked in the mirror, your eyes reflected the lights, putting a surreal sparkle in your eyes. I’m interested in his interest in space and astronomy, and look forward to seeing more of his really clean, minimal gestures.

Luke Butler makes fantastic paintings that are funny, beautiful, ironic, and hard not to like. He also makes supplementary ephemera that are self-referential—commenting, I think only semi-ironically, about the myth of the genius. In a neighboring studio, a fellow artist, whose name I think is Moses, reproduced Butler’s studio in color prints. I thought erasing the evidence of his own work from his open studio, and supplanting it with a copy of Butler’s studio, was a wry, brave move.

Christina Empedocles is a really good painter, and I like her new works for their humor. They remind me of Ed Ruscha’s work, which is a good thing.

Leah Rosenberg‘s work has become more formal—a painter, she now works directly with paint, sometimes sans substrate. Some of the gooier uses of paint as adhesives is Sarrita Hunn-like. Her use of doubling/mirroring is shared with Jason Kalogiros, but with additional mirrors even the doubling is doubled.

Mik Gaspay‘s paintings on glicee-printed photographs on canvas are well-executed and cinematic; sci-fi apocalypse in an overgrown jungle.

Andrew Tosiello’s interest in Italian mafias is intriguing. I love that a white ethnic minority is parsing his non-whiteness earnestly and confidently, with neither guilt nor delusion. His work is really well thought out and executed, and has taken an interesting turn into Victorian-era forms, like silhouettes and plaster busts. They seem easily commodified in a market like Design Within Reach, yet Tosiello reminds us that these mobsters are not caricatures; b/w postcards depicting brutal murders attest to their violent realities.

Eliot Daughtry showed new media that seemed to be about new media. I like the re-purposed iMacs. Painted black, they look like regular monitors, until you notice their uber 90’s lozenge shapes.

I’m not smart about photography, but I feel like I’ve seen a lot of projects in which women fictionalized their self-portraits in a documentary style to play out fantasies around class and gender. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Jason Hanasik‘s work, which bravely makes allusions to the life of soldiers in desert camos.


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