Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Art at Davis - the Beginning?

Emeritus - "The term is used when a person of importance in a given profession retires, so that his or her former rank can still be used in his or her title"

While investigating the emeritus list at Davis, ran across an interview with Roland Peterson. He discusses the inception of the interdisciplenary art practice at this UC. Roland was one of the first teachers in the Art Department, and his conversation helped me put the Davis approach in context:

...each new faculty member brought in new ideas. And the so-called well balanced art department was soon to form, not in one direction but in many different diversified directions. So as the department became larger and more people became involved in terms of the faculty . . . Roy De Forest came onto the faculty, Manuel Neri and so forth. Many, many new energetic people were entering into the scene. So all of this was energizing, not only the art department, but it was energizing the rest of the faculty as well.

full article at smithsonian institute

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Green vs. Green

This weekend's visit south left me hungry for the northern quiet - cool green space, crumbling cement and clean light. Bri and I visited central LA for the ArtWalk (neat!) and the campus at Long Beach to poke noses into some class critiques and bug more professors. After working in the studio for so many years, its hard to conjure up what school instruction means. It would've been easier to accept the mystery, if there was only one choice. But, now I am trying to figure out what to weigh, and how to weigh it. Davis's program is colored by the dappled light on cement from trees everywhere, and the generous studio space. The south is getting brighter. Reflected light off cement? the water? Its a blur of brilliant green lawn, classrooms filled with easels, and sound bytes from teachers. Facts are simmering, emotions scattered. It is hard to imagine leaving this landscape and the idiosyncratic culture of the Bay even for a couple years.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Indecision 2007, the Nor Cal Edition

originally uploaded by robin kibby.

Visited UC Davis today. The drive up was remiss of traffic, and took me through hills and open fields. Entrance into campus was marked by some newly added large shiny structures, but it didn't temper the bucolic feel. Once into campus, I walked under a constant canopy of mature trees, sided by varied buildings, stretches of lawn, and happy looking students. I imagined each one as esoteric scientist, pursuing phds in gmo crops and sub-atomic somethings. My destination was the building behind the egghead sculptures. The studio art dept here is unique in its size (8 people per class), generously sized studios, and truly interdisciplenary approach to the grad mix. Each year might just have one of each area of study : sculpture, painting, installation, ceramic, video, photo...This year, they are trying something new by taking on several painters at once. The microcosm adds an element of chance to the learning environment. I contemplated whether the wildly varied art group was in itself an experiement. Hopefully, if I go here, it will be a good crop.
My photos don't quite do it justice.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

replenished-gallery field trip in SF

An out-of-town visitor motivated me to cross the bridge for a SF Gallery field trip. Haven't bumped into too much exciting (to me) work in the past, so have skipped repeat outings. But, Sharon kindly let me join her on a tour of her favorite galleries. As hoped, we saw some great spaces with varied types of representational paintings and drawings.
It's infrequent that I pass north of Market Street into the better-heeled shopping part of town. On the way, I passed a lady in all pink suit with matching pointy toed pink shoes. Arriving early, I had a chance for a small walk. Under the Chinatown arch (a place I arrive upon only by accident) I walked slowly past the couples photographing each other by the ornate entrance. Last year I visited the SF Earthquake Show at the Oakland Museum. In a lapse in judgement, firemen used dynamite to "control" post-earthquake fires, causing much of Chinatown to burn. There were hopes of a land grab by outside developers. Equal to the scale of the devastation by fire, is the tenacity of the folks who held onto this land for Chinese (a few prominent Chinese families and business-people) during the rebuiding stage. Now, its a narrow steep road lined with tourist goods, neatly stacked t-shirts, parasols, and knick knacks. Up above, week's worth of laundry hangs from windowsills and porch railings. My 7 minutes afforded me a couple block walk up and back into the traditional shopping district.
There are lots of gallery and collectible shops at eye level. Today we started upstairs. I passed my first destination 1.5 times before figuring it out. Dolby Chadwick gallery is tucked on the second floor of a nice office building. Each floor has tall ceilings with ornate detail. While it seems strange to seek out commerce on upper floors, once in, the light is beautiful, and you get a nice vista of the window detail on the cross-street building.
Some highlights:
* Ben Aronson - cityscapes
* Nancy Switzer - her metal can still lifes were great
* Ann Gale - portraits
* Marc Trujille - having a show at Hackett Freedman in a few weeks.
* Stephen Simons
* Jim Phalen
* Katina Huston
* Shelley Hoyt - i met her in the monterey market checkout line - views of from the berkeley hills through fog.

And, to aid my memory for future outings. We went to:
* Jenkins Johnson Gallery - :)
* Hespe Gallery
* Dolby Chadwick (my fav... neat retrospective show up now)
* John Pence Gallery (secret boon is room of drawings in the back)
* Hackett Freedman
* Frey Norris

Friday, April 13, 2007

North vs. South - new MFa contender, UC Davis

Inbetween taxes, selling the Honda, and design work (dubbed "clicky clicky" for my time tethered to the mouse), I got an email titled CONGRATULATIONS. The use of all-caps seemed perfect for news from UC Davis to switch me from the Wait List status to the Yes List for their MFA program.
A week's mulling of Long Beach versus Laguna, left me leaning towards the private school, LCAD. I have a better grasp of LCAD's teaching style and like some of the teachers work a a lot. But my waffling is now distracted by the lure of the local... Davis is just a train ride away in a bikeable, beautiful town. It's hard to find out what the tone of the department is from the info online, since I can find the only report of student work is a write-up from 2004 MFA show involving piles of dirt and shovels. Very curious how much support there is for normal 2-d folks or if there a real new-genres bent.

An oddity of state school visual art departments is their lack of MFA show images online. All the Davis grad image links are dead. Lesson learned from grad school apps so far, is to visit the schools in-person. Very hard to get a feeling for it online.

The neighborhood is already planning a going-away party, so i'd hate to interrupt a chance for snacks and festivities. This time next week, I will have made my choice of where to paint in the Fall. eep!

Monday, April 2, 2007

where to hang my blank canvases - mfa 07

brewery art complex
brewery art complex,
originally uploaded by robin kibby.

I can stop stalking my mailbox for academic letterhead and favorable replies. The final results are in from my MFA apps. I made it into exactly half of my schools (2.5 yesses, .5= wait list). The greatest shock is that I'll be migrating south. I've grown up in Northern Californian (have the palid complexion to prove it) so the southern part of my state remains a mystery.
The Prius was loaded up again for another road trip of visits.
School candidates are Laguna College of Art and Design, and Cal State Long Beach. In many ways the programs are opposites - LCAD, a small private school focused on representational & figurative art, and CSU Long Beach, a supersized art department with lots of interdisciplinary possibilities and facilities.
Considering how different the programs are, I thought my decision would be easy. However, they both seem good in different ways.
I took as many pictures as I could to aid with my meditation.
The Brewery pix are from the location where LCAD hosts their classes in LA, and the gallery shots are some spots where LCAD teachers are showing or grads have their shows.
LA MFA and Gallery Visit Pix
Lots of sunshine and good art all around. I am just beginning to wrap my mind around what it will mean to leave the East Bay for three years. and what it could be like to paint intensely over that span.
Our house is already filling with bubble wrap and tape as we start to clean house for the move.