Artist As Subject
May 7 - July 24, 2016
Wells Fargo Gallery
Education Gallery and Top of Stairs
Rebecca Campbell: The Potato Eaters
Rebecca Campbell is a figurative artist, whose work focuses on themes associated with human existence in contemporary society. Embracing both realism and abstraction, Campbell makes paintings, drawings and sculptures that frequently revolve around the day-to-day lives of average people, to whom she lends a heroic quality. Campbell’s new series of work, entitled The Potato Eaters, examine aspects of family and cultural history, memory, documentation and nostalgia. The title is taken from Vincent van Gogh's 1885 masterpiece that portrays Dutch peasants gathered at a meager meal. As in van Gogh’s celebrated work that addresses themes of noble human existence and connection to the land, Campbell references her family history and relatives who lived in Idaho during the early and mid-twentieth century. The series includes paintings that convey disappearing rural and sub-urban landscapes, as well as figurative works inspired by old black and white photographs. In addition, Campbell both honors and reflects upon oft-ignored domestic activities, such as canning and cleaning, through several sculpture installations.
Campbell earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Oregon in 1994, and Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona; the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, Florida; the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; The Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Central Utah Arts Center and Brigham Young University, Utah; the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and L.A. Louver, Venice, CA, among others. Campbell has taught at Art Center College of Design, Claremont Graduate University and Vermont College of Fine Art, and is currently assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton. Rebecca Campbell lives and works in Los Angeles.
Andrew Frieder: Waiting for Divine Inspiration
On the western edge of the Mojave Desert, Lancaster is not a town known for its art scene, but it is where Andrew Frieder spent his most productive years as an artist, working day and night for several decades to produce a vast body of work in a variety of mediums. Andrew frequently depicted scenes from classical mythology and the Old Testament scriptures with which he was so conversant: figures wrestling with serpents, communing with skulls and struggling with rocks, as well as hybrid beasts of his own design. A gentle and subtle coloration of soft pastel and muted earth tones distinguishes the work, sometimes scrawled upon with text (“Was it worth it? Vanquishing the serpent: Can it be done?”) and frequently pierced, perforated, sewn, glued and otherwise driven into aesthetic submission, resulting in a strangely harmonious combination of the visceral and meticulous. Andrew had an extraordinary sense of design all his own. He rebuilt and repaired several industrial sewing machines, some mechanically modified to be foot-treadle powered, with which he sewed intricate cotton quilts and constructed his own jaunty hats – ‘chapeaux’, as he called them. He was a licensed barber. A hobbyist cobbler, he made and repaired shoes. An incessant tinkerer who continually re-purposed every manner of objects, he would grind, weld and machine his own customized tools, and myriad objects both sculptural and practical. Andrew had found a measure of peace with whatever impression the world may have taken of him, cutting a unique figure as he rolled his customized cart to source materials such as scrap iron and lumber for his projects, discovered everywhere from alleyways to yard sales, thrift shops and scrapyards.
As a teenager, Andrew spoke fluent French and was a nationally ranked tournament fencer, a sport he relinquished due to injuries and as he became more involved in art. A mental breakdown interrupted his art school education and he began to experience the schizophrenia with which he struggled for much of his adult life. Through the chaos and pain of his illness Andrew destroyed his entire body of work three times, as well as a number of finished novels. By the two decades of life preceding his demise, however, he had stabilized and experienced no episodes or hospitalizations, a healing process facilitated in no small part by deep immersion in his art, and only after his death was the full range of his output discovered. Andy admired the work of artists from Vermeer to Basquiat. The museum presented a solo show of his work in 2014.
As well as a massive archive of artwork, Andy also left behind many written accounts expressing an acute awareness of his own work and mental state, as well as rigorous and compassionate essays on history and religion; he cared deeply about political injustice and ruminated on his work as painstakingly as any professional artist.
Kent Anderson Butler: Drowning with Land Still in Sight
Kent Anderson Butler is a Los Angeles based artist that focuses his work on the spiritual, mental and physical experiences that the body encounters. Anderson Butler works with multiple mediums including video installation, photography and performance. Drowning with Land Still in Sight is a series that communicates pain, pleasure, struggle, redemption and restoration of the body through mixed media, including installation, portrait photography, sculpture, performance and video. Inspired by the religious philosopher Teilhard De Chardin, Anderson Butler exposes his personal religious thinking in terms of life, death, and transcendence through this collection. Through his artwork, he aims to express and stress the importance of the human experience and, in turn, show how we live in our own body.
Kent Anderson Butler studied video and film, receiving his Bachelor degree from Biola University and his Master of Fine Arts from California State University, Fullerton. Anderson Butler is the director of visual arts and a professor at Azusa Pacific University, teaching art at both the undergraduate and graduate level, with an emphasis on photography. He has also been involved in a range of exhibits including both solo exhibitions and group exhibitions. His pieces have been displayed both nationally and internationally, being shown at the International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Venezuela, the Cave Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, among many others. In 2012, the Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona presented an exhibition featuring a decade of work by Anderson Butler. In 2014, Anderson Butler was chosen to be an Artist in Residence at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts in Rabun Gap, Georgia.
Eric Minh Swenson: Art Stars
Art Stars, Eric Minh Swenson's latest body of work focuses on celebrating women's influence and impact on the Art World. In collaboration with Coagula Art Journal, Art Stars, is an expansive series of over 200 photographs that build public awareness and celebare female contributions as artists, curators, gallerists, etc.
Eric Minh Swenson grew up in San Antonio, Texas and through his father discovered the craft of photography. Swenson captures moments that are spontaneous and impromptu while utilizing color and texture to expand his artistic horizon. He shares that the inspiration comes through architecture, vibrant landmarks, music, and various other art forms, relating to Fauvist techniques. After a move to Hollywood in the 1990’s, Swenson found a passion in cinema and began to produce documentaries and promos for other artists, curators and fine art collectors. His art focuses on celebrating the culture and art of Southern California and how it is always developing just like he is.
Swenson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but relocated shortly after. Though he never took an art class prior to college, he graduated with a Fine Arts Degree after attending both the University of Texas in San Antonio and Brigham Young University in Utah. Upon receiving his degree, Swenson went on to form a film society, producing over 600 short films as well as producing and directing four feature length narrative films and a documentary. Swenson has also relentlessly photographed art openings across the Southland, ardently bringing the milieu to the public eye while capturing artists, collectors and enthusiasts in situ. In 2001, he moved to the Southern California. Through his emphasis on the documentation of the Los Angeles art scene, Swenson focuses much of his attention on bringing public awareness into the realm of art as a cultural experience.
Jane Szabo: Sense of Self and Reconstructing Self
Jane Szabo has a passion for the human condition and studies the ways we live today, how we relate to each other, how we feel about our identity as individuals, and how it fits together collectively as a community. Szabo merges everyday fabrications with conceptual photography in a series of self-portraits as a means to interpret the psychological complexity of what it is to be human. In her series Sense of Self, Szabo utilizes in-motion self-portraits against a harlequin pattern wall to convey issues of control over herself as well as the external environment, revealing her own vulnerability. Through the use of elements such as light and movement, she aims to capture a sense of chaos and the internal struggle to maintain order as well as the conflicts that occur in the process. She also creates still life images, using inanimate objects to portray a story which invites viewers to draw their own interpretation of meaning, generally relating to feelings of alienation and loneliness. She explores issues of identity through the juxtaposition of fashion, sculpture, installation and photography, seeking to highlight the necessary balance between one’s self and the outside world in her series Reconstructing Self. Szabo has a background as a painter and installation artist with some experience in creating custom props and scenery, which continues to contribute to her artistic style.
Jane Szabo is a Los Angeles based photographer known for her award winning fine art photography. Her work has been published and reviewed in The Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Szabo’s photography has been displayed in multiple exhibitions at institutions such as: Oceanside Museum of Art, the Griffin Museum of Photography, Colorado Center for Photographic Arts, PhotoSpiva, San Diego Art Institute, The Los Angeles Center for Photography, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art and Gallery 825 in Los Angeles. In 2014 her work Sense of Self was featured as a solo exhibition at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. In 2016, her work Sense of Self and Reconstructing Self were shown as a combined set in Arizona under the title Investigating Self.
Nataša Prosenc Stearns: Night Spring
Local California artist, Nataša Prosenc Stearns works with film, video art, installations and prints to explore the human body in juxtaposition with the natural and technological worlds. Stearns delivers gravitating pieces that reveal her passion and desire for undiscovered potential of the human body. Working with the effects of anxiety and angst with a bodiless cyber-space, Stearns’ focus on the human body is pushed deeper as she continues to find more complex meaning relating technology to physical life. As her style progressed, she has gradually started to engage her own body, discovering new ideas for her growing passion. Night Spring, featured at the 2015 Venice Biennale, consists of an HD single-channel video with a series of digital prints. The video is composed of a geyser that eventually erodes due to natural effects revealing a human form. She combines organic forms with inorganic ones that are both subjects of transformation, while also putting on display their simultaneous abstractions.
Nataša Prosenc Stearns was born in Slovenia and began her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Slovenia. She moved to California as a Fulbright scholar to pursue her Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts. Since completing her education, she has been the recipient of the Soros Grant and the Durfee Foundation Grant, among others. Stearns has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, as well as film screenings and lectures. Her work has been shown internationally at the ARCO Fair in Spain, the Douloun Museum of Art in Shanghai, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel and numerous venues in the United States. Stearns currently resides in Southern California, where she continues to work.