Myths & Legends
September 29 - November 15, 2015
Curated by Wendy Sherman
2nd Floor Atrium
Education Gallery & Top of Stairs
Wells Fargo Gallery & Jewel Box
This exhibition includes approximately 35 artists who have each created a specific work based on an urban legend with special significance to them. Each work is accompanied by text explaining the artist’s personal connection to their chosen urban legend.
Urban legends serve as our modern day mythology. Based on cultural traditions and morality tales, these stories prey upon our collective fears and provoke a strong, emotional response. Traditionally, in order for these legends to survive, a mix of text and imagery was used in storytelling, heightening the power of the legend as it passed down through generations. More recently, the Internet has encouraged the rapid dissemination of these modern legends, many of which can be
traced back to the original folklore that inspired them.
The purpose of the exhibition is not to illustrate urban legends, but to analyze them in conjunction with each artist’s own subjective viewpoint resulting in a shared experience between artist and audience.
— Lauren Haisch and Wendy Sherman
Artists: Dmitry Astakhov, Clayton Bailey, Rex Barron, Stephen Berkman, Joe Biel, Kevin Bradley, Sarina Brewer, Hugh Brown, Mike Cockrill, Michael Criley, Lew Delport, Chris Farling, Llyn Foulkes, Gregg Gibbs, Jeff Gillette, Mark Gleason, Laurie Hassold, Tony Huynh, Hellen Jo, Laurie Lipton, Matjames Metson, Lauren Morrison, Adam Oehlers, Naida Osline, Burt Payne 3 & Stephen Hillenburg, Ransom & Mitchell, Victoria Reynolds, Jim Shaw, Christopher Ulrich, Jeffrey Vallance, Nicola Verlato, Marnie Weber, Chris Wilder, Robert Williams, Scott D. Wilson
Michael Aschenbrenner: Damaged Bone Series: Interior Landscape
Southern California native Michael Aschenbrenner creates sculptures of glass bones wound together by found materials as a way to express the events of his lifetime. Aschenbrenner began studying ceramics upon his return from the Vietnam War and eventually moved into the technique of glassblowing to create the fine linear forms he imagined. During his early artistic development, images appeared and reappeared with enough frequency, so as to form a language of symbols. Aschenbrenner seeks to convey the fragility of human life through his work, in which delicate and coarse materials wrap around each other. His affinity for the process of glassmaking is evident in the time it takes him to create a piece. He refers to the process as a “spiritual dance in which there is nothing more than the artist and the furnace”.
Working with a puddle of molten glass, Aschenbrenner acts quickly in his abstract formations, intuitively creating a fluid movement between his hands, the tools and sculpture. This allows him to create multiple bone-like shapes, which he joins together through an orthopedic practice of splint-like arrangements using found sticks and metals.
Michael Aschenbrenner received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He has been exhibited across the United States and internationally. His work is part of permanent museum collections across the United States as well as in Germany. He received the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 1989 and 1996, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant in 1992. His artwork has been featured in Forbes, New York Times, Art Week, Glass Magazine and Newsweek.
Judy Csotsits: The Fates
Judy Csotsits was raised in Debrecen, Hungary, where she spent her childhood creating and designing. In her drawings she uses a combination of pen, ink, acrylic and colored pencil on Mylar. The Mylar creates a deep, milky, smooth, white space, in which each form levitates and alludes to three-dimensional space. Her drawings are created intuitively, using only simple symmetrical structures that blend unknown alien and ancient forms together with familiar hybrid plant, animal and human forms. Using repetitive movements, the drawings evoke fractal-like structures that exist abundantly in nature. Evolution is alluded to in her work as each form is an organic hybrid of various forms of life, depicted in a state of transformation and metamorphosis. The insect-like bodies appear to be evolving braids resulting in an overall human shape, thereby dissolving the distinction between plant, animal and human categories and fusing abstract and figurative elements into one. The ultimate result reflects the evolutionary process of a simple one-celled organism evolving into the multiple complex expressions of life.
Judy Csotsits received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis college of Art and Design and her Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Los Angeles. Her artwork has been exhibited across the United States and Europe. She taught 2D design at Mt. San Jacinto College in California,, as well as a painting class through the Pierce College Project Match. She is a featured Saatchi artist and has been published in the Los Angeles Times.
Marissa Quinn: Cyclical Paradoxology
Marissa Quinn grew up on the salty shores of San Diego. With the sea as her home, she was taught how to view the ocean and its surrounding marine life as a symbolic narrative. In her artwork, she explores the concept of “trophic cascades”; these are defined as powerful indirect interactions that control entire ecosystems and occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey, thereby enhancing survival of the next lower trophic level. By combining zoomorphic elements of endangered flora and fauna, she creates surreal, monochromatic compositions of trophic cascades in states of transformation and/or adaptation to biospheric changes in our Earth. Each drawing contains an endangered species or invasive species (sometimes both), federally listed as endangered or threatened, specifically in California. Her work blurs the lines between growth and decay through stages of the life cycle, conjuring multifaceted emotional responses to the journey of nature, both literally and within an individual. There is a secondary spiritual thematic undercurrent to her work, harkening to indigenous storytelling and ancient mythology. In each piece, it is the connection of the cycle, the circle and the ouroboros (an emblem of wholeness or infinity), that serve as an ancient source of hope for humanity. Her work reminds us that everything is connected. Trophic cascades are both literal and symbolic sources of insight into the well being of our earth, collective self and individual lives.
Marissa Quinn received Master of Fine Arts as well as Bachelor in Fine Arts degrees at Azusa Pacific University. Her pieces have been exhibited throughout Southern California.
Jeremie D. Riggleman: Assimilation
Jeremie D. Riggleman is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses staged photography, one-off sculpture and industrial manufacturing methods to capture mysterious images laden with open narratives. Riggleman’s ongoing series of works utilizing lawn art objects are greatly influenced by Donald Featherstone, a Massachusetts resident most widely known for his 1957 creation of the plastic pink flamingo lawn décor. In Riggleman’s work, the kitsch becomes a humorous surrogate for exploring the artist’s longing for the past, a place to call home and desire for people to call friends. His photographs capture seemingly candid moments, speaking more of the environments than the figures that actually reside within them. Riggleman states, “In all the places I’ve lived, I sense myself floating between alienation and assimilation, while balancing the complex polarities both around and within”.
Jeremie D. Riggleman has exhibited at Westmont College in Santa Barbara; Forsinone, Italy; the Oceanside Museum of Art and Riverside Art Museum.
Riggleman holds a Masters in Fine Arts degree in visual art from Azusa Pacific University and Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana. His work can be found in the permanent collection at Azusa Pacific University.
Jonas N.T. Becker: Westward Bound
Jonas N.T. Becker’s photography and video installations explore the formation of cultural mythology around specific sites and geography, collapsing what we see with what we hope, fear or believe. He is particularly interested in utopian manifestos, scientific hypotheses, religious beliefs and other expressions of collective desire. He uses camera editing and projection to destabilize these myths, disrupting normative signifiers of linear time and perspectival space. Exposing the contingent nature of our social structure, Becker’s work creates the possibility, not only of disenchantment, but also of queer reordering and reconstruction.
Jonas N.T. Becker has exhibited internationally, recently at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, LAXART, and Shulamit Gallery. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Art Ltd. and others. Grants and fellowships include Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, Heart of Los Angeles residency, Center for Global Peace Studies grant, Nazarian Foundation grant, Berman Foundation grant, and the Six Points Fellowship. Becker also founded the Mobile Pinhole Project and teaches across LA. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Smith College. Becker was born in Morgantown, WV, and lives in Los Angeles.
Tina Dille: Ravens
Tina Dille began her artistic career at a young age; early on she was drawn to the livestock and ranchers in her hometown of Jerome, Idaho and the backyard creatures she discovered when her family moved to Southern California. As an adult, Dille operated a small ceramics business that created and sold hand painted ceramics nationwide working with companies such as Nordstrom, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. In her spare time she continued making artwork, taking college art courses and painting in oils.
Dille left the hectic city life for the countryside; she went back to living amid nature and a diverse range of animals to sketch and paint. After studying studio art at California State University Bakersfield, she transitioned to watercolors, a more fluid medium than oil paints, in order to convey the true freedom of nature through her art. Dille believes each one of her animal portraits has a message, but she allows the viewer to figure out exactly what that is. With watercolors and fluid acrylics, Dille drips, flows and splatters paint using the animals' eyes as the focal point. For her, the painting process is part skill, part intuition and part serendipitous accidents. Allowing the painting itself to reveal personality, she then develops it, which provides some surprising end results.
Tina Dille earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from California State University Bakersfield in 2008. Her artwork has been exhibited across Southern California. She has been featured in multiple juried exhibitions at MOAH, most recently being awarded the 2015 Best of Show for Challenge Yourself.
Seamus Conley: Rugged Promised Land
Seamus Conley is a Los Angeles native now living and working in San Francisco. Conley aims to mirror human experiences through aesthetic combinations of slick, professional, fantasy imagery with that of low budget, amateur, documentary style imagery. He often portrays a lone figure standing on a precipice or threshold, glowing under a soft, magical light created through the use of glowing blue and violet hues. This creates a sense of the sublime, inviting viewers to embrace the incredible, yet sometimes somber sights also manifest alongside the figures presented. As an artist, Conley loves to play with the idea of opposites and embraces the dissonance of the dream-like environments he creates. His subjects always appear in a kind of otherworldly hinterland, facing away from the viewer, showing an engagement in private contemplation.
Youth is a sub-theme Conley has been drawn to in his recent paintings. The children in these paintings are not from one model, but are combinations of different images juxtaposed in order to create a symbol of a child that does not truly exist. These illustrations represent patched together memories of being young that may or may not be true.
In 2007, Conley received the Pollock Krasner Award. Conley’s paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the United States as well as internationally. His artwork has been shown in publications such as Hi Fructose Magazine, Art Ltd Magazine and San Francisco Weekly.