Curated by Jeff Rau
Luc Delahaye Sonny Assu Ira Lippke Amanda Hamilton Nery Gabriel Lemus Margarita Cabrera Jes Schrom Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet Samira Yamin AndrĂŠ Goeritz Lia Chavez Binh Danh
“HE KNEW THAT HE COULD NOT TURN BACK NOW. HE KNEW THAT HIS DESTINY FORCED HIM ON TO A FINAL
REVELATION. HIS SCORCHED EYES NO LONGER LOOKED HOLLOW OR AS IF THEY WERE MEANT ONLY TO GUIDE
HIM FORWARD. THEY LOOKED AS IF, TOUCHED WITH A COAL LIKE THE LIPS OF THE PROPHET, THEY WOULD
NEVER BE USED FOR ORDINARY SIGHTS AGAIN.”
- FLANNERY O’CONNOR IN “THE VIOLENT BEAR IT AWAY”
Francis Tarwater awoke to find himself laying in the wake of unspeakable violence. When he arose, he found himself transformed—a prophet. His eyes, at last burned clean, began to see the world differently. This revelation brought a new calling and soon, a message that he must deliver to those still sleeping in the darkness. Much like Tarwater, Flannery O’Connor’s bourgeoning prophet from the novel The Violent Bear It Away, each of the artists in this exhibition have been struck by an awareness of violence, the scars of which are seen etched on bodies, inflicted upon the landscape, and cut into our memories. They now stand on the other side of their own awakening, unable to turn back, compelled to respond. The specific violence examined by each artist varies greatly: from the substantial physical cost of war to the abstract metaphysical violence of representation/ memory; and from the oppressive action of human institutions to the sublimely terrifying forces of nature. Though united by a common calling to awaken us to violence in its varied forms, there is great difference in their responses. Some challenge the trustworthiness of representation, while others seek understanding through images. Some attack the systems of oppression, while others create stirring memorials to victims. Some appeal to intellectual argument, and others embody their response in action. Some directly indict the violent and force us to confront their evidence; others seduce us into complicity before revealing our own guilt. As we now engage each artist’s response, we too are awakened to the violence around us and within us. This awakening calls us into action, but a new series of questions emerges: Can we ever truly diffuse this oppressive force and offer a genuine response of peace, or are we always to oppose it with a counter-violence that perpetuates this struggle for power? By way of this shell game, is peace destined to be forever subverted in the quest for understanding and justice? What does it look like to provide a truly peaceful response to violence? - Jeff Rau, curator
Luc Delahaye Kabul Road, 2001/2002
Luc Delahaye Taliban, 2001
LUC DELAHAYE trains his careful eye on current political conflicts from around our world. In the midst of unusually violent circumstances, he presents extraordinary scenes that emphasize commonality in the whole of the human experience. As we encounter his images hereâ€”both taken from the current war in Afghanistanâ€”it is the people, not the awesome machinery of war, that we see. Rather than impress us with the incredible power and momentum of modern warfare, Delahaye slows us down. This stillness affords the space to empathize with the other, and despite our differences we together mourn the personal tragedies of war.
Sonny Assu Longing #2, 2011
Sonny Assu Longing #3, 2011
Sonny Assu Longing #8, 2011
SONNY ASSU sculptures from the Longing series appear at first to be traditional woodcarved masks from an ancient indigenous people, a reading encouraged by the method of display and reinforced by the artist’s heritage as a member of We Wai Kai Nation (native people of Quadra Island, British Columbia). Instead these “masks” are found objects. They are the discarded waste of logging operations on un-ceded tribal territory—property leased out to a developer of custom log-homes for the wealthy. This paradoxical arrangement seems inherently exploitative, as natural resources set apart for a native people are consumed for profit. Here Assu reclaims the remnants as original native handiwork.
Ira Lippke untitled (Banda Aceh tsunami), 2004/2005
IRA LIPPKE happened to be on a service trip in Indonesia in December 2004, when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated nearby Banda Aceh. Lippke immediately sought a way to assist with the disaster relief effort and was among the first Westerners to arrive in the immediate aftermath. The images he captured document the horrific effects and incredible fury of nature fully unleashed.
Amanda Hamilton Beautiful Terrible (HD video still-frame), 2008
AMANDA HAMILTON created the short film Beautiful Terrible in response to the strange and sudden disappearance of White Lake near the remote village of Bolotnikovo, Russia in May 2005. No one directly witnessed the event, but nearby villagers were stunned to wake up and find only a deep muddy hole. It is assumed that underground caverns collapsed causing the earth to swallow the lake and surrounding trees, but this scientific description can hardly satisfy the imagination for such a sublimely terrifying event. Hamilton was thus compelled to reconstruct the lake in scale and conjure the mysterious cataclysm on video.
Nery Gabriel Lemus If Your Daughter Ever, 2010
NERY GABRIEL LEMUS addresses violence that is often quietly hidden behind closed doors. One series of drawings highlights domestic violence through images appropriated from Spanish language fotonovelasâ€”graphic novels featuring contemporary stories of love and struggle. Removed from their original narrative context, the drawings reveal intense scenes of domestic violence in this popular media. Lemus further collaborated with domestic abuse survivors from Five Acres Grace Center (Pasadena, California), contrasting their very real experiences against the popular fictions. Subsequently, the painting If Your Daughter Everâ€Ś challenges us to consider what it means to fully accept the other by baring the racist concerns that persists in our usually unspoken fears.
Nery Gabriel Lemus Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee 2 yellow t-shirts from installation, 2010
Nery Gabriel Lemus untitled (DV Series #â€™s 1-9), 2011
MARGARITA CABRERA creates â€œsoft sculpturesâ€? that focus attention on the plight of low-
wage workers and immigrants through reconstructions of ordinary objects common to these communities: domestic cleaning supplies, small household appliances, or imagined supply packs for a remote desert crossing. The sculptures are imbued with certain anthropomorphic qualities, sagging under the weight of their circumstance and self-consciously acknowledging the labor of their own construction.
Margarita Cabrera Backpack (Green), 2006
Margarita Cabrera Cleaning Supplies, 2012
Jes Schrom Reconstructive Memory, 2006
JES SCHROM challenges us to hold opposing responses in tension as her work vacillates
between sweet and disturbing, catharsis and regret. Beyond the nostalgia and dark humor, Reconstructive Memory cautions that every action entails consequence. After documenting the destruction of stuffed animals in an action intended to play on the concept of â€œloving something to death.â€? Schrom was haunted by the remnants left in her wake. As she set about stitching the figures back together and carefully documenting the damages, she narrates a story repeated throughout history; the story of destroying something without a realistic notion of consequence, regretting it, and then attempting to reconstruct what is lost.
Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet 99 Names of God (AK-47 exploded view), 2011
Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet 99 Names of God (U.S.A.), 2011
SANDOW BIRK & ELYSE PIGNOLET combine the familiar and foreign in the 99 Names
of God series. Recognizable maps or diagrams are redrawn, annotated with the â€œ99 names of Godâ€? identified in Islamic tradition, and further ornamented with traditional Arabic designs. By imposing the strange onto the familiar, Birk and Pignolet perhaps begin to demystify that which is foreign to us, pointing to commonalities amidst sublime descriptions of a holy God, and beginning to bridge the vast cultural divide between the Islamic Middle East and Christian West.
Samira Yamin Geometries II, 2010
SAMIRA YAMIN responds to at least two types of violence in her project Geometries, and accomplishes both with one deceptively simple actâ€”cutting sacred Islamic patterns into TIME Magazine reports of the war on terror. First, there is a tension in the form itself as these delicate and beautiful designs are cut into images that often depict and/or symbolize great horrors. On another level, the altered images also interrogate pervasive stereotypes of Muslims in the American media. By cutting apart the images and imposing sacred designs, Yamin simultaneously acts to deface and redeem these media representations.
Samira Yamin Geometries III, 2010
Samira Yamin Geometries VI, 2010
Samira Yamin Geometries V, 2011
ANDRĂ‰ GOERITZâ€™ small paintings are slow to give up their secrets. The otherwise anonymous landscapes are violently ruptured with explosive blasts that dominate the frame. Despite the diminutive scale of the work, certain forms suggest man-made structures and hint to the massive scale of these blasts, but all specificity is withheld. While the titles allude to narratives of unfulfilled promises and empty hope, we are given no clear resolution. Is this friend or foe, act of war or routine training exercise, military target or civilian, perhaps even an accidental industrial explosion? Absent these details our response may only expose our own prejudice about the methods of modern warfare.
André Goeritz Does Not Play Well With Others, 2012
André Goeritz It’s an Odd Fickle Cross, 2012
AndrĂŠ Goeritz Ignore the Smoke and Smile, 2012
AndrĂŠ Goeritz Wager, 2012
Lia Chavez True Light: Material Dispersion (see checklist for complete details)
Lia Chavez True Light Dynamic Image: For healing & unity in the world of art, 12:37 - 2:47am, Aug. 26, 2012 True Light Dynamic Image: For the future of performance art, 2:00 - 3:20am, Aug. 20, 2012
LIA CHAVEZ completed a concentrated 90-day performance from September to December 2012. This project, True Light, involved a 90-day fast, integrating 30 days of prayer, followed by 30 days of meditation, followed by 30 days of silence. Over the course of the performance, her daily rituals and insights were utilized to generate a varied body of work: the New York based artist observed 9/11 with a public performance, HEAL US/HEAL U.S.; her prayers for â€œhealing and unity in the world of artâ€? are documented in Dynamic Images; and the theme of healing and unity is continued in Material Dispersion, with daily blessings gifted to influential persons in the art world.
Lia Chavez True Light: HEAL US/ HEAL U.S., 2012
HEAL US/ HEAL U.S. was performed across the street from the former World Trade Center site on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. This date was also the eleventh day of True Light, a 90-day endurance performance which explored the effects of fasting, prayer, meditation and silence upon creative inspiration. Using a household mop and a bucket with soapy water, Chavez scrubbed the words â€œHEAL USâ€? onto a stone pedestrian sidewalk. The pavement was hot from the summer sun and the words quickly evaporated. This lead to a repetition of the action, which continued for over eight hours. The pavement beneath the letters gradually became washed and brightened. The aroma of geranium essential oil in the soap infused the air. Geranium essential oil has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties which help keep wounds clean while they are healing. It is also a cytophylactic that stimulates cellular regeneration, and is valued for promoting the release of negative memories.
Binh Danh Portraits of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, 2008
BINH DANH memorializes the victims of genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime in
Cambodia through his project The Iridescence of Life. The work draws upon a collection of portraits held at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. In a unique process developed by the artist, these haunting photographic images are actually imprinted within the chlorophyll of the leaves using the natural action of photosynthesis. The delicate portraits coupled with butterfly specimens echo the fragility of life and offer something beautiful in the wake of horrific atrocities.
Binh Danh Iridescence of Life, 2008 (Left to right: #18, #23, #22 , #21)
E X H I B I T I O N
C H E C K L I S T
Luc Delahaye Kabul Road, 2001/2002 Chromogenic print 46” x 96” Collection of Ira Lippke
Amanda Hamilton Beautiful Terrible, 2008 HD Video Duration: 17:35 Courtesy of the artist
Luc Delahaye Taliban, 2001 Included in the limited edition artist’s book “History” (Chris Boot, 2003) Chromogenic print 19” x 25” framed Collection of Ira Lippke
Nery Gabriel Lemus If Your Daughter Ever, 2010 Acrylic and charcoal on paper 77” x 58” Courtesy of the artist
Sonny Assu Longing #8, 2011 Found cedar and brass 13” x 12” x 8” Collection of Patrick Painter
Nery Gabriel Lemus untitled (DV Series #’s 1-9), 2011 Pen and ink on paper 8.5” x 11” each Courtesy of the artist
Sonny Assu Longing #2, 2011 Found cedar and brass 12” x 14” x 6” Collection of Patrick Painter
Nery Gabriel Lemus Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee 2 yellow t-shirts from installation, 2010 T-shirts decorated by women of Five Acres Grace Center Variable dimension Courtesy of the artist
Sonny Assu Longing #3, 2011 Found cedar and brass 10” x 14” x 8” Collection of Patrick Painter
Margarita Cabrera Backpack (Green), 2006 Vinyl and thread Variable dimension Courtesy of the artist
Ira Lippke untitled (Banda Aceh tsunami), 2004/2005 Archival pigment print 24” x 36” Courtesy of the artist
Margarita Cabrera Cleaning Supplies, 2012 Vinyl and thread Variable dimension Courtesy of the artist
Jes Schrom Reconstructive Memory, 2006 8 pigmented ink prints 20” x 16” each Courtesy of the artist
Samira Yamin Geometries V, 2010 Modified TIME Magazine 10.5” x 15” Courtesy of the artist
Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet 99 Names of God (AK-47 exploded view), 2011 Ink and gouache on paper 41.5” x 53.5” Collection of Justin Kerr and Mauri Skinfill
André Goeritz Does Not Play Well With Others, 2012 Oil on panel 12” x 9” Courtesy of the artist and CB1 Gallery
Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet 99 Names of God (U.S.A.), 2011 Ink and gouache on paper 41.5” x 53.5” Courtesy of the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery
André Goeritz It’s An Odd Fickle Cross, 2012 Oil on panel 12” x 9” Collection of Victor Rodriquez
Samira Yamin Geometries II, 2010 Modified TIME Magazine 10.5” x 8” Courtesy of the artist
André Goeritz Ignore the Smoke and Smile, 2012 Oil on panel 9” x 12” Collection of Ian and Marie Fitch
Samira Yamin Geometries III, 2010 Modified TIME Magazine 10.5” x 15” Courtesy of the artist
André Goeritz The Wager, 2012 Oil on panel 9” x 12” Collection of Clyde Beswick and Jason Chang
Samira Yamin Geometries VI, 2011 Modified TIME Magazine 10.5” x 15” Courtesy of the artist
E X H I B I T I O N
C H E C K L I S T
Lia Chavez True Light Material Dispersion, 2013 1. True Light Material Dispersion: For Wallis Annenberg. 2. True Light Material Dispersion. For Jeffrey Deitch. 3. True Light Material Dispersion: For Eli Broad. 4. True Light Material Dispersion: For John Baldessari. 5. True Light Material Dispersion. For Ed Ruscha. 6. True Light Material Dispersion. For Chris Burden. 7. True Light Material Dispersion: For Karin Higa & Michael Ned Holte. 8. True Light Material Dispersion: For Ann Philbin. 9. True Light Material Dispersion: For Michael Govan. 10. True Light Material Dispersion: For Paul Schimmel. Purified spring water blessed for the duration of the artist’s 90 day fast Variable dimension Courtesy of the artist
Binh Danh Portraits of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, 2008 Daguerreotype 10.5” x 12”w Courtesy of the artist
Lia Chavez True Light Dynamic Image: For healing & unity in the world of art, 12:37 - 2:47am, Aug. 26, 2012 Unique fiber print 17” x 20” Courtesy of the artist
Images for Sonny Assu, Amanda Hamilton, Margarita Cabrera, and Samira Yamin provided by the artists; used by permission. All other documentation photographs by Jeff Rau, from Biola University exhibition.
Lia Chavez True Light Dynamic Image: For the future of performance art, 2:00 - 3:20am, Aug. 20, 2012 Unique fiber print 17” x 20” Courtesy of the artist Lia Chavez True Light: HEAL US / HEAL U.S., 2013 Archival pigment print 10.5” x 18” Courtesy of the artist
Binh Danh Iridescence of Life, 2008 (Left to right: #18, #23, #22 , #21) Chlorophyll print, butterfly specimen, resin 13” x 10” each Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery
V I S I T O R R E S P O N S E : S E L E C T I O N S F R O M T H E
G A L L E R Y
C O M M E N T
B O O K
“We too easily forget that real people with real thoughts, feelings, souls, are affected by our actions. In an egocentric world, we are the only main characters with something to lose. Thank you for illuminating the humanity of humanity.” (signed “ZA”)
“How are we violent here at Biola? Christians are not exempt from contributing violence to the world.”
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8"
“A truly peaceful response to violence can only be achieved through a personal relationship with Christ, in which we focus on his mercy and grace rather than our politics and perceived injuries. ... If Christ, the one we are to imitate, was willing to go to the cross for us, where is our willingness for sacrifice? Perhaps we don’t experience it in our own daily lives, but suffering- that which is exhibited here- is prevalent. Our voices are so often silenced by fears and personal comfort. We then become as much the perpetrators as those doing the crime. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us.”
“Fascinating and utterly compelling!” (signed “CE”)
“... Although these images may be disturbing to some, I would agree that it is important for people to see these and realize that this kind of suffering is inflicted on people everywhere, everyday.” (signed “AF”)
“I like the teddy bears getting blowed up! Ka-blam!!”
"Such a beautiful and heart wrenching exhibit. Each composition is done so well and each caused my mind to dive deep into thought. As well as realize the violence that is going unseen and unheard. Let each piece be a voice to those who have been too scared to speak up..." (signed "APS")
“Thank you for exposing for all to see the ultimate futility of our violence.”
“... It is crucial that students are aware of the violence that is happening to innocent children. Even though the pictures of the stuffed animals were not disturbing, as I thought about what they represented I became upset. Artists should use disturbing images so more people will feel upset like I did. Not only should they use their art to provoke emotion in the viewer. But so the viewer will not just feel an emotion. But actually take action to prevent violence.” (signed “KS”)
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S
The Biola University Art Department wishes to thank Barry Krammes, Jonathan Anderson, the planning committee for the 2013 Biola Art Symposium, and guest curator Jeff Rau for providing the inspiration and guiding vision behind this project. Further thanks to all the participating artists whose compelling work made this exhibition possible and generous enthusiasm for this topic propelled the project through many obstacles. We are especially grateful to artists Lia Chavez, Nery Gabriel Lemus, and Samira Yamin, and to faculty members Dan Callis and Dr. Judith Rood who blessed the Biola community with their participation in an exciting series of gallery discussions. We also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Doretha O'Quinn and the University Public Arts Committee whose collective input helped to direct our gallery discussion series. We also sincerely appreciate the work of graphic designer Kaylin Johnson who has helped to translate this project into its present book form so that its impact may live on beyond the walls of the gallery.
â€œFINALLY, BROTHERS, REJOICE. AIM FOR RESTORATION, COMFORT ONE ANOTHER, AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER, LIVE IN PEACE; AND THE GOD OF LOVE AND PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU.â€? 2 CORINTHIANS 13:11
Biola University Art Gallery 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639
Catalog for exhibition at Biola University Art Gallery, February 28 - March 21, 2013. Curated by Jeff Rau of Sixpack Projects. Featuring art...
Published on Aug 15, 2013
Catalog for exhibition at Biola University Art Gallery, February 28 - March 21, 2013. Curated by Jeff Rau of Sixpack Projects. Featuring art...