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VCA >< CalArts

Olga Bennett, Ruben Bull-Milne, Lauren Dunn, Alden Epp, Joseph Gentry, Chen-Yang (Nik) Lee, Tori Lill, Andrew Read, Kenneth Suico, Max Turner

VCA Australia

A habitat is defined as a natural environment in which a species

relationships that are intertwined with them. The box has been split

or group of species lives. The students from the VCA have created

into two unique halves – one half hanging in Los Angeles, the other,

works that act as a provocation to this typical characterisation of


territories. The primary unifying function of the selected artworks

Tori Lill’s bleached-out images explore our habitat as a realm

is to question and threaten conventional perceptions of habitat. The

between cities and worlds, a non-space. Furthermore, Kenneth Suico

works reflect contested zones, toxic wastelands, dystopian interiors

gives us his dystopian view with images of institutional structures

and imagined realities.

hanging in several states of disarray. Ruben Bull-Milne’s aerial

In his work, Alden Epp blends analogue and digital processes

landscape image straddles military operation offensive and strange

to create fantastical environments. The only visible inhabitant in

alien markings. Finally, Joseph Gentry admonishes us to look to

Epp’s contaminated eco-system uncannily resembles The Simpsons’

future possibilities. His images heighten our awareness of the way

Mr Burns character. Similarly, Max Turner uses green-screen

we perceive space in our technologically enhanced or encumbered

technology to superimpose himself and a male counterpart (both

(depending on your perspective) contemporary life.

wearing burgundy bathrobes) onto old VHS footage of various interiors. Nik Lee combines computer-generated images with found footage to tell a tale of love, security, hope, survival and terror set in the Tasmanian wilderness. Olga Bennett uses rows of friendly cartoon strawberries to explore the way images mediate our relationship to the environment. While, Lauren Dunn’s crisp photographs of objects make us aware of how we behave in our surroundings is often a by-product of fabricated desires. In contrast, Andrew Read presents us with an ordinary cardboard box to speak directly about the precarious nature of contemporary urban living arrangements, and the human

Sanja Pahoki (July, 2015)

Julie Cabral, DeAngelo Christian, CalArts USA

Darcy Haylor, Moises Hernandez, Kadi Lee, Bingyang (Brian) Liu, Amanda Majors, Joel Orozco, Xanthe Pajarillo, Yanel Salazar

What might it mean to a group of young adults to inhabit? What

work of DeAngelo Christian and Kadi Lee. Evasive figures hidden

does dwelling or passing through mean to scholars and artists,

by shadows and faces turned against the camera’s gaze ground us

whose residence in Southern California is partially defined by the

at thresholds of new beginnings. Darcy Haylor’s perplexing orange

academic calendar? Posed with these questions, the ten undergraduate

nuclear-blasted New York City skylines is viewed by an isolated female

photography students at CalArts have presented us with visual

figure while Xanthe Pajarillo’s video invokes the awkwardness of the

responses that both reflect the heterogeneity of their backgrounds

feminine body by humorously smashing together the visceral details

and the plurality of influences fostered through the Program in

of menstruation in an wry ode to early horror cinema and the occult.

Photography and Media.

There are echos of the sixteenth century mannerist work of Giuseppe

A quick survey of their biographies demonstrates how the mix

Arcimboldo, in the Untitled work by Moises Hernandez where the

of their nationalities offers up diverse works that can make links

separation between plant/flower habitat and the face has disappeared

between the regional, local and global context of the art world. We

in recognition that like delicate floura we also depend on the natural

see pictures of an exposed stark dirt slope to the right of California’s

environment for our survival. Finally, there is Joel Orozco’s unsettling

I-5 South highway (Brian Liu), a woman staring up from her car

image of a man walking away from the camera and to the right a

at a Miss Donuts shop sign at an intersection in west Los Angeles

seemingly disconnected details shows a goat’s head resting inside the

(Julie Cabral), and the spectacular Cadillac Queen’s room of

crook of tree’s branches. Not quite staged but somehow too unreal

colourful, homey textures in the interior of her Texas living room

to be documentary, this image is dreamlike in its fugitive mysteries.

(Amanda Majors).

This current group of young artists point to a habitat that, contrary to

There are no grand displays of location here or theatrical gestures

what its definition might imply about a resting existence, are attentive

towards universalized truths. Although these photographers are

to dwellings just outside the map; off-roading through multiple muddy,

travellers of international origins, their sights are pointed at either

fluid, and mutable natures.

a habitat of the quotidian (see Yanel Salazar’s sunset-kissed display case holding plates and domestic artefacts), or of uncertainty. Concealment and ambivalent architecture are hallmarks in the

Kaucyila Brooke and Jonathan Molina-Garcia (August, 2015)

Alden Epp Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Be Afraid 2014

Brian Liu 2015SpringBW67M1#009 2015

Max Turner PAST LIVES 2014


Julie Cabral blvd & Beverlywood St. 2014

Nik Lee Ransom 2015

Amanda Majors The Cadillac Queen 2014

Olga Bennett Strawberry Field I 2015

Yanel Salazar 4:30 PM 2015

Lauren Dunn Heavy duty 2 2015

DeAngelo Christian Belmont 2014

Andrew Read Untitled (Open Up) 2015

Kadi Lee Target coming soon 2014

Tori Lill Whiteness 2015

Darcy Haylor Palomaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s View 2013

Kenneth Suico Blue, blue, electric blue ... 2015

Xanthe Pajarillo Tumor (still from video) 2014

Ruben Bull-Milne Lines (#1) 2014

Moises Hernandez Untitled 2015

Joseph Gentry Image Object (Park) 2015

Joel Orozco Sombras Desconozidas 2012

Alden Epp Nik Lee Olga Bennett Lauren Dunn Andrew Read Tori Lill Max Turner Kenneth Suico Ruben Bull-Milne Joseph Gentry Sanja Pahoki works with photography, video, neon and text to explore observations from everyday life. Existential issues such as the nature of self, identity and the role of anxiety are recurring themes in her work. Sanja has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Melbourne majoring in Psychology and Philosophy. In 2000 Sanja graduated with a BFA (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts. In 2006, Sanja completed a MFA from the VCA. Her work has been exhibited both nationally (Heidi Museum of Modern Art, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Plimsoll Gallery in Hobart, Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney, Queensland University of Technology) and internationally (Japan, Shanghai, Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Rotterdam). Sanja was a committee member of Kings Artist Run Initiative and a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary Artist Space. In 2008 & 2012, Sanja attended a studio residency in Reykjavik, Iceland and a 3-month OZCO residency in Helsinki in 2010. Sanja works part-time at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne and is represented by Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne.

The University of Melbourneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Victorian College of Art had its origins in the National Gallery School, which was founded in 1867. In 1992, it merged with the Prahran Faculty of Art (Victoria College), which also dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. Drawing on its strong history, students are guided by some of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most progressive art educators and respected artists within a creative learning environment. The Victorian College of Art boasts contemporary alumni of the calibre of Bill Henson, Susan Norrie, Patricia Piccinini, Callum Morton, Ricky Swallow and esteemed alumni of the past such as John Brack, Fred Williams, Tom Roberts, Sidney Nolan and Frederick McCubbin.

Brian Liu Julie Cabral Yanel Salazar Kadi Lee Darcy Haylor Xanthe Pajarillo Kaucyila Brooke works primarily in photography, text and image, video and drawing. She edited the book Gendered Geographies, pub. Hochschule fur Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich, (2002). From 2002 through 2005, she photographed inside The Natural History Museum in Vienna. The resulting project is documented in the exhibition catalog: Kaucyila Brooke: Vitrinen in Arbeit, ed. Christiane Stahl, pub: Verlag Schaden, Cologne (2008). Her 2012 retrospective Do You Want Me To Draw You A Diagram? at the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany focused on narrative projects starting from the 1980’s through the present. Selections from her ongoing project Tit for Twat (1992–) were featured in her 2014 solo show at Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles. She is the Co-Director of the Program in Photography and Media at CalArts in Los Angeles, where she has been a regular member of the faculty since 1992. Jonathan Molina-Garcia is a multi-media artist who blends aspects of photography, video, and performance to explore the tactility of masculinized, immigrant, queer, infected, perverse, and fantastical bodies. A citizen of many of these worlds, he is particularly interested in the various points of intersection that occur inside the Venn diagram of these political identities, and how these points push us to obfuscate the lines that might keep us within any one circle of citizenship. His work is interested in upending and intervening in how we define power, how it is represented, and importantly, how it is felt. He is an artist of hybridity, pondering the ever-present hyphenation inherent in name (Molina-Garcia) and label (Salvadoran-American) through strategies of humour, exposure, erotics, and relationality. California Institute of the Arts, colloquially referred to as CalArts, is perhaps equally known for its founder, Walt Disney, and for being the premiere west coast school that cultivated some of the most influential American conceptual artists of the 1970’s. The School of Art continues to be an experiment in how artists are trained, one in which collaboration and cross-pollination guides artists, dancers, animators, and musicians as they develop their practice. This experimental spirit is at the core of CalArts’ mission and it remains committed to strengthening its graduates with a vanguard spirit. The Program in Photography and Media, formerly directed by the late Allan Sekula, retains an interest in social documentary, Marxist, feminist and queer theory. The Program supports both graduate and undergraduate students in a broad range of media and approaches, including still and moving images, installation, new media, sound, performance and publication; all grounded in conversations about the histories of photography and media, the politics of representation, the changing role of cameras and photography in our daily lives, social documentary, and activism.


international photo-media program


CalArts Main Gallery

Art School Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts

24700 McBean Pkwy

Enter via Gate 4, Dodds Street, Southbank, 3006 VIC, Australia

Valencia, CA 91355, USA

29 September – 3 October 2015

21 September – 25 September 2015

Opening Reception: Tuesday 29 September, 5.00 – 7.30pm

Opening Reception: Thursday 24 September, 5.00 –7.00 pm

Curator: Sanja Pahoki

Curators: Kaucyila Brooke and Jonathan Molina Garcia

Cover image:

Cover image:

Tori Lill Whiteness (detail) 2015.

Brian Liu 2015SpringBW67M1#009 (detail) 2015. © copyright 2015: QCP, the writers and the artists

ARCH profiles the work of emerging artists through collaborative exchange exhibitions between Australian and international higher learning institutions. It gives an insight into work currently being produced by undergraduates, and recognises the outstanding cultural investment made by institutions and lecturers across Australia and the world.

Lucida Editor :: Lynette Letic Community Officer :: Chris Bowes @habitatstories Program Officer :: Ariel Cameron


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Executive Officer :: Belinda Kochanowska

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Director :: Camilla Birkeland

ARCH HABITAT VCA X CalArts (2015)  

QCP's ARCH program profiles the work of emerging artists through collaborative exchange exhibitions between Australian and international hi...