Gettin’ off the Ground: Contemporary Stories from an American Community (7)

July 12 – October 17, 2015
Opening reception: July 12, 2015, 2-5pm

Over the next two years artwork will be selected on an ongoing basis that employ storytelling techniques to encourage dialogue on issues relevant to the South Bay/Harbor community and/or shared history. The artworks encourage us to think about our lives and how we communicate our story with each other.

Kaleeka Bond, Ben Caldwell, Cheri Benner Davis, Corita Kent, Delbar Shahbaz, Louis M. Schmidt, Michael Stearns.


Kaleeka Bond
By The Hour

BIOGRAPHY
Kaleeka Bond was born in Virginia and grew up in Southern California. She received her BFA in 2006 and her MFA in 2008 from Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) in Laguna Beach, CA and has been exhibiting her work in California since 1999. After obtaining her Masters Degree, Kaleeka went on to teach at LCAD, Top of the World Elementary School, California State University: Long Beach, and presently teaches at Saddleback College, Cypress College, and with Ryman Arts. While managing several businesses and continuing to exhibit her work, Kaleeka and her husband look forward to the launch of their clothing line, Adinkra Stitch. Influenced by behaviors in society and the impingement of mass media, she hopes to counter the effects of these disconnections with social awareness through her artwork. When interviewed about her work, Kaleeka stated; “Art has a way of opening our eyes to things that we refuse to see. I want my work to compel people to see beyond the superficial and seek the profound, ultimately allowing them to live beyond what they think of as the obvious and understand that individualism and the ability to communicate shape the uniqueness of the world.”

Ben Caldwell
Nam photo notes 67 -68

Ben Caldwell took these pictures while deployed in Vietnam. As a young man returning from Vietnam, Caldwell captured his thoughts on the back of the photos he took.

The Battle of Dak Tô, a series of major engagements during the Vietnam War took place between November 3 to 22, 1967 raged on close to where this picture was taken. The battle was a victory for the Americans and South Vietnamese, to cost of 376 US killed, 1,441 US wounded, and 79 Army of the Republic of Vietnam killed. People’s Army of Vietnam casualties are estimated between 1,000 to 1,445 killed.

In what way does the text on the back of the photo change your understanding of the image?
How might you demonstrate empathy towards someone who has had this type experience?

BIOGRAPHY
Ben Caldwell is an arts educator and independent filmmaker who grew up assisting his grandfather, who projected movies at a small theater in New Mexico. His passion for the visual arts lead him to study film at UCLA and reside in the neighborhood of Leimert Park, epicenter for the African American art scene in Los Angeles. After teaching film and video at Howard University in Washington, D.C. from 1981-84, Caldwell returned to Leimert Park and created an independent studio for video production and experimentation that became the KAOS Network, a community arts center that provides training on digital arts, media arts and multimedia. It remains the only organization of its kind in South Central Los Angeles that offers courses in video production, animation, website development, video teleconferencing, CD-ROM production and Internet exploration. Its legendary Project Blowed is a weekly open-mic workshop that gave birth to rappers and rap groups such as Aceyalone, Medusa, Busdriver, Freestyle Fellowship and Jurassic Five. Caldwell’s films often trace historical and cultural connections. Eyewitness: Reflections of Malcolm X & the O.A.A.U. (2006) presents the Harlem reunion of ex-members of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. La Buena Vida (The Good Life) (2008), filmed over the course of three years while Caldwell taught at the California Institute of the Arts, documents the cultural exchanges between a group of hip hop artists and musicians from Los Angeles and their counterparts in Havana, Cuba.

Cherie Benner Davis
Bombs Away!

Helicopters and fighter jets dropping bombs fly within a textured, patterned backdrop. By isolating the cartoon-like machines of war within innocuously painted backdrops, our understanding of the human toll is erased leaving instead a game-like terrain.

These paintings by Cherie Brenner Davis point to the contradictions that exist in representations of modern militarism whererhetoric, image, action and consequence are sanitized, distanced and rendered consumer-friendly; thus, mitigating the true cost of war on both soldiers and civilians.

How do the colors used impact your understanding of the piece?

BIOGRAPHY
Cherie Benner Davis is a Los Angeles-based artist who has exhibited her work locally, nationally and internationally. Her work examines relationships between the personal and the political as well as ways in which media, process and technique intersect with content. Ms. Benner Davis works as a college-level arts educator. Selected Solo Exhibitions: 2015 Applebomb Project. Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA 2009 Righty-Tighty, Loosey-Goosey. PØST, Los Angeles, CA 2007 Best Laid Plans. Solway Jones Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (not sure how many exhibitions are here- can the punctuation clarify somehow) Selected Group Exhibitions: 2015 Mas 8 . San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA 2014 Over There. Frank Doyle Arts Pavilion, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA Mas 7 . Santa Monica Art Studios, Santa Monica, CA 2013 Mas Attack . Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA 2011 Last Night Stand . Beacon Arts Building, Inglewood, CA 2010 Over There . Museum, Los Angeles, CA 2009 The Gun Show . Space B Gallery, New York, NY One Week Only . Jancar Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

Corita Kent
E eye love

The exhibition Service and other Stories is a search to find common ground between civilian and soldier. It is outside of binary constructions of, for or against, certain ideologies many of us live our lives. The pieces by the late Corita Kent push us to imagine another possibility; to go deeper within to find ourselves.

The artwork E eye love is as much a challenge as it is a statement. In what ways do you hold the tension of loving your country while seeking justice for all?
What do you think is the “chaos” that Camus was referring to in Dancing Star ’82?
How can you channel your inner chaos into a dancing star?

BIOGRAPHY
Corita Kent wwas born Frances Elizabeth Kent in 1918 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She grew up in Los Angeles and joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1936, taking the name Sister Mary Corita. After graduating from Immaculate Heart College (IHC), she briefly mentored teachers and taught elementary school. In 1947 she was asked to join the art department faculty at IHC. In 1951, Corita received a master’s degree in art history from the University of Southern California, and during this time first learned the art of screen-printing.

Corita’s early serigraphs were religious in nature and portrayed Biblical images reminiscent of Byzantine iconography. In the early 1960s, Corita began incorporating advertising slogans and imagery to communicate her spiritual messages. She regularly relied on sources such as Del Monte, Wonderbread, and Bell, which could all be found at the Market Basket, a grocery store across the street from Immaculate Heart College. Corita’s bright colors and innovative use of text attracted the attention of the public, provoking numerous exhibits and lectures during her time as professor and chair of the art department at IHC.

By the late 1960s much of Corita’s work depicted more overt political text and imagery. Her passion for social justice is represented in serigraphs focusing on themes of racial injustice and the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. These, and other social and political issues were expressed through a combination of newspaper headlines, photographs, and text from notable writers and political activists such as Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Albert Camus, Martin Luther King. Jr., and Daniel Berrigan.

In 1968, after several years battling with Los Angeles’ conservative Cardinal McIntyre, as well as her own bouts of insomnia and exhaustion, Corita went on sabbatical. At the end, she decided to leave the order officially and began making art full time in Boston. Corita returned to Los Angeles regularly to assist her sister, Mary Catherine in the management of Corita Prints, her North Hollywood gallery.

Following her move to Boston, Corita remained active in social causes, designing posters for Amnesty International, American Civil Liberties Union, and the International Walk for Hunger, among numerous others. Larger works included her “We Can Create Life Without War” billboard, which was created in collaboration with the Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a 150-foot rainbow swash decorating the Boston Gas tank. Corita’s work has also been featured on numerous magazine and book covers, advertisements, greeting cards, and has travelled the globe in the form of her 1985 Love Stamp.

On September 18, 1986 Corita passed away from cancer, however, her work and memory live on in the permanent collections of over 40 museums, including the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Delbar Shahbaz
Terrain of Absence

BIOGRAPHY
Delbar Shahbaz Born Tehran, Iran, Living in Tehran and Los Angeles 2014 MFA Candidate at Art Center Collage Of Design, Pasadena, Los Angeles 2008 MFA Degree: Illustration in Tehran Art University 2005 BA Degree: Bio-Medical Engineering, Shahid Beheshti Medical University, Tehran, Iran

Solo Exhibitions: 2014 installation exhibition in ACCD gallery (Terrain of Absence) , Los Angeles, United States 2012 Sculpture exhibition in Seyhoun Gallery (When me and my dreams vanished). Tehran, Iran. 2012 Photo exhibition in Dastan Basement. Tehran, Iran. 2010 Sculpture exhibition in Golestan Gallery (Little Simple Things). Tehran, Iran.

Group Exhibitions: 2014 Two Hours of Video-Art from Iran 43th Edition of The Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal, Canada 2013 Photo expo group exhibition in Iranian House Of Artists. Tehran, Iran. 2013 International video festival in Aaran Gallery. Tehran, Iran. (curated by Amirali Ghasemi) 2011 Exhibition (Title: Doll) in Shirin Gallery Video Art (Unico). Tehran, Iran.


Louis M Schmidt
Persons Unknown (exerpts 1-3)

The photographs are from an ongoing series of self-published books entitled Persons Unknown. Aware of his role as an artist, pedestrian and citizen, Louis Schmidt took these photographs through the screen of his mobile phone with a point and shoot camera. Within each image you see the hand of the artist layered on top of the location creating what the artist refers to as “reflexive surveillance”. The ‘surveillance-like’ quality of the work toys with notions of safety and freedom. Thus rendering the images both unsettling and expected when we consider how monitored our actions are within public spaces.

What might the artist’s intentions be?
What comes to mind when you look at each image?

BIOGRAPHY
Louis M Schmidt is based in Los Angeles, CA. He was born in rural, central Illinois and has lived all over the place. Schmidt earned a BFA in Studio Arts (graduating Summa cum Laude) and a BA in Art History in 2004 from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego in 2010. He has produced over 40 books of his own work and has participated in the NY Art Book Fair at MoMA P.S.1 for many years, as well as the LA and Tokyo Art Book Fairs. His work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, and he has upcoming projects and shows in San Francisco, LA and Tokyo.

Michael Stearns
Valkyrie

In Norwegian mythology, a Valkyrie is a female, maiden spirit who helps the God Odin move some of the fallen soldiers from the battlefield to Valhalla. Valhalla is a banquet hall. For the artist, Michael Stearns, the Valkyrie angel carries not only the most noble or brave, but also those whose intentions are honorable.

This piece is part of a larger body of work motivated by the Iraq invasion of 2002 following the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. In this piece the Valkyrie has many arms to hold and cradle the fallen warrior and to provide love and comfort for the journey. The warrior is reaching out his arm, still trying to maintain connection with mortal life, not yet ready to transition to the other side.

How does the way the piece is hung in the gallery impact how you understand the story behind the piece?
Soldiers and civilians face different types of battlefields that shape our understanding of our lives. Who might you cradle is this fashion as they transition on a proverbial battlefield?

BIOGRAPHY
Michael Stearns was born in San Diego, California. His grandfather was his first mentor as a painter, however both of his parents and his brothers were artists. Stearns began his formal training as a painter when he was nine years old and continued his studies in art throughout his education at Cal State Los Angeles. Between 1964 and 1966, Stearns served in Vietnam and Japan as a photographer while on active duty in the U.S. Navy. Following his time in the service Stearns was a partner in a ceramics studio, Opus ll, where he taught ceramics as well as drawing and painting. Stearns is a painter and gallerist, operating Michael Stearns Gallery 347 in San Pedro, and works from his studio at that location. His works are now included in numerous private collections across the U.S. and in the Long Beach Museum of Art. His current works include paintings, papier mache and mixed media sculptures. His art reflects his spiritual quest, the pain of the human condition, and our attempt to heal the earth when she is out of balance.

Exhibitions are supported in part by Sencee Tagami, Exceptional Children’s Foundation, Department of Cultural Affairs – City of Los Angeles, Boeing Employees Community Fund, Marymount California University, Laser Cutting Shop, Aldo Puicon, Adam Gaxiola, The Getty Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, Pile Drivers, Bridge, Dock and Wharf Builders – Local Union 2375, Harbor Rose Lodge, Art Center College of Design – Photography & Imaging Department, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fed Ex office – Central Ave. Branch, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, John S. Meek Company, Historical Archive Preservation Committee, Local Union 2375, Don Wright, Phoebe Barnum, Steve Robinson, Johnny Reb’s, Buono’s Pizzeria.