Nothing to See Here
Image: Nicole Jean Hill, Mad River Windbreak
Nothing to See Here
Opening Reception: Friday, October 26 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: October 26, 2012 – January 27, 2013
An Exhibition of Photography featuring:
Johnna Arnold, Joshua Band, Nicole Jean Hill and Jin Zhu.
Curated by Aimee Le Duc
The visions of landscapes put forth by four California photographers reveal sites that should either be ignored or are often overlooked, such as freeway overpasses, dilapidated urban sidewalks and roadsides. Nothing to See Here is an examination of how we interact with or are repelled by these spaces and features images that, for the most part, are devoid of human presence.
This exhibition seeks to add the ongoing dialog created by Bay Area artists’ preoccupation with landscape, honing in on works by photographers examining a particular kind of site that is not entered into but acted upon or in front of. Many of the works have an inherent theatricality about them; with one in particular by Joshua Band that invites viewers into an almost-life-sized menacing landscape.
The landscapes become a backdrop for actions that are perhaps incongruent with the spaces whose utility lies in its ability to be ignored. By reconsidering specific sites as topographies of our culture, the viewer is provided with enough information to begin to imagine illicit, inappropriate or simply sad actions that perhaps at one time occurred inside these environments.
Johnna Arnold is an artist, photographer, educator and urban farmer based in Oakland, CA. Johnna became enchanted by photography in high school while growing up in the California Bay Area. She refined her photographic habit through studying photography with Stephen Shore and Larry Fink at Bard College, in Annandale, NY. After completing her B.F.A. in 1996 Johnna worked on an educational farm in slightly-upstate New York and traveled with Bread and Puppet (a political puppet theater in Vermont). Upon her return to the Bay Area she earned a Masters in Fine Arts from Mills College in 2005. Johnna has received a Murphy-Cadogan fellowship award, a Juror’s award from Sandra Phillips and Alison Gass of S.F. MoMA, is part of the Alameda County Art’s Registry, and has twice been a SECA Art-Award nominee. Johnna has taught and created curricula for many aspects of photography- from using a pinhole camera to a D-SLR at Mills College, Sprout Creek Farm, and presently at Rayko Photography in San Francisco. Her artwork has been shown multiple places including the Oakland International Airport, Headlands Center for the Arts, Mills College, UNESCO Paris, Southern Exposure, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, S.F. MoMA Artist’s Gallery, S.F. Camerawork, and Traywick Contemporary.
Nicole Jean Hill was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She received a BFA in photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia, including Gallery 44 in Toronto, the Australia Centre for Photography in Sydney, and the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been featured in the Magenta Foundation publication Flash Forward: Emerging Photography from the U.S., U.K., and Canada, the Humble Art Foundation’s The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Photography, and National Public Radio. Hill has been an artist-in-residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah, the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in Humboldt County, California and is an Associate Professor of Art at Humboldt State University.
Jin Zhu lives and works in San Francisco. After receiving her BA in Art Practice from Stanford University, she worked with Bay Area artist collective Futurefarmers on A Variation on the Powers of Ten, and is currently an artist in residence at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. Her current work in the American West focuses on human settlement in the hospitable as well as inhospitable landscapes, the desires that motivate migration, and the need for water with which to civilize the western high deserts.
My training in image-based computer science domains and work for institutions such as NASA and the National Science Foundation has informed my interest in the devices and modes of perception. My work questions and traverses the boundaries between reality and fiction, encompassing photographic play with surrealist theatrical landscapes, contemporary still life photography presented within the framework of historical Vanitas painting, deadpan portraiture relying on and exposing commercial photographic practices, and the diorama as an overwhelming sensory and immersive experience. Manipulations such as artificial lighting, a heavy directorial hand, and post-production tools allow “the false” to subversively camouflage itself as “truth.” My days are spent coordinating the Photography Department at the San Francisco Art Institute. I was recently awarded a yearlong fellowship at the Headlands Center for the Arts where I spend my nights and weekend hours in my military barrack studio nestled within the rolling California hills alongside the Pacific Ocean.