of the Art Exhibition and Future-spective about "Language"
For the Stanford Multidisciplinary Multimedia Meeting of Arts, Science and Humanities... SMMMASH!
Held at Stanford University on April 18, 2013 @ 6:30pm-9:30pm
Cubberley Auditorium

Lordy Rodriguez, Salma Arastu, Sarah Tell, Jon Kuzmich, Jon Gourley, Renetta Sitoy, Carissa Potter, Gabriel Edwards

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Sarah Tell's hard ground etching "How we Stifle our Words to Protect our Heart"


This piece deals with the complex nature of defense mechanisms and protection. The crowbar icon both represents one's ability to pry something or someone open, and well as a tool used for defense. I feel an affinity for Eastern Europe and Russia, in particular the Soviet Era, and draw much of my aesthetic from the stark, controlled climate that existed there. Like Communism, our body's own defense mechanisms are in place to restore and maintain order, but often fail us and are a disservice. My work embodies the malfunctions of the self-preservationist impulse -- when the rational or emotional mind miscalculates -- leaving us more vulnerable or susceptible to physical or emotional pain than we had calculated or intended.


Sarah Tell was born and raised in San Diego, CA and currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She received her BA in Art Studio from UCSB in 2007. She is currently a candidate in the MFA program at San Francisco Art Institute where she studies printmaking.


Lordy Rodriguez's postcard-size drawings "Visual Language Maps - Postcards 3/11"


Postcards 3/11 continues my practiced use of maps to reconfigure factual locations and push the language of cartography as a mode of critical thought. Postcards 3/11 responds to marine trash islands in the Pacific Ocean caused by the debris from recent earthquakes and tsunamis. As American scientists attempt to track the course of debris through the ocean with concerns for its arrival on our coastline, these small pen and ink drawings offer abstracted snapshots of both foreign and domestic branded products churning together as the result of natural disaster and human negligence. I approach these disaster-hit areas in a more placid manner in which the excursion of these flotsams are more reminiscent of novelty postcards being parceled along the Pacific. In this non sequitur terrain, the Western Pacific Garbage Patch takes on a more eastern influence, conjuring the memories of the Edo and Meiji period for this " New Floating World". The selection of products for postcards comes from a 2012 report by the Ocean Conservancy Organization on the top 10 items found during an international coastal cleanup. The question remains; will these products as postcards continue to reach the doorsteps of our coastline, simply sink or over the years will it "return to sender" as a result of the earth's Coriolis Effect (the deflection of moving objects caused by the earth's rotation)?


Lordy Rodriguez was born in 1976 in the Philippines, raised in Louisiana and Texas, and currently lives in Hayward, CA. He obtained his B.F.A. degree from School of Visual Arts, New York and his MFA at Stanford University. For several years he has been working on a series of ink drawings that reinterpret the United States of America as delineated by geographic, civic and state boundaries. These handmade maps, drawn in fine Technicolor detail, represent his take on the ideal reconfiguration of our country. His recent exhibitions include "The Map is Not the Territory", Hosfelt gallery New York, New York (2011), "Surface Depths", Nevada Art Museum (2009), "States of America", Austin Museum of Art (2009), "Optimism in the Age of Global War", 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey, (2007), "The California Biennial", Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2006), "Perspectives", 25: A Quarter Century of New Art in Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas (2004), "Dessins et des autres", Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France (2004).


Salma Arastu's poem-painting "Rumi's Language of Love"


I have been creating lyrical and spiritual paintings and sculptures since more that 30 years. Inspired by the poems of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a thirteenth century Persian Sufi poet, in my new Poem-Paintings I am recreating the peaceful, trance-like imagery to convey messages of love and unity. I have been supported by East Bay Community Foundation through their "Fund for Artists" in my pursuit of peace, to celebrate diversity and create positive interfaith dialogue through the arts.

The painting is inspired from following Rumi Poem-

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,and that sight becomes this art.
Mevlana Rumi


Salma Arastu was born in Rajasthan, India and she has been creating and exhibiting her paintings internationally since graduating with a Masters degree in Fine Arts from MS University, Baroda, India in 1975. Her work with continuous and lyrical line is influenced by her native culture and her residence after marriage in Iran and Kuwait before coming to the US in 1987. Born into the Sindhi,Hindu tradition in her native India, she later embraced Islam through her marriage. At birth, Ms. Arastu was given the life-defining challenge of a left hand without fingers. Seeing the unity of an all-encompassing God, she was able to transcend the barriers often set-forth in the traditions of religion, culture and the cultural perceptions of handicap. She has almost 40 solo shows to her credit, won several awards including East Bay Community's fund for artists in 2012, three works in public places and two books published with her poems and paintings. She has been invited to Germany twice, first on artist residency in 2000 and In 2011, Westphalia Wilhelm University in Mnster, Germany invited to publish her paper "Art Informed by Spirituality" in the publication on the International Symposium: `God Loves Beauty: Post Modern Views on Religion and Art.' Shortly after arriving in the United States, Salma became an entrepreneur with the creation of Your True Greetings, a successful greeting card company that uses her paintings and calligraphy to serve the needs of Muslim communities in the United States, Canada, Japan and Great Britain. She is the author of two books: "The Lyrical Line: Embracing All and Flowing" and "Turning Rumi: Singing Verses of Love Unity and Freedom" (2012).


Jon Kuzmich's paintings "Logos : John", "Logos : I Kings" and "Logos : Song of Soloman"


Merging traditional representational religious-icon painting with contemporary abstract color-field painting, every character in the 66 books of the King James Bible is transcribed into a field of gold, silver, copper, pearl, and bronze acrylic dots on square slabs of plastic PVC. Each book of the Bible is transcribed onto its own PVC slab that is sized according to the number of characters in each specific book. Additionally, the color assignment for each consonant, vowel, space, symbol and number is unique per book in order to create a subtle value gradient over the course of "writing" the entire Bible; with the first book (Genesis) having the lightest density culminating with the last book (Revelations) having the darkest color density. The title of this series refers to the Christian concept of Logos as the divine creative entity as illustrated in John 1: "In the beginning was the Word... and the Word was God...".


Jon Kuzmich was born in Louisville, Ky 1977 and currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA. About the artist: "As an artist, I create labor and process-intensive visual systems that involve the conceptually driven organization of small, synthetic units into large and complex patterns. My work is often inspired by the fact that our perception as human beings is altered and distorted by our belief in systems that we create (religious, economic, scientific, etc.). By virtue of this distortion, systems change our relationship to the world, manipulate our understanding of reality and influence our relationship to the cosmos. In essence, our belief systems keep us confined within a synthetic, human-created world.Therefore, even though I utilize Op-art, abstraction and conceptual art, I consider my work to be representational because the visual systems I create alter the perception of the viewer and illustrate that what we see and what we know are questionable."


Jon Gourley's prints "Meta is a Four-letter Word"


This body of work uses /lorem ipsum/, the standard filler text employed by graphic designers, as a metaphor through which to explore failed communication within relationships. This text is provisional, a placeholder. It is a falsity, an unreadable surface, a performance: signifying communication without communicating itself. Through this lens, my work engages the interactive nature of visual language and the ground rules of communication. It employs self-referential humor, often undercutting itself in a tongue-in-cheek manner.


Jon Gourley currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA. He received his MFA from SFAI in 2012. He has exhibited at the Des Moines Art Center, the Headlands Center of the Arts, Southern Exposure, and Queens Nails Annex. His work primarily investigates failed communication, its poetics, and the ensuing tragicomedies


Renetta Sitoy's two-channel video "Words as Empty Promises"


In "Words as Empty Promises - A declaration in lines and beeps between one and another" two television monitors continually reassure each other, declaring, " I swear. I will. I promise." in Morse code. The empty or broken promise is a common cause of arguments and hostility. Saying one thing, then doing another-or simply not following through with a commitment-can sometimes stem from a misunderstanding of language, and can likewise result in a complete breakdown of communication. A declaration. examines the way in which we sometimes use language as a way to deceive or appease one another, whether intentionally or subconsciously, as well as the natural inclination to relate spoken words with ideas, emotions, and even moral obligations.


Renetta Sitoy was born in New York, NY. She graduated in 2007 with an MFA in Design + Technology from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she was the recipient of the San Francisco Art Institute MFA Fellowship from 2005 to 2007. Using media that include video and animation to examine the human condition, her work has explored topics such as the alteration of time and space, perception, memory, dreams, and the effects of technology on human behavior. Her work has been shown in Atlanta, Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Varna, Bulgaria, Budapest, Hungary, Athens, Greece, and throughout the Bay Area. She has lectured throughout the Bay Area on her work as an artist and completed a residency at the Philadelphia Art Hotel in 2009. In 2012, she received an Individual Artist Grant from the City of Oakland, and is currently working on a film profiling the pioneering electronic sound artist Laetitia Sonami.


Carissa Potter's art books "4 Poems of Love and A Sonnet of Despair, by Pablo Neruda translated by a non-Spanish speaker" and "You Tell Me What I Want to Hear"


In most, if not all my work, I rely on text for the viewer to situate themselves and connect with the work/art/object. I run a small press in San Francisco with my partner, Luca Antonucci. We have a Art Newsstand through the Central Market Street Revitalization program called Edicola. There we sell artist made prints, books, and zines, along with hosting art events. "4 Poems of Love and A Sonnet of Despair, by Pablo Neruda translated by a non-Spanish speaker" serves as a metaphor to the way in which love may be understood. The longing to translate something enigmatic and realizing, through the translation, familiarity resides. Images of the books are attached to this email. "You Tell Me What I Want to Hear" interprets the game of Telephone within the context of love and longing. This piece serves as a playful look into how the our mind may perceive one thing but unable to trust what we actually hear. Watch the video


Originally from Minneapolis, Carissa Potter lives and works in San Francisco. Her practice is a careful investigation of intimacy both publicly and privately. Carissa's prints and small-scale objects are meant to integrate into retail environments and point to the hopeless romanticism of consumer products. She is a founding member of COLPA PRESS and is currently an artist in residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA.


Gabriel Edwards' painting "Verba non Facta" (acrylic and house paint on board)


This piece is about human interaction and the means one goes through to express themselves. As a painter I enjoy creating scenes of everyday life made slightly askew, allowing the viewer to consider the possible circumstances behind the scene. Is this a picture of another dimension where animals are treated as equals, following us around on our daily business, or did the man steal her from a zoo as part of some failed scheme? My work plays with the rational and the absurd, blending the two together until one isn't sure which world they are in.


Gabriel Edwards was born and raised in souther California. He studied Philosophy and Theology at Azusa Pacific University where he received his BA 2008. Currently he is a grad student working towards an MFA in painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has been part of several group shows in the last year.