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Past Exhibitions 2012

Alison Saar: STILL . . .
August 18 – November 17, 2012

Curator: Meg Linton

Informed by artistic traditions from the Americas to Africa and beyond, and by her mixed racial upbringing, Alison Saar (’81 MFA) fuses her paradoxical responses to the black-and-white delineations of political and social forces into a powerful, visual, and kinesthetic tension. She uses the history and associations of her materials, everyday experience, African art and ritual, Greek mythology, and the stark sculptural tradition of German Expressionism to infuse her work with a primal intensity that challenges cultural and historic references and stereotypes. STILL . . . gathers together for the first time four never-exhibited works made during a residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle with six new bronze and mixed-media sculptures.

Saar is a mature and significant sculptor who has achieved broad recognition for her studio and public art throughout the country. Her work is held in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Metropolitan Museum of Art; and she has major public art works in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. She has received numerous prestigious awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She forcefully investigates elements of marginalization and discrimination in society to present poetic responses through a process of self-scrutiny and introspection as to how these historical burdens can be transformed, and how symbolic atonement, and even some measure of redemption, can be imagined. Her work mirrors an entirely American process of spiritual and political bifurcation, and the evolution of historical recovery. As Lowry Stokes Sims, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, writes in her essay for Feallan and Fallow, “Alison Saar’s library of references is as varied and rich as her own heritage. Her special gift lies in her ability to translate the personal and the culturally specific in such a way that it embodies concerns that not only transcend race but also gender.”

The catalog, Alison Saar: STILL . . . (October, 2012), features an introduction by Meg Linton, Curator of the Exhibition and OTIS Director of Galleries and Exhibitions; an essay by Dr. Barbara Thompson and Phyllis Wattis, Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Americas at the Cantor Art Center, Stanford University, and full-color reproductions of the work and installation.

This exhibition is funded in part by Contemporary Collectors — Orange County. Special thanks go to Decker Studios, L.A. Louver, John David O’Brien, and Otis Continuing Education and Alumni Relations.


Saturday, September 15, 4–6pm, Free
Public Reception Meet Alison Saar and enjoy live music by Sunny War, a singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee who plays punk inspired blues.

Saturday, September 22, 10am–4pm, $25
Otis Alumni Gallery & Studio Tour Otis Alumna Alison Saar tours her exhibition STILL . . . in the Ben Maltz Gallery followed by lunch and a bus tour to local Otis alumni studios and galleries.

Sunday, November 4, 2pm, Free, Reservation Required
Conversation Alison Saar in conversation with Sarah Lewis about art, race, and gender.

Saturday, November 17, 3–5pm, Free
Poetry Reading and closing reception Author Harryette Mullen reads her poetry at a closing reception for the exhibition

Harryette Mullen is the author of several poetry collections, including Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge, winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, German, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, and Bulgarian. She teaches American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLA. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between What We Are and What We Are Supposed to Be, is due from University of Alabama Press in 2012. Her Tanka Diary is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2013.


Press Release / Slideshow / Video: Walk-Thru / Video: Installation
Materials for Teachers & Students: Curricular Connections
Reviews: Art in America / Artillery / Artscene / ArtweekLA / Huffington Post / Art Talk

Invoking LA. . .
June 30 – August 29, 2012

Curator: Paige Tighe ('10 MFA Public Practice)

Artists: Raul Paulino Baltazar ('09 Fine Arts, '13 MFA Public Practice), Michael-Vincent Garcia ('10 Fine Arts), Mark X Farina, Bridget Kane ('12 MFA Fine Arts), Elena Rosa ('12 MFA Fine Arts), Signify, Sanctify, Believe: Claire Cronin, Adam Overton, and Tanya Rubbak, and Niko Solorio.

Can we still find spirituality in a world of pixels and sound bites?

Invoking LA..., curated by artist Paige Tighe, presents the work of seven artists who use the fast-cut editing techniques and formats of reality TV shows, commercials, and music videos in an effort to summon the divine.


Saturday, June 30, 4pm–6pm
Opening Reception

Tuesday, August 28, 12pm
Gallery Talk with Artist and Curator, Paige Tighe


Press Release / Image

April 28 – July 7, 2012

Curated by Meg Linton and John David O’Brien. Poets selected by Graduate Writing Chair Paul Vangelisti.

Meticulosity features the work of 11 Southern California based artists and 3 poets who work in genres ranging from painting to installation and ceramica and digital formats. Artists: Tanya Batura, Hilary Brace, Eileen Cowin, Linda Hudson (faculty member), Gegam Kacherian, Sandeep Mukherjee ('96), Ross Rudel, Linda Stark, Arthur Taussig, Elizabeth Turk, Samira Yamin. Poets: Guy Bennett, Dennis Phillips, Martha Ronk

The title Meticulosity references both the technical/formal approach of the artists and the spiritual focus of their creative efforts — their tenacity and continuity. The premise for Meticulosity is that these artworks are created in a meditative mode or through a trance-like process, and that the painstaking exactitude expressed by these works is intended for the viewer to perceive along with the work's conceptual values. We connect that visual meticulousness to a sense of the ineffable or that which is beyond words, and to the meaning of beauty.

Our interest is in bridging the way in which the conceptual and the visual seem to have diverged. The thoughtfulness (a conceptual dimension) of the geometric underpinnings in a Piero della Francesca painting such as “The Flagellation” are not in any way contradicted by the meticulously beautiful surfaces he has painted (a purely visual dimension). As curators, our self-appointed task was to avoid preclusions on either side of this divide. We are presenting exceptionally thoughtful artwork where the visual acuity is as important as the originating idea, and have selected a variety of genres to underscore the plurality of our point of view.

—Co-curators Meg Linton and John David O’Brien

Pasadena Art Alliance

This project is sponsored in part by the Otis Board of Governors, and supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.


Saturday, April 28, 4 6pm
Opening Reception with live music by MUSE

Saturday, June 9, 11am
Tour with Co-curators Meg Linton and John David O'Brien and the artists

Saturday, June 16, 2pmm
Reading with poets Guy Bennett, Dennis Phillips, and Martha Ronk


Workshops are offered through Continuing Education. For more information, see

Introduction to Woodcarving with Ross Rudel Saturdays, June 2-August 2, 2–6pm

Paper-Cutting with Samira Yamin Sunday, June 3, 10am–4pm

Writing for Artists with Samira Yamin Saturdays, June 2-August 4, 10am–1pm


Press Release / Slideshow / Video: Walk-Thru / Review: Los Angeles Times

Globalize THIS! International Graphics of Resistance
March 17 – April 14, 2012

Curated by Carol Wells, Founder and Executive Director, Center for the Study of Political Graphics in partnership with the Otis Integrated Learning class Designing the Political led by faculty Guy Bennett and Kerri Steinber

Climate change, outsourced jobs, pollution, wars—globalization affects every aspect of life on this planet. As the crises escalate and resources diminish, activists and artists throughout the world are speaking with a clarity and coherence exceeding that of most politicians. Their message: as our planet shrinks, we'd better all start getting along.

The anti-globalization movement was dramatically announced to the world in the 1990s by two memorable explosions. On January 1, 1994 the international community suddenly became aware of an indigenous guerrilla movement in Chiapas, Mexico—the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). Declaring that "the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a death sentence for the indigenous peoples of Mexico," the Zapatistas staged their insurrection to coincide with the day NAFTA went into effect. Five years later, on November 30, 1999, the Battle of Seattle began to protest the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since then protests have taken place against meetings where the world's most powerful economies have set agenda's for the rest of the world's people.

The images in Globalize THIS! range from haunting to humorous. Posters on racism, AIDS, nuclear proliferation, child labor, genetically modified food, environmental degradation, and the increasing indebtedness of developing nations offer sobering messages. These posters remind us of the passions and commitment of the protesters and demand our involvement to make a difference. They are reclaiming the power of art to inspire people to action.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics in partnership with the Otis' Integrated Learning Class Designing the Political led by faculty Guy Bennett and Kerri Steinberg.

Center for the Study of Political GraphicsCalifornia Arts CouncilCalifornia ART LVR PlateDepartment Cultrual AffairsNational Endowment for the Arts: Art Works


Checklist and study-guide of the works in the exhibition: Gallery Guide
Press Release / Image 1 / Image 2

Purely Observational / Everyday Political: Artwork of and inspired by Corita Kent
March 17 – April 14, 2012

Curated by: Nancy Jo Haselbacher and One Over One Printmaking

Corita Kent focused on the importance of love, respect, and dignity for everyone throughout her career as an artist and a teacher. Her style and subject matter shifted with the political climate of the day and her relationship with the church, but this underlying current remained. This exhibition includes a selection of work that reflects her ethical outlook and her inherent optimism about life. Using Corita Kent's teaching techniques of looking and systematic assignments, the One Over One Printmaking class at Otis College of Art and Design has selected a sampling of Corita's work to present alongside art they have produced in response to Kent's images and to the politics of our everyday lives.

One Over One Printmaking was a Communication Arts studio class offered at Otis in Fall 2011 and taught by faculty member and artist Nancy Jo Haselbacher. The student work presented in this exhibition was made by Liesel Plambeck, Andrew Rahn, Meghan Riley and Dan Zins. Thank you to Sasha Carrera, Director,

Press Release / Image 1 / Image 2