Inspired by Joshua Tree’s elegant mountains of rock, China Adams’ two large scale drawings re-envision these brilliant iconic structures, examining their inner natures. She describes her works, “Rock Wall by Night” and “Rock Wall by Day”, as economical, rather than imitations of natural beauty seen by the human eye, emphasizing the rocks’ inner webs of mystery in her own stylized way. Originally from San Francisco and currently residing in LA, Adams produces work in a wide variety of media.
Old abandoned buildings sometimes carry unwanted auras of deterioration – but they also bear potential for growth and renewal. Artist Cathy Allen explores this concept by reconfiguring found materials into new structures that demonstrate possibilities for revitalization in rural communities. Centered in the Mojave Desert, these dwellings play tribute to the historical monuments of domesticity, using materials found solely onsite. Allen’s Treenial contribution is a continuation of her Non-Urban Renewal Project (NURP), which questions the traditional aesthetics and object-cult nature of the art world. Residing in Wonder Valley, Allen is a Professor of Art at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree.
Los Angeles thrives in an ever-present tension between the natural and man-made. Heimir Björgúlfsson’s piece for the Treenial functions as a symbolic reflection of man’s hubris, planted where it does not traditionally belong, to encourage reflections on our relationship with nature as humans. How do experiences both with nature and man-made objects shape our cultural identities? Björgúlfsson is an Icelandic artist from Reykjavík currently working in Los Angeles, inspired by its layered culture and built-in confrontations between artificial and natural elements.
Michelle Castillo makes poems, field recordings and images that immerse viewers in sounds, textures, and other sensory stimuli that may be had while wandering the desert. Michelle’s recordings, notes and images recorded onsite at BoxoHOUSE and elsewhere in the desert will be on view, and she will lead two poetry walks in nearby open spaces during the Treenial. Castillo is a writer, educator, musician, curator and social activist who incorporates poetry, music, and the landscape in her work to exemplify natural energy that comes from them.
Gerald Clarke, a conceptual artist from the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians, experiments with and departs from traditional American Indian forms in his large sculptural installations. For the Treenial, he has constructed an oversized Cahuilla basket made of industrial building components while suspending a large piece of colored ice situated to melt slowly onto its surface. Clarke seeks to give voice to his Native American community by dispelling myths, bringing truths to the forefront, and finding a middle ground between perception and reality.
Clara Darrason and Andrew Erdos
The vibrant surface of the sun, complete with its dancing gasses, swaying lava, solar flares and rhythmic eruptions, will be presented in video by artists Andrew Erdos and Clara Darrason. The piece will project onto Joshua Tree’s rocky landscape, accompanied by a sound installation of the sun’s low-frequency vibrations. Erdos lives and works in New York City, while Darrason is a French curator and founding director of The Chimney NYC, an exhibition and performance venue in Brooklyn, New York.
Bob Dornberger’s Treenial installation situates a vessel of liquid atop a tall ladder, which viewers must climb to reach, in the dry heat of the Mojave Desert. From this vantage point, an image appears nearby. Dornberger resides in Los Angeles, working primarily with sculpture inspired and activated by the sharing and making of food. He also designs and produces furniture and decorative objects, as well as exhibitions.
Stephanie DiGregorio and Emily Silver
What would it be like to breathe underwater? Yucca Valley and LA based artists Emily Silver and Stephanie DiGregorio have collaborated on a video installation that re-creates this experience, drawing parallels between the life inherent in the desert and the water in our own bodies . Silver’s sculptures and paintings examine the space between the tragic and celebratory in life, and is responsible for Curate Joshua Tree, an online blog featuring local desert artists. Originally from NYC, Digregorio works in a variety of media to raise questions about the human condition through the mundane.
In celebration of the warmth and vibrancy of Mexico, Paula Flores’ series of 15 tall wooden poles will distort perceptions of the landscape as viewers walk through them, calling attention to color changes as the sun casts light on their bright, reflective surfaces. Paula lives and works in Tijuana, Mexico and is a founder of the Boiling Process collective.
Jesse Gilbert, Carole Kim, Moses Hacmon & Matthew Setzer
Jesse Gilbert and his team of collaborators will create a live drawing with Joshua Tree’s rich, colorful landscape as a palette. Audio-reactive visuals will occupy and enhance a large horizontal canvas, providing viewers with a live performance platform. Based in Los Angeles, Gilbert is a multidisciplinary artist working in visual art, sound, and software design to produce live performances. Carole Kim is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Pasadena, CA. Moses Hacmon is an artist and designer dedicated to his long-term project Faces of Water. Matthew Setzer is a musician and technologist living in Los Angeles.
Gregory Michael Hernandez
Artist Gregory Michael Hernandez has created “a chapel of another kind,” whose walls are defined by studs rather than surfaces, with impenetrable concrete windows. The outdoor chapel lacks a deity, prone to its surroundings through its skeletal form, causing the view through and of the chapel to change according to the landscape. Hernandez conceptualizes the collision of religion and politics in an increasing technological age, suggesting that science is moving faster than human progress. Hernandez was raised in the Mojave Desert, lives in LA, and creates land-based work with explorations of space and place, combining the wilderness with urban development.
On an abandoned shack close to Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Museum, artist Chip Thomas will present one of his iconic, large scale image-text works. Artist James “Chip” Thomas is an artist, doctor and photographer who has lived and worked in the Navajo Nation of Arizona since 1987. He is known for his massive outdoor murals which he signs under the name of “Jetsonorama”. Installation located on the southeast corner of Aberdeen Drive and Sunburst Avenue, Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree’s unique landscape patterns will be interpreted in a colorful video projection onto the rocks behind BoxoHOUSE. Years of experimenting with photographic patterns as brushes has enabled Kamandy to make paintings using digital software that renders itself without repeating results. Kamandy is an American contemporary artist living in Los Angeles who works primarily with code and lens based media.
In a 30-minute concert, composer Rolfe Kent will blend the sounds of household objects, reflected voices, and electronic instruments in a re-imagining of the music inside a person’s head. Viewers are encouraged to chase the sounds of the desert: birds, coyotes, rabbits, wind, and rain, as one might chase his or her own inspirations. Born and raised in Hertfordshire, England, Kent was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the “Best Original Score” category for the film Sideways. His compositions can be found in many films, including Legally Blonde, 17 Again, and Wedding Crashers.
Sant Khalsa calls attention to the perils of climate change in her photographs and kinetic sculpture. Her work for the Treenial features a tall glass cylinder filled halfway with water, inspired by the Tibetan Prayer Wheel, containing messages and images designed to invoke rain. Also present are photographs that question humanity’s consumption of natural resources. Khalsa lives in Southern California as an artist, educator, curator and activist, and her work has also been displayed internationally in over 150 exhibitions.
Australian artist Kristin McIver’s neon sign installation, Lifeless III, expresses our desires and obsessions in the modern age. She proposes that banality is a sin and that dreams can be purchased. McIver’s work, in a variety of media, coupled with her focus on social media’s effect on our culture, has garnered her global attention.
Jane Chang Mi
Jane Chang Mi’s video compiles stories of Greek gods in correlation with the visible stars and planets that scatter Joshua Tree’s night sky. Jane’s work stems from her training as an ocean engineer, confronting our contemporary relationship to nature and technology. Based in Los Angeles and Honolulu, she currently teaches at Pepperdine University and University of California, Santa Barbara.
Sonja Schenk’s sculpture incorporates elements from science and the military through the use of infrared technology. Her piece for the Treenial, a large-scale sculpture made from discarded electronic packaging and infrared paint, is inspired by “Red Shift,” an optical phenomenon that makes distances difficult to judge in the vast spaces of the desert. Born and raised in LA, Schenk is an internationally exhibiting artist whose work examines the instability of the natural world and its tenuous relationship with humankind.
Ali Silverstein’s site specific installation embraces the role of mark-making as an act of desire. Each mark or gesture exists in the present moment, from which one cannot turn back. Ali’s work relates this intimate, immediate act to the delicate balance we maintain as humans with the landscape. Having lived and worked in New York, London, and New Mexico, Silverstein’s studio practice is now based in Los Angeles.
Inspired by Homer’s classic tale, The Odyssey, Kyle Simon explores Ulysses’ encounter with the Sirens through his performance at the Integratron. The Siren’s lulling songs will be interpreted through a telescope that plays the constellations in sound compositions. An artist, explorer, printmaker, and illuminator residing in Brooklyn, New York, Simon also spends lengthy stints of time in Joshua Tree.
Artist Roberto Visani redefines how we think of shelter with his sculptural piece made entirely of bamboo poles. Geometric gaps in his “hut” point toward notions of mass, resourcefulness and exposure in the context of Joshua Tree’s terrain, while calling attention to Joshua Tree’s stunning night sky. Residing in Brooklyn, New York, Visani’s work has been exhibited at museums such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY and Barbican Galleries, London, UK.
Ubiquitous power pylons strung across the desert are often seen as symbols of intrusion, yet Lisa Ward imagines them as totems or characters in the landscape. Her installation “Transfusion” re-invents these structures at a human scale using a range of different materials. Ward is an artist and architect whose interest lies in infrastructure, modes of habitation and land use. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
Through sculpture and a live performance, Whisler calls attention to the daily threat of destruction posed by bombs of all kinds, from nuclear missiles to suicide bombers. Currently residing in Napa Valley, California, Whisler’s work has been shown at various exhibitions in both the East and West Coasts and consist of furniture, paintings, sculptures, and installations.
Chinese Artist Motong Yang exhibits a gigantic tree made of polished steel. Glistening in the desert sun or reflecting the sky at night, the tree is a beautiful yet foreboding figure. Embodying the consumptive nature of our society, it points to a possible future where real bark and leaves will be no more. Motong Yang has recently relocated to Los Angeles from Beijing.