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Man Made

On view: March 18, 2017 - May 6, 2017

Opening reception: Saturday | March 18, 2017 | 6 - 9 PM

Explore the urban ecology of our built environment through the distinctive artwork of seven Los Angeles based artists.


Brand Library & Art Center is pleased to present Man Made, an exhibition that explores the urban ecology of our built environment through the distinctive artwork of seven remarkable women: Jacqueline Bell Johnson, Anita Bunn, Chelsea Dean, Jennifer Gunlock, Jenene Nagy, Michelle Robinson and Sinziana Velicescu.  Each artist, through their own unique practice, honors the physical act of creation and expands the language of environmental engagement.  By exploring different ways of seeing, representing and connecting ubiquitous forms, shapes and objects in our surroundings, the artist abstracts reality; resulting in beautiful, anomalous truths, seemingly prophetic vistas, and meticulously rendered constructions.  The exhibition features installation, sculpture, printmaking, photography, drawing and collage.

"The built environment is both the frame and the expression of mankind." 

- Sven Sandstrom (author and art critic)

MAN MADE_Jacquline Bell Johnson-Stick FenceJacqueline Bell Johnson grew up in a blue-collar town of longshoreman and steel workers where she learned a value system that intrinsically linked work ethic and labor with value of one's output.  Bell Johnson's work is transparent in how the form is created.  The labor and the process exposed lead to the formal aesthetics of the piece.  Bell Johnson uses craft processes to solve the problem of building form; connecting materials together in repetition creating reliable structures while exploring design, composition and layout.  Often the materials she uses are readily available and the accessibility of the materials challenges the conventional art medium hierarchy, and in turn maintains a level of accessibility in the finished work.

Bell Johnson received a BA in Fine Arts in Jewelry/Metal Arts from the California College of Arts and a MFA in Fine Art from Claremont Graduate University.  She is a ceramics instructor at Hope Center for the Arts in Anaheim and an adjunct Professor at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, CA teaching Art History, Art Appreciation and Curatorial Studies.  She has shown her work both nationally and internationally and has curated shows throughout Los Angeles County.  She is currently a contributing writer at Art and Cake, Los Angeles, reviewing exhibitions and conducting artist interviews.

MAN MADE_Anita_BunnAnita Bunn's work is an investigation into the act of noticing and then the act of turning away from the spectacle and the obvious.  Her photographs, digital videos, and prints explore a feeling of unfamiliarity with the familiar and how objects negotiate a shared space within a sprawling urban environment.  Her work seeks out the subtle shifts in perception that occur over time and through repetition, allowing for different ways of looking at an object and crystallizing the complexity and nuance that exist within a seemingly simple construct.

Bunn received a BA in Fine Art from Trinity University, a BFA in Photography from Art Center College of Design, and an MFA in Photography from Claremont Graduate University.  She is currently adjunct faculty at several local colleges and universities, teaching Black & White Darkroom Photography, Digital Photography, Digital Imaging, and Studio Lighting for Photography.  She shows her work both nationally and internationally, and is in many public and private collections, including the Wallace Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Scripps College, and the Capital Group, Los Angeles.

MAN MADE_Chelsea Dean-A Cosmos Amidst the ChaosChelsea Dean's work revolves around glimpses of passing perfection that can fly by in an instant or fade over decades.  She salvages history, suspending the architecture of Southern California in time with a process of carefully controlled chaos.  By combining her photographs with experimental printmaking, drawing, and collage techniques, Dean elevates the conflict between order and entropy while inserting her own sense of balance into the work.  She incorporate layers of pattern, imagery, and texture to produce surreal yet familiar spaces.  With an eye for the subtle, mysterious, and sensuous qualities of nature and the enticing and elegant power of architecture, Dean invokes an arsenal of techniques to reveal the allure of beauty and decay.

Dean has a BA in Studio Art from the University of Puget Sound, and an MFA in Drawing from Claremont Graduate University.  Dean has exhibited throughout Southern California as well as internationally at Gallery Lara Tokyo in Tokyo.  She currently teaches art full-time in Los Angeles and has a studio in Glassell Park.

MAN MADE_Jennifer Gunlock-OutpostJennifer Gunlock is a traveler who embeds her wanderings into her artmaking process by collecting imagery that she later deconstructs and assigns new meaning to in the studio.  Her mixed media collage explore the restless intersection of nature and the built environment, creating moments when the two seem to co-exist.  Through the application of photo transfers, tonal papers, and drawing media onto rag paper or panel, her tree-based figures emerge, gnarled and ancient, their bodies awkwardly fused with metal gates, antennas, stone, and other architectural motifs.  Gunlock's sentinels stand tall in her seemingly prophetic vision, having borne witness to the rise and fall of civilizations. 

Gunlock earned her MFA from California State University, Long Beach.  Her work has exhibited nationally including at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Orange County Center of Contemporary Art.  She served as Artist in Residence at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming and at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  In 2014 - 15 Gunlock participated in "Fires of Change," an NEA-funded collaboration between artists and scientists, to translate the social and ecological issues surrounding wildfire in the Southwest, which culminated in a group exhibition opened at Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona, later traveling to the University of Arizona, Museum of Art.

MAN MADE_Jenene Nagy-FieldJenene Nagy practices what she considers a simple alchemy; engaging in a process similar to an incantation: the mark, the Mantra, the repeated act.  Each mark she makes builds on the previous, exploring the transformative potential of repetition and how simple materials, actions, and forms can produce something greater than the component parts.  Her investment in the fundamentals extend to her desire for the viewer to experience the works through the simple act of looking and to acknowledge their place in time as they contemplate the accretion.  There is a slowness, both in the making and in the viewing, with both having quiet rewards.  Nagy's hope is that through this relationship, something enhanced, other, enlightened, will form.

Jenene Nagy is a visual artist living and working in the Inland Empire.  She received her BFA from the University of Arizona and her MFA from the University of Oregon.  Nagy's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Portland Art Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Southern Exposure in San Francisco, Takt Kunstprojektraum in Berlin, and Samuel Freeman in Los Angeles.  Her work has been recognized with grants and awards from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, the Oregon Arts Commission, Colorado Creative Industries, and the Ford Family Foundation.  Along with a rigorous studio practice, Nagy is one half of the curatorial team TILT Export:, an independent art initiative working in partnership with a variety of venues to produce exhibitions.  Nagy's work is represented by Samuel Freeman Gallery in Los Angeles, PDX CONTEMPORARY ART in Portland and Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver.

MAN MADE_Michelle Robinson-TeslaMichelle Robinson's artwork explores the terrible beauty in the tension between the natural and the man-made.  With much of her work focused on the heavily altered Los Angeles River, she imbues intimacy and animation to forms that are ubiquitous, but often invisible or ignored.  While inspiration begins with the real places she captures on film, Robinson's methodical process results in something closer to a dream, or a memory.  The evidence of the artist's hand humanizes the urban landscape, creating narrative in the transformation.

Robinson received her Bachelor in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University and continued on to study photography, video, and computer animation at Texas A&M's graduate program in Visualization.  She began her career producing CG animated short films, before being courted by Walt Disney Animation Studios, where she has now worked as an artist for over 23 years.  She recently had her work published in The Hand, and Diffusion of Light, and returned to her Alma mater for a solo show at the Wright Gallery at Texas A&M University.

MAN MADE_Sinziana Velicescu-from the series On the PeripherySinziana Velicescu's photography explores human intervention with nature in landscapes that have undergone political, social, or environmental change.  In her series titled "On the Periphery" she examines that aesthetic and utilitarian effect of architecture in and around the greater Los Angeles area.  From the facades and surfaces of the built landscape, Velicescu is able to draw out rich narratives, capturing transformations brought about by the ever-expanding urban population.

Sinziana Velicescu is a photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California.  She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Film.  Her award winning fine-art photographs have been shown internationally in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Rome.  Her work has been featured in over 50 online and in-print publications worldwide.  CNN tagged her as one of 13 young female artists to follow on Instagram (@casualtimetravel) and most recently, Photo Boite named her one of the 30 Female photographers under 30 to watch in 2016.