The Dhu Varren Barn – Photography by Rheagan Martin showing @ Sagebrush Cafe

“The Dhu Varren Barn” is a collection of photographs of a single barn in Michigan.

As Rheagan Martin has it in his description of his new photography show at Sagebrush Cafe, “The barn on Dhu Varren Road will not last long. When I moved into a house on the farmland, I had no idea that the barn was on the last undeveloped parcel of land in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. But as long as the reluctant city council denies plans for its development, the barn still stands.”

Dhu Varren Barn 1

The photos in this show capture the Dhu Varren Barn under different conditions of weather and light, inviting thoughts of the tension between continuation and change. 

In an age of rapid change, we tend to think that we are the non-permanent part of our landscape.

The world we were born into has been swept away by Twitter, by Apple and by Amazon. We’re half a hashtag away from a brave new world and we gleam in the cast off glow of our personal devices. We’re the blue-lit faces of the future, but in the whiz-bang of tweets and updates we hardly have a breath to wonder what’s next.

We are undergoing a sometimes torturous and sometimes joyous metamorphosis into a new society, which is difficult to acknowledge because we have never known what it’s like to be whatever it is we are becoming. We know, like the caterpillar knows, only where we’ve been.

The iconic Midwestern barn naturally symbolizes this sense of change. It is a literal picture of where we’ve been. But the barn – static, totemic, stoic – here is also suggestive of an idea that re-frames our sense that we are changing against an unchanging background.

The barn in spring offers another context. The barn in sunset too. It complicates the simple sense that we are changing against a permanent backdrop. Because our legacy includes the land – what we’ve done to protect it, to cultivate it, to store its fruits, to love it, in our way.

We have a legacy, but there is an open question as to what that legacy means today and what it will mean tomorrow.

Which light, striking an old barn on Dhu Varren Road, is the real light – the one that tells us the truth about where we’ve been and where we’re going?

 


 

This barn won’t last long, Martin says. The world is changing around it.

In an interesting turn of metaphor, the barn in these photographs becomes a double-edged symbol. It represents a changing world, standing here as the emblem of a past that has already been left behind. The distance between this Barn and Us – with our sense of being rushed toward an unknowable future – is wide, and getting wider.

These photos speak into that distance.

Dhu Varren Barn 4

“Eternity is in love with the productions of time.”  – William Blake

 

But the Dhu Varren Barn is also the vessel of a certain beauty – the kind we experience when we encounter an object outside of its time, an object that has endured. It is the past – still miraculously present. The past still intact and wholly itself.

When we hold an object like this in our hands now, or in our gaze, we feel that we are reaching back through time, and for many of us it becomes a moment of dumbfounded wonder. We don’t have words to put to this feeling of being stretched across time to touch the past, here, with our cell phones buzzing in our pocket and the news cycle chasing us like a shadow. But without words, we still feel the wonder. That’s why we keep going back to stand in the field and look at the barn. (At least, that must be why Rheagan Martin did it.)

So, the barn is a symbol of a part of the past that is still with us. It may feel fleeting and it may actually be fleeting, but for now it is still here. It’s part of our landscape, however anachronistic it may seem.


You wonder – How can this solitary barn be so active in its symbolism, so two-edged? How can it represent a changing world running full speed from any thoughts of an agrarian past while simultaneously representing the constance of that past, its ability to endure?

What should we say this barn means?

Is it a chance to reflect on a fleeting, pastoral American life, a message about how quickly and how far we’ve come toward changing into something new? Or is it a sign that even amidst all this change, something remains intact? Is it a link to a romance with the land that may flicker but never entirely fade?

Rheagan Martin’s photographs meditate on these questions, which spring to mind in the more poetic rooms of our brains, even if we don’t put these words to them.

“The Dhu Varren Barn” does the work of bringing us to a strange piece of land where the past and the present are hewn – together and apart.

 

The Dhu Varren Barn 

Photography by Rheagan Martin

Showing at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill, CA

A Special Art Show: Hosted by Bravery Brewing & Sagebrush Cafe

Bravery Brewing and Sagebrush Cafe have teamed up to craft a beer together. To celebrate the event, Bravery is throwing a beer release party with an emphasis on collaboration and the arts.

Two local small businesses, bringing their strengths together.

And you can be a part of it.

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Artists  interested in displaying art at the event should send in their work (following the guidelines listed on the flyer) before May 5th.

The show will be held on May 11th at Bravery Brewing.

It’s going to be a blast. If you don’t get a chance to submit and participate as an artist in the event, you can participate by coming out to celebrate the artists of our community as well as a couple small businesses that are known for showcasing local talent in the Antelope Valley.

Cheers!

Llano Art Project Set for Release

Special notice contributed by Larissa Nickel:

The rural Los Angeles County high desert region of Llano, California has historically been defined by innovative people willing to explore and define a new sense of place. “Yestermorrow Llano: An Artist’s Field Guide to Llano, California” introduces the past, present, and future narratives of Llano including its relationship to the local, regional, and global contexts of place—and their own yestermorrows.

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Yestermorrow Llano: An Artist’s Field Guide to Llano, CA

Date: Saturday, July 7, 2018

Time: 10 am-12 pm (noon)

Location: Blue Sky’s Bistro

12822 Pearblossom Hwy,

Pearblossom, CA 93553

Throughout the feminist geography field guide are cultural references, historical clippings, an artist’s archive, educational prompts, and collaborative activities to activate your sensory and artistic experiences of Llano. Create perfume, form a book club, make a recipe, or discover, map, architect, and construct your looking glass connection to the high desert by envisioning a geographic imagination and aesthetic experience of place through Llano’s cultural memory, collective present, and social futures.

Visitors at this release event can stop by the courtyard at Blue Sky’s Bistro to receive a free contemporary wallpaper design of Aldous Huxley’s “Crows of Pearblossom,” discover more about Llano, including its sights, sounds, tastes, and smells, and play a speculative design game of New Llano utopography to reveal the futures of your own experimental utopian communities.

“Yestermorrow Llano” is supported by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Antelope Valley Arts Outpost creative placemaking initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council with support from Metabolic Studio.

Outpost partners include: the Otis College of Art and Design MFA Public Practice program (Otis), the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH), the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance (GAVEA), the Department of Regional Planning, and the Office of 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Yestermorrow is a platform for cultural innovation and collective public engagement designed by Larissa Nickel to present new museological and archival perspectives to our past, present, heterotopian, and future experiences of place. Her work can be found at larissanickel.com


This article was contributed by the artist behind the project, who has been involved in a number of projects highlighting the art and ecology of our desert region: DEHSART & Hinterculture and others.  Take a look!

Mari Hall – Electric Moon Baby

Antelope Valley painter and writer, Mari Hall, exclaims a “world view, personal, eclectic and electric, is an art lens uniquely shaped by growing through a spiritual,
cultural and technological revolution.”

Her paintings offer a perspective that seems to play on the tenets of both folk art/folk tales and science fiction, fusing a striking and particular modernism with a sense of the universal.

 

“Magnificat, Opus in Power”    
African American Folk Art
 “Foon”

 

 

 

 

 

And this makes sense when you find out that Mari Hall is also a science fiction writer. Her 2017 novel, The JuneNoon Effect, “is a thrilling ride through modern America. Set in the not-so-distant future it is a tale of modern life in an age of extravagance.”

 

The JuneNoon Effect cover imageReviewing the novel, Chazz Clarence Ross write that The JuneNoon Effect “espouses Mari’s intricate command of scientific unknowns in the sphere of political subversion and spiritual antagonism. Like a backwards, Halloween ride on Colossus, you will relish Mari’s sudden twists and turns in this potent, sultry journey that smirks the secrecy of Area 51, 911 and other supernatural enigmas.”

Find out more about Mari Hall at her aptly named website, electricmoonbaby.

 

Celebrating the Desert – Edwin Vasquez

If the Mojave Desert is an oasis of natural and stubborn quietude set next to the traffic and the hubbub of Los Angeles, it is an oasis that also contains oases – a sort of Russian doll of harbors set within harbors.

Artist Edwin Vasquez sees this desert ethos and puts it into action too, as he is known to pick up hikers in Tehachapi and help them reach their next stop on the Pacific Crest Trail. Vasquez becomes, in a way, an oasis of humanity for the intrepid hiker who has been alone in the hills among the calls of ravens and the buzzing bees.

Stepping down into the desert, they might see some of what Vasquez sees and celebrates in the Antelope Valley environs.

Celebrating the Desert is a series of posts here at AV Arts dedicated to showcasing Mojave Desert-inspired work by local artists. Today’s post features the work of ever-active Antelope Valley artist Edwin Vasquez, who has been featured on the pages of AV Arts before.

 

From Edwin Vasquez:
The first photograph is from Apollo Park, near the General William J. Fox Airfield. It is an amazing community park. This is one of the three man-made lakes for fishing and boating. It is like an oasis in the middle of our desert.
Apollo Park
The second photograph is in the Piute Ponds, a group of ponds about 10 kilometers southeast of Rosamond. This large marsh is an important stop for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway.
Piute Ponds
Thank you to the artists who to the artists who have participated in our humble initiative to celebrate our landscape with art.

The call for submissions in our Celebrating the Desert series will remain open until January 1, 2018.

Send in some of your desert-inspired art and a brief bio to AV Arts (poeticwax@rocketmail.com). Also include a link to your website if you have one.

Celebrating the Desert – Midge Haggard Burthe & Marcy Watton

Celebrating the Desert is a series of posts here at AV Arts dedicated to showcasing Mojave Desert-inspired work by local artists. Today’s post features the (amazing!) work of two Antelope Valley photographers – Midge Haggard-Burthe and Marcy Watton.

The photographs these two artists sent in demonstrate a simple and sometimes profound fact: Every landscape is a mirror. Like other mirrors, we almost always find what we expect to find in a landscape, we see the things we set out looking for.

These artists must have set out looking for beauty…

There is something important in this expectation. Because to go into the desert on the look-out for glory is to say something profound about where you live and who you are.

Seen in one way, these are expert photos of a photogenic landscape, one worth celebrating. Seen in another way, they are a testament to a remarkable and important underlying ethic, one that makes celebration possible in the first place.

From Midge Haggard-Burthe:

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This is near Devil’s Punchbowl in Juniper Hills.

My name is Midge Haggard-Burthe and I am a hypnotherapist, psychologist, and disabled Navy veteran who has lived in the Antelope Valley for most of the past 28 years.

From Marcy Watton:

Fairmont

Thank you for this opportunity for artists to share their work, and especially work that is inspired by our lovely desert.
These photos represent my favorite things to do: take photos of my explorations of the desert while riding my horse.
I graduated from UCLA with a degree in Fine Art.  I teach photography and art at a local high school. I’ve been creating art and riding horses my entire life, and feel so very lucky to be able to continue to do the things I enjoy the most and share what I have learned with the next generation of artists.
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A big thank you to the artists who have participated in our humble initiative to celebrate our landscape with art.

The call for submissions in our Celebrating the Desert series will remain open until January 1, 2018.

Send in some of your desert-inspired art and a brief bio to AV Arts (poeticwax@rocketmail.com). Also include a link to your website if you have one.

Celebrating the Desert – Lori Antoinette

For artists in the Antelope Valley, the Mojave Desert is more than just a background. It’s a source of inspiration, a place to let ideas wend and wander among the Juniper and the Creosote.

From California Poppies to Joshua Trees, artists of the Antelope Valley are gifted with enough iconic imagery in the desert landscape to rival almost any other part of the world.

Of course, natural beauty and interesting images can be found anywhere if you just look for it, but the sometimes drastic, often surprising, and usually wind-swept landscape of Antelope Valley just makes these things easy to find.

AV Arts recently put out a call to local artists who can attest to this.

One of those artists is Lori Antoinette, an artist working in multiple mediums and who seems to find different ways to “hear” the desert in her art. The work she sent in takes the form of an energetic response to some of the Mojave Desert’s most recognizable figures.

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Q: What is your artistic background?

My earliest memories are drawing with my Mom (who is a wonderful painter) at around  three years old. I had always taken some kind of art or craft classes growing up.

My degree is in Fine Art from Univ of MD and I also have a certification in textile design. I always loved painting people and architecture, but my degree is actually in abstract. After college I went back to figurative.

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In the 90’s I belonged to an art collective called DAKO Vanguard. We shared a gallery space of the same name in the downtown LA Arts District for a time. I also had my own wearable art business selling at events and tv and movie sets.

I’ve been doing street art (chalk) for 25 years now, but since retiring from the airlines I have really been working hard to hone my skills. Life is always a work in progress…

Find out more about Lori Antoinette here:

Conjuring Marz

If you grow up in a family of artists, it’s not always easy to be an artist yourself. Instead of being “the creative one” and standing out, your creativity is given automatic comparison. Any artistic freedom and open-ended exploration of ideas can be dampened by a sense of a pressure to compete or to perform at a certain level. It can drive you away from art entirely.

Maggie Poster JPEG

With an artist for a mother and two artistically talented older sisters, Maggie SanFilippo was not always sure that she wanted to enter the fray. She followed her own path. But – and here’s the thing – that path seems to have always pointed back to art.

Doing costume design in the film industry and working for years as an entrepreneur in the area of vintage and hand-made furniture, SanFilippo never strayed far from art, even if she didn’t think of herself as an artist. She works in fields where design and aesthetics are central. Her furniture work in particular had her hustling to rescue and refurbish furniture, applying some imagination to give life back to thrift store finds and in that way bring new ideas to life.

She found herself naturally drawn to musicians and photographers. Maybe she tricked herself in a very quiet way into becoming an artist despite the fact that she wouldn’t have given herself that title. Or maybe she was just waiting for the right encouragement.

When her boyfriend and business partner, musician Ainsley Hubbard encouraged SanFilippo to take her occasional sketches and run with them, the moment seemed right and she did.

In Conjuring Marz, SanFilippo’s show at Sagebrush Café and her first solo show – you can see the process of “running with it” at work in a collection of pieces combining sketching and water color that become a sort of jazz-couture style: firm lines and inventive improvisations of color, gesture and attitude that bring to mind both Ella Fitzgerald and Coco Channel.

And there is a very deliberate harkening back to the past in Conjuring Marz. SanFilippo was inspired to create some pieces for the show while she was watching Feud, the television series about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, figures of glamour and great emotion – and a scrappy determination to insist on themselves and on their own success.

The style that is at work in Conjuring Marz calls on a certain understatement that hides in plain sight. Many of the pieces contrast vivid splashes of color with images of composure and self-possession. There is something in the drawn figures that the color points to, but the faces aren’t giving anything away.

So the joy that seems to shout itself from the bright and quite direct works in the show becomes at least a little bit complicated. There is something else here too.

Many of the figures in the drawings are wearing sunglasses, holding something back, maintaining a cool secret. That, in a way, is what elegance is – flair that is at the same time somehow restraint.

In Conjuring Marz, SanFilippo gives us a set of pieces that seem like the result of a meditation on this dance between the said and the unsaid. There is a sense that the stage sees what the actress wants to show but those inevitable off-stage incidents, those episodes in the wings are what stand behind the knowing smile when the actress takes her bow.

Conjuring Marz

Showing @ Sagebrush Cafe

42104 50th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93536

 

 

Figuring the Volume of a Utopian Cylinder

ON ALL Eve – Figuring the Volume of a Utopian Cylinder

Positional Projects invites the community to:

JOIN US FOR A SHORT DESERT WALK, REVISITING THE LLANO DEL RIO COLONY 100 YEARS AGO FOLLOWED BY A SPECIAL EVENING SOUND BATH IN THE SILO RUIN

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Llano, CA – 7pm, 8pm, 9pm

SiloandDairyBarnRuinsatLlanodelRioImage: Karyl Newman

Positional Projects in collaboration with Anahata Mousai present “ON ALL Eve – Figuring the Volume of a Utopian Cylinder” an evening event featuring a history walk and conversation under the waxing sturgeon full moon, reflecting on the end of the Llano del Rio socialist Utopian community in the Antelope Valley followed by a meditative sound bath amplified by the silo’s architecture.

In August of 1917, the colonists at Job Harriman’s cooperative experiment were deciding the fate of their desert future. Beinecke fellow and organizer Karyl Newman will share her discoveries at multiple archives specific to their struggle exactly 100 years ago – whether to stay and enact feminist city planner Alice Constance Austin’s innovative plans for the New City or organize an exodus to a more hospitable environment. Each guest will receive a limited edition printed guide and map created by Newman for “ON ALL Day”, a centennial event marking the final May Day of the Llano del Rio Cooperative Colony in Southern California’s Antelope Valley held on May 6th, 2017. Participants at the May event enjoyed the sound bath by local artists Jean Monte, Kristen Cramer and Moriah Cain Gross (Anahata Mousai), and requested an evening encore. Join us at 7pm, 8pm or 9pm on Friday, August 4th, 2017. Capacity in the silo is limited. Tickets are required and available for $10 at https://onalleve.eventbrite.com.

The site of Llano del Rio (located near the border of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties) occupies over 2,000 acres of open desert dotted with evidence of the historic endeavor, which began in 1914. “ON ALL Eve” takes place in and around the silo, the most intact of the remaining colony structures – a stalwart sentinel on the Antelope Valley horizon. Nearby are the walls of the dairy barn, creamery and bunk house. A cistern and aqueduct are adjacent to a fork of what is now Big Creek Wash, a contemporary example of the water issues that challenged the community’s viability in the Mojave. Explore the “ON ALL Day” digital exhibit to learn more.

“ON ALL Eve” ticket holders will meet and walk with Newman to the silo, learning about the final months at the colony, arriving at the silo where Anahata Mousai will sonify the structure using quartz bowls, bells and a gong. Guests will walk back together through the nearby ruins in conversation with Newman. The program is offered at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.

“ON ALL Eve” is produced by PositionalProjects.org and LaunchLA.org as an auxiliary project of “ON ALL Day – A Desert Reflection at Llano del Rio”, a program supported in part by a grant from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit calhum.org. Fiscal sponsor, Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County, http://www.artsconnectionnetwork.org/ hosts the digital exhibit.

For further information and images please contact:

Karyl Newman           

kaz@positionalprojects.org    

310.766.9476

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Image: Michael Hepburn
(Note: All above text provided by Kaz Newman.)