Annabeth Rosen’s overdue retrospective

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Annabeth Rosen’s exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

When art curator Valerie Cassel Oliver was organizing an exhibition a few years ago, artists kept mentioning someone they admired: UC Davis artist professor Annabeth Rosen.

“She is such an amazing artist – how did I not know about her?” said Cassel Oliver, a longtime senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Cassel Oliver got to know about Rosen and her art — the result is “Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” at the Contemporary Arts Museum. The first major survey of Rosen’s art, the exhibition includes 80 ceramic sculptures and 45 drawings/paintings, nearly all created since she arrived at UC Davis 20 years ago. Accompanying it is a 250-page catalog with dozens of images. Continue reading

Creative Collaborations Abound


Suleiman and Fries

When composer Ryan Suleiman read a fantastical tale by Cristina Fries, he knew she was the writer he wanted to collaborate with on a project teaming UC Davis music composition students with creative writing students.

It was new territory for both; Suleiman has written little music for voice and Fries is not a musician. Together, they fashioned “a tiny unstaged opera” titled “Moon, Bride, Dogs.”

“I knew the story had performable elements and I wanted to see it performed,” said Fries, a graduate student in creative writing.

Suleiman, a doctoral music student, concurred: “It’s a very dramatic story – it needed to be an opera.” Continue reading

Turning Political Tweets Into Art

younguntitleimage_0In the year leading up to the 2016 election, assistant professor of design Jiayi Young began collecting Twitter data that she turned in to an artwork she describes as “social media as cyborg.”

“I wanted to come up with ways to visualize the data beyond dots and lines on screens — something non-conventional that stuck with the viewer and bridges big data with human cognition,” she said. “I could feel very viscerally in my body what was happening and wanted to translate it into a physical manifestation. There was a sense of urgency I felt — like the urgency of a medical emergency.”

The goal is to accurately represent 6.5 million Twitter user activities and 620,000 election related tweets and identify the most influential social media robots and reveal their powerful influence on a global scale.

System overload

The most recent iteration of the project “What Does the Bot Say to the Human?” was made of IV bags filled with a glowing green solution, a tangle of 300 tiny wires with lights at each end and 60 speakers.

Continue reading

Exhibition redraws boundries

UC Davis will break down the walls of the exhibition box with “from this point forward” opening May 27. The multidisciplinary exhibition by 28 graduate students will include physical works by students in art, design and theatre, a sound installation, presentations by art history and history students, performances of works by composers and readings by creative writers.It will be the first student show at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art which opened in November.

“UC Davis has a great tradition of coming together as a creative community to engage ideas and challenges,” said Rachel Teagle, founding director of the museum. “We saw this first student show as an opportunity to celebrate the makers, scholars and researchers across the arts and humanities who are part of that community, and to make their work accessible to all of our visitors. The creative and scholarly works that make up ‘from this point forward’ will showcase each discipline and each student, and will, in the shared space of the museum, enter dialogue with the work of other disciplines and other students.” Continue reading

Two operas, much more music on the way


Rohde at center during “Death with Interruptions”

UC Davis Professor of Music Kurt Rohde has been busy exploring new territory in recent years – the voice. “I like the voice, be it sung, spoken, snoring or muttering,” said the composer, who has been at UC Davis for 11 years.

The human voice and words take center stage in several upcoming performances of Rohde’s music, including his newest piece, “Never was a knight …” and his 2015 opera “Death With Interruptions.” San Francisco’s Left Coast Chamber Ensemble will stage both productions on Nov. 4 and 5 in San Francisco. Rohde is a founder of Left Coast, which is calling the production the biggest – in terms of numbers of musicians, sets and cost — in its 25-year history.

The Department of Music will also present “Death With Interruptions” in the Ann E. Pitzer Center on Nov. 11. Another of Rohde’s works, a collaboration with poet Diane Seuss, will premiere at UC Davis in the spring.

“I want to use the voice not just as a means to have another body up there, doing its thing by singing, but to somehow become the words being sung or vice versa,” he said. “The action becomes the sound, a type of embodiment that is not mannered or affected, but natural and unpretentious.” Continue reading

PL!NK – artful play

Two UC Davis design professors have been busy transforming galleries at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum into a combination art installation and playground that stimulates learning called “PL!NK.”

The installation is made up of 100 colorful and mirrored tetrahedron clusters, with embedded cameras, lights and recording devices for real time interactivity. It encourages early childhood development through color and pattern; solitary, parallel and cooperative play; and spatial learning.

The work that sprawls across the floor and climbs the walls is the creation of professors Glenda Drew and Jiayi Young. Continue reading