The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University presents My Only Heroes are Phenomena, on view in the Stanford Art Gallery from May 17 through June 12, with a reception on Thursday, May 19 from 6 – 8pm. This group exhibition features the thesis artwork of five graduating art practice MFA students: Ashley Valmere Fischer, Simona Fitcal, Cy Keener, Masako Miyazaki, and Justin Wood.
Faculty curator Paul DeMarinis notes that “this exhibition is the culmination of five ambitious artists’ work during two years at Stanford. Each artist has followed a unique path and as they come together now, they open the logs of their journeys, comparing notes, plotting the voyage onwards. Each body of work in this quintuple exhibition carries the mark of its time, and, if one might characterize this, it would point to a general mood of separation without dissolution, incompleteness without loss, and an overall atmosphere of wonder.”
Ashley Valmere Fischer, inspired by the outdoors and science fiction novels, seeks to portray the world around us in a way that questions our belief in the physical truth of things as they appear to be. The subjects of immortality, time counting, and the cosmos inform her most recent project, the Dark Sun series, made with Mordançage. Through the use of circular imagery, Fischer attempts to obfuscate the line between the microscopic imagery of cellular organisms and the macrocosm of celestial bodies to create a dynamic visual system.
As our society constantly switches from real to virtual, Simona Fitcal seeks to temporarily blend the two realms in her work by interfering with their boundaries. Employing video as her platform, Fitcal’s pieces bring into focus the technology of digital displays by using deconstructed LCD monitors in the form of media installations. Her work is inspired by the present and gazes at the self in relation to contemporary values and to the ever-shifting socio-cultural environment.
Cy Keener uses art as a medium to understand natural phenomena. Creating field instruments to record meteorological events and environmental processes, Keener’s work merges remote sensing and data collection techniques with immersive installations that change in real time. During the winter of 2016, Keener designed and fabricated three data-gathering buoys that were deployed off the coast of Hawaii in late April. Drifters translates data recorded at the surface of the Pacific Ocean, and visitors to the gallery are invited to experience an evolving enactment of the data in light and sound.
According to Masako Miyazaki, if extremes mark the outermost bounds, then the space within consists of everything we may know. Miyazaki’s work focuses on the forms that emerge and dissipate in the intermediate space as she studies the lifespan of varied subjects like stones, teacups, traffic jams and Super Bowls. Much of Miyazaki’s recent work examines the language of movement, and she strives to capture the temporal nature of life’s living mass not through a single image, but through several scales and perspectives.
Interested in preserving mid-century modern art and architecture, Justin Wood investigates California’s Central Valley residential architecture through fieldwork, digital invocation and archival research. Showcasing two pieces at My Only Heroes are Phenomena, Wood’s work both celebrates the unique homes and romantic notions of their inhabitants, and morns their loss.