Pomona's Creative Legacy - A Selection

Kim Ye '07

Kim Ye '07 is a visual artist based in Los Angeles whose work merges elements of sculpture and installation with performance and video. An art major at Pomona, her interactive piece Around the Dinner Table was performed at the Getty Center in 2011. That same year Ye created her public installation Life of Objects, an assemblage of discarded Christmas trees, in Wonder Valley in the Mojave Desert. Her solo exhibition Immediate Surroundings was shown at OHWOW Gallery in Los Angeles in fall 2013.

Michael Parker '00

Michael Parker '00 is a Los Angeles-based sculptor, writer and photographer who majored in art as a student at Pomona. His projects have included Steam Egg, an immersive egg-shaped steam bath, and Lineman, a photographic history of a group of power-pole technicians in training. In March 2014, he completed The Unfinished, a site-specific sculpture along the banks of the L.A. River that emulates an abandoned obelisk from Ancient Egypt.

Denise Marika '77

Video artist Denise Marika '77 creates experimental films that consider questions of memory, politics and separation. She has displayed her work in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. She created the video projections and set design for the world premiere of the music-theatre piece Orpheus X at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as the production by Theatre for a New Audience in New York. Since 2009, Marika has been a Fulbright Specialist scholar with a focus on human development issues in Asia. Her research has led to a series of documentary films that examine the impact of poverty and disability among communities in Cambodia and Nepal. Marika majored in art while at Pomona.

Stephen Marc (Smith) '76

Stephen Marc '76 creates photographs and digital montages that examine the history of the African diaspora experience throughout the United States and the transatlantic world. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. In 2009 he received the Factor Prize for Southern Art (now called The 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art) from the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. Marc’s recent work has re-interpreted the legacy of the Underground Railroad, fusing texts and artifacts from the era of slavery with present-day images of American landscapes. Marc graduated from Pomona as an art major.

Peter Shelton '73

Peter Shelton '73 majored in art at Pomona and became known for his abstract sculptures that suggest a blending of organic anatomy, architecture and essential geometric shapes. His works are included in the collections of the Getty Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His sculpture sixbeastsandtwomonkeys was commissioned for the new Police Administration Building in Downtown Los Angeles in 2009, while the piece thinmanlittlebird was commissioned for the Indianapolis Central Library building that same year.

Chris Burden '69

An art major at Pomona, Chris Burden '69 became a key figure in the L.A. contemporary art world with his controversial performances such as Shoot (1971) and Trans-fixed (1974), which placed the artist in personal danger through public acts of physical pain and endurance. He went on to create monumental installations and intricate kinetic sculptures that examine the aesthetics of technology and engineering and the experience of urban spaces. His work Urban Light, an assemblage of antique streetlamps collected from across Los Angeles, was installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008. A retrospective, Chris Burden: Extreme Measures, was held at the New Museum in New York in 2013.

Judy Fiskin '68

Art major Judy Fiskin '68 gained critical attention in the 1970s and 80s for her small, black-and-white photos, which capture the vernacular architecture and streetscapes of Southern California, such as Dingbat (1982-83), her series of images of postwar shoebox apartments. Since the 1990s, she has created films and documentaries that consider themes such as aging, creativity, and the culture and conceits of the art world. She was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1992, and was featured in the exhibition Los Angeles 1955-1985: Birth of an Art Capital at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006. That same year, Fiskin’s short film The End of Photography (2006), a meditation on the decline of photographic film, was screened at the Recontres Internationales Film Festival in Paris, Madrid and Berlin.

James Turrell '65

Light and space artist James Turrell '65 has earned worldwide acclaim for his immersive installations which alter and manipulate the viewer’s perception of light. Since 1979 Turrell has carried out the Roden Crater Project, transforming a volcanic crater in the desert of Arizona into a massive naked-eye observatory for viewing the celestial movements of planets, stars and galaxies. In 2013, three major museums held retrospectives of his work, including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where his Aten Reign reconfigured the building’s iconic rotunda into a volume of shifting light. He was awarded the 2013 National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama in July 2014. Turrell majored in psychology at Pomona, which is home to Dividing the Light, Turrell’s only public Skyspace on the West Coast.

Helen Pashgian '56

A pioneer of the Southern California-based Light and Space movement of the 1960s and '70s, Helen Pashgian's work has experimented with the optical properties of industrial materials like resin, acrylic and plastic. She is known for her translucent, molded objects, which reflect and refract sources of light into unpredictable colors and forms. In 2013, she received the Distinguished Women in the Arts Award from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Her solo exhibition Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Spring 2014. Pashgian, who lives and works in Pasadena, California, graduated from Pomona in 1956 with a degree in sociology.

Milford Zornes '34

Landscape artist Milford Zornes '34 was a leading figure in the California Style of watercolor painting in the mid-20th century. Mentored by influential painter Millard Sheets while he was still a student at Pomona, Zornes began his career creating public murals for the Depression-era Works Progress Administration. He gained national attention in 1934 when his painting Old Adobe was selected by President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt to hang in the White House. After World War II, he joined the art faculty at Pomona College and became recognized for his distinctive, expressionist watercolors which captured the deserts, foothills and coastlines of California. His piece Arizona Evening is featured in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while other examples of his work can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. Zornes died in 2008.