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Angels Gate Cultural Center presents our exhibition year entitled \; Into the Wilderness: The Journey Within. Over the course of the ne xt year\, artists and curators will engage the term "wilderness" from multi ple perspectives ranging from ecological to introspective. The exhibitions consider how our ideas of wilderness continue to define our contemporary li fe and contemplate how we can find new opportunities to re/define the trans ition between physical and imaginary geographies.

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Although\, on first im pression\, "wilderness" may call to mind places of intense experience in na ture far from civilization\, it reveals itself to be much more than a locat ion. Traditionally associated with a land of uncultivated\, abandoned and i nhospitable conditions or inhabited only by wild animals\,1  \;during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries its meaning expanded subje ctively to include more Romantic and transcendental notions like "the refle ction of our own unexamined longings and desires" and "the best antidote to our human selves\," while mysteriously remaining the site of "something pr ofoundly Other."2 \;

Whether places considered wilderness are ultimately to be regar ded as wastelands or sacred spaces\, in either case it is not the places th emselves that define the nature of the wilderness experience. "Wilderness\, " regardless of where it is situated or whether it is described as frighten ing or divine\, is a cultural construct that is typically placed in opposit ion to "civilization\," located apart from the human world as something pur e and essentially natural\, to be preserved and protected both from the out rages of global industrial exploitation as well as the small defilements of daily life. \;

We d isagree. We consider that creating even the most high-minded dualism betwee n humans and nature sets up a dynamic that creates conflict and does not le ad to effective stewardship of the environment\, either locally or on a glo bal scale. We also believe that rather than being defined either as a physi cal or an imaginary location\, "wilderness" is more a state of mind that de fies location\, either geographical or imaginary-one in which social struct ure relaxes\, logic slips away and time and space collapse. This open state of mind\, or "wonder\," can be experienced in natural environments that in spire fear\, disorientation\, foreboding or other qualities of "sublime" la ndscape appreciated by the likes of Edmund Burke3-and it can als o unexpectedly arise in the midst of degraded urban grittiness or in an une xplored corner of a superficially unremarkable backyard. \;

Artists in our group discover natur al wonder in many places-from Antarctic icebergs to carcasses of dead birds . And just as we respect "wilderness" in all of its manifestations\, we bel ieve that biodiversity and sustainability can only be maintained if we huma ns give up trying to isolate "unspoiled" nature and instead seek a complete relationship with the natural world that includes responsibility and respe ct for the global interface of ecosystems\, be they planetary or microscopi c\, that we unavoidably impact. \;

Wilderness Mind: Dissolving Duality includes the work of fou rteen artists from the Southern California Women's Caucus for Art's Eco-Art Collective. As a group we embrace collaboration\; we have worked together to study and work as eco-artists since 2005. This proposed exhibition repre sents work that ranges from photography to non-representational painting\, performance\, and installation\; it spans a continuum of references to wate r from suburban irrigation systems to the arctic ice cap\; to wildlife\, in cluding Barr owls\, sea otters\, and golden trout from the Sierras\; and to locations from San Pedro Harbor to Mozambique. Within the frame of wildern ess\, the group's work articulates themes of degradation and emergence\, na tural cycles\, mystery\, concern for the environment\, and connected onenes s. We hope that the artistic diversity and interrelatedness of our work for this exhibition will give visitors an experience of our collaborative appr oach as an alternative to more traditional strategies of agency through dom ination\, and to the possibility for everyone to experience "wilderness" in any number of settings\, not just in uninhabited nature. Through the visua l messages communicated in our work as well as through workshops and progra ms offered to the community in conjunction with the exhibition\, our ultima te goal is to inspire visitors to participate in effective stewardship of t he environment. \;

< small>1 \;New Oxford American Dictionary\, Oxford University Press\, third edition. \;
2 \;Cronon\, William\, " The Trouble with Wilderness\; or\, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature\," Unco mmon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature\, New York: W.W. Norton & amp\; Co.\, 1995\, 69-90. \;
3 \;Burke\, Edmund\, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beau tiful\, 1857. \;


Deborah Thomas is an artist\, professor and independent curator wh o lives in Los Angeles\; she has also lived and worked as an artist in Gene va\, Switzerland and New York. With an undergraduate degree from the Univer sity of Michigan and an MA and ABD from the University of Pennsylvania\, Th omas currently teaches art history and contemporary art and theory at Pasad ena City College\, Glendale College and the Los Angeles Academy of Figurati ve Art. She is a longtime member of the Eco-Art Collective sponsored by the Southern California chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art (SCWCA) and one of the chairs of the Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) national Eco-art Caucus\; she also helped to organize "Elements\," an eco-art conference produced by the Pacific Region WCA chapters last year in Berkeley. Thomas' recent artw ork includes a series of conceptual installations and mixed media pieces us ing photographic images and found text\; her work on environmental themes t ypically explores place and the environment metaphorically and builds from a personal point of view using domestic objects. She has also developed and curated several recent exhibitions: Day of the Dead Planet\, Bringing the Past to Light: New Art from Old Images\, Intimate Geography: \;< br />
The Eco-Art Collective is a Los Angeles-based group of fourteen women artists that uses art to explore the many connections between creative and environmental practices through exhi bitions\, educational programs and public actions. The group was first orga nized in 2005 by artist/eco-activist Linda Lundell and is sponsored by the Southern California chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art (SCWCA)\, a natio nal organization dedicated to creating community through art\, education an d social activism. In April 2007\, they mounted their inaugural exhibition at Barnsdall Art Park in Los Angeles. Members subsequently showed together at the 2010 Blue Planet exhibition juried by Kim Abeles at SOMArts in San F rancisco and at the Day of the Dead Planet exhibition curated by Deborah Th omas at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles. Individual members have exhibited their environmental work in Chicago\, Los Angeles\, New York\, San Francisc o and throughout the rest of the United as well as Asia and Europe. The col lective also engages the community through lectures\, installations and eve nts. Expedition artists Danielle Eubank and J. J. L'Heureux have lectured a t zoos and natural history museums across the country. San Pedro-based arti sts Annemarie Rawlinson and Hiroko Momii often intermix their meditative an d activist practices.

DTEND:20130817 DTSTAMP:20140918T005948 DTSTART:20120520 GEO:33.7360619;-118.2922461 LOCATION:Angels Gate Cultural Center\,3601 South Gaffey St.\, Box 1 \nSan P edro\, CA 90731 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Wilderness Mind: Dissolving Duality\, Nicole Antebi\, Carolyn Apple gate\, Dori Atlantis\, Ulla Barr\, Marie Cenkner\, Danielle Eubank\, Karen Frimkess Wolff\, JEN ZEN (aka Jen Grey\, Ann Isolde\, J.J.L'Heureux\, Nancy Lissaman\, Meg Madison\, Hiroko Momii\, MaryLinda Moss\, Sandra Mueller\, Annemarie Rawlinson\, Deborah Thomas\, France White UID:218364 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20120520T170000 DTSTAMP:20140918T005948 DTSTART:20120520T120000 GEO:33.7360619;-118.2922461 LOCATION:Angels Gate Cultural Center\,3601 South Gaffey St.\, Box 1 \nSan P edro\, CA 90731 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Wilderness Mind: Dissolving Duality\, Nicole Antebi\, Carolyn Apple gate\, Dori Atlantis\, Ulla Barr\, Marie Cenkner\, Danielle Eubank\, Karen Frimkess Wolff\, JEN ZEN (aka Jen Grey\, Ann Isolde\, J.J.L'Heureux\, Nancy Lissaman\, Meg Madison\, Hiroko Momii\, MaryLinda Moss\, Sandra Mueller\, Annemarie Rawlinson\, Deborah Thomas\, France White UID:218365 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR