Thursday, March 15, 2012

KUSP Features Natural Selection!

Big Cut Paper – UCSC

Two shows at UCSC’s Sesnon Gallery, both extended to April 14, 2012
Katerina Lanfranco: Natural Selection plus, Clear Cuts, artists cutting through

Step into an imagined landscape installation of hand-cut trees inspired by a cross between American and Japanese impressions. Natural Selection functions as an artist-in-residence with UCSC alumna, Katerina Lanfranco. The exhibition includes a large-scale, handcut paper, site-specific installation. The large room construction will be made on site, and in response to the Sesnon Gallery architecture, surrounding landscape and will be produced in collaboration with UCSC art students.

Katerina Lanfranco featured in: Artist on Art

February 1st, 2012
On January 31, 2012, multi-media installation artist-in-residence and UCSC alumna, Katerina Lanfranco came into the UCSC, KZSC studio to talk on Artist on Art about her new large-scale, site-specific, hand-cut installation made in collaboration with UCSC students. Katerina was accompanied by one of those students, Heidi Kramer, who assisted her greatly in the production of this fabulous panoramic and completely embodying work entitled, Natural Selection.
 Katerina lives in NYC where she makes paintings, mixed media works, sculptures, and installations. She is a studio arts educator at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. She is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery and was the recipient of the 2010 N.E.A. Japan-US Friendship Commission Creative Arts Fellowship.
Please take a look at the newly created blog, Natural Selection Art Show.
Exhibition Dates are February 1 – March 16, 2012 with Gallery Reception, Wednesday February 1, 5:00- 7:00 pm with artist talk at 6:30pm.
Mitsuyo Tao, president of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society [Northern California Chapter], and Don White of the Watsonville and Santa Cruz Bonsai clubs, came to the Sesnon gallery this week in preparation for their demonstrations that will be taking place on for the First Friday Art Tour, February 3rd from 2:00 – 4:00PM at the Sesnon Gallery.

Follow link to view video of live interview:

Natural Selection in Metroactive

Katerina Lanfranco: Natural Selection - A site-specific installation by Katerina Lafranco. Through March 16. Sesnon Gallery, UCSC, Porter College, Santa Cruz, 831.459.2273.

Metro Silicon Valley

San Francisco Bay Area movies, music, arts, events and news

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Natural Selection in University of California for Research in the Arts News


UCSC Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery
02/01/2012 – 03/16/2012

This exhibition will function as an artist-in-residence with UCSC alumna, Katerina Lanfranco. The exhibition for Winter Quarter at the Sesnon Gallery includes a large-scale, site-specific hand cut installation made while at UCSC with the collaboration of art students.

New York alumni artist returns to campus to mentor students

February 28, 2012
Katerina Lanfranco has come a long way since she graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2001 with a BA degree in art.

Lanfranco is now a professional artist living in Brooklyn.  She is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, and currently teaches at the Museum of Modern Art, LIM College, and Fordham University in New York City. 

working-color-250.jpgThis winter quarter, Lanfranco returned to Santa Cruz to work with 10 students from UCSC’s Artand History of Art and Visual Culture departments to create an ambitious exhibition at Porter College’s Sesnon Gallery.

As Sesnon Gallery director Shelby Graham describes it: “We had a living and breathing studio experience; we turned the gallery into a student workshop.”

The UCSC alumna worked with Graham and the students to create Natural Selection, a large-scale, hand-cut paper installation created specifically for the Sesnon Gallery space. 

Throughout the construction of the project, Lanfranco shared with students personal anecdotes, experiences, and real-life challenges she has faced as a professional artist working in New York.
“It’s partially sharing information, and partly debunking myths,” says Lanfranco. “Things like studio practices—you might assume that professional artists have clear plans mapped out from the beginning.”

“Or it’s challenging the myth of the solitary genius artist,” she added. “Art can be a collaborative experience, you don’t have to look so far for inspiration or engagement.”

“I think sometimes people are afraid of pursuing art,” Lanfranco observed. “So I try to lessen that fear by sharing my own processes—keeping the thrill, but taking the fear and mystery out of it.”

When she first flew in from New York, Lanfranco asked the groundskeeper at Porter College for a tour of the trees around the college, which influenced the design of the project.

Responding to the environment, she then had the student apprentices do research and study technical aspects of the project to get them inspired and help them understand the artistic process.

“I really see it as a reciprocal experience,” said Lanfranco. “The more I feel the generosity of the students, the more I want to give back. It’s been a really great experience.”

The students seemed to unanimously agree.

students-working-300.jpg“Her work ethic is inspiring,”said Heidi Cramer, a 26-year-old junior who transferred to UCSC from Arizona to study art. “I had a lot of expectations for this project, and they’ve been surpassed.”

“It’s made a world of difference to a mixed media artist like myself…learning new skills—how to do an installation, what an artist does with their time all day, how to communicate--these are all things I can apply to my career,” she added.

Leia Delabahan, a 20-year-old senior
, noted that working on the exhibition was a tremendous opportunity for her as a student.

“It’s been very rewarding—to be able to work with an artist who has made it professionally, and who went to the same school as you did,” said Delabahan.
 “I had this particular image in my mind of a New York artist before this exhibition. But since I worked with Katerina, I’ve realized that you can live a busy, hectic artist’s lifestyle in New York City and still be a very real, down-to-earth person.”

“Plus this project gave me hands-on experience that I would not be able to get in a regular classroom,” added Delabahan. “This is 

Katerina-trees-250.jpgexactly what I want to do after college.”

For alumna Lanfranco, the experience was rejuvenating.

She said she really enjoyed being on campus again and made the most of her brief residency, happy to find UCSC students still really curious, open minded, and engaged.

“I think of my time at UCSC as extremely nurturing,” said Lanfranco. “It’s surprising that coming back 10 years later, it’s still nurturing--in a completely different way. 
“With the generosity and engagement of the students, the totally welcoming arms of the Art Department and professors, the support of Sesnon director Shelby Graham—it’s almost like a family reunion.”

To view original article, visit:

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

UCSC alumni Katarina Lanfranco opens Natural Selection, a site-specific installation, in the Sesnon Gallery. Feb 1
By Arianna Vinion
City on a Hill Press
Published January 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Katarina Lanfranco sketches out the plan for her site specific installation "Natural Selection which in the Sesnon Gallery. Photo by Sal Ingram
The wall of trees wraps around, from spring through the seasons, from the redwoods of the north Pacific to the cherry blossoms of the south, opening up into a cathedral grove.
Such an environment can be found inside Porter College’s Sesnon Gallery during UCSC alumni Katerina Lanfranco’s site-specific installation, “Natural Selection,” which opens with a gallery reception Feb. 1.
The piece, which was created in and specifically for the Sesnon Gallery, combines the traditional Japanese art forms of atagami (paper cutting) and ikebana (flower arrangement), soft sculptural flora sewn from regional fabrics of Kyoto, and chunks of a boulder from the west side of Santa Cruz.
The fusion of techniques and materials is reflective of the piece’s thematic discussion of nature and nativity. Much of the piece was inspired by Lanfranco’s experiences during her six-month National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creative Arts Fellowship residency in Kyoto.
“I see [the piece] as a certain kind of diplomacy,” Lanfranco said. “When I went to Japan, I was invited and my official government document said ‘Welcome’ and ‘We hope you are inspired basically by your cultural experience’ … The idea was a lot of people would be curious about what I did and I would be sharing my prospective and what I did in New York as an artist, and then upon returning, I could sort of reverse it, a little like a cultural ambassador.”
The trees are arranged to raise historical and cultural discussions.
“This is the atomic bomb tree next to the Canadian red maple leaf,” said Lanfranco as she gestured to the large trees etched out on the wall, “but I realized that I over-sized that maple leaf. I wanted to bring it close, but also, the Canadians had a Japanese internment on the west coast as well, and there isn’t a lot of talk about it. I feel like it can be a little somber moment by having the larger size.”
The trees span a visual and native range, creating a beautiful and naturally improbable forest. The heavy live oak sits next to ginkgo, next to magnolia, next to birch, pine and Japanese maple.
“Sharing cultural expression is a really nice way to pave the road to cultural understanding,” Lanfranco said.
The creation of Natural Selection is one part of Lanfranco’s low-residency artist in residence, which consists of three trips from her home in New York to Santa Cruz. The Natural Selection residency and piece are sponsored by the UCSC Arts Division, Porter College and the departments of art and history of art and visual culture (HAVC).
The first trip was to start the project and meet her student artist assistants. For 10 art department and HAVC students, working with Lanfranco is an independent study course for this winter quarter. In the course, they become Lanfranco’s apprentices. They assist her with the construction of the piece while learning about her studio practices, archiving, documenting, making a zine/catalogue for the exhibit, and how to utilize Twitterand a blog.
Later trips will be for the opening of the show, and to lead other supplementary educational opportunities, such as the paper cutting demonstration on Feb 2.
They can seek advice about graduate schools, being a working artist, and what the art world is actually like and how it functions.
“It’s kind of mysterious in a way,” Lanfranco said, “because at art school you learn a lot about the practice and theory, but not as much about the application of it in terms of a career.”
More than giving advice, student assistants learn through the process of bringing the installation to fruition.
“You see the seams,” said Dmitri Moore, a Kresge fourth-year art major. “I go to a lot of galleries, and shows, exhibitions and museums. You’re seeing this very, very meticulous end result … You’re watching this very, very finished product. But here you get to see how it got here. And the multitude of people involved in each project is amazing. It’s really cool.”
To get credit for the course, student assistants are supposed to be putting in seven hours a week. They have often been putting in more than double that, said Sesnon Art Gallery manager and assistant curator Mark Shunney.
“[Lanfranco’s] work ethic is really inspiring,” said third-year Kresge art major Heidi Cramer. “It’s nice to see someone who’s taking on the challenge of doing this all on her own. I mean, we’re here to help, but in the end it’s her call and she’s taking that all on.”
The students are also taking the reductive cut-out elements from the exhibit and using them to create their own art, which will be exhibited in its own show in a pop-up window gallery downtown with a piece of Lanfranco’s.
Lanfranco, who is also an art teacher in New York at the Museum of Modern Art, LIM College and Fordham University, said she enjoys the reciprocity of working with student assistants. She said it keeps things open in her work because of the constant dialogue with the student assistants.
“This is a unique experience in ways I haven’t heard of from the past years,” Shunney said. “We are doing an artist-in-residency in which the students are really engaged in working with the artist from the inception of the piece.”
Shunney is also excited about the related programming that goes with the Natural Selection installation. This includes the tours of the trees on campus that helped inspire the work he and all of the student artist assistants are trained to give, as well as the concurrent paper cutting show that will be displayed in the Sesnon’s microgallery.
“We’re curating artists not only from across the nation, but artists from the community, because there are a few who are really very skilled and very contemporary in their language with paper cut-outs. That to me is some of the pull we hope to achieve with the back gallery and Katerina’s opening at the same time. There are locals referencing people they know in the group show,” said Shunney, who sees this show as an opportunity to merge the microcosm of UCSC’s art community with the city at large.
But with everything aside, the philosophy of the piece is beautifully simple.
“I would say that it’s using nature as a metaphor for human cross-cultural experience,” Lanfranco said.

 View original article at:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blossoming Plum trees are in full bloom outside of the Sesnon Gallery!
They extend the Natural Selections exhibition out of the gallery space and into the Porter College courtyard.