Think of this post as a sneak preview of a soon to come project that I am tentatively calling Inland Empire. These pictures were all taken during a one month residency at the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist-in-Residence program. For my artist friends, I highly recommend this residency! The location is one mile outside of the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, so the location is perfect. On top of that, the living situation is pretty amazing. Artists get their own house looking out over the desert and in my case I had a studio all to myself. It's also run by two of my new favorite people, Jim and Frederick (you guys rock)!
Installation view of "34° 13' 59" N 116° 25' 00.9" W," (2015), located in Yucca Valley off Winters Road.
"How did we get here?" This is a question frequently appended to debates on evolution versus creation. But to artist Joe DeVera, the question serves as a vehicle to retrace the history of conflicts in our time and, in turn, to comprehend the recurring events of human tragedy. His latest body of work, a series of paintings and a site-specific installation, produced in the summer of 2015 at the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (JTHAR) organized by its program director, Frederick Fulmer, was a testament to his ongoing investigation.
Shifting Ground traces the trajectory of Greg Minah's work since his sojourn at Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency Program in the summer of 2008—six years during which he has matured as a painter with an original creative process and a distinctive style. Joshua Tree, at the edge of California's Mojave Desert, offered him a tangible break with his native Maryland, some distance literally and figuratively from familiar people, terrain, and art, as well as an opportunity to experiment and take risks, to present himself as a more fully developed artist. The result of this residency was just what curators and jurors hope for: inspiration and a fresh, individual artistic approach.
Bernard Leibov (left) talking with local sculptor, Steve Rieman (right) at BoxoHouse. May 2012 resident artist, Tim Saternow is at back behind table in middle. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.
A plethora of daring and diverse artist residency programs have sprung up in and around the Morongo Basin. Several have recently developed and others, such as the Joshua Tree National Park artist-in-residence program, have been active for several years now. The following is a cross-section of some interesting residences here in the desert.
BoxoHouse is one of the newer Joshua Tree residency programs conceived and directed by former Judd Foundation deputy director, Bernard Leibov. Originally from South Africa, Leibov began his career as a successful investment banker and later as an equally intrepid corporate branding strategist. He abandoned both to pursue a far different path in curatorial practice and artmaking in 2008. Familiar with another well-known art colony in Marfa, Texas from his stint at the Judd Foundation in 2009, Leibov began looking for a fresh place to develop a new "research outpost" for BoxoProjects having tired of the NYC scene somewhat where he had been based. After making an inspired trip to Joshua Tree he decided that it was the perfect place to stage his new creative endeavor.