Bending Towards the Light of the Sun

Screenprinted flyer distributed by National Land for People. Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno.
Nancy Youdelman, Bound feet, 1973, plaster, fabric, late Photograph, 10 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Installation view, Bending towards the Light of the Sun, 2019
Maia Ballis, NO!, 1974. Courtesy of the artist.
Installation view, Bending Towards the Light of the Sun.
Carissa Garcia, still from In the Valleys: Las Mujeres Muralistas del Valle, 2018. Color video with sound. Courtesy of the artist.
R.L. Muas, Untitled, 2018, Hmong motifs, acrylic on plywood.
food by Adrianna Alejo Sorondo
Screening of “California Trilogy,” James Benning.
Performance by Xolito Sound System

August 21 – October 11, 2018

Bending towards the Light of the Sun begins in two local archives – the National Land for People archive at California State University, Fresno, home to an extensive collection of the group’s land activist printed matter and ephemera, and artist Nancy Youdelman’s personal archive, consisting of early performance documentation, collaborations with other artists in Judy Chicago’s Feminist Art Program at Fresno State, and Youdelman’s cathartic experiments with casting and using her body as material in her work.

From there, it expands. Like the city itself, it sprawls outward, with installations by an intergenerational group of artists  connected to the history of land, activism, and art in the region; film screenings, artist publications, public workshops and talks.


Maia Ballis, Caleb Duarte, Carissa Garcia, Laguna CollectiveR.L. Muas, Sylvia Savala, Christian VargasNancy Youdelman.

Bending towards the Light of the Sun is anchored by archival materials relating to Fresno’s history of activism and art making, in the form of  printed matter by Fresno-based radical land activist group National Land for People (NLP).


  • Claiming Open Spaces (1995) / Austin Allen’s critical documentary about African American communities and public spaces.
  • California Trilogy (1998) / Experimental filmmaker James Benning’s long slow look at the landscapes of California
  • In the Valleys: Las Mujeres Muralistas del Valle (2018) / Carissa Garcia’s film about a group of Chicana muralists working in Fresno in the 1970’s.


  • Lecture: “American Indian Women: Revolutionary Art as an Act of Love,” Dr. Leece Lee-Oliver (Blackfeet/Wyandot/Cherokee/Choctaw), Assistant Professor and Director of American Indian Studies, California State University, Fresno.
  • Performance: Xolito Sound System
  • Artist talks: Caleb Duarte, Nancy Youdelman, Christian Vargas.
  • Offsite Riso printing Zine and Poster workshop, Laguna Collective x Beginning Printmaking




Teresa Flores, We Can Make our Own, installation view, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
Adrianna Alejo Sorondo, Thickets, 2018, installation view. Courtesy of the artist.
Judy Chicago, Dome Drawing, 1968. Installation view, Thickets. Courtesy of Jessica Silverman gallery, San Francisco.
Installation view, Thickets, 2019.
Tina Williams Brewer, Cosmic Endeavours, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.
Installation view, Thickets
Installation view, Thickets
Carmen Winant, Anita was Right, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.
Adrianna Alejo Sorondo, Fast rural internet (detail), 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Tina Williams Brewer

Judy Chicago

Teresa Flores

Ronda Kelley 

Adrianna Alejo Sorondo

Carmen Winant 

Gallery guide pdf

Deeper Structures

Video still, Hearts are Trump Again, 2010, Dani (Leventhal) ReStack.
Video still, Audisne, 2014, Earcatcher.

Deeper Structures

SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, 2015

Earcatcher (collective), Yvonne Carmichael, Dani Leventhal, Jibade-Khalil Huffman

Exhibition text: He’s Coming to Bring me the Sperm

I’m watching Jibade-Khalil Huffman’s film trailer The Pterodactyls (2015), and trying to figure out the connection between the diver striding confidently towards the end of the diving board, and Tatum O’Neal, proto child star, in a scene from 1978 coming-of-age sequel (already a copy), International Velvet, as one scene dissolves into another. O’Neal is immaculate and smiling, the diver is diving. Is this the connection? A smile on the point of breaking, at the moment when it goes from a reaching smile to a grimace, when the expectation of success suddenly falters (at its apex, the dive is going suddenly, splashily wrong). Losing it. This being now, we watch endless replays of the pain of defeat at 400 fps.

Tatum O’Neal dissolves into an extended montage of film trailer clips — Forrest Gump, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Con Air, The Pelican Brief, and many others. The characters seem to nod knowingly to each other, across genre, and across story. These films form the invisible pop-culture scaffold of a reality we have all agreed upon; they represent a language, a currency, share a pre 9/11 sense of nostalgia. In this film trailer, the narrative (like the smile) breaks down, degrades, becoming illegible, hysterical. These fragments alternate with basic screen saver style graphics (tumbling stars a la 1999), and then there is a clip from an ABC special program in which Patti Labelle is acknowledged but invisible. In which her image is not visible, not represented; erased. The Pterodactyls is a trailer for a film that doesn’t exist.

There is another kind of nostalgia at play in Yvonne Carmichael’s The Ballad of the Rawson Sisters in which performers silently re enact the repeated gestures of shop workers in Bradford, in the North of England, where many shops at the center of town stand empty. Carmichael imagines the ghosts of spanx-clad, manicured female shop workers, abstracting the gestures and repetitive acts of folding, restocking, hanging, in a choreographed folk tale that memorializes the once busy past of these spaces. We never see a face – just feet, legs, hands. Feet which stand all day in heels; hands that elegantly perform; mild fetishization.

Artist collective Earcatcher work within strict narrative parameters, using sound as a generative seed around which mysterious, playful, and disjointed stories are developed; all restricted to a One is made each month; as they accumulate, narrative threads appear. The camera takes us on a trip to the mall, watches a game of rounders, the spinning of a penny; a woman waits outside a convenience store. They are often acted, but sometimes, as with Out (2015), document everyday events. They are infused with place – all are filmed in around Columbus, Ohio, but despite their brevity and simplicity, their framing, composition and coloring in post production results in a filmic treatment of the everyday, with a Midwestern-gothic sensibility. They have the high soft sheen of “the movies”; tiny films in which the everyday is elevated to hollywood status.

Dani Leventhal’s Hearts are Trumps Again (2012) begins with a montage of scenes. Hair, (shining, black) tumbles over shoulders; pigeons (scruffy, scrappy), pile into a hole in a roof, a scuffle breaks out, the pecking order is challenged/asserted; the camera cuts to a bedroom crowded with two twin beds. Gas station coffee in a styrofoam cup upon a red carpet; basic comforts. A halfway house; last port of call in a storm. Then we are outside and Leventhal is interviewing a young woman, “Nina”, wearing yellow plastic earrings. It looks to be about 45 degrees Fahrenheit in a Northern European city; this shot has the feel of a BBC2 documentary or exposé. She says: “I’m just sitting here waiting for my donor. He’s coming to bring me the sperm”. Nina breaks character and makes eye contact, cracking up at one of Leventhal’s questions – what looks like documentary is staged, our narrator unreliable.

In Leventhal’s work, what appears at first to be a formal exercise in free-­‐association gradually reveals itself as something else-­‐not playing straight, less story, and more discourse. Less film, and more sculpture, made up of narrative fragments. Cut to a brief excerpt of Ana Mendieta’s 1972 performance Untitled (Chicken Piece Shot #2), in which the artist stands naked, holding a decapitated chicken as it bleeds all over her. Ana Mendieta, most definitely not faking it.

image word song

Lex Brown, American Flag, 2015.

image word song looks at some of the ways that poetry and language are finding expression, expanded definition, and new methods of distribution in the work of artists working with video, performance and songwriting. Included are a selection of poet Steve Roggenbuck’s YouTube published video-performances that weave together stream-of-consciousness narratives reflecting on contemporary life; documentation of a new multi-media performance work and a listening post by writer, artist, and songwriter Lex Brown; and hand-drawn animations that give visual form to poetry by sculptor and animator Lilli Carré.

image word song is a part of MIMEO REVOLUTION, an artist book and zine fair organized by MOCA Cleveland and inspired by the legacy of Cleveland poet d.a.levy (1942-1968)

MOCA Cleveland, 2015.

Artists: Lex Brown (1989, Oakland) lives and works in New Haven, CT; Lilli Carré (1983, Los Angeles) lives and works in Chicago; Steve Roggenbuck (1987, Michigan) lives and works in Tucson, AZ.

More information.

My Body Your Landscape

AKA: Strip Malls are the Plains/Lonely Like a Highway


January–February, 2014

Roy G Biv, Columbus, OH

Elena Harvey Collins and Liz Roberts

All images Stephen Takacs

Downward Dishwasher

2015, HD color video with sound, 00:03:16

Downward Dishwasher is comedic critique of personal wellness as a consumer good.




July 2015
Installation for the sunroom, an exhibition series in a private home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Organized by Thea Spittle

Collaboration with Liz Roberts

Fatima Al Qadiri: Chinas of the Mind

Fatima Al Qadiri is a New York-based artist, musician, and composer. Born in Dakar, Senegal, she grew up Kuwait, where her family is from, before moving to the United States after the first Gulf War.

Al Qadiri’s music articulates the disconnect between what is experienced and imagined; how places are distorted and romanticized in our collective memory, and how they can endure as a feeling or a mood. Through her compositions, she builds a sonic architecture that spatializes both past and future.


MOCA Cleveland, 2015

Read full essay.


No Barbarians


Video stills

Installation images



No Barbarians

Liz Roberts, Elena Harvey Collins, 2016

5-channel video projection, 03:08

Soft Regards

An exploded diagram of a film is a good analog for this installation. The process of filmmaking—including research, screenplay writing, location scouting, set production, composing a shot—becomes invisible in the final production. In Soft Regards, the peripheral activities that go into the production of filmic space, place, and time are abstracted and extended; the play of real and unreal is centered.

An exploded diagram of a film is a good analog for this installation. The process of filmmaking—including research, screenplay writing, location scouting, set production, composing a shot—becomes invisible in the final production. In Soft Regards, the peripheral activities that go into the production of filmic space, place, and time are abstracted and extended; the play of real and unreal is centered.