Harrell Fletcher: Artist in Residence

Travis Souza’s Walk Through California
September 06, 2011 to December 16, 2011

Portland-based artist Harrell Fletcher will be the fall Capp Street Project artist-in-residence. This will be his second appearance in the Wattis’ three-year Magnificent Seven Program and follows the gallery exhibition that he curated of artworks by his mentor, family member and friend Michael Bravo in spring 2010.

Harrell Fletcher has had a longstanding relationship with California College of the Arts since his graduation from the MFA program in 1994. Largely known as Portland’s most important contemporary artist, Fletcher’s work has often defied conventional academic and artistic standards and often assumes the form of social interventions.

For his fall Capp Street residency, Fletcher will collaborate with Travis Souza, one of the graduate students from the MFA course on Art and Social Practice at Portland State University where the artist teaches. Over the course of a month, Souza will walk the entire length of the proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco route of the California High Speed Rail Line, which will cross through his families’ farmland in the Central Valley, along with many other farms. Along the way Souza will interview people who will be affected by the construction of the rail-line, and will hold periodic public events to discuss the various issues surrounding its imminent construction. In the cities between which the high-speed train will travel, many people, including Fletcher, are generally favorable to this project, but many forget the impact on the ground as well. This project aims to give people an opportunity to consider some of these issues from very personal perspectives. For more information on Travis Souza's walk through California, please visit: We Make the Road by Walking

Fletcher and a class of CCA graduate students will work with Souza on his walk and research, examining the history of the Central Valley, walking as an art activity, and the proposed High Speed Rail Line. They will also join Souza to walk with him on a couple of sections of his route. At the conclusion of the trip Fletcher will organize a public event with the students and Souza to present all of the various findings. In the weeks that follow, the class will also undertake a series of student led walks and discussions in various parts of the Bay Area.

Born in 1967 in Santa Maria, California, Harrell Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually on a variety of socially engaged, interdisciplinary projects for over a decade. His work has been presented locally at SFMOMA, the de Young Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; he also recently opened the People’s Gallery (a year-long extension of the People’s Biennial) with Jana Blankenship and Jens Hoffmann in San Francisco’s Mission District. Within the US, he has exhibited, amongst others, at the Drawing Center, The Wrong Gallery and Apex Art, in New York, PICA in Portland, Oregon, and the Seattle Art Museum, in Seattle, Washington. His work was also included in 2004 Whitney Biennial. Internationally, his works have been presented at Signal, in Malmo, Sweden, Domain de Kerguehennec in France, the Royal College of Art in London, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

His traveling exhibition The American War, originated in 2005, has been presented in many art institutions across the US including White Columns, New York and The Center For Advanced Visual Studies MIT in Boston. A book version of Fletcher's ongoing project Learning To Love You More, a participatory web site started in 2002 with Miranda July, was published in 2007. In 2005, Fletcher received the Alpert Award in the Visual Arts.

Fletcher received a B.F.A from San Francisco Art Institute in 1990 and an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in 1994. In 1996, he received a certification in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Fletcher is a Professor of Art at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, where he founded the Arts and Social Practice MFA Concentration.

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