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Alex Arzt

STATEMENT I use the traditional Japanese art of suiseki or viewing stones to contemplate ubiquitous human-made materials (concrete, asphalt and foam) that have become part of the landscape and geological record. The ‘daizas’ or carved wooden bases are all made from scrap wood. Resembling both landscape and detritus, these materials evoke the beauty and horror of living on a damaged planet. The military ruins of the Headlands, created with Rodeo Beach sand and Portland cement, are slowly returning to the soil as weatherworn, conglomerated stones. The roads that carried military vehicles up the hills are eroding into the ocean. Acacia trees grow in the gaping cracks of the asphalt. Marine foam that washes up onto Black Sand Beach during the winter King Tides becomes a floating habitat for a myriad of sea creatures, including mussels. The concrete, asphalt and foam are now part of the deep-time history of the Headlands, as much as radiolarian chert, pillow basalt and serpentine, embedded for millennia in the soft and hard bodies that exist in this space. BIO Alex Arzt is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, arts administrator and gardener based in Oakland, CA. Rooted in a connection to place and material explorations, she facilitates connections between human and nonhuman spaces by creating projects in the form of publications, interactive objects, workshops, group performances, lectures, videos and experimental gardens. From 2018-2022, she was an Affiliate Artist at The Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA. She is a founder of the artist collective Whiz World and runs a Risograph press called ‘A Magic Mountain’. Her publishing projects are in the collections of libraries, such as Stanford, Getty Research Institute and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been awarded grants from The Puffin Foundation (2018, 2022) and The East Bay Community Foundation (2018). She earned a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and has since attended residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, PLAYA Summer Lake, Hambidge Center, A-Z West, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Mildred’s Lane and This Will Take Time. From 2015-2020, she taught courses in photography, time-based media and book making at UC Berkeley, San Francisco Art Institute and VCU. She currently works as a lecturer at UC Davis’ Department of Art and Art History and a fundraiser and grant writer for non-profit arts organizations.

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