people, places, things

ABOUT

I am a visual artist and designer working with people, places and ideas. Trained in landscape architecture, I use drawing, photography and writing as ways to engage sites and subjects. I engage with projects that can be shaped in dialogue with communities and clients, developed through historical research, cross-disciplinary learning, and the unique conditions of the places they will inhabit. My focus is on large-scale processes like water systems and ecological change, and how critical but largely invisible processes can be meaningfully encountered. The graphic work through which I develop these projects become their own record of discovery, portable images for intimate viewing. Together, site- and graphic work express the complementary relationships of private and public life.

In artwork, I look for something I haven’t yet seen, but once appearing, feels familiar as if it had always existed. Materials and how they are worked express traditions and moods, images associate to other images, and boundaries can be converted to bridges. Whether a garden design, art installation or sketch, each part of experience reflects a whole, a whole that is everywhere, with an artwork temporarily at its center.

For a CV, click HERE.

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To discuss a project idea, or inquire about purchasing artworks from the website, please contact me at:

todd(at)toddgilens.com

WRITING, BY AND ABOUT

Microtext 3, short form anthology, Medusa’s Laugh Press, 2017
Nature and Language,, Contemporary Poetry Series, poetry anthology, Corbel Stone Press 2017
Interview with Mary Burger, Articiple, March 16, 2017
Mitchell Schwarzer, “Animal Wrappers,” BOOM, A Journal of California, V2 No.3, 2012 
“Generous Publicness,” Drift, a Magazine of West Coast Cultural Production, Issue 3, 2011
Interview, Rosy Chu’s ‘Bay Area People’, KTVU/KICU January 19th/20th, 2011
Alison Arieff, “In San Francisco, Endangered Species Roam the Streets”, GOOD, Transportation, February 9, 2011
Anne Senges, TerreEco, “De bus qui communient avec la nature”, February 25, 2011
Sustainable Practice in the Arts, “PROJECT: ENDANGERED SPECIES,” March 16, 2011
Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, In and Out of Place”, Issue 10, summer 2009
Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, review of Cooling Towers, by Bernd and Hilla Becher, MIT Press 2005
Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, review of America as Second Creation, by David Nye, MIT Press 2003
Landscape Journal, review of Ten Landscapes: Mario Schjetnan text by John Beardsley, Rockport Publishers 2002
Harvard Design Review, conference report, “100 years of Landscape Architecture at Harvard”, 2000
Prison Sentences: the Prison as Site, the Prison as Subject; exhibition catalogue, DAP and Eastern State Pennitentiary, 1995

 

 

NEWS, QUERIES, LINKS

September, 2019 - Exhibition of the earth pigment drawings made for the National Forest Foundation’s Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership, September 12th through September 29th. Opening reception is Friday, September 13th, from 5 to 10 pm at Temple Art Lofts, 707 Marin St, Vallejo, CA 94590

April, 2019 - Mesa Refuge - I will be in residence writing texts for an installation being developed for the sidewalks of Reno. See HERE for more or HERE for occasional newsletters about the project.

photo by McKenzie Long

photo by McKenzie Long

July, 2018 - Postcards to the Future Forest, a collaboration with the National Forest Foundation' Lake Tahoe West project, is a two year commission to bring new concepts of forest management into piublic view through artworks. Phase one (and six free postcards) can be found at www.nationalforest.org/6postcards

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March 2018 Watershed Prints, six limited editions issued
Three images in two color prints and silver leaf, 13 x 20" on Fabriano Rosaspina paper. Click HERE for images and pricing.
I will be presenting this work in a short talk on May 12th at the Berkeley Public Library, North Branch.

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Saturday, May 13th, 2017 Photography workshop in Pt Reyes - I will lead a daylong class focused on how picture-taking connects us to landscapes through observation, storytelling and memory. It's called "The Wish to Photograph"

March-May 2017 Exhibition of Confluence project drawings at the Marin Headlands National Park Service Visitors' Center, through May 15th. -and see the ARTiciple Interview about the work here.

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September, 2016 A twenty-three-foot sentence installed on the top of a curb in Reno NV as a materials test for the Confluence Projects. (Photo Konah Zebert)

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August, 2016 Just published at The Gambler, a (partly) random literary and arts magazine.

April, 2016 Prints and postcards of the stream systems that supply Bay Area drinking water, extracted from the National Hydrologic Database - in a pop-up exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, April 16th all day till 8pm.

October, 2015 Monthly posts from "Confluence" project research are now available online HERE (you can also subscribe)

above: a diagram of the experimental stream channels at Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, a UC ecological field station.

above: a diagram of the experimental stream channels at Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, a UC ecological field station.

August, 2015 The "Confluence" projects are underway, thanks to the generosity of Hatchfund private donors and the Jiji Foundation. I am working with David Herbst's Lab and others, measuring streams and observing Sierra landscapes at the end of the summer after the driest winter on record.

July 23, 2015 Artist Talk at the Golden Thread Gallery, 84-94 Great Patric Street, Belfast, 1-2pm

above: digital cursive font I created from papers of W.R. Rodgers in the  PRONI  archives.

above: digital cursive font I created from papers of W.R. Rodgers in the PRONI archives.

June - July 2015
I am in Belfast, Northern Ireland working at Digital Arts Studios as an artist in residence. A remarkable and complicated place, Belfast developed around a unique array of stream systems and topography. I'm looking into its history and trying out the process of making digital fonts from the handwriting of deceased Northern Irish authors.

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May 15, 2015
My HATCHFUND campaign is live! Please help accomplish the research phase of my next project. A description and short video (by the fantastic IDEAS IN MOTION) are on the HATCHFUND website, donations are tax deductible...and there are prizes!

April 14, 2015 I go 'fishing' with FISHBIO, checking hatchery-raised salmonids before they are released and counting fish trapped on their way downriver

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July 9, 2014 a FISHBIO feature on Overlook at Levy Art and Architecture

April - September 2014
Limited edition digital photographs of the Endangered Species project are at Levy Art and Architecture, 1286 Sanchez St in San Francisco through June 30th. M-F 9-5
Overlook, a project commissioned by LAA for their facade at 1286 Sanchez Street, will be in place through 2014.

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Winter, 2014 Do sheep feel at home in their wool? Is it too extreme to think of them itching, or desperately hot, clutching for air, frantic for the shearer? Or what feeling they have for style, some sense of renewal in a new look, freshness of air against the skin?...(more)

A winter without rain - I'm feeling it for the fish! Fishbio, doing interesting work in California and SE Asia, has lent me an image for a new project: juvenile Sacramento suckers in a holding tank.

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Fall, 2012 October 7th I'll be in conversation about "Shade" at the UC Berkeley Botranical Garden; 2:30-3:30, free with garden admission.

Summer, 2012 Just Opened at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden : Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects and Poets in the Garden. My project, "Shade" is a thousand-square foot photographic print of what a young plant might sense in the shade of an oak woodland. The exhibition runs through January, 2013

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Fall, 2011 Photographs of the Endangerbuses may be seen in BLUR, at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, August 22nd through September 30th, 2011.

I spoke about endangered species advocacy at Counterpulse in San Francisco on September 14th, along with Brent Plater (Wild Equity Institute) and Jessie Raeder (Tuolumne River Trust).

Summer, 2011 By way of celebrating the Magna Carta coming to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, I led two L E T T E R F O R M workshops on June 5th . Contact me if you'd like a copy of the handout, which surveys developments in the history of letter-making.

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ANTENNAE: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, published my essay "In and Out of Place" in their issue #10, Heat. The essay outlines the potential for public transit to connect animal and human communities, conservation land urban infrastructure. Download the article HERE.

TREASURE ISLAND BICYCLE RACK COMPETITION: My design is one of three finalists in a competition to create a signature bike rack design for Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Two prototypes have been installed on 6th and Market Streets. See SF Bicycle Coalition Treasure Island page.

Thinking Through Nature: Philosophy for an Endangered World, University of Oregon 19-22 of June, 2008. Todd presented a paper titled Iconic Comensalism: Public Transit and Endangered Species. See www.uoregon.edu/~toadvine/TTN/

Resilience Art Exhibition, at Resilience 2008, an international Science Conference. See resilience2008.org/resilience/?page=php/art

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