Open Access

Into the Woods: Commissioning Artists in a Forest

Friday, November 17, 2017, 7PM

Free for Montalvo members: Call 408-961-5849 or email Taylor Welty to RSVP.

VENUE: Project Space

Service fees may apply and are non-refundable.
Montalvo donor discounts are offered on select events; donors, please Log In to access special ticket prices.

RELATED EXHIBITION: The Collector: A Proposal

The hiking trails.
Photo by Nathan Zanon
This event is presented as part of Montalvo Arts Center’s program series, Open Access—your opportunity to connect with Artists Fellows and Guest Artists at the Lucas Artists Program. This program is designed to offer audiences a behind the scenes view into how artists generate ideas, as well as showcase works in process and fully realized new work. Open Access offerings include conversations, performances, screenings, and culinary events. It also has a virtual presence as an online blog and archive. Find out more at

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How does an artist develop the seed of an idea into a new work? Join two Lucas Artist Fellows -- visual artist Maximo Gonzalez and composer Howard Hersh -- as they discuss works they are developing for, and are inspired by, Montalvo’s forest. These projects, which are in varied stages of conceptualization, reflect on our shared understanding of the psychological and environmental significance of our woodlands. 

Maximo Gonzalez’s new work-in-process The Collector is an ambitious large-scale sculptural installation of a small house, which will contain more than 100 paintings of dead, dry, burnt, and cut trees. These paintings have been amassed by the fictional character, the collector, during his travels around the world. Together with a video documenting the varied journeys of the collector, the paintings and structure form a type of memorial memorializing our fraught relationship to our natural environment. Gonzalez will discuss his process for developing the character of the collector, and his uneasy sense, shared by many of us, that we are slipping into a new and uncertain era of environmental jeopardy.

Premiering in April 2018, Howard Hersh’s Four Bridges is a new composition work designed to be experienced by visitors over the earbuds of their smart phones as they follow a designated hiking trail though Montalvo’s forest. The work features instrumental music, a children’s choir, voices recounting poetry and fairy tales, field recordings and audio clips from archival sources. Envisioned as a modern fairy tale, Four Bridges draws upon the voices of our collective past to explore the mythological and psychological role of the forest. Hersh will share excerpts from his new work and his invited guest poet Cintia Santana will read from work incorporated into the recording. 

Acclaimed Palestinian poet and Lucas Artists Fellow Ghayath Almadhoun will read from a newly published book of poems translated into English titled Adrenalin (published by Action Books), and also discuss recent projects -- including a collaboration with renowned American artist Jenny Holzer.