Upcoming Exhibitions

Everyone is Hypnotized:

Artists Dérive the Bay Area

Curated by Gipe + Tell

Exhibition Dates: May 5 – May 26, 2017

Opening Reception: Friday, May 5, 6:00 – 9:00pm

Closing Reception: Friday, May 26th,  6:00 – 8:00pm


Pro Arts is proud to present Everyone is Hypnotized: Artists Dérive the Bay Area, a group exhibition curated by Oakland-based curatorial team, Gipe + Tell and as part of their Studio Lab Residency at Pro Arts. 

Participating Artists: Sebastian Alvarez, Brian Dean, Joanne Easton, Marshall Elliott, Jon Gourley, Jon Kuzmich, Leora Lutz, Andréanne Michon, Maria Porges, Michal Wisniowski and Minoosh Zomorodinia.

The concept of the dérive has its origins in the Letterist International, an avant-garde and Marxist collective based in Paris. The dérive was a critical tool for understanding and developing the theory of psychogeography, defined as the “specific effects of the geographical environment (whether consciously organized or not) on the emotions and behavior of individuals.

Inspired by the concept of dérive and the theory of psychogeography, curatorial team Gipe + Tell posed a question to eleven artists, included in their exhibition Everyone is Hypnotized: Artists Dérive the Bay Area: What action steps can artists take today to engage in intellectual investigation, creative growth, and critical interrogation, while navigating the urban environment? Using the concept of dérive as the basis for their individual explorations, each artist ultimately produced a visual manifestation of their experience, while drifting through their urban environment. Artwork included in the exhibition reflects on each artist’s experience while exploring their urban landscape, their engagement with it, their detachment from it and in same cases both.


Opening Reception: Friday, May 5, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Music by Daniel Larlham

Performance by Minoosh Zomorodinia

Closing Reception & Talk: Friday, May 26, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Sebastian Alvarez is a Bay Area-based trans-disciplinary artist. His personal practice and collaborative projects highlight the interrelation of disparate infrastructures and the uncanniness of human-made systems. Alvarez’s research-based work manifests in the form of still and moving allegorical images, video, infographics, performative lectures, sonic compositions, and walks. He is a member of an artist collective facilitating workshops and performances at San Quentin State Prison that collaborates with incarcerated artists to explore their own personal journeys, as well as systemic issues of inequality, violence, and incarceration. Alvarez is currently part of a sci-fi documentary film and transmedia project about the imaginative and material processes of building transcendent, utopian communities in Brasília, Brazil. He has performed, curated, and presented work internationally at such venues and institutions as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Whitney Biennial (NYC), Postgarage (Graz, Austria), Townhouse Gallery (Cairo, Egypt), the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art Bourges (Bourges, France), and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria).

Brian Dean received his MFA in Photography from SFAI and his BFA in Photography from Bard College. He has studied under such renowned photographers as Stephen Shore, Larry Fink, and Linda Connor. He has exhibited photographs locally in SOMArts and the Berkeley Art Center and in numerous galleries on the East Coast. He has also won several awards, including being chosen as a finalist for the INTRODUCING! Young California Photographer Award by Paris Photo, Los Angeles; the Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award; and the Paul Sack Building Competition. Dean is currently a freelance photographer in San Francisco.

Joanne Easton is an artist, designer and educator. Using a variety of materials and sites, Easton’s work appears straightforward but responds and invites contemplation with perception and phenomenology. Through the use of sculpture, photography, drawing, and installation, Easton creates works that explore how meaning is made, resources are used and value allocated. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA. Easton received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MAAE from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Easton’s thesis focused on doubt and imagination in first-year art-school critiques. Her research was presented at the National Art Education Association Convention in New York.

Oakland-based artist, Marshall Elliott’s work is what he calls “site-responsive,” which emphasizes the role that the site plays on the creative act be it sculpture or conceptual art. His way of making springs from observation, study, or encounter with the history of place as a starting point for work. With a background is in Film Studies and English Literature, Marshall Elliott received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2014 and exhibited his MFA thesis work in the exhibition “Principal” at The Old Mint in San Francisco. He has shown his work in Colorado and Oregon as well as in the Bay-Area at venues such as Root Division and Incline Gallery and received the San Francisco Art Institute’s prestigious 2014 Anne Bremer Memorial Prize and Outstanding Graduate Student Award. More recently, he completed an artist residency at Art Farm in Marquette, NE, participated in the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts “(Im)Materiel” in Sausalito, CA and exhibited his work at City Limits Gallery in Oakland, CA. Marshall has completed artist residencies at Art Farm in Marquette, NE and at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA. He will be an upcoming resident in the Artist Studio Resident Program at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco.

Jon Gourley is a San Francisco based artist who makes work about modes and failures of communication. He received a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2012 and a BA Studio Art & Biochemistry and BS in Chemistry from the University of Iowa. He was also a Root Division resident artist for the past two years.

Jon Kuzmich creates labor and process-intensive visual systems that involve the conceptually driven organization of small, synthetic units into large and complex systems. His work is often inspired by the fact that our perception as human beings is altered and distorted by our belief in systems that we create (religious, economic, scientific, etc.). By virtue of this distortion, systems change our relationship to the world, manipulate our understanding of reality and influence our relationship to the cosmos. In essence, our belief systems keep us confined within a synthetic, human-created world.

Leora Lutz’s personal ideology stems from the fruition of DIY, punk rock reasoning and a life-long practice with the handmade—continually supporting the active roles that art and writing both play in shaping history and impacting peoples’ lives. Her hybrid creative professional background includes over 10 years’ experience in art education programming, spearheading events, and writing for museums, galleries and independent art projects including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Riverside Art Museum and the LA Department of Cultural Affairs to name a few. Since 2011 she has worked at CCA as an educator and Writing Consultant where she counsels students on Visual Thinking Strategies, Critical Thinking and English. She has also taught participatory, conceptual studio classes at City College of San Francisco.

Andréanne Michon received a BFA, with distinction, from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) with a major in photography in 2010 and she completed a MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2013. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Michon’s work has been selected in national and international juried group shows by important photography curators at major museums: – Jennifer Blessing, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Anne Lyden, then at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Julian Cox, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Sandra Phillips, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Drew Johnson, the Oakland Museum of California, and Britt Salvesen, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Amongst other works, her Winter Solstice piece was shown in a solo exhibition at La Bande Vidéo in Quebec City and her Finite Ecosystems foldbook at the Art Book Show of 2016 at Bass & Reiner Gallery, in San Francisco.

Maria Porges is an artist and writer whose work has been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions since the late eighties. She received a SECA award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and has twice been in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. A finalist for the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writer’s Grant in 2014,  her critical writing has appeared in many publications, including Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture, American Ceramics, Glass, the New York Times Book Review, and a host of other now-defunct art magazines. She has also authored essays for nearly 100 exhibition catalogues and dozens of scripts for museum audio tours. Porges is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts.

Michal Wisniowski creates installations that depend on collected found objects, crowdsourced images, and interaction with the public. These often generative projects grow with time and require continuous input, resulting in performative acts as part of the work.As a Polish artist whose formative years were divided between communist Poland, refugee camps in Denmark, and post-unification Germany, the intersections of economic and political structures are integral to Wisniowski’s practice. His work seeks out personal agency and alternatives to established narratives within the small resistances of everyday efforts. By using common materials and household objects Wisniowski creates provisional environments that are critical and nostalgic, presenting possibilities for productive survival strategies.

Minoosh Zomorodinia is an Iranian photographer, visual, performance, and video artist. She received an MFA in New Genres from SFAI, and a BA in Photography and an MA in Graphic Design from the Art and Architecture University in Tehran, Iran. She is a member of the environmental artists group Open Five in Iran (view her contribution at 5baz.com), and is a board member of the Women Environmental Artists Directory. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art Isfahan in Iran, Pori Art Museum in Finland, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Marin Community Foundation, and the Nevada Art Museum.


Gipe+Tell maintain an interdisciplinary practice based in the Bay Area, exhibiting as an art team and curating group exhibitions. Since 2013, they have curated three exhibitions, including “The Known Universe” (March 2015), which was the recipient of the Curatorial Proposal Grant at Root Division, San Francisco, CA. They have also exhibited their own work, an installation called “Is This Normal?” at InSpace Curatorial in the Felt Factory (curated by Hanna Regev); and in “Some Men”, a collaborative installation at t moro projects, Santa Clara, CA.

Larry Gipe’s activist art project is currently featured on PBS online, HERE.

Gipe + Tell’s Studio Lab Curatorial Residency is made possible, in part, through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  Everyone is Hypnotized: Artists Dérive the Bay Area exhibition and related public programs are supported by a generous grant from the Zellberbach Family Foundation. 

Let’s Play

June 2 – June 29, 2017

Opening Reception: Friday, June 2, 6:00 – 9:00pm

Curated by Rochelle Spencer, Audrey T. Williams & The Afro Surrealist Writers Workshop

Let’s Play celebrates fun as a revolutionary event. Curated by Rochelle Spencer and Audrey T. Williams, this group exhibition pairs the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop with local artists and Oakland residents to examine how play intersects with urban life.

The aim of this exhibition is to demonstrate how play can disrupt conventional ways of thinking and serve as a form of rebellion. Let’s Play will include, but is not limited to, a Monopoly-style game with Park Place or Boardwalk replaced with Oakland streets, a miniature golf game featuring Oakland landmarks, and poems and stories from writers incorporating the idea of play into their work. The exhibition will also include projections of recorded videos of Oakland residents at play.

Exhibiting artists for Let’s Play will be announced shortly.


Opening Reception: Friday, June 2, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00pm


Rochelle Spencer is founder of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop and co-editor of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women Writers of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014), which has been named a “must-read” feminist book of 2014 by Ms.Magazine. Rochelle has received fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and her work appears in a variety of publications, including the African American Review, Poets and Writers, Eleven Eleven, the East Bay Review, Callaloo, the Carbon Culture Review, the LA Review, and Mosaic. Rochelle is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a former board member of the Hurston Wright Foundation.

Audrey T. Williams is an Oakland-based writer. She is a VONA alum and is working towards an MFA in Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Audrey is currently working on several AfroSurreal short stories based on the “peculiar institutions” of American history and is writing the manuscript for Chutney and Chitlins, a mixed-race family memoir that makes use of hybrid creative nonfiction using narratives and images. Chutney and Chitlins begins with stories from her African-American father’s childhood in the segregated South and follows him as he joins the newly integrated US Marines in the late 1950’s. He was possibly the first African-American US Marine sent to US embassy duty in Rangoon, Burma. In Burma, he meets Audrey’s mother, whose heritage is a mixture of European and South Asian ancestry (Anglo-Indian-Burmese). Learn more about Audrey and her stories, here.

AfroSurreal Writers Workshop supports writers of color creating weird, surreal, or absurdist art. The AfroSurreal Writers Workshop fights for the rights of all marginalized people, including senior citizens, religious and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, the LGBITQ communities, members of poor and working class neighborhoods, and of course, PoC. The group holds an annual conference on AfroSurrealism at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland where we celebrate local writers and artists who create unusual art. An Eco-Arts Festival and Conference is taking the place of this year’s conference.

 This exhibition is supported and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.