Joseph Fontinha, Robert Todd & Deb Todd Wheeler

February 27 – March 31, 2019
Friday, March 1, 2019 from 6:00–8:00PM

“NEXT” features selected works by Joseph Fontinha and siblings Robert Todd and Deb Todd Wheeler. Solo and collaborative projects of video, sound and installation will activate the gallery and immerse the viewer into habitats. These habitats are created realities at their depth and are about the authentic human experience, discovering the link between the personal and the shared, in ways that allow viewers to lose themselves in reality as it dissipates with the experience of possibilities.

The three artists make use of unexpected materials in their collaborative work; it’s not about the materials themselves so much as what world can be conjured with the simplest gesture, engaging the eye and the body. For Robert Todd and Deb Todd Wheeler the body is an extension of the camera. For Joseph Fontinha, the body is illusory–a stage, a canvas. In each of their practices and collaborations, there is a glee in seeing something possible and sublime in everyday things.  



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Joseph Fontinha’s work explores the improvisational nature of our approaches to representation; he likes to make things from nothing, creating illusions that bend our understanding of reality. Fontinha uses bits of tape and whatever is lying around to create tiny animations, which then he then assembles into series and compilations.

A trained and educated oil painter, Joseph Fontinha has recently expanded his oil paintings to a combination of video, installation, and performance-based work that contains the residual effects of painting. Joseph sees himself as once a painter that made pictures of objects, but now as an artist working on projects that showcase an aerobic, studio-centric, idea-driven, spontaneous and visceral approach to the solving of visual problems. His work is at its core is about stillness, stamina, discomfort, trust, and wonder. It is about truly authentic human experience and what that looks like; it is about the link between personal and human stories.

Fontinha Artist Statement/Bio (pdf)

Fontinha Artist CV (pdf)

Robert Todd, a lyrical filmmaker, documented the presence or absence of nature in the urban lived environment, resulting in a collection of hundreds of films. Spanning multiple mediums, Deb Todd Wheeler’s work explores plasticity, affectivity and empathic engagement. In 2012, the two partnered to create Artificial Atmospheres, a time-based immersive installation made up of individual and collaborative works that thematically explore a multiplicity of accidental habitats and natural constructs. The theme of artificiality and the suspect positioning of the word “nature” is present in both artists’ work.

In the wake of Robert Todd’s death in 2018, his sister Deb Todd Wheeler has been gathering and organizing Robert’s film archive for the Academy of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, and his personal papers and library for CalArts. Through this experience, Deb has chosen to exhibit video works from Artificial Atmospheres.

Artificial Atmospheres Statement/ Artists’ Bio (pdf)