Thanks to all who contributed work, presence, heart, and soul towards an incredible art experience at The Hatchery: Fortress exhibition this fall.

 The Hatchery: Fortress lives on at the UAMO Festival/Munich, the culmination of the 2015-16 International City Tour, to be held April 28-May 1, 2016. Two Hatchery artists will represent this exhibition in Munich; they will be chosen in February. Follow the progression of all the world’s participants on the City Tour.

Fresno Bee cultural arts critic Donald Munro made the trek to the Hatchery. Here’s his preview.

Fortress Image Gallery

Participating Artists:
Dori Atlantis + Karen Frimkess Wolff (Los Angeles)
Lexygius Calip (Philippines / Chicago)
Rob Divers Herrick (San Francisco)
Eco Village Project of Fresno (California)
Elizabeth Dorbad (Bay Area)
Glen Farley (Canada / Norway)
Greg Fraser (Scotland / Oakland)
Rebecca Gourevitch (Bay Area)
Nasim Hantehzadeh (Chicago / Los Angeles)
Max Buck Henri (New York City)
Phillip Andrew Lewis (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Bachrun LoMele + Anna Dembska (Pinehurst, California and Camden, Maine)
Myra Margolin (Washington DC)
Muriel Montini (Paris)
Shana Moulton (Oakhurst, California / Germany)
Stefan Riebel (Berlin)
Byron Russell (Fresno)
Nicole Shaffer + Carrie Elzey (Oakland and Atlanta)
James Stark (Sultana, California)
Bob Thornburg (Badger, California)
Rachel Van Pelt (Reno, Nevada)
Yurt City — Sheila Ross and Laura Ten Eyck (New York City)


Special thanks:
Jack Huneke and Julie Harcos
Rifka Several
Jane Ziegler
John Kraft
Marwan LoMele
Caro Ludwig
Bree Rockbrand
Marine Miglio
Byron Russell
Dennis Point
Raul Garcia
Bob Thornburg
Natalie Lesly
Vangelis Lympouridis


Opening night party makers:
DJ: Mychal Alva aka Low-key
Laser light show: John Kraft

Donors and supporters:
Jack Huneke and Julie Harcos
Rachmat Martin
Camille Russell
Seedling Design
Eric & Miriam Strasberg

Rob Divers Herrick
James Stark

Bill Doherty
Anné M. Klint
Bachrun LoMele

Mahalia LoMele

Fortress Curatorial Statement


27 JS

Courtesy James Stark

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    the HATCHERY art spaces
    Bachrun and Mahalia LoMele
    53599 Hwy 245
    Pinehurst, California 93641

    50616 Hwy 245
    Badger, California 93603

    phone: (559) 336-9383

    Site Information

    IMG_3444_webThe HATCHERY is situated in a rural, remote environment approximately four and a half hours from both Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The property’s natural beauty is compromised by the detritus of failed human endeavor, giving it an oddly decayed urban feel.

    Located at Badger Creek Development/Sequoia Resort in Badger, California, in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada, the HATCHERY is a large airplane hangar built as such and later used as a community center and school. The property was first developed by Synanon, a drug-rehab organization which was progressive in its time for its culture of racial integration, but fell into disrepute as its founder became delusional and authoritarian. The property was subsequently re-purposed as a Muslim religious community and boarding school for children from Oakland’s worst neighborhoods, but was abandoned after 9/11 amid accusations of fraud.

    After years of neglect and vandalism, the HATCHERY is in a state of disrepair. The current owner has undertaken a yet-unfinished cleanup of the property, removing scores of wrecked mobile homes, rehabilitating several houses, and fashioning a modern office from abandoned railroad cars. LEED-certified homes are planned and will be built as investors are secured.

    This area of the southern Sierra has been hard hit by the current drought and the effects of pine bark beetles on the forest. Many thousands of dead ponderosa pines and incense cedars surround the property, and some have been logged. The seasonal creek and a large pond, attractive to deer, bear, wild pigs, raptors, water birds, and songbirds, are drying up. More pristine natural environments which have less beetle devastation but are severely impacted by the drought are short drives away: Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Dry Creek Preserve, and Homer Ranch.

    God Will Not Have His Work Made Manifest By Cowards

    Manifest-flyerCurated by Astri Swendsrud and Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg

    Performance Exhibition:
    Sunday, October 12, 2014

    Online Exhibition:
    November 2014

    This exhibition will engage with ideas surrounding the actualization of utopian ideals. Throughout human history, the desire for improved methods of being in the world has driven visionary leaders to propose ideal models for society. This exhibition aims to examine the complexities and difficulties that occur when these utopian social plans move from the idealized space of the proposal to actualization in the world.

    The impetus for this exhibition stems from a physical site of recurring alternative societies – The Hatchery, located near the small town of Badger in Central California. The Hatchery first gained notoriety as the home of Synanon, a California-based self-help movement turned authoritarian religious cult that rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s. After Synanon’s collapse, the abandoned Hatchery compound was converted into an Islamic community and school called Baladullah. Formed as a haven for Muslim families to escape the poverty and conflict experienced in larger cities, the Baladullah community fell to rumors of terrorist activity and anti-Islamic sentiment shortly after September 11, 2001.

    The paired narratives of Synanon and Baladullah – from their idealistic origins, through their eventual collapses – serve as case studies of the difficulties of actualizing utopian societal alternatives. This exhibition includes works by artists that form connections to the three distinct phases of Synanon’s utopian model – from the personal utopia of self-help, to the communal utopia of an alternative social structure, to its final, universalized iteration as a totalitarian religion. The title of the exhibition – God Will Not Have His Work Made Manifest By Cowards ­– comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” a text which served as a cornerstone of Synanon’s philosophy. It points toward the intersections of personal effort, social enforcement, and divine authority which underlie most utopian experiments. The artists in this exhibition create works that address and investigate these attempts in their various individual, political and esoteric implications.

    This exhibition will take place in two phases. First, a selection of performance pieces developed in connection to the Hatchery site will be shown in a public event at the Hatchery in Badger, CA on Sunday, October 12, 2014. The second portion of the show will be exhibited online at Light & Wire Gallery in November 2014, including the work created on site presented alongside works by visual artists and writers exploring the complexities that come with actualizing utopian ideals.

    Performance Exhibition Artists/Writers:

    Anthony Bodlović is a Los Angeles based performance artist and practicing art therapist. A hybrid of personal therapy and ethnography, his work focuses on narratives and how they endure around, in, and through the body. He has participated in group shows in Los Angeles and Berlin and had his first solo performance in 2014 at Human Resources, LA. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Loyola Marymount University in the department of Martial and Family Therapy, and is currently completing his PhD in Culture and Performance Studies at UCLA.

    Ronald Lawrence Dzerigian was born in the city of Fresno, California, to a family of teachers, farmers, and artists on September 11, 1976. He is proud to be a by-product of the small towns and rural immediacy of the great Central Valley. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from California State University Fresno, in 2002, he left by train to work a variety of odd/edifying jobs in Brooklyn, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, up until late 2012 when, after a sudden return to writing, he decided to relocate to Fresno. His artwork has been exhibited in several galleries, museums, and venues in New York and California. His writings have been featured in a variety of hard-to-find small press publications. The year 2014 finds Ronald comfortable as a thirty-eight year old porch-sitter who knows, too well, the pleasures of the mundane.

    Zach Kleyn is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work is an examination into the ways in which ideologies weave themselves into the tapestry of a human personality. His projects have been shown at the Torrance Art Museum, the New York Center for Art and Media Studies in New York, Cirrus Gallery, Actual Size, Commonwealth and Council, Human Resources and Monte Vista Projects in Los Angeles, as well as Espace Curtat Tunnel in Lausanne, Switzerland. His writing has been published in The Art Book Review and Notes on Looking, and his artwork has appeared in several literary journals, including LIT, VLAK, and SPECS. He received his MFA from CalArts in 2010.

    Jason Kunke is a Los Angeles based artist whose practice includes sculpture, drawing, installation, video, and performance. His art examines how authority and aesthetics inform each other. He received his MFA from CalArts in 2007, and his BFA (with a minor in sociology) from University of Houston in 2004. He has exhibited nationally at Polvo in Chicago, Commerce Street Artist Warehouse in Houston, and 25CPW in New York. In Los Angeles he has exhibited at Sea and Space Explorations, LAXART, and Dan Graham. Along with five other artists, he co-runs Elephant, an artist run space in Glassell Park.

    Sarah Petersen’s  (MFA CalArts, 2012) practice ranges from lapel pins to group hums, site-specific performance to interventionist political games. Her work has recently been shown around LA (Honor Fraser Gallery, Perform Chinatown, Paramount Ranch Art Fair, Venice 6114), in the desert (Shangri-la in Joshua Tree), and in the wilds of Germany (at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst, Braunschweig). She is currently teaching a class called Ideation and Process, and not quite making it up as she goes along.

    Semi-Tropic Spiritualists is a project by Los Angeles-based artists Astri Swendsrud and Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg. Their performance works and objects explore the history of spiritual and occult belief in Los Angeles through the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists, an organization that created a campsite meeting place outside the city limits of Los Angeles in 1905. Spiritualism described itself as a science, a philosophy and a religion. They interested in this system as a model for exploring ideas of faith and skepticism, belief and charlatanism, as well as for the development of a space dedicated to investigation and the search for knowledge. The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists began their collaboration in 2012, and have exhibited at Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; The Vincent Price Museum, Los Angeles; Shangri-La, Joshua Tree, CA; and Chime & Co., Los Angeles, among other locations. Both artists received their MFAs from CalArts in 2008.

    East of Fresno

     eof_flyerSeptember 24 & 25, 2011

    The Hatchery: East of Fresno is a contemporary art exhibition that will take place in Badger, California (approximately 54 miles east of Fresno) on September 24 and 25, 2011. Forty artists and performers from the West and East coasts of the US as well as international artists will make work responding to a unique site evolved from successive layers of prior communities.

    The compound, now known as the HATCHERY, was originally built as Synanon, a drug rehabilitation facility, and later re-purposed as a Muslim religious community. Its current use as a seasonal arts destination in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada makes the HATCHERY the latest realization of purposeful community.

    By inviting artists of various disciplines to interact with the site, the curators of The Hatchery: East of Fresno hope to make the simple directional cue of the title transcend location to become a significant site of experience. It will be known simply by its plain description, like an intuitional spirit pointing the way and asking one to go on faith that something marvelous is “that way.” The Hatchery: East of Fresno will lend the directional a sense of destiny.



    Bill Doherty
    Anné M. Klint
    Bachrun LoMele
    Tom McGlynn


    Dori Atlantis
    Sally Apfelbaum
    Kevin Bowman
    Lex Calip
    Robin Lee Crutchfield
    Carlos de Villasante
    Anna Dembska
    Elizabeth Dorbad
    Arthur Dyson
    Glenn Garver
    Andrea Hawks
    Buck Henri
    Wendy Hirschberg

    Matt Hopson-Walker
    Jelle Kampen
    Eric Knoote
    Adam Longatti
    Ron Longsdorf
    Petra Mattheis
    Robert Mertens
    Laura Napier
    Tressa Pack
    Rick Preston
    Amie T. Rangel
    Matthew Rangel
    Stefan Riebel

    Sheila Ross
    David Sanchez Burr
    Nicole Shaffer
    Walter Sipser
    James Stark
    Eric Strasberg
    Laura Ten Eyck
    Bruce Tomb
    Rob van der Schoor
    Rachel Marie Van Pelt
    Tenesh Webber
    Aaron Williams
    Jane Ziegler


    Bob Thornburg, Chris Lopez, Craig Tisdale and Warren Casey
    John Spivey reading from his new book “A Redneck Siddhartha”



    Printworks (College of the Sequoias) and Fresno State Print Club


    Visit the East of Fresno Image Gallery

    East of Fresno Curatorial Statement

    Free Range

    free_range_flyerSeptember 30, 2010

    The day started out rainy and foggy, then turned sunny and spectacular, confounding and challenging Matthew Rangel’s painting students. But about 150 people turned out from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Visalia, Fresno, Kingsburg, Three Rivers, and all the mountain communities for a lively, enjoyable, surprising, and inspiring afternoon and evening.

    Paintings, photos, and digital prints by Jane Ziegler, Laura Horst, and Robert Mertens showed in the office gallery. Paintings by Matthew Hopson-Walker, Lex Calip, and Matthew Rangel, drawings by Kevin Bowman and Amie T. Rangel, photos by James Stark, and installations by Lex Calip, Nicole Shaffer, Anne M. Klint, and Bachrun LoMele were in the HATCHERY.

    A performance of Irish music by two of Amie Rangel’s art students was an afternoon surprise before the BBQ. Singing and playing in the evening were Melissa Lou Castellano and Evan apRoberts – lovely, soulful, strong.

    We’re planning to do this again, at least once, in the warmer months of 2011 (probably September). We hope to see you then!

    Special Thanks go out to:

    Staci Gundry
    Gary Knight
    Catie Karplus
    Trish Rangel
    Cathy Williams
    Charlene Vom Dorp

    Steve Stockabrand
    Marwan LoMele
    Bob Thornburg
    Jack Huneke and Julie Harcos
    Susannah Rosenthal
    Reinhard Hesse

    and to:
    the artists
    the musicians
    everyone who helped everyone who came