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John Divola (b. 1949, Los Angeles) is a contemporary visual artist. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Divola works in photography, describing himself as exploring the landscape by looking for the edge between the abstract and the specific.
Divola received a B.A. from California State University in 1971 and later received an M.F.A. from University of California in 1974. He has held residencies at many institutions including California Institute of the Arts. He has held the position of Professor in the art department at U.C. Riverside since 1988. His work has been featured in many solo exhibitions across United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. He participated in 1978, 1989, 2000 the Museum of Modern Art group exhibitions and in 1981 Whitney Biennial. Divola received many awards as Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1973, 1976, 1979, 1990 and a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1986. He published four books: Continuity, Isolated Houses, Dogs Chasing My Car In The Desert, and Three Acts.
In “Zuma” project, he has described being interested in the relation between real artworks and representations of them, and the issues of the natural and the artificial. Divola said “I attempted ... to develop a practice in which there could be no distinction between the document and the original.” In his series of photographs from 1977, he used deserted houses on Zuma Beach and covered their walls in graffiti photograph the ocean from the house's interior through windows and cracks. Divola states: “On initially arriving I would move through the house looking for areas or situations to photograph. If nothing seemed to interest me I would move things around or do some spray painting. The painting was done in much the same way that one might doodle on a piece of paper. At that point I would return to the camera and explore what ever new potentials existed.” These cyclical images skillfully juxtapose romantic skies and sunsets with a seaside structure that, frame by frame, deteriorates into ruin as it is vandalized by the artist and others who eventually set it on fire". Divola works trace a schematic desire for escape, movement and transcendence.
In "As Far As I Can Get" project, he made photographs by pushing the self-timer button on his camera. An exposure is made in 10 seconds.