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  • MaximillianGroup 8:38 AM on 25 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alexandra grant, , , , , , art exhibition, , , , art success, , , , , , , , , Dan Callis, Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, Diane Rosenstein Gallery, , , , Gisela Colon, , , Jason Vass Gallery, , , , , Man Graves, multi media art, , , , Rachel Lachowicz, , , shoshana wayne, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, , , succesful artists, success, success in art, , , what is success   

    Six Artists Define Success 

    Alexandra Grant, Antigone is you and me. Photo courtesy of the artist.

    Why am I Doing This Again? Six Artists Define Success

    By Sydney Walters

    Every day an artist chooses to renegotiate societal structures in order to make their creative habit a profession. Because this kind of exercise drastically differs from the reliability of structured professions which grant dependable income, artists must also calibrate what it means to be personally successful. As every artist has a different studio practice, likewise his or her means of measuring success is different. Below, six seasoned artists weigh in on what success means for them.

    Alexandra Grant:

    While I was in graduate school I looked around me at the other artists and art students. I wanted to answer to the following questions: “What do I care about when no one is here? What do I care about when everyone is here?” As a graduate student, now 20 years ago, I realized that the response to each needed to be the same thing. It seemed to me that people who had long-lasting careers had aligned their inner and outer lives in a way that was authentic. In graduate school, my answer to what I cared about privately and publicly was reading and literature. Those two activities are still at the heart of what I do.”

    So I would recommend to any young or young-at-heart artist to ask themselves what they care about, both when nobody is there, and when everyone is there, and do their best to align these answers.

    Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles based painter, draftswomen, and sculptor specializing in collaborations. She received her MFA from California College of Arts in 2000 and has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), the 2010 California Biennial of Art at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) and many more. Additional information and portfolio at http://www.alexandragrant.com


    Mab Graves:

    Success has never really been a motivator for me…I create for personal happiness. It’s an amazing feeling knowing others also like what I do, but I’d be doing the same things I do now even if no one liked them and I needed to work a second job to pay bills. I live a pretty quiet life and I only leave the house a few times a month, so I think success is probably still the same for me: success is a feeling. It’s like an inner glee- a bubbling inside when I know I’m creating something “right”. When a piece comes together perfectly and I get a huge sense of peace. I’m always striving to elevate my craft and get better, so the success bar raises each year, but the feeling is still the same.

    Mab Graves is a Contemporary Pop-Surrealist artist and illustrator based in Indiana. She is a self-taught artist and has been shown in galleries nationally and internationally and published her first book in 2013. Additional information, portfolio and online shop at http://www.mabgraves.com



    Rachel Lachowicz:

    I was very young when I first started showing.  Looking back I was trying to stay alive so selling work, getting a review or an exhibition was success.

    Now I am more invested intellectually and what amounts to success is far more simple.

    Rachel Lachowicz is a Los Angeles based artist whose professional career has spanned over thirty years of work that has been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many more. She received her BFA from California Institute of the Arts and is currently the chair of the Art Department at Claremont Graduate University. www.lachowicz.com



    Camilla Taylor :

    Initially, success meant making your income entirely from art. I’ve revisited this definition as I know few in the LA area who are able to live off of art alone–nearly all the artists I look up to also have day jobs of some kind.  I make art that is frankly depressing to many people, and I don’t know that I’ll ever sell enough to live on it alone.

    At the graduate school I attended, there was a sign up in the print shop that just said, “Do a better job.”  I’ve replicated it in my own studio, as it is the best advice. So, success, am I doing a better job than I was before?  Have I improved my exhibitions, personal discipline, studio output, conceptual frameworks? If not, then “do a better job.”

    Camilla Taylor received her MFA from California State University at Long Beach with an emphasis in printmaking. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and when she is not in the studio, she teaches people the art of printmaking at colleges and schools. For additional information, visit http://www.Camilla-taylor.com



    Dan Callis:

    It has become far more expansive and simple. It is so much bigger then the way it is talked about in Art School. Those conversations are wonderful and so very necessary. Success does have to do with those things but it is so much more.

    Success is your continued excitement (and occasional dread)  and sense of necessity to make your work. It is the delight to be the first viewer and the impulse to share it with another. It is the realization that it is all a profound gift. And it is a lot of fucking hard work. It is being in a community where who you are and the work you do matters and that the community in turn matters to you. To know and be known, in your work and outside your work. It is the realization that you are part of something much bigger then you and the work you do. Success is the urge to stop writing and get back to making.

    After receiving his MFA from Claremont Graduate School, now Claremont Graduate University, Dan Callis has gone on to have shows in the United States and abroad. Besides teaching at Biola University, Callis maintains an art studio in Orange County and has recently exhibited his paintings at Jason Vass Gallery in Los Angeles. www.dancallisart.com



    Gisela Colon:

    Success is a state of mind…mind over matter.

    Gisela Colon is a Los Angeles based artist who has developed an art practice of “organic minimalism.” Her unique Pods, Slabs, and Monoliths are in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio and many more. To see her portfolio and for additional information, visit http://www.giselacolon.com



     

     
  • MaximillianGroup 11:56 AM on 24 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Anne Walsh, , , , , , Art and Technology, art exhibition, , , , , , Beall Center, Beall Center for Art and Technology, , , , , , Ian Ingram, , Juan Fontanive, , , , Lynn Aldrich, , , Richard Ross, , , UC Irvine, UCI, University of California, University of California Irvine, Victoria Vesna   

    It Passes like a Thought at Beall Center for Art & Technology 

    It Passes Like a Thought Beall Center for Art and Technology on the UCI campus. Photo Courtesy of the gallery.

    It Passes like a Thought: A Celebration of Winged Things

    Beall Center for Art and Technology on the UCI campus in Irvine.
    Through May 26

     

    By Genie Davis

     

    Birds –the grace of their flight, the joy of their song, their symbolic freedom. Closing at Beall Center for Art and Technology on the UCI campus in Irvine May 26th, It Passes Like a Thought is a joyous and thoughtful exhibition featuring the work of Lynn Aldrich, Juan Fontanive, Ian Ingram, Richard Ross, Susan Silton, Victoria Vesna, and Anne Walsh.

    The works here are as beautiful as they are soaring, some whimsical, some carefully even studiously detailed. On view is the emerald head of Ian Ingram’s robotic bird, “The Woodiest,” both charming and amusing, crafted from electronics and plastic and mounted on a birch. You will also see the large-scale collection of Lynn Aldrich’s “Flying Lessons: The Birds of America,” found book pages painted over in gold leaf, arranged in a fluttering grid, a work both haunting and elliptical.

    I was reminded several times in the exhibition of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Nightingale, in which an emperor prefers the song of a jewel encrusted mechanical bird to that of a real nightingale. But when dying, it is the real bird that comes to sing and offer succor. Our substitutions and experiments with mechanized birds cannot replace the real thing.

    Much of the work here is pure poetry, even the title, culled appropriately from John James Audubon’s description of a single bird in flight: “When an individual is seen gliding through the woods and close to the observer, it passes like a thought…”

    Curated graciously by David Familian, the exhibition offers works in a variety of mediums, and encompasses birdsong, flight, habits, and endangerment in a cohesive, immersive space.

    The robotic wonder of Ingram’s “The Woodiest” is a double-headed woodpecker that effectively imitates the ritual used by a real North American woodpecker to lure its mate. A video is projected next to the piece showing the work attached to a tree in a forest; the reaction of a real woodpecker is seen in the video. It seems like a lighthearted prank in a way, as well as an homage to the real bird.

    Victoria Vesna’s “Bird Song Mimic,” is a beautiful installation with a sound dome that allows viewers to listen and respond to recordings of bird song. It’s a magical experience, produced by Vesna’s collaboration with a biologist, a physicist and an engineer. Interactive in nature, the piece allows a computer program to evaluate the accuracy of participants’ responses to the bird calls.

    Perhaps my new two favorite pieces in the exhibition – not that each wasn’t quite absorbing in its own winged way – are Juan Fontanive’s “Ornithology” and Lynn Aldrich’s, “Flying Lessons: The Birds of America.” With “Orinthology,” Fontanive has created a small stainless steel box, mounted on the wall, with illustrations of birds from the 18th and 19th century powered in to motion by a clock mechanism. The illustrations are spun in the fashion of a flipbook, speeded so that in seeing the bird’s wings in flight, the viewer also hears a fluttering sound, as if the wings were flapping.

    Aldrich’s work is a fascinating revision. She is also using illustrations, here, pages from John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, which she has painted over entirely, with the exception of the birds’ wings. The beautiful feathers seem fragile and haunting, so impermanent and yet magnificent set against the gold. Another work by Aldrich uses computer printouts in swooping strands. Suspended from the ceiling, they drop into an empty bird cage; the printouts contain lists of endangered and extinct birds.

    Other works in the show include a film by Susan Silton documenting a whistling language based on birdcalls; Anne Walsh’s “Parrot Suite,” a video which depicts a plush robotic parrot and an ultimately amusing exploration of mimicry; and the truly lovely yet somber photographs of Richard Ross, depicting taxidermied birds, a memorial of sorts to their stilled flight.

    The exhibition gives us a stark reminder, there are 9,000 avian species, many are endangered. It also serves as a potent reminder of just how precious and really wondrous birds are, and how – just as the Emperor learned in “The Nightingale” – a mechanical bird is no substitute for the real and beautiful being that passes like a thought.

    While birds may well arrive more quickly, this exhibition is well worth the drive to Orange County.

    http://www.beallcenter.uci.edu















     

     
  • MaximillianGroup 12:29 PM on 22 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ada Brown, Alan Hiroshi Nakagawa, Ali Kheradyar, Alicia Vogl-Saenz., Allison Stewart, Ananda Mayi, Anita Bunn, Ann Isolde, Antonia Price, Arezoo Bharthania, , , , , , art exhibition, , , , , , , , Babara Benish, Babara McCarren, Barbara Carrasco, Barbara T. Smith, Barbara Thomason, Beverly Lafontaine, , Catherine Ruane, Cathy Salser, Chelsea Dean, Christine Rasmussen, Colivia Sanches Brown, , connie samaras, , Danielle B Ashton, David Estrada, Doni Silver Simons, Douglas McCulloh, , Dwora Fried, Elizabeth Tinglof, Ellyn Maybe, Emma Jurgensen, , , , Flora White, Florence Rosen, Frances Hoffman, , Gloria Enedina Alvarez, Guadalupe Rodriquez, Hataya Tubtim, Holly Boruck, , Isabella Patino, , Janice BEa, Jessica Irish, Jill D'Agnenica, Jill Sykes, Joe Lewis, Joey Forsyte, José Lozano, Judy Fiskin, Karen Mack, Ken Marchionno, Ken Merfeld, keystone, , kim abeles, Kim Garrison, Kim Mack Golden, kimberly morris, , Lili Bernard, , , , Lynn Marchionno, Margaret Adachi, Mark Steven Greenfield, Mary Allan, Mary Anna Pomonis, May Sun, Meg Madison, Melanie Mandl, Michelle Ogilvie, Mika Cho, , Mona Kasra, , Nina Roder, Nono Olabisi, , Patricia Yossen, , Rachel X Hobreigh, Rosanna Albertini, Sally Beagle Price, Sandra Mueller, Sandra Rowe, Sandy Rodriguez, , Sergio Teran, Shannon Rose, Sheila Pinkel, , Steve Radosevich, Steve Seleska, Susan Feldman Tucker, , Suvan Geer, Sylvia Mihara, Thinh Nguyen, Tierney Gearon, United Catalysts, virginia katz, Vivian Metts, Yreina D Cervantez, Zavier Cazares Cortez, Zoe Abeles   

    Kim Abeles Curates Powerful Exhibition Focusing on the Mother/Child Dynamic 

    Mothers, Eggshells, and the People Who Birth Us. Keystone Art Space. Photo Credit Kristine Schomaker

    Mothers, Eggshells, and the People Who Birth Us

    Curated by Kim Abeles

    Closes Tuesday May 22nd at 5pm

     

    Written By Betty Ann Brown

    What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves–our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies.  ~Margaret Atwood

     

    I wanted my mother to be warm and supportive and insightful and forgiving. But she was not. I wanted her to love me unconditionally and to be on my side always. But she could not. Like most people, she did the best she could, but I ended up with a big mother wound anyway. As did almost all of my close friends.

    My mother’s generation grew up in the middle of the twentieth century, coming to age as the Rosie the Riveter generation was being forced back into the home by what Betty Friedan called the “Feminine Mystique”–the cultural concept that women really do belong in the home rather than the work place. Like many of her contemporaries, my mother filled with resentment as she chafed against the patriarchal constraints and excruciating monotony of housewifery. Although she never found the words for it, she was angry and horribly, tragically unhappy.

    My own generation responded to that historic repression by starting the Feminist Art Movement of the 1970s and 80s. I was an early and avid participant. (In spite of the fact that one of my most accomplished friends told me she assumed I would be giving up my career when I decided to become a mother.) (I kept working anyway.) The Feminist Art Movement produced institutions like the Los Angeles Woman’s Building and amazing artists like Judy Baca, Judy Chicago, Betye Saar, and June Wayne. It also made possible the burgeoning careers of a younger generation of artists like Cheri Gaulke, May Sun, and Kim Abeles.

    Abeles recently moved to a studio in Keystone Art Space. She curated an exhibition there that invited artists to create and display work about their mothers. Entitled “Mothers, Eggshells, and the People Who Birth Us,” the show features artworks by over 90 artists. I can only mention a few of them here, which is a shame since there is so much strong art included.



    Some of the work is a few years old, such as Mark Steven Greenfield’s house-shaped wall hanging that includes an old photograph of his mother on a tapestry that is suspended under a white triangular roof. At the bottom of the piece is a black disc etched with her words, “We’re never gonna survive unless we get a little…crazy.” I think of how women were declared crazy and incarcerated in insane asylums when they stepped outside their socially proscribed roles.

    On the wall opposite Greenfield’s piece is Joey Forsyte’s assemblage of neon, a photograph, glass teardrops, a pair of her mother’s eyeglasses, a video, and a stack of burned books. A framed white square encases the words, “When an elder dies, a library burns…African Proverb.” I think of the recipes and other wisdom lost when my grandmother died, and how much my own mother took with her.

    Many artists made new work for the show. Kristine Schomaker shredded stacks of letters written to her mother as well as entries from her journal. The resultant confetti was stuffed into glass cake stands. Arranged on a short white shelf, they imitate pastries as objective correlatives of the female knowledge shared between mother and daughter. (Exactly what did my mother do to those German Chocolate Cakes to make them so yummy?!!)

    Abeles’s exhibition has two distinct but related parts. The first involves the larger works in the main gallery, like those of Greenfield, Forsyte, and Schomaker. The second part is a group of 45 petri dish portraits on display in a narrow gallery carved out of Abeles’s own studio space. Some of the petri dish images are achingly beautiful, like Mary Allan’s painted heart and Jill Syke’s noir-ish depiction of her mother smoking. Others are sentimental, with wistful longing, like Barbara T. Smith’s portrait including her mother’s lace purse, a photograph, and a jeweled shoe buckle. Then there are the umbilical cords of Thinh Nguyen and his siblings, that the artist’s mother carefully preserved in tiny knitted bags.


    Still other petri dish examples are frankly disturbing. Like Susan Feldman Tucker’s portrait crossed by slivers of text representing fragments of conflicted thoughts: “toxic behavior,” “ill at ease,” “personal assaults,” and “angry.” (I’ve had all those thoughts about my own mother, so I can totally relate…)

    Margaret Atwood reminds us, ” No mother is ever, completely, a child’s idea of what a mother should be…” I suppose this is true. Kim Abeles’s powerful exhibition allows us to unpack the full panoply of children’s thoughts about their mothers. As it happens, all of the participants are adult children who are now artists. It is in their creative work that they have found the way to unpack and engage with such thoughts. Fair warning: Anyone who visits this visually appealing and emotionally intense exhibition will be compelled to consider their own ideas about motherhood. As I was forced to do.


















































































































     
  • MaximillianGroup 11:10 AM on 21 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , art exhibition, , , , , , , , , , Carl Berg, , , DENK Gallery, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Pace gallery, palo alto, , , , , Tim Hawkinson   

    Studio Visit: Tim Hawkinson, The Indices of the Unknown 

    Studio visit: Tim Hawkinson. Photo Credit Gary Brewer

    Studio Visit: Tim Hawkinson, The Indices of the Unknown

    “What is an idea? It is an image that paints itself in my brain.”
    Voltaire

    By Gary Brewer

    Art is a philosophical quest – it is a method of discovery – in the right hands one can use it to become a vehicle to question and search for how we think and feel. Our perceptual limitations are hidden from us and through the lens of art we can explore the secret aspects of our bodies, minds and the universe; the indices of the unknown.

    Tim Hawkinson is a protean artist. His work is driven by ideas. In the realization of the means to express these ideas, his work becomes an obsessive act of exploration and discovery. His work explores the space between self-perception and the hidden reaches of the body. “We carry a map of what we look like and how we appear to others but much of our bodies are hidden from our view, we cannot really know what we look like. We have these little brains that cannot quite understand the body. We cannot see much of it, be we feel confident that we know what we look like. I still feel like I am in the body of a child, but recently my daughter took a picture of my wife and I dressed up for an upscale event. When I saw the photo I looked like my grandfather; it was a shock”. The primal schism between what we think we know and the hard facts of reality is one of the avenues that Tim Hawkinson traverses in his varied, multi-tiered and imaginative approach to creation.

    “I focus on one part of the body, the rest of reality is a casualty of creation. I scavenge for odd logic, for the unexpected.” Years ago I saw a sculpture titled “Head”; it was a mold, for lack of a better term, that he had made by painting countless layers of latex on the inside of a bathroom. Sink, tub, toilet everything was captured. He pulled it free and hung it in the middle of the gallery and inflated it. It was a remarkable object that engaged but defied recognition. It took several moments to start to identify its component parts, “There is a toilet, that is a sink”. Slowly one came to realize what it was. The strangeness of the revelation of identifying it, and the raw power of its sculptural form was intoxicating. Like an object from another culture or world, it held one in its grasp, without knowing what it was or what it meant. Next to it, hanging and inflated, was a latex ‘skin’ of Tim’s naked body, seemingly floating in space. When I asked about these two pieces Tim replied, “It was a part of my inflatable series, I had already done my body and the bathroom was a logical correlation; it is a room where the bodily needs are taken care of. I had no idea of what it would look like, I was just following the odd logic of the idea.”

    Studio visit: Tim Hawkinson. Photo Courtesy Tim Hawkinson

    Our senses are limited, imagination fills in the blind spots. We have a collective faith in the conceptual maps that culture, belief and our limited understanding of the universe gives us. It informs and shapes the way we interpret our experiences. Tim Hawkinson has created works that explore the dark matter of our world. He searches and finds representations of the immaterial stuff that informs and shapes our consciousness. An idea becomes a methodology for mapping the contours of that which is just out of reach, around the corner from cognition. Many years ago he created a piece “Blind Spot”, in which he photographed all of the parts of his body that he could not see and then pieced them together to create a strange map of the unknown. The result is an astonishing work. It is in the realm of the grotesque but has the innocence of a child endlessly asking questions about the world. The piece reflects an existential curiosity combined with a remarkable ability to discover uncanny formal means to resolve the quest. It could be a map, or the hide of an unknown animal. From the anus, up the lower back following the spine and spreading wider from bottom to top; it is a continent of the unknown, the parts of the body that remain hidden to our eyes and to our closest ally; self.

    When I visited Tim in his studio he was working on a piece that was quite different. He was using his body to create an eccentric image of a twisting figure. The image was made by Tim standing on a base, which was slowly rotating while his wife, Patty was taking photographs, shooting approximately 1 frame every couple of seconds, resulting in about one hundred images per rotation. He then cut ¼ inch wide horizontal strips and collaged them together in descending order. Depending on where he started in the sequence, a different perspective of the figure was given, creating the appearance of a twisting figure. After he completed them he saw that the piece had a connection to the Baldachin, the spiral pillars by Bernini, over the high altar of St. Peters Basilica in Rome. The piece looks like a digital, 3-D scan of some kind. The four images of Tim’s body as spiraling columns of flesh with the strange distortions make it slightly grotesque. The body twisting maelstrom-like, suggests an image from Dante’s inferno, or of some mythic narrative of a genie emerging from a bottle. It also alludes to Hockney’s “Pear Blossom Highway” and Hockney’s efforts to articulate a challenge to the dominance of single point perspective. In Tim’s piece he is traveling through a wormhole of form and history, the contours of his body shape shifting into this classical masterpiece of religious art and architecture.

    Studio visit: Tim Hawkinson. Photo Credit Gary Brewer

    We spoke at length about how he “scavenges for odd logic”, searching for materials that suggest ideas to explore. “One piece may lead to another or something may come to my mind fully formed.” His studio is filled with an assortment of objects that he has collected. He is scavenging his studio for synthetic amber, the leftover artifacts of materials that have dried in their can or bottle, left unused for too many years. Resins, enamels, mold making materials that have solidified, have been pried from their containers and now adorn the shelves and ledges of his studio, awaiting the moment when an idea will give them formal and narrative purpose. He has many musical instruments in his home and studio, violins and instruments he has made. Indeed, sound has been a component in many of his works.

    A piece in the studio, “Tiara”, is a large tiara made from recycled silver plastic objects. It is on a structure that has a motor attached that slowly turns it round and round. In the middle are small metal tanks that once held oxygen or other gases. He has created a musical instrument of sorts with these recycled tanks. As the piece turns, balls tumble about inside the tanks, creating soft metallic sounds, not unlike a steel drum. “The patterns never repeat, it rotates on two axes, so that there is no discernable patterns. The piece is a reflection of my daughter who is fourteen. Somehow it is about growing up and the innocence of youth.”

    I was asking many questions trying to find a frame or structure through which to contain the tentacle-like imagination of this protean artist who seemingly discovers his formal inventions in the blind as it were; finding an idea first and then in episodic epiphanies, each step forward reveals the formal means to give shape to his ideas. In this subjective methodology Tim arrives at remarkable sculptural objects.
    As we spoke he said, “I have approached making my sculptures and images from many different ideas, using my body is just one of them. Recently I have wanted to use my body to tell stories. The piece over there is a representation of Moby Dick using my body parts to reenact the image of the whale, the ship and the men lost at sea. I am not sure of the title yet, whether I will include Moby Dick in the title or not.”

    The piece sat in the corner, a slightly comic hand-made bathtub that could have been designed by Robert Crumb contains casts of the knees, feet, and fingers of Tim’s body. Blue denim material from Levi’s pants, have been cut with holes in them, to allow these elements to protrude; the Levi’s are the water of the sea, a knee bent with the calf and thigh articulate the form of the great white whale, his two feet are the fluke, his fingers and hands become the ship and the men lost at sea. It is both comic and tragic, containing the pathos of the scene but with an element of comedy; humor and pathos have always been present in Tim’s work.

    To be an artist is to reflect a spiritual truth about the creative impetus, the mysterious force that forms our world. Many faiths ascribe different stories to creation, but the state of grace that has brought our world into being and our ability to think, feel, love, remember, and imagine is a mystery that art touches upon. We are part of a river of creation that from the beginning of time, has flowed through the universe. To create, to care, and to bring forth the fruits of our creativity is to be an agent of this mystery.

    Tim Hawkinson’s work touches upon some of the deepest quandaries of self and consciousness. He does so with a scale of imagination that bends the mind to consider the unknown, with a blend of humor and pathos. His materials are common objects from the world we know – that through alchemy – are transformed into conduits of his imagination. In this act of creative transubstantiation, the world we know is renewed, and our sense of the skin we live in is transformed.

    Pace Gallery, Palo Alto. Opens July 25th and on view through mid September 2018
    Denk Gallery, Los Angeles solo show 2019





















     
  • MaximillianGroup 8:13 AM on 20 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , art exhibition, , , , , , , , , , , eastside international, Eastside International / ESXLA, , , HIlando Relaciones, , , , , , , , , , , Teresita de la Torre   

    Teresita de la Torre at Eastside International 

    Teresita de la Torre, Eastside International, Hilando Relaciones. Photo credit: Lara Salmon.

    Teresita de la Torre: Hilando Relaciones at Eastside International

    Through May 26

     

    By Lara Salmon

    Upon arrival at Teresita de la Torre’s opening at Eastside International, it was immediately clear that this was not the typical art show opening affair. Cumbia music played loudly as people danced around the gallery. On a side table sat bowls once full of jicama, cucumber, and fruit and bags of spicy chips. An empty tequila bottle and chewed lime wedges, remnants of shots enjoyed, were left alongside a bucket still full of less-popular beverages. Merriment rung through the space—everyone was having fun. It is not uncommon to see alternatives to the clean sterility of the commercial gallery opening or its beer-fueled artist-run counterpart, but this was something different. It felt like we were at a neighborhood party. Teresita said she wanted to make her friends and family who are not in the art world comfortable, so she created a familiar environment for them. Yet, upon reflection, it was they who created this Mexican-American style celebration for her. She thinks of it as a performance that they all did together for the show.

    Teresita’s show is formed around a fantasy she has—the fantasy of coming out to her mother. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico, Teresita was the sixth of seven children. As a child her parents moved to Laredo, Texas where she grew up. She describes her family and their community as conservative and Catholic. While they may know she is gay, it is not a permissible household conversation topic. She makes art to believe that it is.

    The first part of the show is a line of handkerchiefs embroidered with Spanish words in blue and pink thread. The handkerchiefs are presents from Teresita’s grandmother, gifts given to her over the years. And “embroidered” may be too generous of a descriptive for the uneven stitching and obtuse dangling threads. Teresita is clearly not an aspiring seamstress. And yet, this lack of technique lends determination to her desire in communicating these words. “yo le rompi el corazon a la otra muchacha,” “pero volvi con mi ex novia,” “mi novia termino conmigo otravez,” “Ama soy Lesbiana”—they are all things Teresita wanted to tell her mother after a painful break-up with an ex-girlfriend. The old handkerchiefs, the girl baby verses boy baby colored threads, and the untranslated phrases are mysterious for someone who does not speak Spanish or know the artist. Without backstory, the relationship of their cultural and social signifiers is harder to decipher.

    On the other side of the gallery at Eastside International is an installation. The scene is meant to be reminiscent of Teresita’s childhood house and bedroom. The twin size bed, whose sheet she used until recently, is stitched with the red-thread words “esta bien ser gay pero so actuar gay” (“it’s okay to be gay but don’t act gay”). Under the pillow is a collection of rosaries and religious items, because her Grandma said they would keep her safe. Some of the items in the installation are from her family’s house and others are meant to represent a more general Latinx home setting. One piece, the golden depiction of the Last Super which hangs on the wall, is almost a duplicate of the one Teresita grew up with. She scoured the internet and drove many miles to obtain this replica.

    The most affecting piece in the show is the table that sits center stage. The decorative placemats declare (in pink stitches) “Ama,” “soy,” and “Lesbiana.” This table is the place where Teresita envisions telling her mother she is gay. The fantasy is simple, to sit around the table for a heart-to-heart between mother and daughter. Teresita’s steadfast adherence to the manifestation of this fantasy is beautiful. The tension of desire verses reality throughout the show gives it the sense of broken delusion.

    At the center of Teresita’s table is a bright doily with “marimacha” stitched in baby blue thread. Marimacha is a derogatory term for lesbian, a word that intimidates Teresita. She has, in fact, stitched a number of derogatory terms for lesbian in Spanish on kitchen towels. They hang in a line on the wall next to the table. By crafting these words onto common towels, she hopes to take away their power over herself. If she looks at them everyday then the fear of hearing them, from family or strangers, will not be so scary.

    Teresita’s show functions upon her belief in a reality that is seemingly just out of grasp. She attempts to fill the gap between personal fantasy and actuality with art.

    Teresita de la Torre’s solo show Hilando Relaciones is on view at Eastside International until May 26.

    You can see Teresita’s artist website at http://todoslosdias-365.com/

    Eastside International
    Gallery hours: Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm
     http://www.eastsideinternational.com

     
























     

     
  • MaximillianGroup 8:44 AM on 18 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , art exhibition, , , , , , , , , , , , Constance Mallinson, , , , , , , Francesca Gabbiani, , , , , , , , ,   

    Francesca Gabbiani at Gavlak Gallery 

    Francesca Gabbiani, One Eyed Jack, 2016-2017, Ink, gouache and colored paper on paper at Gavlak Gallery. Photo Courtesy of the gallery.

    Francesca Gabbiani at Gavlak Gallery

    Through May 26

    By Constance Mallinson

    In her current exhibition Francesca Gabbiani continues her longstanding practice of collaging evocative imagery intricately cut from multi-colored papers to create allegories of life and death. A “goth” aesthetic appropriately prevailed in her previous work as owls and skulls were intertwined with sensuous florals to evoke ornate funerary wreaths. In “Vague Terrains/Urban Fuckups”, however, the cut paper flora finds itself almost clinging to life among the brambles and weeds in large scale ink and gouache drawings of abandoned and decaying urban spaces. Working painstakingly from personal photographs, Gabbiani renders thousands of shards of crumbling concrete and tangled vegetation to form exquisite webs of intersecting contour lines punctuated with splashes of descriptive landscape colors. Alternating between abstraction and figuration, flatness and illusion, the drawings deftly employ the tensions to full effect, as viewers must negotiate between the aesthetic pleasures or “ruin porn” of her teeming surfaces and the dystopic nature of the scenes.

    The artist is finely attuned to the symbolisms afforded by these ruined sites and her compositional skills and manipulation of perspective are fully employed to conjure metaphors of pressing environmental, economic and sociological dilemmas. In “The Unresolved Story” a dilapidated outdoor stairway winds it way from the bottom of the picture almost reaching an opening in a wall at the top of a hillside landscape where blue sky awaits. This figurative up-or-down climb seems to signify choice over our collective fate.

    Overlapping deteriorating natural and human made materials suggest a mountainous landfill extending to a sky crisscrossed with droopy telephone wires in “Vague Terrain”. Perhaps the outdoor phone lines are meant to express an outmoded technology, a bygone era. Gabbiani’s favored territories are the disintegrating remnants of structures in deserted and desolate spots slowly being “reclaimed” by nature represented by colored swatches of cut paper foliage. She is drawn to refuse and the amorphous aftermath of the wrecking ball, an overly familiar sight in our cities today as the past is quickly erased for immediate commerce. Despite the human propensity to “fuck up” abundantly suggested by her images, the painter always provides optimistic glimmers of renewal and possibilities for a change in consciousness elicited by the brilliant sprouting leaves and limitless expanses of the upper atmosphere.

    Gabbiani is heir to a long tradition of picturing ruins beginning in the 18th century with the Italian Giovanni Battista Piranesi whose detailed etchings of fallen Roman structures and labyrinthine prison interiors began a centuries long examination of civilization’s hubris and a confrontation with narratives of progress. The Romantics perfected ruin worship as landscape painters and poets obsessed in states of melancholy over nature as an antidote to rampant Industrialism, hyper-rationalism and the impending dark side of Modernity. Locating viewers somewhere between nature and culture, the past and present, ruin depictions and sublime landscape imagery henceforth became imaginative spaces to meditate on transience, precarity, and mortality.

    Contemporary German artist Anselm Kiefer with his post-Nazi scorched earth and decaying grand architecture imagery or American painter Alexis Rockman with his post- apocalyptic underwater metropolises continue these critiques of utopian narratives. Like Kiefer whose blackened canvases are reminders that empires and isms built on easy ideologies inevitably collapse, Gabbiani’s fractured surfaces speak of the fragility of present empires built on a global capitalist machine, its denial of history’s lessons and rapacious reach into the future. She takes us to the overlooked places where trash is accumulating, infrastructure is deteriorating, and the environment is increasingly compromised.

    To borrow a phrase from landscape theorist J.B. Jackson, she embraces “the necessity for ruins” for keeping in play the compelling questions they raise. Gabbiani’s carefully placed intrusions of nature among the ruins, however, seem to inexorably point us toward poet Robinson Jeffers’ words: “the flower will fade to make fruit, and the fruit will rot to make earth.”

    Gavlak Gallery
    1034 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
    Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
    http://www.gavlakgallery.com





























     
  • MaximillianGroup 11:30 AM on 17 May, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Altadena, ARK Gallery, , , , , , art exhibition, , , , , , Echo Enigma, , , , , , Kira Vollman, , , , , , , , Scott Froschauer, ,   

    Scott Froschauer’s New Solo Exhibition Confronts Divisiveness in America 

    Echo Enigma by Scott Froschauer at Ark Gallery. Photo courtesy of the artist.

    Echo Enigma at Ark Gallery: Portraits of Empathy

    Works by Scott Froschauer
    Through June 10, 2018

     

    By Genie Davis

    Scott Froschauer’s Echo Enigma at Ark Gallery in Altadena is a passionate and compassionate exhibition that is both visually riveting and emotionally affective. Froschauer says he’s shaping art to create more empathy in the world. That’s a tall order in our highly politicized and polarized time, when we tend to align ourselves on one “side” or another, loving and hating at the drop of a hat, or perhaps the drop of a headline.

    Froschauer is more than capable of taking on this challenge. The exhibition, which portrays 11 historical Americans with complex stories that defy easy categorization, is fascinating. Recognizing the diverseness in each person’s stories, the artist presents portraits of each person on distressed mirrors. The mirrors reflect the viewer as he or she studies the work, literally adding one’s personal perception of the subject of the portrait to the viewing experience.

    The center of the show is a model for a massively large-scale artwork, “The United Divider,” created of polished, curved, stainless steel etched with the American flag. The flag etching itself is created from lines of text that list names of historical American figures, each complex enough as a person to be named as either hero or villain depending on the viewer’s perspective. The scale of the piece is designed to represent a wall, separating those on either side; the mirrored quality of the work beautifully, mutely presents the idea that America itself is a reflection of everyone who observes it, and that the flag both unites and divides us, just as the title of the piece asserts.

    Curated by Kira Vollman, this is an epic show that presents insightful ideas about our present state of mind as individuals and as Americans. It is also a dazzling tour de force as art, from the mesmerizing quality of Froschauer’s reflective surfaces to his beautifully wrought etchings.

    Froschauer explains how this exhibition both continues and differs from his past work. “The through-line of my work here is a notion of empathy. It carries from the street sign work I created.” The artist has recently used the shapes of street signs to impart calming, kind messages – rather than traffic instructions – and placed them in a series of outdoor locations.

    “Both series are about fighting alienation and negativity,” he says. “The idea I am working with here is that the national dialog is pushing toward the fringes and evacuating the center, and by doing that, it is creating heroes and villains. That’s partially a product of our media, which is looking to enflame our emotional responses and in turn make us more attached to the media.”

    Froschauer says the purpose of his show is to “explore a deeper complexity about people we might have jumped to conclusion on.” He is encouraging his viewers to dig deeper, beyond an easy characterization of a person as hero or villain. He wants viewers to see each of the subjects of his portraits as “human beings. And as human beings they carry a complexity.” That is brought to the foreground with the distressed mirror element of each piece. “We see ourselves actually in these portraits, so we can handle our own complexity along with that of the individuals depicted,” he says.

    The beautiful, reflective material used in the exhibition is deeply entwined with its subject. “A lot of my work is about immediacy, and about the viewer kind of recognizing who they are in the moment they are interacting with the work,” Froschauer explains. “It is natural for me to use reflective surfaces and mirrors, since the work is about the preconceptions of the viewer.”

    The reflective quality also allows viewers seeing themselves literally in each portrait, to receive their own humanity. “I’m asking that you grant the same level of humanity you’d give to the people in each portrait to yourself. We have trouble doing that.”

    The artist most wants viewers to know that with these artworks, he himself is “working to make the world a better place.” The thoughtfulness that simply observing these works creates is very life affirming to the viewer, and that is an intentional outcome.

    “The whole goal is for immediacy, and slowing down, and self-care,” he attests. “The works here have the same through-line as my street signs. They’re just different mechanisms. The signs say things like ‘breathe’ and ‘relax,’ using the highest level of commanding visual language.” As an aside, the artist notes that street signs offer the highest level of reflexive action because these images are so powerfully ingrained as visual language in our culture. That ingrained familiarity is the perfect way to present and impress self-soothing words on viewers. “My goal is to create more empathy in the world, and the place to start with that is to be at ease with who you are, to be present and breathe. That’s a stepping stone toward empathy towards others,” he notes. “The mirrors in this show are a further step toward representing complex humanity and seeing that humanity and complexity in yourself.”

    Echo Enigma by Scott Froschauer at Ark Gallery. Photo credit: Kristine Schomaker.

    Ultimately, the final goal of the Echo and Enigma show is to take those portraits of individuals, the names of those in the portraits, and engrave them in the centerpiece of the show, “The United Divider.” According to Froschauer “The flag is also a mirror, a reflection of who we are and of the names of the people in the portraits in this show.”

    He adds that “I chose the subjects of the portraits to have one foot on both sides of the political narrative. Depending on which paragraph of their biography you choose to read, you could make –anyone could make – them into a hero or villain.”

    Many are older figures, only the last four in the series: Obama, Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton are current and essentially more polarizing.

    One of Froschauer’s true artistic loves is large scale work, he says, another is the seductive beauty that allows viewers an easy and accessible way to access his potent messages. “In one way, there’s just a level of beauty in these portraits that can be appreciated, just as the signs can be viewed as just fun. Then you go with deeper understanding beyond that.”

    The artist has included one older piece in the show, an image of the American flag that he created from gun powder, titled “Tattered Glory.” He explains “It was made as a discussion about gun violence in America, but it ended up as a kind of genesis for this whole narrative of complexity and the binary narrative of our culture right now.”

    When he posted the image of this work on Instagram, Froschauer gained followers who were gun shop owners in Florida, and for them, the flag entirely fit with their vision of America.

    “It was hard for me to embrace the idea that they were right, that this country was founded on the use of armed insurrection – that’s America. You can’t undo that. So, it was really my interaction with that piece that led to ‘The United Divider,’ with the complexity of the giant American flag that was a mirror, and imbedded within the piece are the names of these complex American figures in my portraits.”

    Asked for a favorite piece in his own show, Froschauer demurs. “I’m in love with every person I did a portrait of…” But he has a particular interest in his portrait of civil rights attorney William Kuntsler, who also represented a man who murdered a rabbi – and got him off. “The JDL would send people to their front door to scream at them 24/7 for a year. It is exactly what I am struggling with in this show. He was really putting the system on trial, and our preconceptions, that we would condemn someone without really giving them a trial,” he muses. “That’s really what my show is trying to do. I see myself in Kuntsler. He was doing through the legal system what I am trying to do through this artwork, showing how our system is really poorly equipped to represent the complexity in people.”

    Learn more about Froschauer’s powerful work Sunday May 20th, at an artist’s talk. There will also be a closing reception for the exhibition on Sunday June 10th. Both run from 3 to 5 p.m.

    Ark Gallery and Studios
    located at 2599 N. Fair Oaks in Altadena, CA.

     

    Echo Enigma, Works by Scott Froschauer
    Curated by Kira Vollman
    Sunday, May 20, 3-5PM • Artist’s Talk
    Sunday, June 3, 11AM-5PM • Open Studio Tour
    Sunday, June 10, 3-5PM • Closing Reception

     

















     
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