Two from West Adams at MuzeuMM: Two Fine Artists, One Neighborhood


Above, the dimensional art of Rufus Snoddy; below the unique, relief-style works of Lucinda Luvaass.


Two from West Adams, now at MuzeuMM through the end of this month offers the works of two of the community’s own artists: local Lucinda Luvaas and Northern Michigan based sculptor Rufus Snoddy, who grew up in the neighborhood. It’s fitting that Muzeumm, a part of the West Adams community, is hosting these two geographically linked artists.

Curated by Mishelle Moross, the exhibition reveals two strong bodies of work, each infused with a sense of abundant curiosity and exploration, each rich and nuanced, entirely different in approach and style.


Lucinda Luvaass produced a film from which the exhibition’s title is taken, Two from West Adams. “I’ve only been here three years, whereas Rufus grew up here. The film is about us and the neighborhood block party where Rufus grew up,” she explains.

The film screened at the opening on October 1st and will appear on PBS in December.  Luvaass first met Snoddy when she was curating a college art gallery in Mt. San Jacinto. “I showed a lot of local artists and he was a stand out there.”

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Luvaass’ own work here represents pieces she’s been creating since 2007. “The color scheme is really important in these relief paintings, some of which have photographic images in them. The relief is made of wax, oil, and gel. Some people feel the technique involved is like print making crossed with painting. I started out in sculpture but I was bad at it. I’ve pretty much invented this, no one has anything quite like it.”

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Her pieces have a three-dimensional quality that is also reminiscent of a musical composition in the balance, sculpture, and patterns.


Snoddy uses all mixed media construction. “I use wood, plastics, metal. I am a sculptor, so anything I do I try to turn into the three dimensional. I work surfaces because I am crazy about texture. That’s what I see around me, the texture, which kind of started with me living in Los Angeles.”

His first studio was a half block away from MuzeuMM.

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“I am mainly concerned about perception and how we understand things. I am interested in what we need to have a happy life in a psychological way versus consumerism, and trying to buy happiness.”


Both artists offer compelling, fresh technique and pieces that evoke memory and illusion, transition and stasis. They are the epitome of Los Angeles: melding form and function, fusing a variety of artistic means to create an entirely new end.  Wherever either artist moves, they will always carry at their core the fact that they were or are a part of a diverse community constantly in motion.

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Above: reasons not to miss an opening at MuzeuMM again besides the stellar art: outdoor patio plus drinks; garlic-rich potatoes as the ultimate art snack.

MuzeuMM is located at 4817 West Adams Blvd.

  • story and photos: Genie Davis

Shift and Fade: Ecstatic Art Adventures at BLAM


Above, curators Dani Dodge and Alanna Marcelletti

BLAM is always the place to be for edgy, interesting work, and that is certainly the case with the current exhibition, where the artists works are clearly their passion, filled with creative intensity palpable to viewers the moment they enter the gallery space.

Shift and Fade, the latest exhibition at the always fascinating BLAM – Brooklyn Los Angeles Meet space in DTLA is a vibrant mix of large-scale installations and 21 small sculptures. One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibit is the fact that quite a few of the artists participating with sculptural works have worked in 2 dimensions only previously.

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Above, artist Tom Dunn with a piece from his series based on a fascination with film memorabilia. The piece is titled Margot Robbie Panties Infused Vodka.

The dimensional aspects are certainly not the only part of this absorbing show that merits consideration: curated by Dani Dodge and Alanna Marcelletti, the artists here were encouraged to use their works as emblematic of their personal identities.


Erika Lizee dazzles with a 12 foot site-specific sculpture that is partially created on the gallery’s wall space; Fran Siegel’s woven drawings fill the back room,  Hugo Heredia Barrera works with a dazzling display of fused glass and wire. Using unusual materials and common ones, the artists present a cumulative exhibition on identity and the way in which such identity shifts with time and in the process of creation.  

Everywhere one looks, there is a different, glowing piece.

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Hugo Heredia Barrera says he has worked in glass for over 25 years. “My idea is to exploit glass in very different ways fusing with wire cable. I untwist the wires and fuse them between glass inseide a furnace, shape it, drop it on the ground and hammer it. This piece is from a series called Floating Souls. I work in light and shapes.” The artist notes that whenever he is asked to do an installation he visits the space and plays with the idea of light and shape. “I hung this piece from the ceiling beam here, if I had other beams I would have expanded it differently for the space.” Heredia Barrera created his art form initially accidentally when a piece did not turn out as it had planned and he threw it in the dumpster, it fell and broke. That fortuitous accident led to the creation of his unique artworks now.


Alison Woods also hangs her work here from the rafters. “I’m really a painter, but Dani carried me into the show and said I had to make a three dimensional sculpture. It’s the Greek goddess Ares, the goddess of discord, and element from a painting. I used paper mache and acrylic paint. It seemed like something I could do, remembered from my childhood and lightweight enough to paint and hang from the ceiling.”


Kristine Schomaker cut up eighteen years worth of paintings using a box cutter to create her rich and evocative stacked work. The act of cutting and altering past works is something of a overall transition for the artist. “The paintings here were cut to be 12 x 12. My work lately has been about reconstructing beauty,  so I wanted to approach the cutting here almost like plastic surgery,  reconstructing something that was beautiful before I started.”


Erika Lizee painted the blue portion of her stunning sculpture in her studio, on clear artist-grade acetate. The grey portion was painted directly on the wall at BLAM. “It took two days. I start with a big drawing and cut the acetate into dual shapes,” she relates.  Titled “Seed of Life,” the piece “ties into sacred geometry…representing the time before you’re born and the tangible versus unintelligible, what happens to us before birth or after death.”  The piece appears to go inside the wall, a physical manifestation of the mysteries she is presenting thematically in this unique and beautiful piece.

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Fran Siegel created her works entirely of paper. “They are all about locations and reconfiguring drawing as a way to take things apart and put it back together. There are a variety of perspectives and moods. All three pieces were created based on three different continents, with different vantage points and reconstructions.”

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Alex Kritselis created a gorgeous video piece. The diminutive work is hardly small in scope, revealing the image of a snake in the roots of a tree with a “video image manipulated to look like a line drawing. Originally the video used was a close up of a filmed snake pit,” the artist explains. The piece is evocatively titled “Before the Descent. ” A revelatory piece.

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Steven Wolkoff wrote a word – message – in acrylic paint and placed it inside a glass bottle. “It’s like putting a miniature ship in a a bottle, the word is a little bigger than the opening but it bends, requiring some time and patient. It needs to be wet enough to bend but not too wet.”

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Beatrice Wolert created a live work. The Brooklyn-based artist used plastic cake decorating bags containing paint to create brilliantly colorful “living” sculptures. Puncturing the plastic, the drips on the ground covering below that will firm up in consistency over the course of the exhibition she considers to be “representing Los Angeles as the paint forms on the ground.”  Beautiful to see it as it happens and to see the end result. “I am using paint as a symbol of the artists in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.  I enjoyed filling up the bags, the process of filling. The colors are the colors of nature using the Pantone matching system. They’re memories of a sumer garden in bloom. I studied the plants in the Bartow Pell Museum,” she relates. “The color matching system is based on the colors of bird feathers.”

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Nadege Monchera Baer took some of her drawings, laminted them, cut them. The resulting work resembles a sea creature. “It was in my studio, I drew it on dualar and I assembled it.”  The untitled piece inspired the artist to create other pieces in a similar fashion. “I want to do more of this, laminate different drawings. I love the possibility that the door has maybe opening to doing something else with my work.”

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Jennifer Celio created a sculpture using “all of the pencils I’ve used in the last ten years. I couldn’t bear to throw away the stubs. My dad did the same thing,  he had a jar of pencil stubs. There are 360 stubs in my piece that includes a wood panel and acrlic paint to create the hexagon pattern. I’m glad I saved them all those years,  I wouldn’t get of them,  and now I’ve made art from them.”

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Lena Wolek created sculptures that utilized different parts of her background. Fur which is an important survival aspect of life in her birthplace of Siberia, porcelain that “represents a porcelain factory that five generations of my family worked in.” As always, this chameleon-like artist works in materials we have not seen her create in previously. Her versatility is matched by her ability to create beauty from diverse materials.

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Co-curator Alanna Marcelletti created a piece that expresses her self-transformation into a mother. “The figure is carrying sage because you become a shaman as you become a mom. It’s a full circle piece linking a period from my 20s to now.”



Kio Griffith employed blueprint film found in Japan in an area affected by the tsunami. “It’s part plastic, part paper,  treated with bleach that east away at the plastic to reveal the paper. The double image is about my heritage which is half Japanese,” he asserts. “It’s about a story I got fro my mother, in which my grandfather, in the Japanese Imperial Navy was in the same battle as my uncle in a submarine. On the same battleground, my grandfather shot at my uncle. I’m combining the different blueprints of these different ships from different nationalities, depicting an area where lines meet…” and lives intersect.


Co-curator Dani Dodge incorporates Tab cans and sleeping pills in her work. “The piece is talking about when I was young, and I never expected to live past age 23, and when I did, I had to make decisions about my life. I had a difficult time as a young person and a single mom, and had a lot of unexpected things happening in my life.  So many people think about chucking it all when there are so many adventures ahead. You can live through troubled times and have incredible adventures, you just have to know it’s going to get better. This is a piece saying it really does, even when you might think it won’t happen,” she attests. “As more curator than artist here, I created this using materials as a metaphor for personal history.  Everyone here had a personal stake in the show. I think that’s really what speaks to people here is something true and honest and beautiful.”



Other highlights includes a sculptural version of David Spanbock’s rainbow colored abstract work, above.

Exhibiting artists include: Nadege Monchera Baer, Hugo Heredia Barrera, April Bey, Arezoo Bharthania, Debbie Carlson, Paul Catalanotto, Jennifer Celio, Dani Dodge, Tom Dunn, Kio Griffith, Jenny Hager, Pete Hickock, Alex Kritselis, Erika Lizée, Alanna Marcelletti, Bhavna Mehta, Kristine Schomaker, Delbar Shahbaz, Fran Siegel, David Spanbock, Jesse Standlea, Camilla Taylor, Vincent Tomczyk, Joe Wolek, Lena Wolek, Beatrice Wolert, Steven Wolkoff, and Alison Woods.

Truly, honestly beautiful: that sums up Shift and Fade. Go see it before it closes October 30th. BLAM is located at 1950 S. Santa Fe Ave. #207 in DTLA’s warehouse district.

  • Genie Davis; photos: the brilliant Jack Burke








The Supernatural and the Superwoman: Travis Louie and Sally Deng at KP Projects



In a super exhibit at KP Projects, artists Travis Louie and Sally Deng respectively present one exhibition that deals with the supernatural, Louie’s
“Views from a Netherworld,” and one that deals with the super strength of the female of the species, “Women Work.”

Travis Louie’s “Views from a Netherworld” presents a haunting exhibition inspired by collected 19th Century photography, German expressionist films, and noir, according to the artist.



“When I make these paintings, I am creating a world,” Louie explains. “We absorb information all our lives and it goes through filters and then comes out again. You can look at any of my work and see what it is that comes out there. I create characters based on what I have assimilated, and I try to imagine their lives. I love the idea of myth and the ideas of haunting things from a netherworld.”

The artist grew up watching a great deal of film noir. The cinema style affected him both in terms of it’s visual look and its inherent darkness.


The artist paints beautifully detailed monochromatic works highlighted by the slightest of color around the eyes of many subjects. Above is the artist’s “Miss Christina and Crow,” the idea for which came from the viewing of a 50s era film titled “Burn Witch Burn.”

His delicate, supernatural-tinged work has the glow of moonlight in a cemetery, an unnatural yet spiritual vibration emanates from his work along with its highly cinematic quality. 


The link between Louie and Sally Deng’s “Women Work” may well be the fact that both artists create stories in their work. Deng’s are far different than Louie, drawings that are close to naive in style, highly detailed, and folkloric. Like illustrations from a wonderful picture book, Deng draws the mythic tales of women working to create a busy and beautiful world.


Her figures, like Louie’s, but in a completely different fashion, create narratives that draw the viewer into their own memories, their own stories, their own visions.


Closing November 5th, view the diverse stories of these two artists at KP Projects located at 170 S. La Brea.


While there, be sure to also check out the vibrant abstracts on exhibit upstairs at LAUNCH.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke

Corey Helford Gallery – Hardly Archaic


Closing Oct. 29th is another strong and thoroughly unique show at the Corey Helford Gallery, featuring three artists who present their own riveting views of the natural world both outside and within us.


New York-based artist Martin Wittfooth’s The Archaic Revival occupies the main gallery. These stunningly detailed oil paintings display a beautiful and varied use of brush treatments and palette knife to create images that evoke the past while contemplating the future. Also on hand are bronze sculptures, a new medium for Wittfooth.


“The title of the show is borrowed from Terrence McKenna,” Wittfooth says, “it refers to our subjective culture. We have stepped far away from the connection to nature. We have created technological and industrial barriers between us and nature.”

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Calling his works here a “visual homage” to McKenna, he views his paintings as a “first step” toward creating balance. The late philospher McKenna explored the idea that Western culture and society has become sick, and needs a healing process which can only be achieved by a reversion to archaic, or old-fashioned values. Wittfooth believes that only through a return to the past can man see himself as he truly is, a part of nature. That return is the subject of his work here. His lush color palette features complimentary colors as an approach to subjects he has explored over time, the artist notes.


His sculptures, however, represent a new approach for the artist. “This is my first foray into bronze,” he relates. “The group at MetalPhysic Sculpture Studio in Tucson did a great job of translating my two dimensional works into three dimensions. It’s interesting to me to explore that relationship.” Wittfooth plans a continuation of this collaborative sculpture. “I have several of the guys from the foundry here tonight, looking at blueprints I’ve created for future work,” he told us at the show’s opening.

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With paintings that are imbued with a golden light and a seemingly timeless synchronisity of color, and sculptures that have a monumental feel, this is an important show by an artist intent on relaying a timely message, connecting viewers to the natural world using techniques that compliment rather than deter from the subject. This is an elegy, a tribute, and a wake-up call, begging viewers to return, as he has through his artworks, to the ideals of nature and its healing process.

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Also on hand at Helford is Korin Faught’s Lost Days.  


“This show is basically about my time in bed, the time I’ve lost,” Faught says. “Every show I like to take my work to a slightly different concept, one that goes beyond a single piece. You really need to see the entire series at once, and I encourage people to see them in person.”


Although her work is markedly different that Wittfooth’s, she shares with him a traditional and highly detailed painterly style, and a sense of the elegaic. Faught describes her work as influenced by turn-of-the-century painters such as John Singer Sargent.


“The show is essentially five years of work postponed because of the timing of the birth of my first child,” she notes.


Using multiple poses from the same model, Faught describes her intention as both “self and omni referential.” Her figures, wrapped in sheets, resting and restless in bed, depict both transcendent and dream-like states and as she describes it, “a body in torment…an escape into the mind set ajar.”


Completing this significant show are the works of Hannah Yata in “Dancing in Delirium.”



The other-worldly, vivid, sci-fi like images offer an entirely different take on the state of the mind and the natural world.  The artist views her paintings as their own kind of dance, using the female figure combined with animal parts to create hybrid creatures that are inspired by religion, literature, psychology, and her experiences as a woman.


The Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S Anderson St. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis and courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery.