Gay Summer Rick: Transporting Viewers in Beauty

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Gay Summer Rick is a quintessentially Los Angeles artist. It is in her color palettes, in her images, in the innate glow of her work. Even when she is not creating works that epitomize Southern California, her LA-state-of-mind fuses her images with something recognizable, wonderful, and soulfully West Coast.

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She says “The work will likely transport the viewer to a very calm and quiet place. My paintings are impressions from moments on my journey. I have discovered an unexpected beauty in commonplace elements within the urban landscape.” She adds “Once I took the time to really see and experience that, the tension associated with being stuck in the middle of the freeway, or circling over a city for landing, endless delays, noise, etcetera, the positive elements outweighed those stressors and beauty won.”

Rick says that her color palette changes depending on where she hopes to take the viewer and the feelings she wants to share.

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“I have a thousand images running through my head that I know I will paint. They are the impressions I have taken with me of moments in time in places I’ve been, primarily throughout Los Angeles and New York.”

Sometimes the paintings are saturated in color, and warm, and sometimes they are muted with light, and cool, she relates. “It just depends on what feeling I was left with from that moment in time, and what I would like to share with the viewer from that experience.”

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Rick says she’s always lived on one coast or another, east or west. “There’s something about the moisture in the air where cities meet the sea, the diffusion of light through mist that, for me, has a calming effect. Being at the ocean gives me the ability to tune everything else out, breathe, and focus.” 

This sense of simply breathing and being is intangible and yet present, a thread of communion with the viewer through her work.

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“Perhaps it has something to do with the scientific phenomenon of the ‘Blue Space’ effect and the change in negative ions from open water. The coast has always had this effect on me, and this carries into my work. From my studio I can see the bay, and even in my cityscapes that quality is definitely present in my work.”

She embraces a sense of peace in her process and her creation.  “As loud as the city or the ocean may be, the light and atmosphere that comes through in my work is always quiet and calm. There’s something about the water. I’m drawn to it.”

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Rick has a new body of work opening October 13th at bG Gallery’s new location on Ocean Park Blvd. at 30th in Santa Monica. Titled Skyways and Highways, her new body of work includes her well-known urban and coastal atmospheric land and cityscapes, but includes images culled from “the sky with a window-seat view over the landscape. The view is gorgeous up there,” she enthuses.

Her inspiration for this body of work came in part from a change in flight patterns over the past year that found her looking up at air traffic and shaking her head, initially.

“I’d be sitting in a friend’s backyard in Los Angeles and we would have to stop talking because jets were flying low in this new concentrated pattern overhead. But then I thought about how my view of highway traffic changed as I began to notice just how beautiful the view from the highway really was, with headlights and tail lights, the colors of road signage, and the silhouettes of palms, power lines, and light poles against the sky…So, I thought about my most memorable trips, looked back through many photos and video from flights I had taken, and I even rerouted some planned travel, carefully choosing which side of the plane on which to sit, to ensure that I had the best window-seat views over places I thought I might like to paint.”

She adds “When I look at these paintings I feel like I am traveling. For me it is almost Zen-like.”

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Along with this upcoming show, Rick currently has paintings of fireworks and surfers in a group exhibition, Love in Color 2 at Art Project Paia on Maui in Hawaii, which runs through November. She’ll also be a part of a group exhibition, Out and About, opening this coming weekend, September 22nd at Rebecca Molayem Gallery on Fairfax in Los Angeles. 

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As to the dreamlike nature of her work that many viewers note, she says “Because it is all about capturing the feeling of a particular moment from some place I’ve been, I include elements that make a place recognizable, sometimes by only a small detail. It is never an exact representation, but it is exactly my impression of a moment in time.”

In regard to her process, Rick stresses that her work makes use of an environmentally responsible process. “I use oil paint and palette knives to create my paintings. No brushes, no toxic solvents. This process not only helps me tell a visual story through layers of paint that create a history and a certain vibration in the juxtaposition of colors, it also helps me achieve a goal of being a good steward of the environment.” It takes the artist one to three months to complete a painting.

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Asked for a few words that describes her work best, Rick considers before replying “Calm. Quiet. Mnemonic. And, I’ll throw another in because I keep hearing it from people when standing in front of the work: luminous.”

Come feel the glow.

  • Genie Davis; photos provided by the artist and by Genie Davis

 

Cansu Bulgu: A New Gallery for a Celestial Spirit

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Artist Cansu Bulgu has opened Cansu Art, a unique fine art gallery located in Malibu, Calif.  The new space held it’s grand opening September 8th, featuring Bulgu’s original, intuitively inspired work, which offers a graceful, insightful look at the human spirit. She welcomes viewers into an intriguing, powerful, gentle journey, an immersive experience in which art, to quote the Hafiz, “offers an opening for the heart.”

Her contemporary fine art is created through meditation with the elements, following her own signature multi-layered creative flow, shaping individual, highly spiritual works. Her calling to the creation of sand art began in 2010 in Kauai, when she says she “touched the sand and the first drawing came.”

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Creating both as an artist and spiritual guide, Bulgu shapes emotionally potent and personally aligned work that’s both meditative and ethereal – an enlightening and delightful experience for participants. She calls this experience just “being…drawing just happens and through that, something bigger than both of us smiles on us all.” Bulgu describes her work as a portal to inner wisdom, knowing, heart, center, and self.

In short, what she creates goes beyond the physical into what she calls an experience that “the mind cannot understand, verbalize and explain, but all agree something beyond their imagination happened and it feels wonderful,” she enthuses.

Visitors to the gallery can participate in live intuitive sand drawings in the gallery by appointment, in a blissful sand space Bulgu calls the Space of Stillness, or on the beach itself.  She created this space by borrowing sand from the beaches of Malibu, which will be returned to the beach during a special ceremony on the 24th.

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“Come in and experience the gallery,” she says. “It is best experienced rather than described, and my work is an invitation.” Through it, she reveals “You’ll find a shift in awareness, and transformation happens effortlessly.”

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Bulgu is a true original with compelling work, offering a way for the mind to relax, and for the viewer to “come into their heart, into presence as presence, where all thought disappears and only truth speaks gently in stillness… A gentle shift in perception offers effortless transformation.”

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Bulgu’s says that her decision to open her 2100-square-foot gallery presented itself to her – the space’s availability seemed like the perfect spot for visitors to intimately experience her work.

 

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The gallery is located in the Malibu Lumberyard at 3939 Cross Creek Rd #C110 in Malibu.  For more information, visit www.cansuart.com

Genie Davis; Photos provided by the artist; photos of artist by Ian Bailey 

 

Four Artists: One Opening Night at Gabba Gallery

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above, Nicholas Bonamy 

MIKE HABS | OLGA PONOMARENKO | CANTSTOPGOODBOY | NICHOLAS BONAMY

Opening September 8 at Gabba Gallery, artists Mike Habs, Olga Ponomarenko, CANTSTOPGOODBOY, and Nicholas Bonamy offer four solo exhibitions curated by gallerists Jason Ostro and Elena Jaboson.

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above, Olga Ponomarkeno

Each artist offers a unique perspective on modern life, from Habs themes of fantasy, luxury, and death to Ponomarkeno’s blissfully angelic woodland creatures; the layered mixed media pop culture of CANTSTOPGOODBOY; and Bonamy’s surprisingly serene take on life in Los Angeles. Whether they are taking on the fantastical or the realistic in terms of subject matter, these solo shows are entirely original and vibrantly adept at navigating the emotional waters of human existence. Lost In Hollywood - Mike Habs

Habs’ past work has followed a strong expressionist bent, but with his exhibition here, (gas)Lit, he relies on a collection of small Zip Lock bags, the type used to sell drugs, and shapes them into mosaic-like work that has both a dreamy sensibility and a precise, graceful style. Chicago born, Habs now works in Los Angeles; his work here evokes the pattern and flow of urban life, its vicissitudes and turbulence.

“This exhibition features some of my previous abstract expressionist work, as well as a new conceptual collection. The conceptual collection … will make commentary on some of the good and bad trends I am seeing in today’s modern art culture.” Habs adds  “I would describe the newest works as combining the intensity of the LA Graffiti writers with the LA ‘finish fetish’/minimalist movement, which became a staple of the Los Angeles fine art world.  The new work, though presented in a luxury aesthetic, carries with it a sense of impending danger and confusion. The intention is that the work will enable the viewer to question their own ideas of luxury and value in our increasingly instant gratification environment,” he says. Habs has an early-arrival alert for attendees: “100 free t-shirts will be given away to the first people in attendance.”

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above, Olga Ponomarenko

Also Los Angeles-based, Olga Ponomarenko’s work is infused with a sense of whimsy and delight. Riffing on Colette Miller’s Global Angel Wings Project as well as Renaissance-era painter Fra Angelico’s angels, here woodland creatures from bear to mouse stand before a wall of graffiti angel wings, personifying innocence, the angelic, the bliss that humans too could achieve if they recognized the paradise of earth and took a breather to revel in the truest aspects of life — its spiritual core — rather than corrupting the environment. Titled Angelos, Ponomarenko’s exhibition playfully considers both angels and the angelic right here in us as Angelenos.

Her careful attention to detail in creating these beautiful and humor-infused portraits and the soulfulness of her subjects adds to the viewing pleasure. Below, Ponomarenko adds some finishing touches to a bear’s claws.

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Ponomarenko gives us beautiful, amusing, and perfectly crafted work that is entirely unique,  and rivetingly alive. Her work is the epitome of magical realism, a true and touching look into the artist’s heart and city’s soul.

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A frequent exhibitor at Gabba, CANTSTOPGOODBOY’s Eleven is a vibrant, layered collection of mixed media pop art. From depictions of rock stars like Bowie and John Lennon to a Native American chief, he combines precisely detailed acrylic grayscale painting with the bright primary colors of a splattered background, colorful collages,  and the soft glitter of diamond dust. Take the feathered headdress of his native chief: the feathers bloom in searingly bright technicolor shades, a bursting flower garden of life and meaning. Along with larger scale canvas works, CANTSTOPGOODBOY shows a smaller series of paper works here, equally irreverent and blossoming with color.

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It is to some extent the absence of color as much as its riveting presence that most fascinates Nicholas Bonamy. With his mixed media landscapes quintessentially about Los Angeles, Bonamy establishes an alternative universe, one both recognizable yet delicately different in Gray. The exhibition’s title is rather misleading: his work is layered both visually and emotionally: each piece begins with a resonant image that is taken from the freeway or the Hollywood Hills; beyond these iconic images he layers paint and collage images, creating serene, mysterious views of LA that are dream-like, awash in the color of an LA sunset, edging carefully between surrealism and the hyper-realistic.

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Bonamy relates “I would describe my current work as cityscapes of unremarkable views of Los Angeles.  I try to create a sense of time passing using layering and collage. Some of the things I paint, I see almost every day, and every day they are as much the same as they are different. I want my work to be something that you can look at for years and always find new surprises.” According to the artist, “I make paintings because I like to make things that are interesting, or pretty, or both, but once they are finished, my fun is pretty much over. I send them out into the world and hope people will see them, and maybe connect, and feel some of the pleasure I experienced while making them.”  And for viewers, the experience is truly pleasureable and insightful indeed.

All four shows open September 8 from 7-11 p.m., and run through the 28th. 

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Olga Ponomarenko, above; CANTSTOPGOODBOY, below.

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The gallery is located at 3126 Beverly Blvd. in Westlake; free parking is available across the street behind 3125 Beverly Blvd. off Dillon. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday form 1203, or by appointment.

  • Genie Davis; photos provided by Gabba Gallery and courtesy of the artists.

CHENHUNG CHEN at MOAH’S ROBOT SHOW

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Chenhung Chen weaves a web of magic with her sculptures, from delicate copper crocheted pieces to mysterious recycled wires transformed.

The artist is leading walk-through of her exhibition, I Ching in America 2.0 on Saturday, September 1 at 1 p.m. 

Focusing on the linear, inspired by the use of line in both Chinese calligraphy and American Abstract Expressionism, she creates delicate but strong sculptural works that weave a symmetry through chaos, and shape beautiful, works that express motion, much like a wave arising from an ocean.

With much of her material recycled from electronic and computer components, her ability to take technological detritus and reshape it creates works that are both haunting and alive, as if instead of conducting electrical current they are conducting the energy of art. Like her deeply dimensional sculptures, her 2D work is also focused on the linear, whether she is working with graphite, acrylic, oil, ink, or patterns created with the staples as a kind of embroidery.

Los Angeles based and born in Beigang, Taiwan, Chen says “I grew up practicing the calligraphy of ancient poetry. I thought it was beautiful both visually and linguistically. It was part of the training of traditional Chinese scholars and it was that training that left an impression upon me during my youth. I enjoyed it, as well as felt it shape my psyche and begin the development of my artistic voice.”

Later, influenced by American culture, she experimented with a variety of materials while still expressing the linear qualities of calligraphy. “I wanted to bring that elusive quality into a three-dimensional setting. This was the motivation behind much of my early work.”

Nine years ago, a friend gave her a bag of thick cables. “I decided to recycle the copper wire in the cables to crochet a different body of work. Then one day it hit me; the cable conducts electricity, just as humans do. We are conduits, conduits of that Power. We try to emulate it, harnessing electricity to advance our lives.”

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Today, Chen crochets coated wire with electrica wire, drawing in the air, drawn to the ideas of negative space, silence, and love of nature. She contrasts the materials of daily life, creating parallels that reflect yin and yang, male and female.

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Her work’s profoundly visceral quality is balanced by an ethereal, mesmerizing weaving – she is like a spider of art, making webs that transcend the possible.

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Don’t miss the artist’s talk this Saturday; the exhibition runs through September 26th.

Chenhung Chen: Artist Talk & Tour

Saturday,  September 01, 2018  1:00 PM

Her talk will be followed by an intimate conversation and tour from another richly rewarding artist, Alex Kritselis.

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Alex Kritselis: Talk & Tour

Sat, September 01, 2018  2:00 PM

MOAH is located at 655 W. Lancaster Blvd. in Lancaster. That’s 90 minutes from DTLA and worth the drive.

  • Genie Davis; photos courtesy of artists