Escape from the Usual Scene at Scapes

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Now at the new gallery and event space Unita in El Segundo through January 27th, the beautiful work of stellar photographers offers an eye-opening view into a fresh new world of landscape images.

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SCAPES, curated by Hayley Marie Colston and Moshe Levis from NOTINDOOR Photography magazine, features the work of photographic artists Ryan Meichtry, Diane Cockerill, Osceola Refetoff, and Chris Pelonis along with additional works from NOTINDOOR contributors.

Each photographers work is unique as to approach and subject matter.

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Refetoff’s Desertscapes curation is haunting and poignant, raw and vivid; his images of clouds, sky, and road pull the viewer into travels of their own. A series of photographs taken over the wing of airplanes is both transcendent and triumphant.

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Cockerill offers rich Cityscapes, with urban skylines, intimate views of architecture, street scenes – a collection that gives viewers a fresh, loving, and visceral look at Los Angeles that is both sophisticated and warm.

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Pelonis’ rich and varied Landscapes takes viewers intimately on an international journey; Meichtry’s Seascapes are wild and evocative, revealing the sinuous curves of awe-inspiring waves and sleek water. Meichtry’s short film, The Perilous Sea, which screened at the opening of the show, offered intense views of surfing off the coasts of Nova Scotia, the Hebrides, and Ireland.

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At the closing reception, planned for January 27th from 6 to 11 p.m., an additional exhibition will include the work of both curators inside Colston’s Gypsy Trails Gallery, a portable space to be parked behind Unita.

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Colston explains that she has been invited by Unita to be a resident curator. “As an artist, I find curating to be an additional and different outlet.  Photography allows me to capture life’s passing moments and painting, to capture the passing thoughts in my mind. Curating a show is a newer form of art for me and I’m enjoying the process of connecting or colliding the themes of different artists’ works.”

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Choosing a photographic exhibit for her opening salvo at Unita was an easy choice. “I wanted to do a photography show to reconnect to where I started as an artist, and the photographers selected consistently inspire me. Each photographer selected for the show has their own style and concentrated theme, so I wanted to find a way to tell a story through them.”

Colston describes that story as “… the evolution of scenery. Starting with pristine landscapes to humanity’s play with the world. I wanted a look at the harmony, growth and desertion of people and their environments. Landscapes without people, seascapes and how people interact and have to go with flow of the mighty oceans,” she relates. “I decided to include the Perilous Sea surf film to really emphasize this. I also wanted to include Cityscapes and how people have created their own scenes, and  Desertscapes to show the desertion of people and the lasting effects of their presence to the original landscapes.”

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The wide-ranging exhibition offers ample space for each of the artists to present their work, and to draw viewers into a “whole new world.” Now that’s an escape, or SCAPES as the case may be.

Unita is located at 215 Arena St. in El Segundo.

Continuum is Just Getting Started: Monica Wyatt at MOAH Opens this Weekend

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Artist Monica Wyatt’s Continuum is a beautiful, dream-like show opening at MOAH: Cedar this Saturday. The exhibition, which runs through March 3rd, was curated by Jill Moniz. Wyatt calls Moniz an inspiring collaborator; much of the work here has been created specifically for the installation or never before exhibited.

“Jill encouraged me to be expansive and bold in my creating, all the while furthering the visual dialogue about lifecycles, sustainability, new beginnings,” Wyatt asserts. “Continuum is definitely an outgrowth of my previous work. One of the three spaces I’m using at MOAH: Cedar contains my first big site-specific installation.  I knew I wanted to push myself to work large scale and the making of this installation, called When Shadows Chase the Light ,was both thrilling and terrifying.  I’ve been creating it in segments over the last five months and never saw it as a whole until yesterday.  And it took seven of us to install,” she exclaims.

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When Shadows Chase the Light contains 4000 acrylic globes, 10,000 nylon hairnets, 23 industrial light lenses, fishing wire and lighting, all manmade materials that “look like a huge and mesmerizing organic, biomorphic form,” according to Wyatt. “By using synthetic materials to represent the organic, I’m trying to represent the increasingly complex interconnections that bind people to nature and technology.”

Moniz calls Wyatt “an artistic alchemist, collecting materials and turning them into precious objects. In this process, she fuses the history of disparate materials to create new beginnings, representing the cyclic nature of all things.”

Terming Continuum Wyatt’s three-dimensional expression of love, death and creativity, Moniz notes that Wyatt pursues themes and compositions that  encompass her passion for her materials and the ways in which she infuses them with life and meaning.

Reworking materials, disassembling, and reimagining them, Wyatt uses both organic and manmade materials, creating a unique vision that connects man and nature.

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“A couple years ago, I made a series of wood and rock assemblages called San Andreas Variations. With the indispensable help of Ron Therrio, I created five larger scale wood and granite rock sculptures that I’ll be unveiling, too,” Wyatt attests. 

She adds “A lot of my newer work has become more sculptural, no longer rooted in a box. Working towards this show has given me the space and mindset to play more purposefully with volume and large scale composition.  It’s not so much exploring the history of the objects in a different way, but visually expanding on themes that interest me such as the daily markers of family, nature, and life cycles.” Inspired by her father, a physicist-inventor, Wyatt strives to bring her imagination to life, reshaping different materials to create a piece with its own fresh identity.

“I’m using organ and piano pieces, marbles, beads, nails, wire, crystal orbs, acrylic globes, nylon hairnets, wood, and so much more.  I’m also transforming tens of thousands of capacitors into sculpture.  I’ve never worked before this show with acrylic globes and nylon hairnets, so that’s been an engrossing and fascinating challenge.”

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Wyatt says “My assemblage is embedded with not only the histories of the materials, but also my own stories, and those of the viewer. I think my love for materials is the poetic element that’s apparent in my work. When the fragments and small bits come together as a seamless whole, there’s a sort of magic that happens and the piece becomes something more than the sum of its parts.”

Wyatt has a background as an English major, and her love of words is especially evident in the title of her works. “I never title a piece until it’s finished and really labor over finding a title that works.  And if I don’t mess it up too badly, a poetic object is matched with a fitting title.”

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As to the title of the exhibition, Continuum is a perfect fit: according to the Cambridge dictionary, it is something that changes gradually in character or in slight stages without clear points of division. For Wyatt, mere objects become something magical, even mythical — art.

  • Genie Davis; photos provided by the artist

 

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Kathryn Hart: Sculptural Art Work with Visual and Emotional Depth

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Resilient. Hopeful. Poignant. And deep. Above all, deep. Kathryn Hart creates three-dimensional works that are as dimensional physically as they are emotionally – a look into the heart, soul, and spirit. The sculptural dimension to her paintings is an adjunct to her art, not a gimmick, but rather a way in which to delve even deeper into the essence of her work.

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Both the canyons and fissures of her art and the physical depth of her pigment create a sense of mystery, magic, and the poetic. Viewers searching for meaning, rummaging for spiritual sustenance, will find much to devour in Hart’s paintings.

The internationally award winning artist says “All of my works spawn from personal experience and express a multiplicity of emotions.  My prior series, Unapologetic Presence, dealt with the complexity of identity and explored its lasting components once the pressures from society, family, and personal experience are removed.  The series began after my mom died. I felt unstable. My role in the family morphed and my concept of my identity felt in flux,” she relates.

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That series, Hart notes, had a “rawness” born from her willingness to expose what she calls “the deep places about myself that I’d never had the courage or inclination to let others see. The series is about looking into the past, discarding the flotsam and coming out on the other side with a stronger and ‘unapologetic’ sense of identity. The emotional base of the work makes it accessible to everyone,” she attests, adding that the work also has a strong feminist basis. Using materials that are intentionally rough, unrefined, and unsophisticated, Hart created works in which the materials themselves were “honest and a metaphor for examining identity with an attitude of self-acceptance.”

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Hart’s current series is, she says, “about life, death, and hope. Hope is the critical factor in the human experience that gets us through the inevitable tragedies and pitfalls of life. Without hope, we die.”

The universal quality of Hart’s work begins with a personal impetus to create. She says that her new series was her outlet for handling her husband’s Stage IV cancer. It deals with mortality, fear, the fragility of life, the will to live, and the necessary hope to move forward and not be paralyzed.”

Hart says that the titles of the work hold a strong importance for her, and guided her in each work. Often, she explains, the title came first.

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“‘Thin Skinned,’ is about the appearance of fragility when the scaffolding is resilient.  Airiness, connections, threads, seeing through the top layer into the heart center are at the core of this piece,” she relates. “Other titles in this series include, ‘Dinner With Lazarus,’ ‘Pretending to be Fine,’ ‘Underneath,’ ‘Beast of Burden,’ and ‘CODA.’”

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In each work, there is an almost ethereal quality, a majestic sweep, that speaks of man’s frailty and strength, the yin and yang of life’s impermanence.

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Each of the works serve as hanging sculptures, but as the series progressed, artworks moved completely off the wall, as with “CODA,” shown in the two photographs above. Now, Hart is not merely invoking dimensionality, she is creating her own.

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“The pieces intrude into the viewers’ space and force them to walk around it to take it all in. As in life, we must walk around to see the whole and take multiple perspectives,” she asserts. “Progression in life is not linear, but often a rat’s nest of connections which cannot be picked apart.”

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The surfaces of Hart’s work have shifted from raw to a dense, richly processed archeology in which the process of her work and the message she is offering through it are packed. She says that her materials are chosen to support her emotional message. “Slicing through the surface would reveal an iterative process of construction and deconstruction. The surfaces often shimmer with a mineralization, as if from the earth,” Hart explains. The viewer feels in some cases as if he or she were “mining” the surface and delving beneath it into something ancient, fecund, and replete.

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And speaking of materials, Hart says she began using mixed media and 3D materials when “I found I couldn’t express my intentions with a traditional 2D surface and paint,” she smiles.

The found objects that she’s incorporated into her work each have a personal significance to the artist, and are part of her history. Living adjacent to a national forest, she’s found deer bones, and uses an organic process to strip them.

“The bones become translucent and illuminated,” she reveals. “These found bones are a normal part of my life, my history. Bones are structural and the only evidence of life which lasts thousands of years. Rib bones surround and protect the heart. And these bones are beautiful, with elegant shapes and lines.”

It is not just the organic that Hart works with, however, as she incorporates other found items of meaning into her work, such as decades old barbed wire found hiking in the forest, and her husband’s empty syringes and pill bottles. Walking on railroad tracks she’s discovered rusted metal pieces of a train – “likely heading west with people filled with hope” aboard it.

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A consummate visual storyteller, Hart creates to reflect the human condition, ultimately revealing both inner darkness and an inner light. Light and dark are both rooted within her sculptural depths, always to rise.

  • Genie Davis; photos provided by artist/photo of the artist herself, Genie Davis

LA Art Show: The Feast Begins

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Running through Sunday, the LA Art Show begins tomorrow with a spectacular opening night gala benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Marking its 23rd year at the LA Convention Center, the show features a variety of programming and gallery exhibitions sure to dazzle viewers. The LA Art Show is one of the largest international art fairs in the country, and this art feast allows  an entire weekend of visual consumption, with wide-ranging installations and gallery presentations spreading across the vast exhibition space.

Here’s just a few must-sees.

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DIVERSEartLA programming occupies over 60,000 square feet of exhibit space highlighting work from around the world, including exhibits making their world and US premieres. Presented by MUSA Museum of the Arts of the University of Guadalajara and shown for the first time in the U.S.,  the Metaphysical Orozco recreates Jose Clementé Orozco’s 1930s-era murals using multi-layer mapping projections. Viewers will uncover the history and themes of the murals, and images are accompanied by a musical soundtrack in this vibrant installation.

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Antuen’s “Left or Right,” curated by Marisa Caichiolo is a vast interactive installation depicting world leaders and despots that allows the spectator to hit punching bag images and detoxify.

Berlin’s The Konig Galerie exhibits Jose Dávila’s  large-scale “Untitled” sculpture shaped from San Andrés stone, metal beams, and glass sphere. Merry Karnowsky /KP Projects debuts at the convention center with never before seen works by outsider photographer Vivian Maier.

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Flash Bulb by Pandemonia is the creation of an anonymous London artist,  a multi-media conceptual project involving a plastic female character constructed from symbols and archetypes in the form of a three-dimensional drawing. Pandemonia will pose and perform with various objects that represent her pop-feminist universe and vibrant color palette.

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The creator of the largest graffiti art along the LA River, SABER, a.k.a. Ryan Weston Shook, creates an original work opening night which will be displayed throughout the show. 

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BG Gallery presents artist Matt Elson’s The Infinity Boxes, a series of boxes that allow intimate groups of people to interact via elaborately constructed infinity mirrors set up to illuminate a perceptual “other world” when the box is inhabited by two individuals. Also at BG gallery: new works by LA artist Robyn Alatorre, Susan Lizotte, Gay Summer Rick (also exhibiting at Gallery Steiner), Heather Lowe, and Dwora Fried. Below,  Fried’s trenchant work, “Troll Box.”

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The Los Angeles Art Association presents “Ping Pong,” a collaboration between artists from Los Angeles, Miami and Basel. Exploring the art of each city, the exhibition includes works by Chung-Ping Cheng, Sharon Hardy, Sue Irion, Gershon Kreimer, Samuelle Richardson, and Mette Tommerup.

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Curated by Launch Gallery’s James Panozzo and the California African American Museum, Eyes Forward is a dynamic survey of works by ten contemporary artists of color in LA: (April Bey, Chukes, June Edmonds, Loren Holland, Duane Paul, Miles Regis, Ana Rodrigues, Nano Rubio, Holly Tempo, and Tim Washington. 

Sergott Contemporary Art Gallery offers modern and contemporary artists including the textured landscapes of LA-based Hung Viet Nguyen.

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At the Los Angeles Center for Photography booth, take in work from a wide range of photographers including exciting work from Jane Szabo, and the ethereal work of Aline Mare, below.

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Design LA Art is a brand new area of the LA Art Show designated for exhibition areas of modern furniture, decor, and jewelry and displayed in circular, open spaces within the fair.

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Littletopia is back, an exhibit space that includes 16 galleries and a 22 foot long magic space boat by Bunnie Reiss. Exhibiting galleries include  701, Art du Marche, BoxHeart Gallery, Copro Gallery, Cordesa Fine Art, Gersten Fine Art, John Natsoulas Gallery, Johnathan LeVine Projects, Josh Tiessen Studio Gallery, Keane Eyes Gallery, Mirus Gallery, Paradigm Gallery + Studio, Red Truck Gallery, Superchief Gallery and a tribute to Greg Escalante, co-founder of Juxtapoz Magazine. A Lifetime Achievement Award for Margaret Keane will be presented here.

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Matt Gleason, gallerist at Coagula Curatorial in DTLA will be broadcasting his Modern Art Blitz talk show from the VIP booth in the Southeast Corner of the hall opening night.

From a presentation of photography on the anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket to the Argentinian artist Nuna Mangiante’s multi-media installation Aporías Moviles there are so many installations, exhibitions, and amazing examples of art and artistic wonder that the spending the entire weekend at the LA Art Show will hardly be an anomaly.

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See you there!

  • Genie Davis; photos courtesy of Hijinx Artist Management, participating galleries, and the LA Art Show