Burning Down the Art: Dani Dodge “Peeled & Raw”

Artist Dani Dodge at Peeled & Raw
Artist Dani Dodge at Peeled & Raw

What better holiday gift than this? A look at Dani Dodge’s exciting installation piece, “Peeled & Raw” at LA Art Core Brewery Annex. This Sunday, December 27th, Dodge will be setting fire to the fears and apprehension expressed through the piece.


The actual burning is symbolic of the burning resonance of the work, which you’ll find seared into your mind from the moment you see it.

At the opening in early December, Dodge described her piece as focusing on fear and what happens when it is covered up rather than faced.
Viewers participated in the piece by tearing away layers of wallpaper on the exhibits walls, writing their fears on the torn scraps, and then dropping them to the ground. These expressed fears will be burnt at the closing prior to the dismantlement of the piece itself.


See this exhibit, experience its catharsis, and let the message it presents ignite. Losing fear equals freedom.

Dodge says “I’m thrilled with how things are going, with how comfortable people feel with letting their fears go. I love hearing that so many people have felt freed by the experience.”


The experience is that of a full-scale installation designed to resemble a living room with green floral wallpaper covering not just the walls but the figures seated in the room and the furniture they’re sitting on.


Seated on a small sofa, Dodge’s two figures are watching a television set where a loop of black and white footage runs continuously describing – what else – but wallpapering. The old footage is narrated by a modern voice, recorded in 2014. In short: time is mutable in the expression of fear.


“I’ve been thinking about something like this since I lived in a fixer-upper home, and as I was trying to get it cleaned up, we had to peel the wallpaper off,” Dodge relates. “When we came to the last layer, we uncovered this beautiful Parisian scene, watercolors of women. It reminded me of the fact that for so many years we’ve tried to cover things up, making so many mistakes in this society. We’ve covered up beauty by letting our fears run amuck instead of dealing with issues in positive ways.”

The catalyst for Dodge to create this piece now was the mass shootings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. “And the aftermath,” Dodge explains, “of how people were treated, about the demonizing of ordinary people because fears were not being dealt with appropriately.”

Dodge designed the exhibit so that each person who comes into the room-sized installation can think about what they fear and express it. “We’ve made huge mistakes as a country. I’m trying to address the inappropriateness of stereotypes now, but that’s not the only fear I’m asking people to express. Everyone has different fears of how they look on Facebook, how to earn a living. All the fears are going to be burned, which is a great way to start the New Year fresh,” Dodge attests.

To create her work, Dodge, a former journalist, purchased vintage wall paper at the Manzanaar Interpretive Center. Peeling back the layers of that paper is, Dodge, says like peeling an onion – there’s nothing at the core.

“Peeled & Raw” remains on view through December 27th at LA Artcore Brewery Annex located at 650 A South Avenue 21 in DTLA. Join her just after the holidays, from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday December 27th for a look – or a second look – at this wonderful piece and to participate in the burning of fears at 2 p.m. outside the gallery. After a reception, the installation will be dismantled – so go – what are you afraid of?

  • Genie Davis, ALL PHOTOS, Jack Burke


Mirror, Mirror! Kristine Schomaker Reflects Our Bodies/Ourselves



Curated by Gloria Plascencia, Kristine Schomaker’s impressive solo exhibition Mirror, Mirror! celebrates the body and soul. From the female form to cultural stereotypes, Schomaker captures both the body politic and a rich palette of color and motion.


Using installation, text, photography, mixed media, video, and performance, Schomaker explores notions of societal expectations, online identity, and society’s judgement and obsession with physical appearance.



What we project on ourselves and others – it can be as ephemeral as a shadow. Schomaker’s work may be at it’s strongest with projected images and installation juxtaposed. Viewers truly enter a different world.


Schomaker’s avatars are part of her process of becoming self-aware.


The artist says her way of painting, using multiple layers, functions as a “metaphorical skin.”


Her vivid color palette grabs the eye while her message of empowerment and identity tug at the heart.



What exactly is being reflected? Our own images? Our own perceptions? Bodies that take on lives of their own, separate from cognizance? Step into another life.


Baby you can drive my car…


Literally and figuratively, Schomaker has created an impressive “body of work.”  How we feel about our bodies and the spirit they contain is truly all in the eye of the beholder – often ourselves.



Mirror, Mirror! runs through December 20th at Gallery H Phantom Galleries LA – 12619 Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne.

Art Makes Change



VisionLA ‘15 presents Art Makes Change, a group exhibition of 60 local artists. Through over 200 pieces of art from photography to sculpture, these works inspire viewers to confront the climate-related issues in today’s world.  These beautiful pieces are divided into four categories: Earth, Water, Recycle, and Awareness. Co-curators Dale Youngman and Lilli Muller hone in on the ways in which art can create and promote change.

Each piece speaks of either or both the beauty of the earth and the challenges facing it, such as drought, pollution, endangered species, and climate change.

Participating artists include:

Mike Anderson, Jacki Apple, Cody Bayne, Clara Berta, Om Bleicher, Jody Bonassi, Wanda Boudreaux, Qathryn Brehm, Bill Brewer, Gary Brewer, Wini Brewer, Mark Brosmer, Kate Caravellas, Michael Carrier, Nathan Cartwright, Morgan Chavoshi, Steven David, Roberto Delgado, Ben Dewell,Beth Elliott, Karen Fiorito, Nicole Fournier, Barbara Fritsche, Anyes Galliani, Tom Garner, Brian Goodman, Patrick Haemmerlein, Erin Hansen, Michael Hayden, William Hogan, Brenda Hurst, Liz Huston, Dave Knudsen, Juri Koll, Jamie Lynn Kovacs, Stuart Kusher, Jonna Lee, Aline Mare,Michael McCall, Rick Mendoza, Monica Mader, Colette Miller, Rebecca Molayem, Michael M. Mollett, Suzi Moon, Jen Moore, Pamela Mower-Conners, Lilli Muller, Julie Orr, Miguel Osuna, Billy Pacek, Yael Pardess, Vinnie Picardi, Naomi Pitcairn, Jena Priebe, Osceola Refetoff, Gay Summer Rick, Robert Rosenblum, Karrie Ross, Avi Roth, Catherine Ruane, Louise Russell, Gwen Samuels, Elizabeth Saveri, Winston Secrest, Moses Seenarine, Karen Sikie, Paul Soady, Sean Sobczak, Marilee Spencer, Anna Stump, Jill Sykes, Alexandra Underhill, Rachel Van Der Pol, Andrea Villefane, Geoffry White, Rush White, Tami Wood and Ron Zeno


Above: a photo chronicle of Mud People, the living sculpture project helmed by artist and performance artist Mike Mollett.



Co-curator Dale Youngman says “I am so happy about this opportunity to curate a show of this magnitude for such a really important cause.  I think that artists have an ability to engage the public in meaningful conversation through their work, and if they can affect or inspire change through their efforts, that is a wonderful thing.”


Morgan Chavoshi has focused on the plight of endangered animals for many years. She painted these wild mustangs as if in a void, because they are disappearing from our landscape. Her sensitivity is equal to her passion for changing people’s behavior through awareness.


Osceola Refetoff’s evocative photographs above focus on both the wonder and potential ecological disaster that is the Salton Sea. Refetoff has also worked on depicting the desert and its relationship to Los Angeles itself as part of a long term project with writer/collaborator Christopher Langley.


Absorb the water. Robert Rosenblum’s stunning photomontage technique mirrors the life in each drop.


Colette Miller’s vibrant wings make a great spot to pose for a photo and show support for the environment — and soar to protective, guardian angel heights to help preserve it.


Sculptures by Mike Mollett…wires that seem to bloom like dry-weather plants.


Support art and the environment with many of these beautiful eco-centered pieces making a very reasonable holiday gift.


Artist Gay Summer Rick has four pieces in the show, all featuring local beach scenes in Santa Monica and Venice. “I like to paint what I see as I’m making my way around town,” she says. “I paint the bay, and I try to show the mood I feel at the moment,” she relates. “In Atomic Trash Can (left) I included the trash can of course and also tractor marks from sand combing. I wanted to create a little different impression of preserving our beautiful beaches.”

Rick says she paints using only a palette knife, no brushes or solvents. “I’m very environmentally friendly. Very little goes into the landfill when I create my art. I want to be a good steward of the environment and still deliver a message about how beautiful nature is.”


Youngman says: “I have selected works that  depict endangered animals, photos of drought–stricken areas, and assemblage pieces that utilize recycled and re-purposed materials to spark the flame of realization regarding environmental issues.”



Bill Leigh Brewer’s take on the desert focuses on the Salton Sea in this series of evocative black and white prints. Viewers can almost touch the magic, the aloneness, the dryness, the preciousness of water.


Steve David’s sculptures seem to show the human head as a flower. What ideas are we planting?

“This show speaks loud and clear that climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world today,” Youngman notes.


Jonna Lee’s compelling Folly uses grass, dirt, wire, and wood. A whole new kind of topiary art.


“I hope people recognize the power of art to make change – and I pray they come out to support this endeavor by purchasing work here that will benefit these artists and the Vision LA Fest non-profit cause,” Youngman says.


Mike Anderson created the forest of art above.


So much to see, so much to take in: art mirroring the environment, art respecting the environment, art as a song to action.



Foreground: Mike Mollett’s balls of beauty and detrititus.

The free and truly awe-inspiring Art Makes Change exhibit is open daily Dec. 1st through Dec. 10th, at the VisionLA ’15 Home Gallery at Bergamot Station, located at: 2525 Michigan Ave, Building G1 in Santa Monica, CA 90404

all pieces in the exhibition are for sale

  • Genie Davis; all photos: Jack Burke

C.A.V.E. Gallery: Dark Paradise – New works by Gustavo Rimada


Closing December 6th at C.A.V.E. Gallery on Abbott Kinney in Venice, is an astonishing implosion of color and darkness: Gustavo Rimada‘s Dark Paradise.

 It’s Rimada’s fourth time showing at the gallery, and this one is stunning, the stuff of dreams.
Mysterious and evocative, these fractured dreamlike images of flowers, butterflies, and beautiful women evoke the feeling of vivid icons, nearly religious in nature.
The contrast between the dark undertones of the work and the vibrant color palette locks in the eye while the mind works to fill in the connections between dark and light. Somehow the pieces also fit with this time of year: bright California dimmed with winter’s shortened days, the light always subject to the burgeoning night.
Rimada says “The work is pretty but has darkness as the underlying story. A lot of the pieces are based on the music of Lana del Rey, whose songs informed these works. Her lyrics captivated me. Pretty music, dark lyrics.”
Rimada notes that he uses a great deal of red in these paintings. “It’s a primary color, and I do use it a lot. It’s something that I’ve done from the beginning of my painting career, and I consider it due to my culture.”

Born in Torreon, Mexico, Rimada’s upper middle class life was changed drastically when his family moved to Indio, Calif.  exchanging professional positions for domestic ones. In Mexico and the U.S., Rimada was always drawing. After 9/11, however, he joined the Army for a 3-year stint. When he returned to civilian life, Rimada also returned to art with a passion – both painting and working as a tattoo artist. “I truly eat, breath and sleep art,” he says.


He also creates dreams from it. Enter some of them before Dark Paradise closes this weekend.

– Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke