Sugar Mynt Gallery – Transparency



Don’t let the cozy cottage setting fool you – the sophisticated exhibitions at Sugar Mynt Gallery in Pasadena continue with Transparency, which holds its closing reception next weekend March 5th.

The group exhibition includes works by Defective Barbie, Rob Grad, Rosana Aziernicki, Jon Levy-Warren, Erika Lizee, Robyn Sanford, Jane Szabo, Jim Payne, Sylvie Congranne, Greg Dyro, Olga Ponomarenko in a collection of paintings, sculptures, photography, and mixed media that employs the use of transparency to create fresh insight into new worlds.

Artist Jane Szabo’s photography is a breathtaking look at illusion. Known for her series of “dress” photographs, in these works, Szabo relates “I’m pushing the envelope a little more, engaging more in different ways than I have in the past. I don’t want to get too formulaic with the dress ingredient.”


Red cellophane – definitely transparent.


“This dress is made from the little sample filters packaged to show different lighting gels for the movie industry,” Szabo says. The dress she created crosses the look of stained glass with a rainbow.

“I love the out of focus, cast light, projection behind the dress. It was projected on the wall behind the dress and photographed using a single exposure.”



Erika Lizee’s works above are ethereal, other worldly flowers that seem to trail fragrance and mystery.


Rosana Aziernicki has ghostly cities rising through the roots and branches of trees.


Greg Dyro – the colors of a fairy tale. Jelly fish are about as transparent as nature gets, and the colors here show life within the life of the sea.

Throughout the exhibit, the works show a depth to the idea of transparency. We’re not just seeing through, we see within. Check out the vision.

Sugar Mynt is located at 810 Meridian Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030




  • Genie Davis, All Photos: Jack Burke

Think Tank Gallery: Break Bread


At “Break Bread” a not-quite-edible art installation located in the 7,000-square-foot Think Tank Gallery on the edge of the garment district, “let them eat cake” is a misnomer. Rather, taking in the vast cake maze and candied light fixtures, the finely wrought food paintings, and life-size cardboard truck – the work of artists Scott Hove and Baker’s Son – the proper phrase would be “let them SEE cake.”


There’s a mirrored fun house of a maze with elaborate pink “cake” walls, crafted from paint and spackle and actual candy, which is the work of Hove,which also includes projected fire and rain in one portion of the maze.

F23C8890 F23C8891

And at the opposite end of the maze, a creepy bone cave – that utilizes real bones.


In another gallery space, there’s an urban street scene by Baker’s Son, a.k.a. Keith Magruder, who found inspiration in the treats of his youth and the loss of life on urban streets.




Opening night also included Lagunitas brews, a vast array of delicious breads from chocolate mint to raspberry from Challah Hub, gourmet gummies from Sugarfina, and Brigs, short for brigadeiro, the rich Brazilian candy designed to represent a variety of celebrations.





Don’t forget to look up!


With machine guns, teeth, and high heels that look as lethal as any weapon, the exhibition expresses the dark underbelly of sugar coated American life.









Break Bread runs through March 14th, and tickets are free on Eventbrite. Specific additional events from dinners to comedy nights are also available on Eventbrite for purchase. The exhibit itself is a must-see for both its kitschy appeal and dark underbelly, as well as its drool worthy art, and its sensual heft. When you walk into the installation, the first thing you’ll see is a glowing bed.


Perhaps you can have your cake, and eat it too. (puns intended)



  • Genie Davis, all photos by Jack Burke



Fabrik Expo Recap


We’ve waxed on enthusiastically here about the wonderful scene at the StART Up, and we’ll recap the vast and captivating LA Art Show coming up later this week. But first: a smaller scale art fair, and one with it’s own inventive and exceptional art work.

Held in the funky and fun indoor/outdoor Willow Studios in DTLA, Fabrik was one of the four art shows to draw art patrons and lovers across Los Angeles.

The driving idea behind Fabrik’s entry: the convergence of art, design, and architecture.

KATMOBL art car by LA artist JT Burke and the Botart Installation International Barrel Art were two of the outdoor installations worth braving a very-non-LA chilly weekend to see.




Artist Petra Eiko, below, created celestial, glowing works that evoked the origins of planets.


Below: the eyes have it.


MAS ATTACK 11 by Arta Curatorial featured a variety of terrific artists with individual pieces. Below, Kio Griffith.

F23C8532 F23C8530

Above two MAS ATTACK 11 artists exhibiting their vibrant works: Hung Viet Nguyen, and David Leadman.


Above, Steven Wolkoff with one of his richly layered, visually immersive three-dimensional words-in-paint pieces (top work).  Wolkoff’s “word piles” began as a response to Anish Kapoor’s 1000 Names, a meditation on the absurd attempts to fight life’s impermanence.

Below, ceramic artist Sharon Hardy, with her layered, works that appear to have the texture of feathers and cloth.

F23C8523 F23C8522

The neon art created by Cleon Peterson and Lisa Schulte was fresh and engaging.


Below, Sonia Payes sculptures create a mysterious aura, the off-spring perhaps of sculptural parents on Easter Island.

F23C8516 F23C8513

Overall, Fabrik Expo opened its doors to a bevy of fresh, emerging artists in an accessible space. We’re betting that next year, more inventive artists and art collectives will be a part of this show.

  • Genie Davis, Photos by Jack Burke

Robolights: The Magical World of Artist Kenny Irwin

Kenny Irwin and one of his awesome creations
Kenny Irwin and one of his awesome creations

Kenny Irwin has created a kingdom far more magical than Walt Disney’s. In the middle of Palm Springs’ Movie Colony district, Irwin has crafted giant sculptures of robots, animals, and all sorts of other-worldly creatures – a thousand tons of art work, according to the artist – and placed them at his and his father’s four-acre property. It’s a mix of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Iron Giant, science fiction, and yes, Disneyland style, with the fusion of these elements an artistic wonder that will blow viewers’ minds.


“I started making art as a baby,” the 41-year-old Irwin relates. “I always knew I was an artist. It’s kind of like when a cat is a kitten, it knows it’s a cat.”




Some 29,000 visitors so far have passed through Irwin’s sculptural works, primarily during the holiday season when the installations are lit up like a million jewels with sparkling, multi-colored, marvelous webs of lights. It takes several months to set up the light display, but Irwin works on his art constantly throughout the year.


He displays it year ’round, too, and visitors are welcome for a small donation. What will they see? Marvelous works created using scraps and discards from neighbors and pieces bought on eBay. Irwin often makes some of his large pieces right on the spot. Highlights include a “bird bot” with “feathers” made of pallet boards, and 500-feet of rail track made from lawn chairs.


“I visualize my works in my head, completely. Nothing is planned or stored, in my memory indefinitely,” the artist relates.





One enormous, fifty-ton piece was made when he was only eighteen years old, and took him two months to create.


Irwin was kind enough to take us up onto platforms above his mammoth sculptures for a view 30-feet off the ground of his spectacular installations.





He works in 43 different mediums today, and built his first robot at age 9, a 10-foot tall wooden figure with an antique phone imbedded in its chest. Irwin often uses old appliances and fixtures – from microwaves, which he holds in high disdain, to toilets.









Irwin offers an array of smaller pieces for sale. Above and below, beautifully wrought, hand-fired skulls are filled with common substances from Cheerios to marbles, costume jewelry to sports souvenirs.



His edgy but whimsical work was a part of a major exhibition in Baltimore, Md. in 2013, held at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. To fit his enormous sculptures inside, the museum’s front doors and a wall needed to be removed.



It goes without saying, then, that Irwin needs a large space – and one larger than he has now – for his works. In fact, he envisions creating his own amusement park one day.





Can art, writ large, be this much fun, this original, this life-consuming, this much of a legacy? Yes. And it’s a must-see for any art lover, anywhere. If you live in SoCal, don’t wait until next holiday season, get a tour of this impressive installation now, and then be sure to mark your calendars for a light-strung glowing visit post-Thanksgiving.




  • Genie Davis, All Photos by Jack Burke