Corey Helford Gallery: Phantasmacabre with Allusions and Allegories



Running through August 20th, two powerful female artists take center stage at the Corey Helford Gallery. Camille Rose Garcia offers two separate exhibitions: Phantasmacabre and the illustrations of Snow White, while Jasmine Becket-Griffith presents Allusions and Allegories.


Both are the stuff of fairy tales and dreams, the mystical and the enchanted.


Los Angeles artist Garcia is a pop art surrealist, and in Phantasmacabre, in CHG’s main gallery, she spins gothic art that practically glows with color, art that sparkles with a kind of witchcraft. The paintings are huge, as is a humor-rich sculpture of the big bad wolf.


Not only large in scope but in intent, they’re crammed with Jungian references and influenced by the surrealist films of Alejandro Jodowsky.


Above, Garcia, looking as if she just stepped out from one of her canvasses.


Born of dreams, fragments of fairy tales, feminine symbols, the tangle of a forest, and the interwoven textures of childhood and myth-making archetypes, the fully formed result in a vibrant series of canvases that create a landscape of wonder. Beauty, fear, the nightmare and the promise: this is the language of Phantasmacabre.


“I was inspired by the idea of symbolic language, language as symbols for personal life. I made a deck of cards to create a series of associations, of personal symbols for my life and my personal message,” Garcia explains. “My paintings use that.”

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In Gallery 3, Garcia’s Snow White illustrations create a new and surreal spin on the classic fairy tale. “I always try to find other dimensions of color and emotion,” Garcia relates.

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Heading into Gallery Two, a whole new world emerges.


Above, Becket-Griffith and a wonderful work that morphs traditional and classic art with fanciful anime.


Becket-Griffith’s works in Gallery 2 have an equally female, mythic cast. Allusions and Allegories represents involved fantasy and fairy tales that offer a riff on anime as well as  classic art.


The Florida-based artist paints in a traditional style utilizing acrylics to capture a mix of the gothic and lyrical natural settings. She has her own licensing line with Disney, and exhibits at Pop Gallery Orlando at Downtown Disney in the Walt Disney World Resort. You can’t get more fairy tale than that. Like Garcia, she uses symbols and stories to create allegories, in this case, between art master works and magical imagined worlds.


“There’s a story behind each one of my paintings. I have created cartoons of myself and my sisters, I did anime work, and then I tried to make what I create more realistic and stylized, with references to art history and such artists as Klimt, Bosch, and Van Ellenberg,” she says.

Many of her paintings have antique replica frames uniquely created in resin, while others were carefully curated and purchased. “My husband ran a frame store before I met him,” she says.

She says of her work that “I’m trying to bring a bit of mystery into a mundane world with each piece.”


Mystery and magic: feminine epic adventures born of night flowers, strange symbols, and provocatively sensual color.

Find all of this in the works of Garcia and Becket-Griffith at Corey Helford. The gallery’s well curated walls are located at 571 S Anderson St. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; all photos: Jack Burke

August Brings Art on the Outside to West Hollywood

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The dog days of summer are considerably enriched by West Hollywood this August, where the heat is on: exciting new art installations sizzle on the streets.

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A vibrant collections of works include “Food-Prints,” a new entry in the “Can You Dig It?” sculpture garden in Plummer Park; “The Cube,” a 10-day, ‘round the clock solo performance installation in the heart of the Sunset Strip; and “The Chase,” large scale, origami-like steel sculptures on Santa Monica Boulevard.

WeHo Arts is offering an outside, site-specific public art program that captivates and enlightens.

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Located in Plummer Park as a part of the “Can You Dig It” series dealing with California’s drought, “Food-Prints” by Brett Snyder, Edward Morris, and Sussanah Sayler uses wooden food sculpture in a whimsical zen-like dry garden to depict California’s most abundant native agricultural products.

This sculptural piece reveals how water use correlates to the food we eat. Food sculptures form a circle that reveals the item’s virtual water footprint. The style of the installation evokes the Zen rock garden of Ryoan-ji, one of the most famous in Japan. The placement of the installation itself close to the park’s weekly farmer’s market, references the past history of Plummer Park as a farm, as well as the produce vendors themselves. The installation is an interactive experience for viewers, including a guide that compares the water footprint of each food, from almonds to grapes, as well as exploring the footprint of the entire “art zone,” designed to represent the virtual water needed to “grow” a single piece of steak.

The garden itself offers a dual art experience: the garden is contemplative in nature, the large fruit and veggie sculptures are as playful as they are educational and appealing to the youngest visitors at the park. Revealing how water affects the food we eat, the duality of the exhibit is carried even further, revealing the differences between nature itself and our food culture.

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Located in the Sunset Strip’s city parking lot at 8775 Sunset Boulevard, Brazilian born artist, pianist and composer Manuel Lima offers a 10-day, around the clock performance piece from August 12 through 21. Lima will live in a translucent, sparsely furnished 10-foot-square cube. The purpose: integrating daily life with his own artistic process, and creating a meditation in a public space. His only time outside the cube other than rest breaks will be a morning shower and breakfast. From 9 to 5 daily, the artist will perform his composition “Sunset Blvd.,” riffing piano compositions based on what he hears moving from left to right on the FM radio dial. Then from 5 to 7 p.m., he’s take a tea break outside the cube, allowing viewers to join him for conversation. At 8 p.m, Lima performs an original light and sound composition, “Red Light Piano,” which utilizes some sixty music cycles each ranging from one to five minutes, with variations increasing in length each day of his performance, until reaching five hours in length. Then, near midnight, he will sleep.

This fascinating performance integrates place, personal space, and culture. This is not the inaugural performance for “The Cube;” he performed a 10-day trial near Valencia earlier this year. A metamorphosis for both the artist and the viewer, this experiential performance piece engages, stimulates, and changes both viewer and viewee through landscape and the creative process.

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Place and process are also key with “The Chase,” origami-like shapes of steel that vividly depict the quest for survival. Created by LA-based public artist Hacer, there are four large scale sculptures along the median of Santa Monica Boulevard, starting at Doheny Drive. The works will be installed August 20-21. The abstract but highly defined pieces include “Coyote, Stalking” which looks east at its prey, “Rabbit Sitting,” unaware of the danger stalking it while scouting for food. “Coyote, Running” takes a sharp turn in an attempt to gain on “Rabbit, Running,” who is now facing the eyes of the hunter. The sculptures form an open-ended quartet in terms of story: each animal is fighting to survive in a land of limited natural resources. Who survives is left to the viewer. The sculptures are powder coated steel, and evoke the tension of a predator on the prowl, the leap toward escape by the prey. Motion captured and frozen in a monumental moment in time, these pieces are meant to create a sense of commonality – we are all in this together – as well as expressing differences. Hacer was inspired in this work by the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes which he read as a child. The sculptures share a playful and conceptual approach with the works of Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons. Hacer notes “Like the dynamic, formative process hidden by my seemingly simple designs, my work’s simple existence aims to elicit a dynamic response about the viewer’s relationship to their formative process: childhood.”

In combination or viewed separately, these three public installations offer an insightful experience for the viewer, one that immerses viewers into a different world – of predator and prey, a partnership in the eco-system, an intimate engagement with creative process, and a learning experience involving drought, food ecology, and meditation.

Entering that world, summer doldrums slip away. These exhibitions resonate a powerful artistic vision in West Hollywood. Don’t miss them this August.

CA 101: Mall Art Gets a New Meaning

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Mall art used to conjur up images of blah Andy Warhol prints and tepid ocean views. No longer.  The 2016 edition of the CA 101 art exhibition is located in the South Bay Galleria shopping mall in Redondo Beach, and is packed full of fascinating artworks from paintings and photography to some stunning installations.

CA 101 runs through July 31st, and should be on anyone’s shopping list. Produced by the Friends of Redondo Beach Arts (FRBA), a non-profit organizationpromoting the arts in Redondo Beach, the opening last Friday was jam packed with art lovers – over a thousand, in fact, visited this former clothing store.

The 5000-square-foot-space was divided into two spaces, the CA 101 Gallery and the CA 101 Affordable Art Store, where original works were for sale at $200 or less in price.

Curated by Nina Zak Ladon and exhibition director Sandra Dyer Liljenwall, the exhibition changes locations throughout Redondo Beach every year, with artworks chosen adapting well to their varied environments – last year, the former AES Power Plant near Redondo’s waterfront. The Galleria location led to some pointed and wonderful pieces that reflect the space, from body image to sexuality, from commercial culture to feminism.


Above, Bibi Davidson and Dwora Fried combined forces to produce an installation located, as most of the installations were, in the former dressing rooms of the store. Their “Peeping Tom” depicts a transgender man spying on a woman in a dressing room, not for titillation, but to learn how to properly wear a bra.


The lively, fun piece had viewers buzzing.


Above, neon artist Linda Sue Price exhibits “Jesse,” an homage to her father. The beautifully symbolic piece included references to their conversations together, his love of Chinese food, and his work with machinery.


Above, the work of Sandra Lauterbach, whose beautiful fabric work befits this former-clothing-store location. The piece is titled “Materials Matter! Why textiles?” and features bold, dimensional abstract work.


Above, Janet Johnson’s “Up a Tree” provides a whimsical take on the yarn bombing movement.


Above, a close-up detail of “Butcher’s Window” by Katie Shanks and Stephanie Sherwood, which creates a static shell as container for human bodies – and the fetishized flesh of our society. As with many of the works here, there is a focus on consumerism, consumption, and society’s view of the body – and soul.


Above, paintings by Sheli Silverio are part of “The Selfie Experiment.” The artist utilized selfie images sent to her to create painted conversations of self-perception.


Above, Lena Moross’ beautifully lush impressionism features one of her favorite colors, red.  Her watercolors are as rich as if they were painted in oil.


Above, artist Andrea Kitts Senn with her “Chromer,” part of a collection of pieces focusing on bones and beasts, whose dazzling form represents the essentials inside – when stripped of flesh and fantasy.

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Above, Cie Gumucio with one of her two installations at CA 101, this one focused on what the artist terms “the grace and ease of sculpted fabric.”  This piece, “Open Windows” uses mirrors and video footage, the latter culled from years of filming, to depict both “promise and possibility.”

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Above, artist Malka Nedivi with her exhibition first place prize winner, “Home Nest.’ A mix of paintings and sculptural forms shaped from cardboard, this beautiful instillation is a dreamy and elegaic tribute to the comfort and memories of “home.”

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Above, artist Kristine Schomaker with one of her mannequins, subjects in her “A Comfortable Skin” series. Schomaker aims to alter societal obsession with body image, and heighten self-awareness. She uses her gorgeous, multi-hued palette to engage viewers’ eyes and function as a metaphorical mask, a skin hidden behind.

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Above, Susan Melly with several of her works, which dynamically explore female identity, fashion, and power. Inspired by her mother’s work as a seamstress, and her use of powerful sewing machines, Melly takes retro dress patterns and the female form, and re-purposes both in images that suggest ritual tattooing.

Melly, Schomaker, and Senn are all focusing in their own distinctive works on body image, on strength, on what goes on beneath the artifice of clothing and skin. Likewise, L. Aviva Diamond’s “Window Display, West Hollywood,” which graced the exhibition’s catalog cover, took on the perception and portrayal of the female form.

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Above, artists Malka Nedivi, Chenhung Chen, Bibi Davidson, and Susan Amorde.

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Above, Chenhung Chen with a sinuous, sensual sculpture that is a part of her Entelchy series. Chen’s work here evokes the feminine form.

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Above, Scott Trimble, whose marvelously poignant portraits create a look into the soul.  Trimble has several pieces in the show, each with evocative, nuanced impressionistic style that is distinctly his own.

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Above, Hung Viet Nguyen with his “The Queen/Sacred Landscape II,” a beautiful, mystical piece with a mosaic-like quality and jewel-colored glow. Detail, below.CA 23

Other pieces that were standouts in the show include Mike M. Mollett’s installation, “Winter in the Poet’s Garden II,” a forest of sticks and pipes and poetic phrases scattered like leaves below them; three dimensional work by Shelly Heffler;  Steve Fujimoto’s take on commerce, “The Task,” and Ellen Riingen’s abstract brown on brown planes in “Redondo Beach Strolling.” Photographic artists Jane Szabo and Janet Milhomme each created profoundly strong images as well, Milhomme depicting views of architecture looking in, and Szabo depicting two works, including a uniquely individualized dress as the armature of the person unseen inside.


Above, Jane Szabo with curator Nina Zak Laddon.

With over 240 artworks on display, not every artist is mentioned here, of course – but each is well worth experiencing.

Don’t miss the mall art this weekend in Redondo Beach.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis and Jane Szabo


Gravitas at the Brand Museum



Gravitas, running through August 5th at the Brand Museum in Glendale features five Los Angeles area artists: Carlos Beltran-Arechiga, Nicholette Kominos, Melissa Manfull, Kristan Marvell and Sonja Schenk in a stunning show that takes on perception: both the viewer’s and the artist’s.  With works that include painting, installation, and sculpture, the artists create work that express the physicality of weight and gravity, and present a deeper interpretation of what the viewer perceives.


Sonja Schenk’s work here is about the perception of time. “Past, future, present – from different eras, but sharing the same sky,” she explains.  She has constructed works that show the transitional intersection of human life and the natural world, depicting a variety of landscapes that “conduct the past into the future.”

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Schenk is half Swiss and lived in France attending art school, a background which has led her to certain visual cues for this exhibition. Her paintings here are created using an acrylic background and oil foreground. “I don’t usually use acrylic, but I wanted a flat, matte pastel background.”

“I paint deliberately and take photos. The Mountain was inspired both by the Alps and being an artist in residence at Mt. Shasta/Whiskeytown. I went out to Lassen a lot. Many of my pieces here depict geologic time and time itself, a deeper exploration about what happens in the course of biological time. There’s the idea of new growth, and if mountains were growing what they would like,” the artist says.

Her sculptures are created in styrofoam. Schenk’s worlds survey existing landscapes, manmade materials and the cumulative, unnatural growth specific to Los Angeles.


Carlos Beltran-Arechiga’s work is born from Abstract Expressionism and Geometrism, revealing aspects of his training as an architectural and environmental designer. The structures he paints use materials that are as much at home on a construction site as in an art studio, and explore space that we can study but not live in.


“I’ll use one singular plane in a digital program that folds out into two spaces for architecture. I create what seems to be a structure, and then I walk through it, and transfer it to two images with a familiar background. I suggest the idea of human form.”


Kristan Marvell’s vivid light pieces explore the natural and man’s manipulation of it, creating shapes that do not specifically replicate natural formations, but rather sculptural planes, and emotional imagery. With this work, below, Marvell had to rent programmable LED lights to move beyond the conceptual into a captivating installation, Color Theory.


“We set the lights with this effect so that the shadow becomes opposite the primary color, and two lights equal four colors at one time. They shift in a random loop, so that the colors keep changing,” Marvell says. “I’m a sculptor and modernist – modernism has left behind a way to make sculpture more interactive.”


Nicholette Kominos manipulates non-conventional materials creating a visceral tension between lines and construction. She was influenced by the Arte Povera Movement, shifting between sculpture and drawing, layering information.


In the untitled piece above, Kominos uses pipe cleaners and ceramic shell.
“I have a painterly background but I felt sculpture was a way to intuitively evolve as an artist. Here, I tried a spontaneous process using pipe cleaners, and by chance, adding black sand gave me a way to manipulate the piece further. Exposing and expressing in different forms is a way for me to bring historical events into a piece, to reference people in real life, in different forms. I use common materials that reflect the awesome beauty of the world.”

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Melissa Manfull explores the conceptual and visual analogies between natural and human-made structures through her seductively detailed drawings of towers, arches and doorways. Complex and delicate, each world she creates seems to grow like a flower from the root of another more commonly glimpsed.

Gravitas is about falling down the rabbit hole and up it again – into a new realm created from the inside out. Go experience it.

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The Brand Library and Art Center is located in Glendale at 1601 W. Mountain Street.

  • Genie Davis; All Photos: Jack Burke