The Goddess at The Gallery

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The Goddess, noun is a celebration of the feminine and the divine. Images explore female issues, cultural expressions, shape and pattern. This group exhibition held at The Gallery in Hawthorne opened July 4th weekend and closes this coming weekend – don’t miss your chance to take in the mystical and the magical.

Presenting artists include:

Vicki Barkley, Emily Blythe Jones, Betsy Enzensberger, Shannon Donnelly
Anita Hopkins, Stella Chang, Frankie Certain, Jackelyne May, David Lucien Matheke, Janet Solval, Teresa Flowers, Gabriela Rodas, Heather Scholl,
Olivia Barrionuevo, L Aviva Diamond, Gabriela Zapata and Anahid Boghosian,  
Chenhung Chen, Eva Perez, and Elisa Garcia.

We spoke to many of the artists at the opening event.

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Above, Olivia Barrionuevo.

This fine arts photographer rivets with her portraits expressing subjects’ culture and individuality. Here, and in a recent solo exhibition at the Mexican consulate, Barrionuevo says “All my work is focused on cultures and backgrounds. They go to the roots. Their background is my theme.”

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Above, the work of Vicki Barkley.

Barkley has created a series featuring actress/model April Flores. The series features nudes that incorporate an element of sadness in the model, whom Barkley has been painting for 3 years.

“The series is an allegory, it’s mythological, about life, death, fertility. I imagine her like a heroine, like a Joseph Campbell figure. She and I go through the fires of hell, and have the courage to survive, whether it’s divorce, death, bankruptcy, you survive. If your heart is heavy it will weigh more. Her heart is light, and represented by a feather,” Barkley relates.

The works are oil on linen, panel, and canvas. The model is also the subject of a series of 22 original tarot cards that the artist is currently working on.

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The fruit of the succoring tree, above, is represented as breasts.

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Barkley’s work here is effervescent, yet fraught.

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Above, Chenhung Chen. Chen’s pieces in this show, Entelechy 19 and 21,
can be interpreted as conveying human qualities that go beyond traditional form. “I construct these sculptures as if they have a spine holding everything together. They relate to the idea of goddess as embodied in a human being,  rather than as male or female. There is an element of my culture in Entelechy 21, which includes a Chinese instrument.”
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“I came up with idea for these works in graduate school. One day I was eating chicken wings, and I put all bones together,  I just used wires to bind them together and I realized that if you hang everything in the middle, the sculpture can flow in a fluid way,” the artist relates.  “My pieces follow a similar composition to that of a lot of traditional Chinese paintings, where lotus flower stems go up and lead your eye to the flower and then back to the ground again. That fluidity inspired me.”
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Above: work from the installation art of Debriti, JonMarc Edwards.  His concept uses words as form. He “sells” bags of letters, phrases.

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Above, curator Dulce Stein, who put together an exuberant opening that featured music, ceviche, salads, and wine. Plus of course, excellent art. Consider her a – goddess.

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Above, The Girl with Skirt of Jade, the work of Gabriela Zapata, pictured below with another of her magically intense works.

“I’m making the essence of feminine, woman, man, all creation that exists. My art reflects my culture, which is Mayan, indigenous Mexican, and how that culture has survived after the Hispanic people came to the country.”

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Elisa Garcia, above, hails from Uruguay. She is painting in watercolor here. “There is no theme to my work, just colors, shapes, textures, squares with soft edges,” she attests. “I’m playing with shape and texture. I use salt to add an effect to some of the paintings. The washed out effect in others comes from drops of water. ”

Along with Garcia’s painting, she also sings folk-style songs many of which reflect the music of Fado from Portugal. “I have a duo with my husband, Leo Munoz.” Munoz is a well-known musician in his own right, and when the couple met, Garcia was a fan of his work.

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Eva Perez, above, created a profoundly moving video installation dealing with the artist’s personal experience with fertility and age, titled Do You Have Kids?

“In any social interaction, people ask this personal question. There’s humor in the film, and pain. It’s a dialog, an untold story that we can all relate to, yet achieving or not achieving pregnancy is still considered a taboo subject,” Perez notes.

Exposing taboos, elevating the human with the divine. That’s Goddess, noun.

The Gallery is located at 12629 Hawthorne Blvd. in Hawthorne – go elevate.

MidiCi: Neopolitan Pizza Captivates





Like Pokemon Go, you’ll want to catch, or in this case, eat, them all. MidiCi Neopolitan pizza is a beautifully designed elegantly casual pizza spot in Sherman Oaks, and it offers exceptional pizza, tasty salads, terrific desserts, plus wine, beer, and coffees – all served up Neopolitan style.

And just what does that mean?

F23C6366 Essentially, it means drool-worthy pizzas that are light, airy, and purely delicious.


The pizza is fresh and natural, made with non-GMO high quality ingredients including double zero flour imported from Naples, pure water, salt, and live yeast. The result: crisp, delicious, lightly chewy crust that’s never oily or gummy.  It’s healthy, too: with dough that has no sugar or oils and organic cheeses and produce, this pizza is a guilt-free delight.


Dough is created 24 hours before serving, prepared in a special room off the main kitchen, controlled by temperature and humidity.


Above, Pizza Al Parmigiano, no mozzarella here, just pure imported Parma cheese.

Pizza here takes just 90 seconds in ovens that are the nexus of attention in the restaurant’s open kitchen.


The ovens are made by Napoli’s Acunto family crafted from Vesuvian rocks found in the Sorentino region. Their methodology heats the stones to 1200 degrees. Careful, don’t touch!

So what comes out of those ovens? Pizza Pomodorini, is made with crushed organic Italian peeled tomatoes, fresh whole mozzarella, grape tomatoes, baby spinach, parmigiano-reggiano, fresh garlic, sweet organic basil, and non gmo organic extra virgin olive oil.


The classic Margherita is incredibly delicious, made with fresh whole buffalo mozzarella.


Above, the housemade fresh pesto pizza, made with fresh, organic basil. It’s incredible.


“We want to bring Neopolitan pizza to America,” MidiCi’s CEO Amit Kleinberger says, “we want to do what Starbucks did for coffee.”


“We think one of the magical things about MidiCi is that it appeals to all generations, millennials, couples, families, it has a pure and authentic appeal that everyone loves,” Kleinberger adds.  “It’s our mission to bring people together, make the world a better, more friendly place. It’s our belief that people coming together to enjoy themselves is the best thing that can happen,” Kleinberger says.


The Sherman Oaks outpost is just the start for Kleinberger, with 350 locations awarded all across the U.S., including plans for two more locations in Los Angeles.  And in each location, the restaurant plans a commitment to sustainable, organic ingredients.


“Wherever restaurants are located, we will find small, organic farms that provide fresh, clean, sustainable produce,” Chef Miele says.

Although pizza is the star attraction, there’s more to the menu including salads, antipasto, desserts, on-tap wines and beer, eclectic sodas and coffee.




The authenticity and freshness of the ingredients includes pesto made fresh in house, imported Parmesan aged 20 months, and classic Victoria Ardino coffee.


Sodas are served from Ferina machines, designed in Europe.


We had the wonderful Purple Kale salad, which combines incredibly sweet kale with baby spinach, medjool dates, and fresh lemon zest, and the wood-fire baked Truffle Cheese Bread to start.


The bread uses a black truffle cheese from Venice, which infuses truffles into the cheese, as well as fresh whole mozzarella, parmigiana-reggiano, and fresh, natural mushrooms.


Also wonderful: the simple and perfect Burata with Beets and Balsamic.


Dessert is equally memorable. A must-have is The Drowning Gelato, a simple and rich gourmet vanilla gelato drowning in espresso.


For a lighter option, try the fresh berries plate with just a drizzle of nutella and fresh pine nuts.


Or go for the gold: the Nutella Calzone is crisp and perfectly sweet, and is accompanied by fresh berries and banana.



The entire restaurant is beautifully welcoming, created by Sam Marshall, the architect behind LA-mainstay Republique. Note the bustling, magnetic open kitchen, the 50-year-old olive tree planted indoors, and the patio with glowing fire pits.

So what are you waiting for? Do what Kleinberger and Miele insist: eat, enjoy, be happy, celebrate! Neopolitan pizza is going to revolutionize the way you think about your favorite pie.

Midici is located at
14612 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

  • Genie Davis; All Photos: Jack Burke




Taking Flight at Art Share LA



The artists are ready for take off.


This is a great show. Filled with exciting, eclectic art that fits the categories of flight or patterns or – flight patterns, you won’t need wings to feel uplifted by this truly marvelous thematic group exhibition.

The show closes July 23, so get your metaphorical boarding pass and enjoy.

“From aerial photography to the fractal trajectories of birds taking wing, the alchemical mathematics of the human genome and the majesty of sacred geometry, the symphonics of computer code and the fundamentals of design — the human mind is tireless in its quest to recognize resonance of the micro and macro principles that organize our world.”  This curatorial statement sums up the varied beauty of the show. DiversionsLA had the privilege of meeting many of the artists and seeing all of the exhilarating works on exhibit.


Dani Dodge, above.

The title of this installation is Cumulus, Cirrus, Stratus. Video images of the desert, New York City, and airplanes are combined with delicate wire mesh and eyeglass lens sculptures of clouds.

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“I’ve been trying to explore place, and the effect of place in who we are, and exploring the idea of solitude vs. loneliness,” Dodge says. “You won’t have solitude in the city, for example, but you could be intensely lonely.” This stunningly poetic piece shows a time lapse of stars in the desert sky and a 25th-floor mid-town Manhattan time lapse view, images connected by her sculptures of clouds. A small TV monitor shows video footage of planes taking off from LA and San Diego, “vehicles for movement,” as Dodge describes them.  “The clouds each contain lenses that are referencing the ways we see and experience the world we inhabit; the planes are how we aspire to go to different places looking for different things.” The New York footage contains pinpoints of light which are airplanes; the desert footage, shot in Borrego Springs, contains the twinkling of stars.


Lorraine Bubar with her paper cut No Turning Back.

Bubar does an amazing and delicate dance with her wonderful paper cut art. “I relate to the heritage of paper cutting that’s in every culture, but create in a painterly contemporary way,” she says.

Cut out with an exacto knife, the top layer is intricate lace work. This piece addresses the pattern of over-development on the West side of Los Angeles.

The story she tells uses a contemporary version of an artistic technique employed by Asian and European cultures. The detail is absolutely riveting.

“I get into the rhythm of it. Every artist has a medium. I find it fascinating honestly to watch it literally unfold before my eyes,” Bubar says. She creates 12 to 20 of these powerful artworks each year, and you’ll find more of her work in a show at TAG in Bergamot Station this October.

“This technique is really a fusion of a folk art heritage traditional art form with painterly technique. All my interests came together in this medium,” the artists says. “I used to work in watercolor, now it is paper cutting. All my art forms are very labor intensive,” she laughs.


Sarah Stone, above, with her piece Flying to Summerland.  Created with oil paint, polymer, and paper mache, Stone’s title and the work itself refers to 1920s era spiritualism.

“It’s basically life to death, what happens after death and coming to terms with transition. In that time period, where you go was described as ‘Summerland.’ I thought that’s a really sweet expression about the afterlife, and I used that in my imagery. A lot of my work is drawn from dreams and mythology, and creating an empathic symbolism.”


Eliza Day-Green, above.

Green’s mixed media work is mostly acrylic and ink, mediums she uses to incorporate her background in textile design into her work. Rich colors and absorbing patterns create a truly textured look to her pieces here.

Originally from London,  Green has created a series based on paintings, music, and wearable art. “This painting is a part of that series, and I thought it was perfect for this show. I’ve always had a feminist perspective in my work.”


Maria Serrano, above.

“Wildlife is my passion and focus with photography. I teach my students about animals and conservation. I want to show them how beautiful these animals are, and how important it is to conserve them. Many people don’t have the opportunity to see these creatures up close and personal,” Serrano asserts.

She shoots using a 500 Prime telephoto lens, and while birds have been her primary focus – the three owls shown here were shot in the Salton Sea’s Sonny Bono Preserve, the 2nd grade teacher and fine arts photographer is planning a trip to Africa next year to photograph big mammals. Her startlingly fresh animal portraits are extraordinarily intimate.


Danielle Eubank, above, creates work in oil on linen. “Linen is more plastic and forgiving than canvas,” Eubank relates.  “And it lasts hundreds of years.”

Her subject, the oceans of the world, is vast, but each piece is based on a specific place that captures her eye and spirit. “I’m painting all the oceans on the planet. Each piece is a formal reaction to a place, there’s no narrative, it’s all about shape, color, line, and texture,” she states.

With only one ocean left to paint, what comes next?

“After the oceans, it will be all the seas. So far I’ve painted 200 bodies of water. I started in 2001. I’m an expedition artist, and I’ve been on three International sailing expeditions which inspired me to do this.” She adds: “What I’m doing is painting oceans in order to show the shared preciousness of water among all people.”



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Susan Melly, above.

“I’m the patterns of the Flight Patterns,” artist Susan Melly jokes. “For this exhibition I purposely selected a sampling of a smaller series within the pattern series of mine.  I’ve become totally obsessed with the patterns themselves, the symbols and everything. My most recent piece shows a mannequin, the torso and head, and the pattern is in black. This piece is titled Waist Line.”  Using iconic female imagery, Melly creates a kind of eternal pattern for life and happiness.

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Osceola Refetoff, above, with art critic and curator Shana Nys Dambrot.

Refetoff’s series Armchair in the Sky has been in progress for 20 years. 7 of these vividly colored photographs, depicting the view from airplane windows, are on display here.

“What led me to the subject was finding this vernacular photo in a flea market shot from airplane, an early commercial aviation plane with propellers. In forty years, the wings on our jet planes will be iconic. That was the thought process that led me to this series.”

Refetoff was also drawn to the framing of these shots. “I’m always trying to find something interesting in the foreground in landscape photos, and here it’s the wing,” Refetoff explains. “To shoot this series, I always try to get the same seat in the plane. It takes awhile to shoot, there’s not always cool stuff out the window, not always the same opportunity.”

Flight Patterns marks the first time Refetoff has shown this series in public. The vivid colors shown here were standouts that the artist printed from his extensive collection. “These particular pieces stood out to me because of the color. I had hundreds of photos to choose from.”


Daniel Leighton

Artist Daniel Leighton creates truly interactive paintings. Augmented Reality is viewable via the artist’s own created app, allowing him me to create another dimension of visual, aural and emotional movement when a viewer interacts with his pieces. “When viewed through the lens of a tablet or smartphone’s camera, certain pieces will come to life with Augmented Reality. I had the interactive idea since I was 12 years old. I went to film school, and then I started painting seven years ago. My technique is a way for someone to engage with the art. We are so attached to our phones, it’s a way to have different emotional experiences and spend more time with art.”

His works truly come alive, visualizing emotions as well as motion.

His painting above, Tied Up at the Hospital is based on being five years old and hospitalized, and the association of holding emotion off from the body. “It references six surgeries I had between age 11 and 21,” Leighton relates. “I just feel like as an artist I’m always challenging myself and evolving techniques and points of view.”

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Exhibited artist Nicolas Bonamy (left) with photographer and artist Robert Rosenblum, above.

Bonamy says of his large scale works, these featuring dark and sweeping images of birds, “The collage panel comes first, that’s the first layer, and the detailed work is part of the same process, background first, then I build up the foreground. I make the pieces as beautiful as I can.”


Johnny Taylor, above.

Taylor’s vivid work has a retro vibe with an intensely modern execution. Planes, helicopters, skylines dot his bright, stylized canvases. “My paintings explore the things we look at each day without seeing. Though everything is game imagery-wise, I am drawn to advertising images and glyphs, the visual shorthand of contemporary culture.”

Whether you fly, Uber, drive, or walk – don’t miss Flight Patterns.

Art Share LA is located at 801 E. 4th Place, in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; All Photos: Jack Burke





Nancy Evans Takes Root at Jason Vass Gallery


Tree. Lingam. Void. is a solo retrospective of work by Nancy Evans, a Los Angeles-based artist with some 40 years of nature-infused work in her oeuvre. At The Jason Vass Gallery through July 24th,  work in this exhibition was created in the last 15 years.


Curated by Michael Duncan, her mysterious, sometimes brooding, sometimes triumphal work elegantly portrays archetypical images that transcend cultures and dwell in a gauzy, imaginative realm between faith and fairy tales. Evan’s first major solo project since 2012, the show is inspired both by her global travels and her spiritual travels through a variety of myths, rituals, and shared images.


Evans says her work here is a mix of paint, paper, and sculpture, the sculpture bronze and aqua resin. Regardless of medium, the collection shares three different concepts, which interlock, weaving a story of the natural, the supernatural, the human, the god, and the dream.


Above, Nancy Evans.

“Tree is a dissection of above and below. The tree connects consciousness to something bigger than yourself,” the artist says.

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“Void refers to the idea of floating in a dream like structure, floating over an abyss that could be positive or negative,” Evans explains.

Her use of color compels viewers to enter a new visual palette, fresh and awakening, the feeling of a dream within a dream, the completion of a virtual landscape.


Lingam is a symbol for the Hindu deity Shiva, for the force of meeting matter to create existence, to create something out of nothing,” Evans asserts. The cylinder-like shape that symbolizes the deity recurs throughout Evan’s work, as do figurative forms representing Shiva and the Hindu deity Kali in her sculptures.

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Altogether, the Vass gallery is hosting a mystic experience, a whole shaped from three mysteriously wonderful parts. The exhibition is a visual swirl that transcends the obvious, and draws viewers into the “roots” of its trees, the unconscious space of the void, and the transcendent creation of lingam.

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The gallery is located at 1452 E. Sixth Street, in DTLA’s arts district.

  • Genie Davis; All Photos: Jack Burke