Chenhung Chen: I Ching in America

Chen 2In a beautiful, mysterious, and mystical way, Chenhung Chen creates delicate works of art from the detritus of technology.


Saturday marked the reception for and closing of a month long residence at Shoebox Projects in DTLA.

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Suspended from wires, the installation floated in air and fell like a discarded royal garment along the floor.


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Small colored heaps dotted one end of the room.

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Referencing the spiritual nature of the I Ching, of which this installation is part of an on-going series, there was a meditative quality to the fine wire crocheted elements, the intertwining of cords and and cables.


Like an art spider with a silky and serene web, Chen pulls viewers into her orbit and leaves them dangling with delight.


Watch for her upcoming exhibitions…in June 2018, Chen will be a part of the Torrance Museum of Art’s Studio System project: June 1 – June 30, 2018, creating art in a residency there.


Chen also has several lovely wall art works on exhibit at the Newberry Lofts’ Art in Place exhibition in Long Beach through the end of January.


  • Genie Davis; photos: Jack Burke, additional by Genie Davis

‘Tis the Season – for Winter Sounds in West Hollywood



The season has arrived – for holidays, the winter solstice, gift-buying frenzies, but best of all, for Winter Sounds, the city of West Hollywood’s free indoor concert series.

This year, three Saturday evening concerts are on tap, beginning this weekend, on December 2nd, with the smooth sounds of Jennifer Leitham and her holiday jazz show.  A world-renowned jazz bassist, composer, and vocalist, Leitham has played on upwards of 140 albums, including ten of her own. She’s performed with Mel Torme, Doc Severinsen, Peggy Lee, and k.d. lang, among others, and is the subject of  the award-winning film I Stand Corrected, a documentary about her public gender transition from John to Jennifer. At Winter Sounds, she’ll perform both warm holiday classics and standards.

Come January, when the holiday rush has settled down, listeners will have something to “hear” forward to – Paris Chansons French and Russian classics, on January 20th.  Los Angeles’ premiere French and international band, Paris Chansons offers original renditions of favorites from Aznavour, Brel, Dassin, Piaf and Montand, as well as songs by contemporary artists including Zax.  Their exhilarating performances feature four multilingual singers and keyboard, violin, bass, guitar, and drums . Along with international classics, traditional jazz standards will be on tap as Paris Chansons leads listeners on a global journey that may make you want to get up and dance. 

And February 17th, enjoy the American jazz standards of the Peter Kavanaugh Quartet.  A guitarist, bandleader and composer, Kavanaugh interprets jazz standards and popular American songs with a smoothly sophisticated take that’s infused with West Coast jazz. His upbeat sound features electric guitar and vibraphone as he transports listeners to the leisurely swing of post-war, mid-century-modern Southern California, and adds in unexpected thrills like Bossa Nova, blues, bop, and gypsy jazz.

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The concerts each begin at 5 p.m., offering an hour and fifteen minutes of scintillating sounds. All concerts are held at the West Hollywood Park Public Meeting Room/City Council Chambers at the West Hollywood Library; seating is first come, first served. 

The Library is located at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Free validated parking is available for the multi-story parking structure adjacent to the library.

Winter Sounds is sponsored by the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts program.  Click here for an online listing of the 2017-2018 Winter Sounds concerts.

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Infinite Content: Ceramic Stunners Opening December 2nd

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Coming up in December, Brainworks Gallery is offering a terrific series of small-scale, 3-dimensional works focusing on ceramics. Curated by ceramics artist and professor Farnaz Sabet along with gallerist Erin Adams, Infinite Content features the works of seven exhibiting artists: Debby and Larry Kline, Alexsandra Papoban, Leslie Goldberg, Alina Hayes, Derrick Isono, Sharif Farrag, and Kellan King.

As co-curator, Adams stresses “We were looking for the highest quality work, both precisely and professionally constructed, with an expansive political focus. Since we are living in such highly-charged times, it was natural to find art with content along those lines.” Sabet adds “Everything is shifting, everything is transitioning. Every work of art we look at, we automatically think of politics.”

Both political and transformational, the subject matter of the show is open to an expression of the infinite nature of conflict, existence, and self-exploration, which each artist presents in a unique way.

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Working in glazed ceramics, often incorporating China paint and luster, Alexsandra Papoban describes her work as revealing the “discomfort of viewing the world through the obstacles of darkness.” The artist has an eye afflicted with issues that compromise her vision, and she uses her own experience to merge blurred and stretched features and shape a unique interior view of the world.

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Alina Hayes creates sculptural forms grounded in traditional studio pottery technique. Using porcelain, lusters, decals, and glaze. and contrasting texture, color, and form, Hayes creates voluptuous, sinuous work in her “Carry Me” series, while in other works the glaze she uses is almost opalescent, shimmering and glowing, creating the look of liquid frozen in a single breath.

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Derrick Isono uses every-day objects and images as his inspiration,  creating beautifully defined clay works that include figurative images.

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Kellan King works in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic, shifting the context of objects through his perception of place. Surfaces shift from the expected allowing a change in scale and reality. His “Ossuary for Narcissa Drive,” above, includes gold luster, eucalyptus wood, and Lucite. Mysterious and disconcerting, his works visually shift and dazzle.

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Ceramic artist Leslie Goldenberg combines textures and details using the Raku firing process – she shapes meticulous works with what she terms “a spontaneous surface.” Her lush and haunting masks subtly evoke what it means to be human. “Masks represent the idea of a new identity or a hidden one,” Goldenberg notes.

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Sharif Farrag constructs richly layered ceramic works in a beautiful tangle of colors and forms that are both delicately sophisticated and whimsical.


Debby and Larry Kline work together, creating works that pose questions, shift context, and challenge preconceptions. “Humor softens the blow,” they report. With media that shifts depending upon the project they undertake, the pair have used everything from salt to Israeli mud, ceramics, foam, and cement to shape their works. “It is the process of experimentation that leads to truly amazing things in the studio,” they attest. Dealing with subjects both political, social, and humane, their witty, pointed, and above all, graceful, work is a conversation with the viewer.

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Co-curator Farnaz Sabet makes a comparison between the ceramic process and the human experience, saying that it “embodies the human spirit and becomes a metaphor for the self…We shift and twist to accommodate our daily struggles…The act of using different materials and tools to carve out layers of the clay on the vessel mirrors the revelation of the inner self.”

The artwork in this exhibition is infused with a sense of elegy and quiet passion: in short, a kind of infinite content.

Infinite Content runs December 2nd through 23rd at Brainworks Gallery, 5364 W. Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90019

Opening 5-8 p.m. Dec. 2nd; closing with artists’ talk Dec. 23 4-5 p.m.




Zoo Lights: Dazzling Displays and Nocturnal Creatures

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The Los Angeles Zoo’s now-traditional, always dazzling holiday offering, Zoo Lights, is back through January 7th. With live reindeer, a beautifully decorated Santa stop on select dates, and GLAZA’s opulent carousel to ride, this is a family fest that shouldn’t be missed.

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Above, a new LED-lit tree at the Zoo Lights entrance.

This year, tots in tow really got into the act, dancing to the holiday music, saying “Wow” to the lustrous display.

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Favorite sections of the show return this year, such as the purple lights and disco balls, the pink flamingos, the almost other-worldly green and orange ornaments with sparkling green lights dancing over the ramp that visitors can use instead of steps to enter the zoo.

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Awarded USA Today’s “10 Best Zoo Lights” honors in 2015 and 2016 and nominated again this year,  new features include a musical holiday tree, a re-designed water show, and a beautiful Northern Lights series of animal constellations.

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The finale – after passing through a more-dazzling-than-ever glittering tunnel, replaces the tribute to Hollywood visuals with a new Wild Wonderland that highlights endangered and vulnerable animal species. Faux snow also falls in a fun dance area which every small child we saw was absolutely thrilled by. 

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The ceiling of the reptile house, open for visitors to explore the exhibits, is more decorated than ever, too.

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As to the living creatures at the zoo, along with amphibians basking in the warm light of the reptile exhibit, there’s a lovely aquarium display.  Outside, swans sail and meerkats pop up for nocturnal views.

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A docent passed a set of shed-antlers from the reindeer, offering kids and adults alike a chance to touch these as well as watching Santa’s friends in their enclosure.

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For more information and tickets, click here. 

The L.A. Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Dr. in Los Angeles.

  • Genie Davis; photos Jack Burke