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


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