Gimme 5 Closes at MuzeuMM

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Closing this Sunday, October 15th at MuzeuMM in mid-city,  don’t miss Gimme 5, juried by gallery director Mishelle Moross, and Juri Koll, director of ViCA, the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art which partnered with MuzeuMM on this project.  The international juried show is an exciting mix of mediums and artists, from the photographic to the sculptural, from paintings to drawings.

The extremely well curated, tight show features a wide range of incredible, museum quality pieces – so in short, go to the closing, this Sunday at 3, and prepare to be dazzled.

The longer version? See work such as a stunning slide triptych by Tracey Weiss;  archival pigment prints such as Sacred Steel by Diane Cockerill, and Boy on Trike – Niland, CA by Osceola Refetoff. While Weiss is working in sculptural form, all three artists are using photographic materials to create works that are astonishingly fresh, vivid, and meaningful.

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Catherine Ruane’s astonishing graphite and charcoal work depicting the flora and fauna of the natural world as always amazes with detail and passion, here with Gargoyle. Working in mixed media, Steve Seleska’s Landescapism #2,  above, makes viewers want to literally and figuratively dive into his work.  Frederika Roeder’s mixed media  Power of Sun, dazzles with depth and color, below.

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On the wall, above, Hung Viet Nguyen’s Sacred Landscape #8, is an oil on canvas work, one in a series of spiritually nuanced, brilliantly textured works that evoke something otherwordly as well as a state of grace. Here, the rich aqua of the water contrasts with a dark sky and dark trees. Randi Matushevitz’ Dive In, is a mixed media work that also evokes both darkness and light, with floating faces a potent metaphor for life itself.

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We continue to be impressed with Scott A. Trimble, above, here with a somewhat ghostly, almost ethereal figure in The wants of true #empathy. Glenn Waggner’s oil on panel Pigs in Bumper Cars, charms with a surreal edge; while Steven Fujimoto’s mixed media Scratch Built is an impressive large sculptural work that defies easy categorization. Bryan Ida’s vibrant acrylic enamel and urethane abstract, China Basin (below) and Campbell Laird’s shimmery Rain dream gray no.1, 016, a resin film print are also stand outs. The large scale cast aluminum of Thaddeus Gesek’s Hello & El Jefe, is a terrific piece, full of motion, instantly iconic images, figures that look ready to spring into life.

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With so many other fine pieces too numerous to mention, an encompassing layout throughout the gallery and onto the patio space, and a mix of mediums as varied as the subjects portrayed, this is an exhibit that will resonate long after viewing.

Go on, get out, go see. Gimme 5 will get you at least a million’s worth of artistic pleasure and passion.

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Muzeumm is located at 4811 W Adams Blvd., Los Angeles

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis

Trees in Wolves’ Clothing: Powerful, Personal, Provoking

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With Trees in Wolves’ Clothing, now through October 13th at the Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills, Curtis Weaver offers a whimsical yet thought-provoking look at nature. Call them tree portraits, Weaver’s sculptures compare and contrast nature, man-made objects, and the power of humans to alter our natural world.  His view of evolutionary biology is fascinating, but even more so is purely alive quality of his mysterious, strange, absorbing work.

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Weaver says “The accentuation of the connection we have to other living things has been a constant in my work for quite some time, and my overall interest in evolutionary biology.  I became fascinated by the similarities between trees and human circulatory and respiratory systems after seeing the Bodies exhibition at a science museum in Tampa, Florida back in 2005.  There were these amazing pieces where they had injected different groups and in some cases entire human bodies of blood vessels with a very luminous resin.  They washed away the rest of the body mass with acid, leaving only the vessels displayed in bright red resin.  I was completely amazed by this- being able to see the complete contours of the body represented only by tiny, stringy and frail blood vessels.  I was reading a lot of big-history, geological timeline type literature, and Darwin’s Origin of Species at the time.  I soon began focusing on trees and their function on the Earth–  thinking of the Earth as an entity much like an individual organism with many moving parts, made up of millions of smaller organisms.  Like a giant spherical animal, I suppose.  That was the first time it really hit me how much the structural similarities of all these things were also echoed in their physiological functions.”

 

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Weaver began creating work by building fictional and absurd but slightly plausible ecosystems comprised of biological relationships between the characters which operated in a co-dependence web, similar to in the real world.  “These installations were like still-captured moments depicted by three-dimensional figures- much like a museum diorama you could walk through. The scenarios were meant to be informative and educational, but at the same time completely preposterous and goofy.”
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When he began working on Trees in Wolves’ Clothing he wanted to be direct, and employ a narrative that resonates with viewers, drawing them into the gallery with
“something cute in the gallery windows” which upon entering the main space “turns into something similar, but larger and more grotesque.”
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Weaver says “I think much of it was fueled by our current political climate, or maybe it was always there within me, but as of recent I had been feeling a bit more angsty and stirred up. The blatant negligence I see from our current presidential administration on environmental issues fueled a lot of my recent inspiration. Social issues hit hard, and even though I have my opinions on them, I accept that for numerous reasons, whether through ignorance, or just flat out bigotry, people get caught up in their own bubbles. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. It doesn’t perplex me. With that being said, nothing heats me up and baffles me more than seeing someone in a position of such high authority – with ample support from the public –  making astronomical decisions that catastrophically affect not just our nation, but the physical well-being of the entire planet.”
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The artist adds “This is where I decided, if I’m going to make sculpture about the mentality that humans reign supreme over the earth through exploiting similarities between humans and other organisms, why not use the actual organisms? Why not use the actual trees? …it is meant to strike a nerve.  It is meant to trigger thoughts and awareness of the biological connections between us humans and the rest of nature.”
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And so Weaver set to work using natural materials.  “A big part of these sculptures was the method of sculpting, being more of a reassembling of objects rather than a carving or shaping of a material. It was very important to me to only render the color and sheen with transparent finishes, letting the natural shape, texture and contrast sing through the surface and provide the visual relationship I was looking for.
I needed to get these things into pieces, so they needed to be broken or cut.”
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“You will notice everywhere something is cleanly cut there is a blood-vessel looking branch growing out.  The cross-cuts I felt also paired nicely with the pieces resembling hanging meat- accentuating the connection between not only the physicality of the wood to animal flesh, but processes we see as familiar with both, especially from a commodification perspective.  Harvested cut logs and harvested cut animal parts.”
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 The character in each individual piece is one of the most unique aspects of this work. Weaver says he was able to “establish an overall aesthetic with a blurred finish line that I could decide upon spontaneously.  And even more so, with quite a few of these pieces, the shape, form and detail of the found branch would have very much to say about how and why I would transform it.  For instance, Trunkated was one of the earliest pieces.  The splitting sections of bark repelling away from each other like the Pangea into the continents as we know them today caught my attention…and the fact that it pretty much looks like an elephant’s trunk!  I experimented with getting bright visceral looking pigments into the cracks without disrupting the surface of the bark, wanting it to look like some kind of metamorphosis happening under the surface that you can see, but not completely see.”
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For Weaver, one of his favorite parts about creating these works was the fact that he used natural substances to shape them. “I love the fact that instead of using gallons and gallons of toxic resins and hazardous processes I was able to pull these tree parts that were otherwise headed for a dumpster or burn pile, or maybe just left on location to rot or burn, and with 99% water-based surface treatments transform them into my favorite body of work to date.”
See for yourselves! Garboushian Gallery is located at 427 N. Camden in Beverly Hills.
Genie Davis; photos: courtesy of the artist, and Genie Davis

 

Fabrik Projects Gallery: Elevating the La Cienega Scene with California Rising

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With the launch of a new gallery on La Cienega’s gallery row in Culver City, Fabrik Projects Gallery is stepping off the printed page and firmly into the gallery scene with California Rising. The inaugural exhibit features contemporary art by 42 emerging and mid-career artists, most of whom live and work in the Golden State.

Curator and gallerist Chris Davies has assembled an eclectic exhibition that ranges from whimsical resins to inventive mixed media constructions and avant-garde paintings.  

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Jane Szabo’s lustrous photographs of personal family objects – still life work taken from her haunting Family Matters series – is represented with her “Fortitude.”

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Stuart Kusher’s “Fragment,” a gorgeous golden wing sculpture is as rich as it’s material.

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Megan Frances’ perfectly abstract tender green tendrils in her “Fleur de Lys 6,” above.

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Nancy R. Wise’s “Purple Mountain Majesty,” a brilliant, pastel-colored vision of a California freeway in a dream, is another standout.

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Working acrylic on canvas, Astrid Francis’ “Starry Nights,” above, is a non-representational, complex, and finely detailed work with bold,  brightly hued creatures populating a rich backdrop of dandelion.

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“Inner Space,” by fine art photographer Richard S. Chow, contrasts the vivid color of Francis’ work with his strongly composed black and white abstract exploring the interplay of light and space. The photograph is reminiscent of charcoal or graphite drawings. 

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Sarah Hadley’s sensual “Desire Under the Trees”  features a sharply focused pair of woman’s legs, a recurring theme in Hadley’s work. This complex composite image features foliage, flowers and evergreens, all disquietingly echoing the image of the legs. 

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Betsy Enzenberger’s whimsical Mini Pops & Ice Cream Cones sculptural series challenges ideas of transience with resin sweets as classic symbols of an ephemeral childhood that will not melt away.

Fabrik Projects Gallery brings together a mix of paintings, photography, and sculpture in a show that vibrates with the color, hope, and resilience that does indeed mark the rising fortunes of California’s thrilling art scene. 

CALIFORNIA RISING
2636 S. La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
September 9 – October 16, 2017

Lisa Broadway with Genie Davis; photos by Lisa Broadway, Genie Davis, courtesy of the gallery, courtesy of Richard Chow

Closing this Saturday: Awesome Abstract Works at Durden and Ray; Wild Imagination in Mixed Media at KP Projects

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Above from Antipodal at Durden and Ray, work by Fran O’Neill

Two terrific shows are closing this weekend, at Durden and Ray in DTLA, and at KP Projects both in their mid-city gallery location and Chinatown pop-up space.

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Above, work by curator Max Presneill at Durden and Ray

At Durden and Ray, a vibrant array of abstract art bridges the many miles between Los Angeles and Australia, with Antipodal. The exhibition features works from both parts of the world Curated by Max Presneill and Chris Trueman, the show features work by artists Marcus Boelen, Jonni Cheatwood, Abby Goldstein, Elizabeth Gilfilen, Carlson Hatton, Max Manning, Fran O’Neill, Max Presneill, Bryan Ricci, Kimberly Rowe, Tom Savage, Emily Silver, Paul Weiner.

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Above, American artist Kimberly Rowe with her work “Pick Me Up,” a deliciously layered work.

The show provides a global take on abstraction; viewers can judge for themselves whether the art form transcends all boundaries or if the works differ by continent. The artists have in common that they are all represented by TWFINEART in Brisbane, Australia.  The title may say it all: antipodal can be defined as “relating to or situated on the opposite side of the earth.”

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Works bring the viewer to images that evoke both land and sea. Rich, dense, and vivid, the exhibition literally and figuratively fills the exhibit space with light and color.

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Above, Elizabeth Gilfilen at Durden and Ray.

From the abstract to the surreal…

At KP Projects, both the Chinatown pop up location near the now-defunct Hop Louie restaurant, and the La Brea Gallery feature works by Victor Castillo and Scott Hove.

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Hove’s installation gives viewers their cake but they can’t eat it, although the visually voracious can take a big bite of the artist’s cake-themed installations. In Chinatown, an immersive “Pentagon Cake Infinity Chamber,” above, brings viewers inside a mirrored cake; while his multi-media works at the La Brea main gallery include a bed, a gun, a chandelier – none of which, if you were not familiar with Hove’s work – you will have seen in this form.

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Above, gallerists at work; below performance as part of the opening art

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In many cases, you will be less inclined to want to take a bite of these sculptural confections than you will be a bit edgy that the works will come alive and take a bite out of you. The Chinatown pop-up, Last Ticket for the Beauty Train has as its centerpiece a pentagon shaped infinity chamber,  with tiered cake sculptures and disco ball; and an altar of bones and flowers. Oh how soon the beauty is devoured. The center piece of the larger exhibition on La Brea is a bed, which on opening night had lithesome ladies dressing around it and at a vanity. This is where you fall asleep, perchance to dream a confectionary seductive nightmare. Hove never ceases to engage, enthrall, and seduce with his work  – work which seems entwined in Los Angeles culture.

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Victor Castillo’s Broken Hearts is likewise compelling, the Chilean pop-surrealist offers cartoon fairytale images with an exposed dark underbelly.

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Alas, poor Mickey.

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Both shows close this weekend – so hurry up and go!

KP Projects is at 170 S. La Brea in mid-city; the pop-up exhibition is in Chinatown, on the plaza.

Durden and Ray is located at 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave. in DTLA.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis and courtesy of KP Projects.