The Collectivists: The Brand Library & Art Center

Steven Wolkoff's work with Durden & Ray


The Collectivists with Manual History Machines, Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los AngelesAssociation of Hysteric Curators, Monte Vista, Durden and Ray, and Eastside International / ESXLA is a wildly creative exhibition that highlights some of the most innovative art collectives exhibition curator Kara Tomé (below) could find.

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The show is as magical as it is meta. This is an exhibition that’s not only about art for arts sake but about the collectives that are creating an environment that supports and sustains art for art’s sake.

Being a part of a collective leads to an atmosphere in which a group can promote individual art for the greater good of all. It’s a very progressive idea, in other words, the type of idea we could use more of in politics today as well as in art.  The influence of the group offers new success for both its members and the group. Pretty cool, right?

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Featuring the works of more than 60 artists from six LA-based art collectives, Tome, along with Brand Art Center curator Shannon Currie Holmes (above) are offering a stellar show of cutting edge art.

Paintings, mixed media, and sculpture are each represented in a vibrant and compelling setting.


Above, installation artist Dani Dodge with her piece “365.”  Dodge notes “LA is a hard town to live in if you’re not a model. I wanted to do something that would give affirmation to people, even if it was only temporary.” To do so she left affirmations everywhere – in the sand, on a straw wrapper, some locations where her “just the way you are” encouragement would be visible for 6 months, other places where it would disappear almost instantly. She posted some affirmations in New York, but primarily Los Angeles was her palette for 365 days worth of documented personal positivity, presented on video here.


Above, Alison Woods with a glowing work that evokes a mosaic.


Above, David Leapman with “Individual Scent.” He notes “I’ve changed around a precise method of mine using a roller to now use brush work for a whole different feel. I mask to cut out the shapes. It’s a change from the normal way I’m working. ”


Above and below,  Rebecca Bennett Duke with “Over the Rainbow.”  Of her work she says “When I was a kid, my dad sold firewood in Vermont, and when my husband and I bought property in Eagle Rock, there was a wood pile.  Those were in part the inspiration.” The lightweight cast sculptures are whimsical and wonderful.



Above, Steven Wolkoff with another lighthearted work, a sculpture created entirely of Behr paint gummy bears. The mirror heightens the effect of a kind of endless, kinetic sorcery.


As we explored the exhibition space, we saw both vivid palettes and sculptures that use white the way Midas used gold…

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Bold and bright, or dark and mysterious as night…

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Both playful and edgy…there’s a dream-like quality to many of the works, a light but potent touch of the surreal.

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Above, Valerie Wilcox with her “Untitled.” She describes the medium as “Graphite, acrylic, plaster, and foam core on wood. It’s emblematic of lots of my sculptural mixed-media work.” Below, different takes on 3-D art.

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Sculptural and mixed media pieces are fluid and thoughtful…

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Above, David Spanbock’s work resembles crystals, translucent and exuding light.

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The personal and social merge…

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Above, the author with artist Dani Dodge

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Above and below, an homage to Prince, “Violet Ghost,” by Rema Ghuloum. “I sand between layers of dry and glazed paint, it builds up very slowly, dense, yet thin.”  The effect is that of a stained glass collage.

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There’s a lot of glow in this show.

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Above, the force behind The Collectivists, Kara Tome and Shannon Currie Holmes.

In short:  art is both an individual activity and a collaborative one. It is the support of a community and the power of personal passion. It is innovative, fragile, and always seeking a space in the world. The Collectivists offers that space to present art culled from groups who also offer the support and strength artists need to survive and thrive.

A shout-out to all the artists and collectives participating:

Durden & Ray exhibiting artists: Shiva Aliabadi, Jorin Bossen, Gul Cagin, Sijia Chen, Dani Dodge, Tom Dunn, Lana Duong, Roni Feldman, Jon Flack, Sean Michael Gallagher, Ed Gomez, Jenny Hager, Ben Jackel, Brian Thomas Jones, David Leapman, Alanna Marcelletti, Chris Mercier, Ty Powell, Max Presneill, Nano Rubio, David Spanbock, Curtis Stage, Jesse Standlea, Steven Wolkoff and Alison Woods.

Eastside International (ESXLA) exhibiting artists: Sarah Burwash, Bruce Ingram, Robin Tarbet, Stacy Wendt, Min Wong.

Manual History Machines exhibiting artists: Andrea Marie Breiling, Daniela Campins, Rema Ghuloum, Michelle Carla Handel, Bessie Kunath, Jill Spector, Tessie Salcido Whitmore and Suné Woods.

Monte Vista Projects exhibiting artists: Rebecca Bennett Duke, Michael Lewis Dodge, Danny Escalante, Roberta Gentry, Melissa Huddleston, Jay Lizo and Chris Miller.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid exhibiting artists: (from TSA Los Angeles) Carl Baratta, Vanessa Chow, Erin Harmon, Brittany Mojo, Liz Nurenberg, Brian Porray, Jonathan Matthew Ryan, Laurel Shear, Christopher Ulivo, (from TSA New York) Alex Paik and Andrew Prayzner, (from TSA Philadelphia) Mark Brosseau, Megan Biddle, (from TSA Chicago) Zachary Cahill, Michelle Wasson.

Association of Hysteric Curators exhibiting artists: Mary Anna Pomonis and Allison Stewart.

The Collectivists will runs  through March 12 at the Brand Library & Art Center, 1601 W. Mountain St, Glendale.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke, Genie Davis


We’re All – Naked Underneath

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Above, the art of Jane Szabo

The Brand Library and Art Center explores the – pun intended – naked truth of human existence in Naked Underneath, now through September 17th. And while this sounds like a weighty topic, the approach to this subject lightens the load of shared human struggle with identity.

Curator Shannon Currie Holmes presents the work of five artists in a variety of mediums. The theme of the show, that underneath whatever artifice we create we are all the same – naked below the surface – is as relevant as it is profound.

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Jane Szabo presents two series, both conceptual self portraits: “Sense of Self,” is a sequential set of actions, exploring the need for a sense of control over self and environment. Her “Reconstructing Self,” depicts dresses made from personal or familiar objects that suggest a persona as a stand-in for the artist, inviting viewers to connect and create their own mythologies from hers.

“Though my recent work has been photographic, my original training was as a painter, and I branched into working on installations during graduate school. In addition, my professional background as a model maker and scenic painter for film and television has informed my interested in materials and the tactile aspects of being an art maker. My project, Reconstructing Self, which is featured in the exhibition Naked Underneath, was a way for me to combine my interest in fabricating objects with the photographic medium. Though the photographs of my handcrafted dresses were well received, some curators also expressed interest in displaying the actual objects. The idea of creating site-specific installations within this project intrigued me, so I decided to fabricate a new piece specifically for the exhibition at the Brand Library.”

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Szabo’s piece has a special personal reference for her. “The focal point of this exhibit is an installation called La Boheme, which is an homage to my husband, who has the unique skill set of being a trained opera singer, as well as a surfer. ”

Szabo says because The Brand Library specializes in collections of art and music, and it was important to give a nod to the institution, as well as telling a personal story. 

“La Boheme features a papier-mache dress surfaced with pages from the opera score for La Boheme. The suspended dress floats above the ground, and branching out from the base, are “sound waves” made from more pages from the libretto. The beating heart of the metronome is just one of the added effects that accompany the installation,” Szabo relates.

Each of the five artists represented in the exhibition approach the theme of identity differently, and exquisitely.

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Cathy Akers uses photography and porcelain, two separate mediums to convey the same message of the necessity and struggle for human connection. Her photographic collages are haunting and ghostly, exploring the presumption of family in 1960s era communal living.

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Tim Doyle’s sculptures are abstract and sexualized, with round edges and phallic shapes taking on a sensation of softness, the illusion of a giant’s body parts. The shapes are compelling, and even mystical.

Brand Colleen Kelly

Colleen Kelly offers a pointed look at censorship and body shaming in her works, which use chine-colle, a printmaking technique that transfers images to a heavier supporting material. The result weighs clothed figures as the nude figures shift more freely.

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Alison Kuo uses delicately realized water color images to show oblique and unidentifiable subjects in perfectly realistic yet dream-like terms.

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And Carrie Yury presents riveting diptychs that vividly represent domestic environments which contain, sustain, and confine the human body.

So go ahead, get naked. At least metaphorically speaking. The exhibition runs through September 13th, and a closing is planned. The Brand is located in Glendale at 1601 W. Mountain Street.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: courtesy of Jane Szabo, and The Brand Art Center.