Four Solo Shows Connect at LAAA’s Gallery 825

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The “4 Solo Shows” now at the Los Angeles Art Association’s Gallery 825 are brilliant parts of a dazzling whole. From Chenhung Chen’s freestanding, exciting sculptures created from wire, cords, and the detritus of technology to Seda Saar’s complex, blossoming  works in colored plexiglass and mirrors, both what we see and what we imagine come to vivid life.

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Above, Chen with Entelechy #23

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Chenhung Chen’s “Entelechy” is a world built with wires and crocheted metal alloys, with each piece as packed with motion and inside-out exposed imagery as if living creatures have sprung to life from an alchemy of technology and spirit. With each piece vividly different and fluid, the powerful nature of Chen’s vision draws upon the feminine and masculine in each of us, upon the kinetic nature of life itself, humming through our veins as electricity does through wire.  Don’t miss the chance to “plug into” Chen’s compelling work.

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Above, Janine Brown

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Janine Brown’s “The Wallflower Project” haunts with delicate, almost translucent portraits captured through her self-made cardboard pinhole camera. The idea of a person being a wallflower is the inspiration for her works, an idea which came from a casual remark about her husband’s handsomeness and her own tendency to take a step into the background. The word wallflower was, the artist notes, “coined in Victorian times, a time period in which actual wallpaper was popular.” She started gathering wall- paper samples to create a look in which the subject begins to disappear into the patterns themselves. As her project has evolved, so has her art form, moving from the black and white images in this show, to color images printed directly on wallpaper itself.  The pieces here are haunting, images of the past captured through the prism of the present.

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Above, Seda Saar

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Seda Saar’s “Polyhedron : Art + Reality Are One” is all about illusion. Saar, who has also worked her magic in theme park design as well as sculpture, pulls viewers into a 3D vision that appears to go on forever, “like the ocean, on and on.” Layering light and color constructions made of plexiglass and mirrors, the trippy through-the-looking-glass feeling of Saar’s work is truly magical. The judicious use of mirrors creates a scene that feels like an alternate reality – figuratively stepping inside, the viewer sees the building blocks of fractals creating an entire universe both light and bright.

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Above, Devin Thor

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Devin Thor’s “Paleolithic Creatures” are also from an alternate reality, one in which extinct creatures live again as sculptures cut from sandstone. A geologist as well as an artist, Thor’s flat images are tribal in nature, astonishing in their simplicity, an elegy to existence lost, a hopeful monument to better stewardship for our planet. His minimalized approach is purposeful: limiting the number of lines necessary to define his creatures creates a universal reality uniting creatures of all kinds, even humans.

Unifying this exhibition of four brilliant artists is each of their attempts to create a reality that moves and engages. Whether through mirrors, wires, sandstone, or photographic images new worlds are opened, ready and waiting to explore and engage.

 

 

The Art of Walking: Fall Brewery Art Walk

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Paintings by Kristine Schomaker – contemporary mixed media-  Photo: Jack Burke

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MLA Gallery at Brewery Art Walk – a focus on fine art from Latin America – Photo by Jack Burke

Just east of downtown Los Angeles is the Brewery Art Complex, created in 1982 in what was once the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery. Hoist a glass in honor of the artist-in-residence code which allowed artists to rent both living and working space in buildings formerly zoned industrial. Renting only to artists, the Brewery is among the world’s largest complexes. The public gets to explore the sprawling spot and enjoy the opened studios of many artist residences twice a year – in spring and fall.

There’s a real steam punk feel to the cavernous space, where the Brewery smoke stack still towers over loading docks and gardens. The complex has evolved into eighteen acres of working artists perched in the northeast corner of the city. Not only is the area huge, so is it’s creative scope – painters, sculptors, photographers, performance artists, multi-media creators, and fashion designers all reside here.

Why should you visit? To experience the diversity and excitement of the art. Over a hundred residents participate, speaking with browsers and buyers about their work. Like no other art walk, the Brewery gives strollers a glimpse into what it means to be an artist, and the space the artists create in, eat, sleep, and dream in. And as an extra bonus, many beautiful, unique pieces are available for purchase, some well under $100. From plastic purses showcasing colorful neon strands to enormous paper mache drumsticks, perfectly crafted landscapes, textured portraits, and brilliant contemporary photography, there’s a wide range of talent.

This fall’s art walk took place Oct. 3rd and 4th. Each year, we have the pleasure of meeting new and unique artists, and visiting with those whose work we’ve come to admire. Here’s a mix of some of the works on view this fall – artists you should definitely check out when the spring open house commences, or visit their websites, follow their Twitter feeds, see their shows now.

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Kati V. Milano‘s archival pigment prints capture natural elements both animal and mineral from a recent trek to Iceland. Her photography has a visceral, tangible quality that makes you feel the rough wool on the sheep, the delicate trajectory of a feather, the sharp edges of ice and stone.

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In shared studio space with Milano, artist Ryan McIntosh exhibited his photos from the same recent Icelandic trip. Voluptuous ocean waves with the texture of lace, velvet, and satin are alive with motion in pieces such as “Ocean Variants 2014.” McIntosh is also the founder and master-printer of Miscellaneous Press.

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Jane Szabo‘s photographs of dresses are beautifully evocative. The dresses themselves are crafted by Szabo from everyday objects like road maps and coffee filters. “They suggest a persona and become a stand-in for myself, who I am, am not, and who I wish to be.” Her conceptual photography is alive with light, filled with metaphor, playful in its mix of fashion, photography, and the human form as sculpture. Szabo’s photographic work is both vividly representational and otherworldly.

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Victoria Sebanz is an artist who creates exciting mixed media including evocative, poetic photography – images that evoke another of her art forms: dance. The motion of dance, the subtle and curved shapes that are human forms, flowers, neon curves, the limbs of trees, the torsos of women – all captured in her work. Sebanz says “Movement, texture, shape and shadow are the bones for my work…”

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Kristine Schomaker‘s rainbow colors draw the eye, while the provocative social commentary of her collections engage the mind and illuminate the heart. Below, “A Young Girl’s Vanity.”

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Schomaker not only creates her own art, she supports other artists in the Los Angeles community through her company, Shoebox PR.

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“The painted mannequins are inspired by my Avatar in Second Life. In that virtual world, I used one of my paintings as a skin on my Avatar and it became a brand for me and my work. It was a natural progression to bring her into the real world. Painting a mannequin was the best way at the time to make it happen,” Schomaker says.

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Some of Schomaker’s paintings evoke calligraphy. Below: geometric shapes, feathered patterns, and a richness that evokes flight and music notes – a peacock in a painting.

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Below, artist Yvonne Beatty with a beautiful fall-colors piece, that is both realistic and as imaginative and detailed as a fairy-tale. “In my drawings and paintings I apply traditional and contemporary media using unconventional techniques. The challenge is to create works that, while static, gain movement in the viewer’s mind.”

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Below, Cynthia Friedlob once incarnated art aurally as a jazz singer. You can feel the jazzy rhythm in her pieces here. Her works are both brilliantly hued and meditative, and she says she would like to live in an Edward Hopper painting “with Bill Evans music playing softly in the background.”

 

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Below, Chuka Susan Chesney exhibits at FRESH, a contemporary art exhibition at Lamperouge Gallery, jurored by Jane Szabo, and assembled by the Pasadena Society of Artists. Chesney’s piece “Sister Cancer” proclaims that the disease will not defeat when smothered with love.

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Fine art photographer Lissa Hahn, below.

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Hahn’s images are created with no digital manipulation. The electric feel of her photography unfolds like a spin-art take on the world. She captures her subjects with one exposure, stretching out depth and colors into a complex visual pattern that illuminates and intrigues. Below, she shows off a beautiful creation of an entirely different nature.

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Below, artist Chenhung Chen, with pieces in a variety of different media.

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Chen focuses her art on the formation of line in drawings, sculptures, and 3D installations. Regardless of medium, her pieces are vibrating with motion, whether wire and metal sculptures, pristine line drawings, or hand-crocheted copper wire. Her work evokes the sea, the ceaseless rhythm of water, air, and life itself.

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Chen’s work exudes motion and life. Can inanimate objects be this animate?

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Want to walk for yourself? The Brewery art walk will be back in full bloom, come spring.

  • Genie Davis; all photos by Jack Burke

Magical Night at Gallery H of Phantom Galleries: “Where the Magic Happens”

Where the Magic Happens at Gallery H - curated by Kristine Schomaker - Photos: Jack Burke

Curated by Kristine Schomaker, the incredible collection of art on display at Gallery H of Phantom Galleries in Hawthorne was ablaze with magic Saturday night. The opening saw many of the 30-plus artists present.

Kristine Schomaker, left; Dwora Fried right
Kristine Schomaker, left; Dwora Fried right – Photos: Jack Burke

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Margaret Ouchida

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Works by Susan Melly

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Margaret Ouchida presents detailed, intimate pieces in “The Battle” and “T’ode to Klimt.”

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The exhibition’s theme, of getting out of one’s comfort zone to that special place where magic can indeed occur – or zen, or power, or enlightenment, however you want to look at it – was fully realized in virtually every piece. This group show has the feeling of celebration, and both in terms of the art created and the means by which it was created and displayed, the feeling was genuine. The exhibit included a wide variety of contemporary Los Angeles artists who go beyond conventional artistic boundaries  – the standard gallery system – to establish a vibrant presence in the art community. Presented by Schomaker’s company, Shoebox PR, the artists and their art have created an exciting body of work, and are each showing that work in independent, outside-the-system ways from artist-run galleries to online magazines like this .

From beautifully detailed small scale dioramas to large scale canvases and sculptures crafted from found-materials, there’s something for everyone in this exhibit. Perhaps its the freshness of approach or the freshness of the “we can do it” attitude by these artists, but this is a special show that unfolds the passion of art like the petals of a Georgia O’Keeffe flower.

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Terry Arena’s graphite on mixed media piece.

Artists exhibiting include:

Susan Amorde, Terry Arena, JT Burke, Jennifer Celio, Chenhung Chen, Jeanne Dunn, Dwora Fried, Rob Grad, Carlos Grasso, Cie Gumucio, Carla Jay Harris, Teale Hatheway, Cindy Jackson, Echo Lew, Erika Lizée, Susan Lizotte, Dave Lovejoy, Susan Melly, Freyda Miller, Mike M. Mollett, Andrea Monroe, Stacey Moore, Malka Nedivi, Margaret Ouchida, Lori Pond, Linda Sue Price, Lindsey Price, Isabella Kelly-Ramirez, Katherine Rohrbacher, Jane Szabo, Christine Weir

Here’s a closer look at some of the stellar pieces on display.

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Cindy Jackson’s “7 Deadly Sins” are crafted from wood, aluminum, urethane, paint, iPods, and fluorescent lights. And with these materials come seven heads, all the same but painted in a rainbow spectrum. “Because these sins are in each of us, the heads are all the same, with pride standing tall above the rest – anger, lust, greed, pride, envy – envy is always looking elsewhere, gluttony, and sloth,” Jackson says.

 

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Suzanne Lizotte blends the classical and contemporary, using aerosol spray and traditional oil-on-canvas painting in her rich “Seeking Treasure.”

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Mixed media artist Lindsey Price is a photographer with a vision, here “A Clockwork Orange” offers a stunning digital photo montage.

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Andrea Monroe’s stylized “The Harlot” and “The Oiran and Her Pussy” use acrylic on canvas to create full dimensional figures that pulse with life.

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Cie Gumicio’s “Fragile” uses mint glass and light to create a wispy, beautiful vision of the planet earth. “It reflects where we are now with our fragility as a planet,” she says. This delicate image shapes not just a planet but the construction of a leaf-like image when viewed from a certain angle – mother nature meets mother earth in a shadow box. “Art, at its best, reminds us that we are human,”  Gumucio says.

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Dancingly nuanced neon is served up by Linda Sue Price with her pieces “Joy Ride” and “Cynthia Rose.”

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Jennifer Cielo’s “Astral Travelers” is an example of the artist’s work which “expresses the effects of human disconnection with the natural world.”

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Malka Nedivi’s large scale “Woman in a Box,” evokes her singular style using wood with paper, fabric, acrylic, and glue to create an image of poignant beauty. A painter, sculptor, and collage artist, Nedivi says that all of her work is inspired by her mother, and both her parents’ previously unknown past as Holocaust survivors.

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Katherine Rohrbacher’s glittering canvasses “Early One Morning” and “Arcadia” are bright, sparkling, and brilliantly moving all at once. “I  draw everything on like a pattern, then comes the glue, and glittle applied with a paint brush. With only a few colors did I have to put paint beneath the glitter itself.” Her “Arcadia” relates the passing of her cat. “She’s entering a glittery cat Heaven,” the artist explains. “Early One Morning signifies the ending of a relationship, but also the passing of a small bird found on a balcony.”

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Chenhung Chen continues to amaze with her ever evolving art, crocheted copper with its amoeba like, sinuous shapes, a viewer-participation piece “Connect the Dots” that allows guests to literally do that with colored pencils, and free standing wire sculptures. Her works are fluid, like electronically charged water. Delicate and ephemeral are not often the words associated with recycled materials such as copper wires and components, but Chen’s work provides both. She describes her work as being “about the driving force for inner fulfilment, balance, meditative process…and experiencing the inner power.”

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Erika Lizee’s curved and haunting hanging piece is an example of the artist’s propensity to create installations that work as journeys, drawing the viewer down mysterious paths on a pursuit of nature and rebirth.

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Mike M. Mollett is the sculptor of large scale pieces created from found art, shaped into balls and bundles. His work provides an outside-in look into a different reality, in which balls and bundles of wires appear animate, hold secrets within secrets.

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Dwora Fried creates miniature tableaux, using tiny figures and photographs to create detailed worlds inside glass-topped wood boxes. “I keep re-creating the feeling of what it was like growing up,” the artist says, “the box captures the claustrophobic feeling a painting can’t,” she says.

With so many other artists to admire, grab a hold of the magic now. The show rums through October 17th. Gallery H is located at 12619 Hawthorne Blvd. in Hawthorne.

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  • Genie Davis; all photos Jack Burke

Chenhung Chen – The Power of Lines

What’s on the line in artist Chenhung Chen’s buoyant, powerful art? Line itself. Chen focuses her art on the formation of line in drawing, Chinese calligraphy, and American Abstract Expressionism, filling her own pieces – drawings, sculptures, and 3D installations – with the yin and yang of harmony and dissonance.

Delicate and ephemeral are not often the words associated with recycled materials such as copper wires and components, but Chen’s work provides both. In pieces like “Moment to Moment,” and “Water” exhibited at the Studio Channel Islands Art Center, Chen’s all-important lines are curved, willowy, tangled, and buoyant. Their representational shapes are less important than the feeling they evoke, or as Chen puts it “the Formless is the quintessential subject of my art, but we only know it through form.”

A good example of this wonderfully formless form is Chen’s 3-D sculpture “Constellations.” The piece has the qualities of an amorphous jelly fish and the meshed patterns of a sky full of stars and the universe itself. The copper wire she uses becomes a living entity, each fine, entwined element joined to another like the stars in the sky. There is both a vastness and an intimacy in Chen’s work; a sense of motion in the swirls, whorls, and coils. Her “How do you spin your yarn?” are eight separate “yarn” balls crafted from wire, each one seeming to swirl out of itself, ready to be born as something else – perhaps something as prosaic as a sweater, or perhaps a life force ready to animate.

Chen says “I appreciate the linear qualities inherent in nature,” and in her work, line appears to be the starting point for life and energy. She describes her work as being “about the driving force for inner fulfilment, balance, meditative process…and experiencing the inner power.” To the viewer, it’s the dichotomy between belonging and aloneness, or as Chen puts it, between “‘wholeness’ or ‘the self,’” a twin force which pulses through her visually haunting pieces.

Chen crafts much of her work from wire and wood, plastic casing, paper, paper clips and staples. Her goal is “to make sense of objects’ function or contrast them” in a vital way. She works with hard technological elements such as wire and components, yet manages to transform these objects into something fluid and almost liquid.

Now living and working in Los Angeles, Chen was born in Beigang, Taiwan, and received degrees from the Chinese Cultural University, and the School of Visual Arts in New York City where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree. A world traveler and non-profit volunteer, thematically Chen’s art focuses on a sense of external shape, force, and inner existence. Her internationally cultural background may influence the ideas of change and fluidity so redolent in the works she creates. In short: if one line leads to the next, that line is both tangled and filled with twists and turns in Chen’s work, a weaving of cultures and emotions, the stuff of life itself.

The artist will be participating in 2015 Annual Benefit Auction for the Los Angeles Art Association on August 1st, held at Gallery 825, in Los Angeles. This Summer National Juried Exhibition, is juried by Nancy Meyer, of the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, in Novato, Calif.

The artist recently participated in Art of Our Century at the Woodbury Art Museum at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, featuring the work of western regional artists.
Other recent exhibitions included her Blackboard Gallery Studio Channel Islands Art Center solo exhibition, Dancing with the Formless; Kuwento Engkuwentro: Angeleno Folklore, Legends and Sidewalk Stories, held at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument; the 53rd International Exhibition, at the San Diego Art Institute, San Diego; and Fusion, held at the Arc On-Line Gallery in San Francisco. As a part of a wide variety of group exhibitions in New York, California, and abroad, Chen’s art has been showcased in dozens of venues since beginning her career.

Chen describes her art overall as “about harmony and dissonance, peace and chaos, the beautiful and the grotesque, the subtle and the powerful. It’s also about the driving force for inner fulfillment, balance, meditative process, human internal structures, the transitional human condition, and experiencing the inner power.”

She began her art career formally in 2010, and attests to the fact that the desire to create art “must come from within. If one wants to be an artist, it’s because he or she needs to be one.”

An admirer of Cy Twombly’s paintings, Chen began painting in 3rd grade . Trained as a painter, she now works in diverse materials, and enjoys the challenge of working three-dimensionally, finding inspiration through a process of internal discovery, meditation, and life experience.

Currently working on her “Entelechy” series of sculptures, Chen recently moved into the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles, where along with her own work and involvement in the art community, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and family time. And finding lines, lines, everywhere a line.