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

CA 101 2015

Photo by Jack Burke
Photo by Jack Burke
Photo by Jack Burke

Friday night marked the opening reception of CA 101 2015, a fantastic exhibition at “The Industrial Cathedral” a.k.a. the AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach. From site specific installations to immersive 3D video to evocative photography, don’t miss this show, on view again next weekend, Friday 8/7 to Sunday 8/9.

A Comfortable Skin - Kristine Schomaker Photo by Jack Burke
A Comfortable Skin – Kristine Schomaker
Photo by Jack Burke

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Photos by Jack Burke
Photos by Jack Burke

This is the fourth year for what has become an annual exhibition including a wide variety of cutting edge visual artists from throughout California. Over 126 artists are exhibiting 157 works. It’s hard to say what’s most compelling here. There’s Mike Saijo’s brilliant immersive images, One and Three Parallax Views? Put on your 3D glasses and check it out. Explore Kristine Schomaker’s  kaleidoscopic mixed media Bloom, Cie Gumucio’s intense tributes to writers including her Shadows and Light Within spotlighting Emily Dickinson. Listen to the wild caw of peacocks emanating from the doorbell at Patty Grau’s “crime scene,” Peacock Blues.  Get dazzled by the raiment displayed by Diane Strack’s Vestament: Reflections on Religion. Yes, there are also stunning, LA-evocative paintings like Lena Moross’ Red Couch #1 and Scott A. Trimble’s Two More in the Bonding Sea. Photography as wide open as the desert it depicts in Cameron Mcintyre’s Out on the Flats. The semi-apocalyptic daydream that is Ariel Swartley’s Beach Town.

Lena Moross - Red Couch #1 - Photo by Jack Burke
Lena Moross – Red Couch #1 – Photo by Jack Burke

But truly, this isn’t about one or even several artists. This is a seminal collective exhibition. The space itself, with it’s surreal, industrial green heights creates an aura half-way between factory and submarine. The mix of art forms, from watercolor to sculpture is simply too good to miss.

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All photos by Jack Burke
All photos by Jack Burke

So what are you waiting for? Take off for a day at the beach coupled with great art, or ruminate on what you’ll see here with an after-art stroll on the sand. For once, driving to DTLA isn’t necessary to experience some of the finest art and artists California has to offer. One caveat: it’s not actually accessible from the 101. You’ll need to take the 405.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke

A Profile of Visual Artist Cie Gumucio

 

Photo by Jack Burke
Photo by Jack Burke

“Art, at its best, reminds us that we are human,” visual artist Cie Gumucio says. And certainly, her art brings the spiritual components of our existence into clear focus. Gumucio, a resident of Redondo Beach, Calif., mixes media the way writers mix metaphors and similes – creating, in the artist’s own words, “images that when brought together in surprising juxtaposition often show a hidden doorway to the subconscious, sometimes whimsical, at times profound, ultimately reflecting a greater interior truth.”

Her recent solo installation of “Writers in Search of the Sacred” was exhibited at Studio 347/ Michael Sterns Gallery San Pedro, Calif. earlier this summer. This large-scale multi-media exhibit is a cavalcade of images and emotions, featuring Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row,” Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” and the collected poems of Emily Dickinson. Gumucio focused on these authors and these particular works due to a shared thematic component in their writing that surprised the artist, a “yearning for the transcendent and sacred.” From that place of redemption, Gumucio created a mixed media assemblage comprised of a veritable artistic kitchen sink: sculpture, photography, large-scale video, collage, mobiles, found art, painting, and pastels. Each writer is presented with a full world of objects and art that resonate with their subjects and styles.

photo by Jack Burke
photo by Jack Burke

 

In the section of the installation devoted to Kerouac, the artist shapes a feeling of momentum and infinite possibility. A video installation creates the sensation of the viewer sitting behind the wheel of Kerouac’s car, looking through the windshield. Road maps form the textured background of a portrait of the author. A narrow highway is divided with cigarettes serving as the lines in the road; coffee cups along the shoulder stand watch as mileage markers or roadside memorials. Separately, a manual typewriter holds a sheet of paper imprinted with a broad tire track. The overall effect is perpetual motion, the pull of the road and the pull of something deeper within the author and the viewer.

             Emily Dickinson, through the eyes of Cie Gumucio

With each of the authors depicted, Gumucio uses images culled from their writing to express the soul of the writer – an open bird cage for Dickinson, a fishing pole for Hemingway – and takes those images one step further, into a place where viewers can identify not just with the writer’s craft and soul, but into the spiritual longing in their own hearts. In short, Gumucio gets it: words paint a picture in these writers’ works, a sacred picture. In turn, she paints sacred pictures based on their words. “Through this exhibit I hope to deepen an understanding of these writers’ writing through art,” she notes. And in the process, she also deepens the viewers understanding of art itself, whether it’s found in the written word or on a painted canvas.

While this powerful installation is Gumucio’s most recent, the artist has created a wide variety of dynamic art forms over the years, including video installations embedded in canvas, and singular installations such as “Visible Light” which shimmers with green, blue, and gold orbs caught in a wire mesh reminiscent of a fishing net. The viewer gets the sense that Gumucio is indeed fishing: for meaning, form, color, and the spiritual. Her mixed media photo assemblage “Wedding Toast,” with a partially burnt wedding invitation and pearl necklace emerging from a toaster is another case in point. With the frame partially singed as well, Gumucio seems to be revealing what can happen when love becomes forgotten “toast,” while playfully mocking the concept of the classic champagne toast to the bride and groom. The artist also creates stellar travel photography, revealing haunting and vivid images such as a slightly bent figure of a woman in black walking down an alley in Greece, that portends mystery.

In short, the road to the heart-filling “Writers in Search of the Sacred” has been well-trod by the Gumucio. In other forms and mediums, the artist has served up images that couple a sense of longing and a lust for life. This is an artist driven to find the core in all art forms, and the viewers who experience it. She distills the essence of creativity and shares it in “art that provokes a conversation about the meaning and mystery of being human.”

As well as Studio 347, Gumucio has exhibited recently at the Downtown LA Art Walk, the Torrance Art Museum, the South Bay Contemporary in Palos Verdes, Calif., and the R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Currently a part of the incredible collection of art that is CA 101 at The Industrial Cathedral, a.k.a. AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach,  artist Cie Gumucio should be one of many reasons for a visit to the exhibition. 

  • Genie Davis