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


Margaret Ouchida


Works by Susan Melly


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


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.



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.



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


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



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.


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.


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


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

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.”


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.


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.


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

San Pedro Art Walk – First Thursdays

San Pedro Art Walk - Photos by Jack Burke
San Pedro Art Walk – Photos by Jack Burke

San Pedro is a treasure-trove of artist-owned galleries and dynamic exhibitions. Every first Thursday the area around the iconic Warner Grand theater from 6th to 8th Street manifests a bountiful art scene in an evening art walk from 6-9 p.m.

Erika Lizee
Erika Lizee


Works by Erika Lizee, Echo Lew - Angels' Ink Gallery
Works by Erika Lizee, Echo Lew – Angels’ Ink Gallery

Yesterday, Erika Lizee and Echo Lew were among those featured at the opening of “Exuberance,” at Angels’ Ink Gallery, whose monochromatic theme was devoid of bright color, but nonetheless compelling.

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Huz Galleries
Huz Galleries

At Huz Galleries, Ngene Mwaura was putting the finishing touches on a piece that offered a beautiful contemporary spin on traditional African effigies; the water images of Huss Hardan’s blissfully surreal photographs, and the stunning colors of Wawi Amasha’s “Peacock Manifest” vividly drew viewers into this new gallery.


Jumbie Art
Jumbie Art


“Holographic Enlightenment” is the artistic message spread at Jumbie Art, where the owners provided 3-D glasses to enhance the enjoyment. The eye-popping wow needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate.

Gallery 478
Gallery 478

At Studio/Gallery 478, Ray and Arnee Carofano respectively showed evocative photographic art, many of Ray’s depicting LA River scenes, Arnee’s pieces including travel shots illuminating ocean shores and windshield views.

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Michael Stearns Gallery
Michael Stearns Gallery

And at Michael Stearns’ Studio 347, Stearns included pieces such as “Totem Forest” made whimsically from bathroom bamboo, in  a vibrant exhibit that also included the work of Lance Green.


Studio Hiroko
Studio Hiroko

Beautiful origami cranes representing the prayers of all religions, and utilizing the wood from a toppled bonsai tree, formed one of many untitled creations in the poetic studio and gallery space of artist Hiroko at her Studio Hiroko at 382 7th Street.


Rapping Sailors
Rapping Sailors

If art isn’t enough, check out street performers – including a group of excellent rapping sailors; food trucks, happy hours at local watering holes, and sidewalk sales by local boutique shops.

Rockin' in the alley
Rockin’ in the alley



The Garden Church: Rev. Anna Woofenden, resident park dinosaur, live music
The Garden Church: Rev. Anna Woofenden, resident park dinosaur, live music

There’s live music, delicious food, and a “feed and be fed” message at the welcoming Garden Church, too.

Other fine exhibits included the offerings at Warschaw Gallery. Artist Teresa Lewis Pisano exhibited in a converted-for-the-evening hair salon.


Warschaw Gallery
Warschaw Gallery
Wild Things by artist Teresa Lewis Pisano
Wild Things by artist Teresa Lewis Pisano

We’ll be profiling some of the individual San Pedro artists here in coming weeks, so stay tuned, and mark your calendar for September’s First Thursday art walk.

  • Genie Davis, all photos by Jack Burke

Erika Lizée

Erika emanantions

The delicate beauty and underlying strength of the paintings, drawings, and installation pieces created by Erika Lizee take viewers into a detailed world of flora and fauna, of magical phenomena, of the journey between the stamen of a flower and the multitude of stars in the universe.

Lizee’s coupling of the minute and beautiful with the infinite and grand just won the artist 2nd place at a LA Municipal Art Gallery exhibition. Lizee explains that she’s “awed by the vast intricacies of world we live in.” Her awe is evident in the magical quality of her work that shifts from the detailed reality of a perfectly rendered flower to cellular vastness that may be the unfolding of life itself or of a single living organism. In the artist’s words “I seek to express the sense of wonder I experience contemplating the fluid nature of reality. I am interested in representing the relationship between the known and unknown, the visible and invisible, the tangible and intangible.”

Erika And yet things continue to unfold

The artist creates installations that work as journeys, drawing the viewer down mysterious paths on a pursuit of nature and rebirth. Her sculpted acrylics work to mesh shadow and light, recreating the magical feel of the Northern Wisconsin woods in which Lizee spent much of her childhood. “I have a particularly vivid memory of studying the unfurling coils of a fiddlehead fern, and finding the mystery and beauty of this event,” she relates.

It’s the coupling of mystery and beauty, of a vast wonder and precise detail, that the Chicago-born Lizee shapes for the viewer. With a BFA in Painting from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and her MFA in Painting from California State University Northridge, Lizee is an Associate Professor of Art at Moorpark College and Director of the Moorpark College Art Gallery when she is not crafting her enigmatic, lush, and galvanizing works.

Erika Moving closer to solidity

Lizee’s drawings are perfectly nuanced graphite on paper, each more riveting and precise than the last. In “Moving Closer to Solidity,” two flowers, one light, one dark overlap. Sheer petals over solid, these flowers remind the viewer of lillies, orchids, the fecundity of spring. In “Clearly Visible,” three sprays of orchids are each wrapped inside cellophane. Are they isolated from each other and from us, or we from them? What do we see, in plain sight, but refuse to unwrap? What mysterious gifts await us that we package and contain, set aside and limit?

Lizee explains “Abstracted plant life emits ethereal and luminous forms that transcend our notions of natural phenomena. The viewer is often transported into a realm where pure essence radiates from bulbous pods and reaching petals, whispering a private invitation to the moment.”

erika breath

Her paintings continue such an invitation. In “Emanations,” a violet flower with grey and white circling ever outward from it, lights up this acrylic-on-canvas work. With “Connecting Breath,” white, purple, teal, and grey notes slip out with amorphous filaments born from a flower. Acrylic on linen, “Searching the Landscape of the Unknown” radiates an almost neon-quality brightness to white, blue, lavender, and brown filaments floating like smoke. It reads almost as if it were a detail taken and redefined from the artist’s larger, darker installation piece “…and yet, things continue to unfold.” This piece was a part of Lizee’s installation at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, created with acrylic on Duralar in shades of silvery blue , white, and light violet. The viewer wonders at what is unfolding here – the universe, a flower? Or perhaps both, all at once.

Like the lush flowers and filaments in Lizee’s work, the artist’s career is likewise unfolding, with exhibits scheduled for 2016 at the LAX, and at the 643 Project Space in Ventura. Lizee has recently exhibited at GALA Exhibits in Glendale, Calif., the JK Gallery in Los Angeles, and the FireHouse Gallery in Grants Pass, Ore., among may other locations. Lizee is currently exhibiting at Angels’ Ink Gallery in San Pedro, Calif. through September 25th, and at the BG Gallery in Santa Monica, opening on August 8th. She is also exhibiting at the LA Municipal Art Gallery Juried Exhibition through September 20th.

  • Genie Davis