Gallery 825: Countenance Divine plus Stellar Solo Shows


Above, from The Shrine of Stolen Identities

The Los Angeles Art Association’s Gallery 825 often hits it out of the art ballpark with their well-curated solo and group shows. Running through November 18th, the La Cienega gallery offers three solos and one group show that is definitely a home run.

In the front room, Countenance Divine is a multi-media exploration of portraiture in art. Ranging from photography to graceful watercolors, the show was juried by Rick Royale.  Participating artists include Robin Adsit, Robyn Alatorre, Susan Arena, Donna Bates, Maria Bjorkdahl, Ivan Bridges, Annie Clavel, Allan Denolo, Tina Frugoli, Rob Grad, Vicky Hoffman, Brittany Hutchinson, Lynda Keeler, Coolen M. Kelly, Gershon Kreimer, Campbell Laird, Jun jii Le, Theodosia Marchant, Lena Moross, Malka Nedivi, Julio Panisello, Justin Robinson, Ann Marie Rousseau, Sheli Silverio, Howard Steenwyk, Susan Swihart, Jane Szabo, Devin Thor, Ariel Vargassal, Iben G. Vestergaard, Peter Walker, and Diane Williams.


Lena Moross, whose method of working is usually to create a series on a specific subject, was captivated by the Carmine Messina after meeting him, heavily made-up and dressed in women’s clothing, on a Hollywood street corner. Through that meeting, Moross began to explore, with her subject, what it means to be transgender. Exhibited here is a piece from that series, “Red Pillows,” delicately drawn and vibrantly colored. Using watercolor and ink, Moross has created a intimate and sensual painting that respects and pays tribute to Carmine’s story.


According to fine arts photographer Jane Szabo, “Photographs of dresses made from familiar objects such as coffee filters and road maps, suggest a persona, and become a stand in for myself.” This is a unique version of the self-portrait, which invites viewers to form their connections and myths.  The digital photography archival pigment print displayed here is “Money,” from her series Reconstructing Self.  The money dress and money beneath it is a fascinating stand-in for that part of the artist that must, as we all must, seek renumeration for our work to thrive.


Robyn Alatorre’s “Canto VI,” oil and ink on canvas is a portrait of a different sort, one that is as controversial as it is riveting.  Alatorre calls her work “feminist, subversive, and obsessed with color.” The neo-surrealist here depicts a couple with fingers in their throats, attempting an antedote to gluttony.

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Malka Nedivi’s “The Bride” is embelmatic of her work as 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. Nedivi’s work uses a great deal of wood and fabric. Here, the large scale mixed media on canvas work features a bride whose bountiful skirt is the color of autumn leaves, and asserts in its own passionate way a presentation on the passage of time.


Diane Williams photographic work, a photo from the performance of “Monsters & Aliens #2” is a look at just who we are and what we hide behind; Sheli Silverio offers a beautifully drawn watercolor and oil, “Sharing Cereal” that evokes an untold intimacy.


Annie Clavel’s lush watercolor on paper, “Lui,” differs from the work we’ve been familiar with that features mixed media on canvas paintings and a preference for the abstract.  Here we have a narrative figure, a profile portrait that is both haunting and pastoral.

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Moving on to the solo shows on exhibit, Zeal Harris offers a series of stunning works created in dye sublimition on fabric. Home Remedies for Driving While Black is both political and poignant, an autobiographical and biographical statement that has universal reach. Dealing with the intensely pertinent subject matter of police brutality, police killings, and racial profiling, Harris approaches the weightiness of her sculpture with a delicate, light touch, one that resembles the creation of banners, tapestries, and animation cels.

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Her deftly accessible style draws viewers into a world that they may not personally know, but which her incisive commentary virtually insists they become immersed in. A raw and riveting show.


In the middle room, Bibi Davidson’s The Girl in the Red Dress continues the artist’s use of her intense primary color scheme and an alternative universe in which her stand-in, her “girl” represents the artist herself. Davidson’s work always enthralls: for more on this stunning solo show, read the details on the artist’s movement into some incredible three dimensional works at Art and Cake.

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The Shrine of Stolen Identities explores the diversity that exists far beyond our collective obsession with celebrity culture. The collaborative duo “steph ‘n snez,” artists Stephanie Sydney and Snezana Saraswati Petrovic offer an immersive multi-media installation designed to dazzle with an homage to unknown artists who made the trek to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune, and to their unique individualism.

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A performance component was a highlight of the opening October 15th, and will be offered again on Saturday October 29th, when at 4 pm, will enact a 15-minute performance,  a re-imagining of a Buddhist sand mandala producing a glittering replication of a Hollywood Walk of Fame star on a mirrored table. The artists wish the Buddhist ritual of impermanence to speak to the impermanence of the values that our celebrity-obsessed culture indulges.

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So — go for one, go for all. Gallery 825, located at 825 S. La Cienega has a divine countenance indeed this month.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke



Elyse Wyman’s Conceal/Reveal at the Los Angeles Art Association


Elyse Wyman’s Conceal/Reveal explores the connection between personal identity and body image in a stunning exhibition focusing on the female body in our culture. Wyman uses plastic forms as symbols of our emotional defenses, and layers these sculptures with found objects and fragments.

One of three solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles Art Association through November 20th, Wyman’s show is a brilliantly layered exploration of the female form, and it’s meaning in society and our minds.

Wyman with "Fire in the Belly" - all photos: Jack Burke
Wyman with “Fire in the Belly” – all photos: Jack Burke

In her piece “Fire in the Belly,” Wyman utilizes a voltage sign she found broken into two pieces. “I immediately thought I had to have this for something. My husband calls me a pack rat, but eventually the use reveals itself,” she says. “My process is similar to my work: what do we conceal and what do we reveal about ourselves.”


Wyman says her pieces were “born during my own bout with breast cancer. I had to examine what a torso really means to us, as a receptacle of us, of our heart and our guts,” she notes.


The Los Angeles Art Association is located at 825 La Cienega in West Hollywood.

  • Genie Davis; Photos by Jack Burke

Lori Pond: Menace at the Los Angeles Art Association

Lori Pond at LAAA - all photos: Jack Burke
Lori Pond at LAAA – all photos: Jack Burke

The Los Angeles Art Association is packed with great exhibits through November 20th, a great reason to head up to the gallery’s West Hollywood location this fall. One of the shows currently presented is Lori Pond’s Menace.

The show is a riveting collection of photographs that depict darkened, wild animals that frighten and compel at the same time. These images are actually taxidermied creatures, photographed in sunny shops, manipulated by the artist to manifest images that could terrify – except they really can’t.


It’s the duality of these images, from cape bufalo to bear, opossum to wolf to bird, that is so riveting: why do they frighten us? Are they impotent or do they still contain the potential to terrify, if only in our minds. This is the first solo show that presents this particular body of Pond’s work. Another series of Menace images recently debuted in Philadelphia.

According to Pond, “There are different pieces in this show than there were back east. There are some new ones which I did after the Philadelphia show. I found a taxidermy shop there in April and took some new shots – two of them went into the show.”


There are other differences in the current exhibition here on the West Coast as well. “The Philadelphia show was held in a university gallery. That was a completely different audience. Here I was also able to display the images as they should be displayed, against black walls. I commission a friend to make an underscore that provides an almost subliminal musical message,” the artist reports.

Feeling menaced? Or seeking out a little Halloween-time primal fear? These instinctually harrowing photographs can be found at 825 La Cienega in West Hollywood.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke



Los Angeles Art Association: 4 Solo Powerhouses at Gallery 825

Teale Hatheway's unique LA vision
Teale Hatheway’s unique LA vision

The show was packed, and rightly so – artists Teale Hatheway, Echo Lew, Marilyn Lowey, and Sasha Raphael Vom Dorp each contributed brilliant, immersive elements to this exhibition.  Each artist’s work creates a separate mini-world within the gallery. Running through October 9th, visitors will see four separate visions of light, shadow, and self.





Teale Hathaway – Fragmented Realities: City of Dreams

The artist’s work is about memory, grounding, understanding, and experience; with beautifully detailed yet fragmented images.  Hatheway’s self-taught architectonic drawing and the ethereal nature she evokes of even the most common subjects combines the experimental with the investigative, using the often unsung history of Los Angeles architecture to enthrall viewers and advocate for the city’s preservation. The artist describes her subject matter as “a means to ground myself in a tangible environment in which an understanding of the whole is made up of an experience of the parts.”  The LAAA exhibit is made up of free-hanging paintings with layered elements of street lights. It’s a whole glowing city.




Sasha Vom Dorp – Synesthesia – Inside Sound and Light

Do we hear color? See the sound of light? Vom Dorp suggests we do with her mechanical feedback loop Sound Illuminator which quite literally translates color into sound. Constructed from a salvaged 727-jet nose cowling, rippled patterns and waves let viewers see the sounds they are hearing. While Vom Dorp’s archival pigment prints continue to show, the haunting Sound Illuminator was a unique creation viewable only on opening night. Enter a portal of light and share an otherworldly experience with Vom Dorp.


Echo Lew – Light in Space

Light drawings etched into photographs. Twenty-eight years of traditional drawing led Lew to this powerful expression of small lights and an open shutter. Printed on canvas and water-color paper, motion is trapped in the realm of light creating an ethereal and delicate pattern that seems to visually buzz like a congregation of bees. The artist says “During an exposure time of approximately one minute, I manipulate lights in front of the camera. Sometimes I invert the positive image to a negative one on a computer but otherwise the Light Drawings are not manipulated.”



Marilyn Lowey – Dark Side of Her Broom

There’s something magical here. A chimera of light created from eye glass lenses, jewelry wire, and acrylic in Levitation Ashra #1 Mom’s Shadow; projected lights, video of a burial, and more glass lenses take on aspects of an interstellar dimension in Levitation Ashra #2 The Burial. Most striking perhaps are the light curtains, with a thousand eye glass lenses refracting their own vision attached by slip rings. What we see is not necessarily what we get. Moving light and shadow, the unseen mystery of illusion, the fine line between perception and vision.

Slip inside an enlightening experience before the show closes October 9th. Gallery 825 is located at 825 N. La Cienega just shy of Santa Monica Boulevard.

  • Genie Davis;  photos  – Jack Burke