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

Award Winner: Susan Melly

Susan Melly with Scott Canty - Taking First Place at
Susan Melly with Scott Canty – Taking First Place at “Art Fusion” – Photo by Jack Burke

The dynamic artist Susan Melly is hot off two award wins: she took first place at Gallery H at Phantom Galleries “Art Fusion” exhibition, for “Window Dressing,” a work that is an intrinsic part of her “Mother Machine” series; and she received honorable mention at LA Artcore for her piece “Fertile Crescent.”

Melly’s work is all about the feminine, and female objectification. This is not a hearts and flower world. Rather it’s all about identity, sexuality, power, and yes, industrial machines. The artist was inspired by a discovery of dress patterns and industrial-age sewing machines that were a part of her mother’s estate. Her recent work combines tissue paper dress patterns into images that explore both real and symbolic relationships between women and industry. She uses loosely drawn, even impressionistic images on top of the precise and detailed pattern designs. The clothing industry itself, with its fashion designs and women’s clothing styles, as well as the act of creating fashion through sewing, and the sewing industry itself, are her subjects. Melly uses the history, politics, and literal shapes of that industry to explore a variety of metaphors for a changing society. Antique industrial sewing machines with their attractive, even artistic external decorations symbolize Melly’s strong mother: in her work they’re powerful yet beautiful, tough, yet outwardly decorous. These machines and their continued ability to function decades later is a rich and impressive metaphor for the strength of the women who operated them.

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Her piece “Fits Her to a Tea” uses a female mannequin’s bust covered with these precise dress pattern cutouts. The patterns are adorned with impressionistic colored art paper collages and embroidery – including a tea cup – and the inclusion of actual tea bags and a tea set.

This piece is a collaboration with another 825 Gallery artist,  Chuka Susan Chesney. The Gallery randomly assigned pairs of artists to collaborate, with often dazzling results. Here, the colorful collages and  stitching Chesney created serve as a strong counterpoint to Melly’s work.

This mixed media piece is wonderfully evocative, of the practical woman who uses those tea bags, the rich interior life she holds – the drawings – and the measured, designed, and carefully restricted borders of her life as revealed by the dress pattern cut outs.

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In “Tension Adjustment,” this stunning painting features a beautiful woman curled up in an almost-fetal position inside the dominant image of a sewing machine.

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“Fertile Crescent” neatly combines a woman who could be an Egyptian Princess overlaying most of a mannequin’s face, with a crescent of dress pattern slashing a curve across her visage. Her neck, body, and the arm that holds her head and torso aloft, are covered with the tissue paper dress patterns.


Part of the solo show “Mother Machine” held at Gallery 825 in April 2015, Melly’s mixed media paintings and sculptures shape the female form with the same provocative mixture of ornate embellishments as on the old-fashioned industrial sewing machines, as well as imbuing them with those machines’ strength. The vintage mannequins themselves provide a certain gravitas, and the dress patterns present an interesting dichotomy. The fragile tissue paper evokes male notions of female delicacy, while the rigidity of the lines and construction suggests a binding up of the female spirit. By drawing on these patterns, adorning them in a variety of ways, Melly appears to be opening a whole new world of expression for these figures, while still celebrating their strength and durability.

In 2015, along with her award winning exhibition at Phantom Galleries H and LA Art Core, and her solo show at Gallery 825, Melly has shown at Palm Springs’ Gallery 446, Las Laguna Gallery, in Laguna Beach, and the Foundry Art Center in St. Charles, Missouri among other locations.

  • Genie Davis

“Art Fusion” Juried Exhibition at Phantom Galleries Los Angeles Gallery H

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

All Photos by Jack Burke

Saturday, August 22, is the closing reception for Gallery H, a part of Phantom Galleries Los Angeles, “Art Fusion,” a juried exhibition. Over fifty artists are participating in the exhibit curated by fine art photographer, independent art curator, and photojournalist Gloria Plascencia. Among the cutting edge artists showcased are renowned guest artist Scott Canty, director of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; Chenhung Chen, whose art focuses on the formation of line in drawing, Chinese calligraphy, and American Abstract Expressionism; Richard Gould, a spiritual artist working in mediums including painting, sculpture, illustration, architecture and graphics; photographer and mixed media artist Janet Milhomme; and landscape and sketch artist Roger S. Thomas. Harpist and vocalist Gracie Sprout performed live at the July opening reception.

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

Located at 12619 Hawthorne Blvd. in Hawthorne, Calif., just off the 405 freeway, Gallery H recently hosted “This into That: Art from Found Objects” in May 2015, featuring Palos Verdes artist Ben Zask.

The “Art Fusion” Juried Exhibition is the first of a planned yearly juried exhibit, designed to showcase Los Angeles-based artists. Along with the opening reception, Gallery H will offer live art demonstrations on 8/8, as well as providing three-hour art classes on 8/8.


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

Scott Canty selected best in show and assisted with the selection of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place award winners. Phantom Galleries Los Angeles (PGLA) has a mission to revitalize and transform unoccupied properties in Los Angeles County through public art presentations. Converting vacant storefronts into temporary galleries and vibrant cultural centerpieces, PGLA offers accessible exhibits and programs, and hands-on, on-going support for the arts. Serving as a conduit for collaboration between local artists, the artistic community, and the general public, PGLA is a platform for artistic growth and experimentation outside traditional gallery or museum settings. The goal: establishing a sustainable cultural community.

Photo by Jack Burke
Photo by Jack Burke

Curator Gloria Plascencia with Scott Canty

For more information visit

  • Genie Davis, All exhibit photos by Jack Burke