What a Place: Art in Place at the Newberry Lofts Long Beach

Therrio sculptures and other works
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A dazzling array of artists are hanging out at the Newberry Lofts in Long Beach. Or rather, hanging at.  A stellar, museum quality show presented by
ViCA in association with Engels & Volkers – representing the Newberry Lofts Long Beach, Art in Place offers over 80 works by 55 artists. Curated by Juri Koll in 7000-square-feet of exhibition space, the wide variety of Southern California-based contemporary artists represented is really quite extraordinary.
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Using individual lofts on two separate floors as galleries,  the artwork both compliments and creates an intimate setting. Artists are well-paired in the lofts,  in a thoughtful merging of styles, colors, and contrasts. Open by appointment through the end of January, the exhibition will have a closing open to the public on January 27th, and will be issuing a catalog for this extensive show with signed copies available at the closing.

Presenting artists include: John Baldessari, Sandy Bleifer, MB Boissonault, Jodi Bonassi, Bob Branaman, Cosimo Cavallaro, John Eden, Sam Francis, Gloriane Harris, Joel King, Barbara Kolo, KuBO, Maria Larsson, Lawrie Margrave, Stefanie Nafe, Hung Viet Nguyen, Terry O’Shea, Max Presneill, Osceola Refetoff, Phil Santos, Sonja Schenk, Theodore Svenningsen, Reginald Van Langenhove, J. Renee Tanner, Edmund Teske, Ron Therrio, Jae Hwa Yoo, Ginny Barrett, Chenhung Chen, David Clark, Denise DeGrazia, Jeanne Dunn, Matt Ehrmann, Lewis Francis, Stephanie Han, Courtney Heather, Elena Kulikova, Cody Lusby, Emily Maddigan, Kim Marra, Bruce McAllister, Lauren Mendelsohn-Bass, Lena Moross, Cat Phillips, Linda Sue Price, Caryl St. Ama, Mark Rebennack, Georgina Reskala, Frederika Roeder, John Rosewall, Karrie Ross, Christine Sawicky, Linda Stelling, Katie Stubblefield, Stephanie Sydney, Scott Trimble, and Tracey Weiss.
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Above, the work of Cat Chiu Phillips – the medium here is unspooled video tape.
 
According to Koll, who often curates in alternative spaces as well as museums and galleries, artist and former public art project manager Renee Tanner spoke with Koll during a recent exhibition he co-curated at Muzeumm, Gimme 5. Tanner asked if Koll would like to show in Long Beach, and the extensive project was born.
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Above, the work of Barbara Kolo 
 
“I said depending on the circumstances, of course I would,” Koll reports. “She brought me down, introduced me to the folks at Engel & Volker who run Newberry Lofts, and we decided to partner up. Renee referred new artists to me, handled parts of the organization, and did a great job helping with the show. Her work is featured prominently in the show.” Below, Tanner presents a meditative installation “Show of Hands,” shaped from canvas, gloves, and pins, in colors as soft as a spring sky.
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Seeking to avoid predicability in shaping the exhibition, Koll says “I believe people deserve something new every time, something they haven’t seen before. In short, a real show. A real exhibition. I work very hard to make that happen. I believe in these artists and what they represent. I do a lot of research. All too often in the art or entertainment world things remain hidden in artists’ studios, never to see light of day. I love discovering them.For example, Gloriane Harris’s monumental quadriptych was painted in the early 1980s and has only been seen once in public in the mid-90s…so I got her to agree to show them. In the same room, the work by Terry O’Shea has never been seen since it was made by the artist in the early 70s.”
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“The large wooden sculpture by Ron Therrio was commissioned especially for this exhibition. He worked night and day for months to make it happen, and it’s a show-stopper.”
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Indeed, this room is gorgeous. Therrio’s plywood work, “Title Unknown,” is both alien and intensely familiar, smooth and supple, a work in which one feels immediately connected to the being he’s created, something from another dimension that the viewer feels privileged to enter.” Therrio’s work is super solid with a strong dose of sly humor,” Koll says.
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Harris’ lush, large scale oil paintings are born of the sea and buoyed by light, her “Vermillion Morning,” “Breaking Bright,” “Late Afternoon Break,” and “Azure Early Evening,” are indeed magnificent. “She uses classical glazing technique, along with a nod to Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ in their use of differing light and times of day, and a unique Southern California aesthetic. She’s always been near water, and it shows,” Koll notes.
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“I started with an overall concept of picking only the best works I could find, and that they had to have some connection to something else I’d selected. I started with the title, Art in Place because it seem general enough. Then, work I was attracted to often had a sense of place built in. That’s a major and unique trait of work made here in Southern California, I believe,” Koll says. Above, Koll stands next to a work by Jae Hwa Yoo.
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Eden’s large scale dimensional works here are an homage to Jay DeFeo; O’Shea’s rich resin “The Milky Way” and “Tar Pit Triangle” are deep and mysterious.
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Koll describes hanging Max Presneill’s vibrant abstract “Redact 091” and KuBO’s intense pieces which “dance around the surreal” with his “WH81” and “WH82,” both artists’ works shown above, across from each other in a juxtaposition of color and shapes.
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Some of Koll’s favorite pieces, along with those mentioned above are works by Sonja Schenk, whose floor sculpture/painting is a wonderful reflection back to her wall-mounted oil painting that suspends a mountainous rock formation in the sky.  Both pieces, “Me Falta” and “Two Skies” are riveting and original looks at the natural landscape.
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Theodore Svenningsen is another stand-out. “These pre-Google Earth/internet map paintings – all over the show – are prescient, painterly, magnificent, and have never been seen in a gallery setting – they come direct from his studio where he painted them in the early 80s.”  Acrylic on canvas, Svenningsen’s evocative, almost ethereal works map the human spirit as much as the locales he depicts, such as “The Road to Mandalay.” Maria Larsson with lustrous archival pigment prints “Levitate I, II, III, IV, V;”  Reginald Van Langenhoven, and Jae Hwa Yoo, are all artists whose work Koll feels passionately about. Of course, there are many more wonderful pieces here as well.
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Above, in a collection of multiple works from his astonishing “Sacred Landscapes” series, above, Hung Viet Nguyen’s water, earth, and sky, undulate both in texture and subject, transfixing viewers with their beauty and sense of harmony.

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Caryl St. Ama’s “Combined Forces,” created in encaustic monoprint and silkscreen on wood panel is a mystical, involving work.

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Karrie Ross’ abstract work, “Reaching,” glows both from her use of material – acrylic, metal leaf on panel, and from a sense of something arising within.

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Chenhung Chen’s “Aerial #2” and #3 are delicate, web-like abstracts that startle with bursts of green and blue color.

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Several dark-toned visceral pieces by John Rosewell, “Drive” and “Push,” above, are also standouts. 

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Lauren Mendelsohn-Bass’ “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” is an electrically striking piece as well.

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And the moody, figurative abstract of Scott Trimble’s “Worry Not, for Perfection is Merely A Notion that Does Not Exist” is both haunting and delicate. 

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Photographic artist Osceola Refetoff offers two pieces that capture a fresh view of the world beyond SoCal, the archival pigment prints “Julie & Mita – Arena Blanca Bioko, Equatorial Guinea” and “Wildebeasts Running With Tree – Masai Mara National Park, Kenya.” The former work is vivid with color, as alive as the two women it depicts, the latter a moodier long shot of fragile-looking wildlife.

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Works by Barbara Kolo are spread throughout the exhibition. The artist’s amazingly detailed impressionistic abstracts are truly special, reminiscent at times of Seraut; colors seeming to glow.

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Phil Santos exhibits two incredibly lovely tributes to DTLA architecture, “Eastern Building” and “Million Dollar Theater.” Acrylic on panel, these are memorably vibrant, richly detailed realistic works.

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At the November 4th opening, Santos live-painted.

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Tracey Weiss has created two mixed media installations, one hangs in the courtyard of the 4th floor of the exhibition, the hanging sculpture “Polyethylene Sepentes” crafted from PET plastic bottles and monofilament; and the walk-in-closet sized “Carousel,” a sculptural installation that uses 35mm slides, slide carousels and boxes, rendering even the unseen images magical.

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And don’t overlook the lush work of Mb Boissonault with her oil work, “The Hoax,” or the somehow quintessentially Californian lustrous modern neon of Linda Sue Price’s glowing beaded orange “Consistency is Not a Virtue.”

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Jeanne Dunn’s oil on canvas, “Entwined II,” depicts the miraculousness of nature in a way that only Dunn can, with a grace and purpose that immortalizes the fragility of that world. 

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Emily Madigan’s marvelous, mythic sculptures – three in this show, including the life-size figure “Anima,” above, encompasses materials such as foam, antlers, sequins, pins, and beads creating blinged, surreal creatures.jodi mine

Jodi Bonassi’s work often seems the visual equivalent of “magical realism” in fiction, and here in an untitled work, offers more of her deeply, wonderfully detailed visionary takes on humanity.

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Lena Moross, working in watercolor and ink, makes a still life of a soft blue sofa into something utterly alive in “Couch #11.”

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Along with other works, Koll has displayed some classics from his own private collection, including pieces by Sam Francis, Bob Branaman, photographer Lawrie Margrave, John Baldessari, and one of Koll’s mentors, Edmund Teske, whose works were acquired in the mid-70s.

Put the January 27th closing on your calendars, and prepare to fete an outstanding collection of artworks.

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Above, sculpture by Ginny Barrett
Genie Davis; photos Genie Davis, additional exhibition opening photos provided by VICA.

Gimme 5 Closes at MuzeuMM

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Closing this Sunday, October 15th at MuzeuMM in mid-city,  don’t miss Gimme 5, juried by gallery director Mishelle Moross, and Juri Koll, director of ViCA, the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art which partnered with MuzeuMM on this project.  The international juried show is an exciting mix of mediums and artists, from the photographic to the sculptural, from paintings to drawings.

The extremely well curated, tight show features a wide range of incredible, museum quality pieces – so in short, go to the closing, this Sunday at 3, and prepare to be dazzled.

The longer version? See work such as a stunning slide triptych by Tracey Weiss;  archival pigment prints such as Sacred Steel by Diane Cockerill, and Boy on Trike – Niland, CA by Osceola Refetoff. While Weiss is working in sculptural form, all three artists are using photographic materials to create works that are astonishingly fresh, vivid, and meaningful.

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Catherine Ruane’s astonishing graphite and charcoal work depicting the flora and fauna of the natural world as always amazes with detail and passion, here with Gargoyle. Working in mixed media, Steve Seleska’s Landescapism #2,  above, makes viewers want to literally and figuratively dive into his work.  Frederika Roeder’s mixed media  Power of Sun, dazzles with depth and color, below.

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On the wall, above, Hung Viet Nguyen’s Sacred Landscape #8, is an oil on canvas work, one in a series of spiritually nuanced, brilliantly textured works that evoke something otherwordly as well as a state of grace. Here, the rich aqua of the water contrasts with a dark sky and dark trees. Randi Matushevitz’ Dive In, is a mixed media work that also evokes both darkness and light, with floating faces a potent metaphor for life itself.

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We continue to be impressed with Scott A. Trimble, above, here with a somewhat ghostly, almost ethereal figure in The wants of true #empathy. Glenn Waggner’s oil on panel Pigs in Bumper Cars, charms with a surreal edge; while Steven Fujimoto’s mixed media Scratch Built is an impressive large sculptural work that defies easy categorization. Bryan Ida’s vibrant acrylic enamel and urethane abstract, China Basin (below) and Campbell Laird’s shimmery Rain dream gray no.1, 016, a resin film print are also stand outs. The large scale cast aluminum of Thaddeus Gesek’s Hello & El Jefe, is a terrific piece, full of motion, instantly iconic images, figures that look ready to spring into life.

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With so many other fine pieces too numerous to mention, an encompassing layout throughout the gallery and onto the patio space, and a mix of mediums as varied as the subjects portrayed, this is an exhibit that will resonate long after viewing.

Go on, get out, go see. Gimme 5 will get you at least a million’s worth of artistic pleasure and passion.

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Muzeumm is located at 4811 W Adams Blvd., Los Angeles

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis

Abstract Never Is: Muzeumm

 

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Abstract Never Is, an exhibition of both contemporary and historical abstract photography is a vibrant collaboration between The Venice Institute of Contemporary Art (ViCA) and MuzeuMM that expands on a smaller scale exhibition displayed at Photo LA in January.

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Co-curated by ViCA’s Juri Koll and MuzeuMM’s Mishelle Moross, the works are visually rich and emotionally evocative.  Above, Koll with some of his own haunting images, which shimmer with shadows and shapes.

“Abstract photography is harder to create than an abstract painting,” Koll attests. “You’re limited by the lens in front of your face. But you can’t deny the viability and the emotion of a photograph.”

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Above, Osceola Refetoff’s abstract take on the lights of trucks on a highway conjure the highway, the allure of an almost ephemeral destination, and a jeweled blur of light. Below, Refetoff with journalist Christopher Langley, his partner on the project High & Dry,  an ongoing representational project documenting California’s deserts and the people who live there.

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Above right, co-curator Mishelle Moross.

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Above, artist Diane Holland with her richly colored yet ghostly images. The artist says “I use electrotransfer, otherwise known as color Xerography, and Cibachrome photography to convey the relationship between human beings and the technological they create.”

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Artists Lena Moross and Bibi Davidson enjoy opening night.

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Above, ripples that could water struck by sunset in a stunning work by Sasha vom Dorp.  The artist says of his works, above and below, “These are photographs of sound encountering light as seen through the medium of water.”

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The immediacy of a photograph is somewhat of a myth, and never is that more fully the case than with abstract photography. To create photographic art requires not just a given moment, but preparation for that moment, the dance of both immediacy and planning.

 

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The work of Edmund Teske, above, was an early inspiration to co-curator and exhibitor Koll. “He taught me to be an artist,” Koll explains.

Along with Teske, other artists on display include Fatemeh Burnes, Sasha vom Dorp, Kio Griffith, Diane Holland, Suda House, Juri Koll, KuBO, Maria Larsson, Lawrie Margrave, Stefanie Nafé, Kirk Pedersen, Osceola Refetoff, and Lisa Rosel, among others.

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Above, Fatemeh Burres draws viewers into an explosive universe.

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Above Kubo Hkla’s shimmering gestational pieces.

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Above, Lisa Rosel takes on familiar and iconic LA scenes in a complex and fresh vision of lines and space.

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Above, haunting, light-filled images culled from Union Station by Osceola Refetoff.

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Above, ghostly and deep, caves and orifices – Fatemeh Burres.

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An astonishing collection of fine photographic art that is as varied as it is representative of abstract technique, this is a “don’t miss” show that makes viewers think as well as enjoy. Discerning meaning is just a portion of the pleasure here: meaning is mutable, images are themselves profound.

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Genie Davis with artist Sonja Schenk.

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Above, Bibi Davidson

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Above, Loren Philip, Diane Holland, Jodi Bonassi.

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Above, artists Jodi Bonassi and Osceola Refetoff with Gary Brewer.

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Above, artist Diane Holland (left), Brooke Mason, Peter Frank, Susanna Schulten

MuzeuMM is located at 4817 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles

 

PhotoLA – A Snapshot of Time

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What the eye sees, what the camera sees, what the eye of the beholder of what the camera sees: that’s PhotoLA.

The art renaissance that is taking place in Los Angeles is coming to a momentous peak this January, with PhotoLA the first in a string of large scale events including the LA Art Show, Fabrik Expo, and Art Los Angeles Contemporary, which are all opening this week.

PhotoLA was held last weekend at The Reef,  the cavernous 2nd floor space at LA Mart in DTLA. The opening night gala, benefiting Best Buddies, was crowded for the event’s tribute to Los Angeles artist James Welling.

The city’s longest-running art fair, PhotoLA ran the gamut of cutting edge pieces, historical photos, stunning landscapes, political art, abstract photos, and pop art. Eclectic panels populated the weekend, too, including provocative subjects such as “The Instagram Effect: How Instagram is Changing the Way We See Photography”; “Robert Mapplethorpe: Beyond Good and Evil”; and “Artists Take Issue: Perspectives and Practices in Activist Photography.”

What was our take? A wide range of exceptional pieces, with a number of standout independent photographers and curated group exhibitions.

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The honoree of the opening gala, James Welling. This post-modern photographic artist has a storied career experimenting with a variety of photographic mediums from digital prints to Polaroids.

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Some visual highlights: below, the haunting and riveting work of Kathy Curtis Cahill, whose art is dedicated to revealing “how fragile young children are, and how everything matters in the home environment.”

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Fascinating historical photos – and the  music of David Bowie.

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Photo Pop Art – the striking and amusing work of Marianne Hess.

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National Geographic landscape stunners – sometimes a straight forward shot of natural beauty evokes feelings beyond what is seen.

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Below: a delightfully different approach to scene: the fine work of Osceola Refetoff, also a panel speaker on activist photography moderated by Shana Nys Dambrot. Refetoff’s work, among other cutting edge pieces, was curated by VICA, the non-profit Venice Institute of Contemporary Art.

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Below: the opening night crowd viewing PhotoLA  – reflected in a San Francisco skyline.

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Artist Jeffry Sklan’s enormous – and enormously beautiful flowers, below. Impressive detail and color.

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Artist Sklan  below – photo by Nina Bonyak

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To sum up: Photo LA presented an international eye on the world, vibrating through the lens of many Los Angeles area curators and artists. What you see is literally what you “get” out of interpreting an artist’s own unique vision of the world.

  • Genie Davis