Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Dwelling," Nancy Chiu exhibition in Santa Ana

Nancy Chiu's drawing titled: "Grudge," will be shown at CSU Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center, 125 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA
The opening is this Saturday, October (already?) 1st, from 7 - 10 PM. The show will run until 10/30/11.

Here's a quote regarding the exhibition from Nancy, who's a former CSULB Illustration grad student. "Dwelling is my latest project, exploring the haunting persistence of one's longing and desire. It consists mostly of graphite drawings and watercolor paintings on various sizes of paper."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hammer Projects, Grunwald Collection - A Review by Allison Peairs

Every Now. And Again. (Hammer Projects: Linn Meyers); Linn Meyers; Ink drawing on wall; May 7 - November 6, 2011.

Linn Meyers’ Every Now. And Again. is an installation in the Lobby of the Hammer Museum at UCLA that is on view from May 7, 2011 until November 6, 2011. Meyers' work is a brilliant example of the transformative power of line. Meyers’ work is essentially the compulsive manipulation of line through meticulous and almost rhythmic repetition into an enormous organic composition vibrating with near tangents that give the illusion of mathematical precision. On massive aubergine and navy blue blocked walls, the lines that make up the meat of the piece are drawn with pale yellow opaque ink. The shift in temperature from the warm yellow line work to the cool dark background contributes to the reverberating and almost glimmering quality of the entire work.

No World (from An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters); Kara Walker; Etching with aquatint, sugar-lift, spit-bite, and drypoint; 2010.

Kara Walker’s etching, No World. (from An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters), is a poetic allusion to trans-Atlantic slave trade. The piece is monochromatic and depicts two large black hands reaching from the ocean depths holding a schooner in their fingertips. The orientation of the hands gives a playful feeling to print, regardless of its dark disturbing undertones. A dark strip of sky, which emphasizes a ‘here’ vs. ‘there’ quality, bisects the composition while unifying element between the two sections of space is the dark ocean connecting them. These qualities lend to the almost mythological quality that horrifying chunk of American history has taken on in the midst of the country’s conception.

Preference: Between Meyer’s linear wall drawing and Walker’s illustrative etching, it’s difficult to choose a favorite considering how dissimilar they are to one another. I have personal preferences for each piece for different reasons that are incomparable- however in terms of concept I favor Meyer’s work. I find the idea of bringing art back to its most fundamental element (line) and generating a massive undulating composition exhilarating. Viewing the work has an almost meditative quality to it, satiating an unconscious suppressed desire for repetition.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Masters of Illusion: Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age

Immediately prior to the start of the Fall semester I ventured off on the dread 405 to the Skirball Cultural Center to see the blockbuster "Harry Houdini" exhibition. It was paired with a sister exhibition titled: "Masters of Illusion - Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age". Apparently, the "Golden Age" refers to the years 1875 - 1948, when feats of amazing legerdemain were performed live in front of an appreciative audience. After 1948, the mesmerizing was done via the little one-eyed god of the living room.

Good times! At the latter, I was utterly & completely taken with a
child-sized mechanical man named "Antonio Diavolo," created by the French magician Robert Houdin in the 1800's. As you may have guessed from the similarity in his adopted moniker, Houdin was Houdini's hero. Antonio was completely restored in 1986, & besides being an incredibly beautiful object, he can perform the most amazing feats of acrobatics (including going "hands-off") on his trapeze bar. Quite the clockwork toy. Should you go, make certain to take the time to watch the short video that shows him in action.

Sadly, the Houdini portion of the exhibition has moved on to other venues. Happily, the "Masters of Illusion" portion with all of its splendid & large lithographic posters & playbills (hence the printmaking/graphic design connection) will remain in place until 1/8/2012. Located at 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd., parking is always free. There's a docent led tour of the exhibition every Tuesday - Sunday that starts at 2:30 PM. Don't forget, this "mini-Getty" is free to the public on Thursdays.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jamie Sweetman: Layered

In addition to teaching classes in anatomy & bio-medical illustration at CSULB, Jamie Sweetman is also busy having an exhibition of that appears to be mainly drawings, perhaps layered (hence the title) on Dura-Lar. Of course, the title also refers to the more metaphysical aspects of the work, as novelist D.N. Stuefloten wrote: "Jamie Sweetman's roots & vines make me think of synapses start clicking away in recognition."
The exhibition, at Whittier College's Greenleaf Gallery, runs until 10/7. The address is: 13406 Philadelphia Street, Whittier, CA ( boyhood home of Richard Nixon). The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 9:30 - 5:00 PM & the phone # to call for further info is - 562/907-4200.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Five On Paper

These 2 untitled works are, as far as I know, the last images my friend & colleague Linda Day made before she (as my Korean students are wont to say) "went back." Even though we all expected this news, it was not any less heart wrenching. The last time I saw Linda was at this opening on July 30th & the event was deeply moving, humbling & inspiring. I will always hold her at my core as a grace note of how live bravely without bitterness, defeat or self-pity in the face of one's own death. Her luminous last works are full of jewel-like color of radiant beauty, inspired by her trip to India during her last Sabbatical.

After the death of someone she greatly admired, Patti Smith wrote in her autobiography: "I chided myself for inactivity and self-indulgence, and resolved to rededicate myself to my work." I think Linda taught us all a huge lesson that way.

Both works are about the same size, roughly
39 x 32", & made from pigment, paper & cloth. There was also an equally impressive, but more intimate work on wood panel in the exhibition. Easily missed due to it's unassuming facade, the gallery is located at 600 South Pacific Avenue in San Pedro, CA.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sarah Whorf Exhibition

Work by my former student Sarah Whorf is currently gracing the walls of the Knight Gallery, near where she works, lives & whittles in beautiful Eureka, California. Sponsored by the Humboldt Arts Council, the exhibition will run until 10/9/2011. The gallery address is: Knight Gallery, Morris Graves Museum of Art, 636 F Street, Eureka. The hours are Thurs. - Sun., noon - 5 PM, the phone # is: 707/442-0278, & the organization's URL:

Her symmetrical image repro'ed here is a woodcut, titled: Advanced Hunter Gatherers, & visually it works equally well in either vertical orientation. Seemingly playful & innocent, her aquatic floral image belies the war mongering/whale harpooning/slave trading nature of the two mirrored ships, sailing around the earth's gentle curve. The subtle shift in color helps us perceive the ephemeral nature of time & the ever shifting briney deep. Skillful changes in mark-making in the background establishes varied weather conditions & time of day, helping to create the illusion that these floating vessels are easy prey for varied nautical forces.

I include below the quote from the "Humboldt Beacon," which hopefully further serves to provide the audience Sarah so richly deserves. (If you happen up that way, don't forget breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, which - despite it's name, serves up basic American fare.)

"New work of Sarah Whorf is on display in the Knight Gallery. As a printmaker, Whorf works primarily with the medium of woodcuts, and is currently working on a series which address her conceptual interest in connectedness and attraction. Depicting abstracted objects which are linked together to form mixtures that reference chandeliers, candelabras and fishing gear, she employs depictions of common objects to function symbolically, moving beyond their obvious function and serving as metaphor in a personal narrative."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Linda Day Memorial Service

The address is 8687 Melrose Avenue, Pacific Design Center, Space B-267, West Hollywood, CA
The service is set to start at 1PM on 9/9/11