Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Way of the Flesh II - Mt. San Antonio College

This exhibition in the Mt. Sac College Art Gallery is open through Oct. 16, and is free of charge, with an accompanying exhibition catalogue written by John Seed. Mt. Sac is located at 1100 North Grand Avenue, in Walnut, CA.

As one might construe from the title, The Way of Flesh II explores figurative art by contemporary artists, who are for the most part, situated in California. There will be an Artists' Panel on 9/28 in the Art Gallery, Building 1B.

Participating artists with CSULB ties are Sharon Allicotti, Thomas Butler, Domenic Cretara, and Peter Zokosky. Other artists who also create interesting & often provocative works are Dirk Hagner (also a printmaker), John Nava (who created the designs for the tapestries in Our Lady of the Angels, downtown LA), Odd Nerdrum, and Jerome Witkin.

Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday nights, 5 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, do call the Art Gallery at (909) 274-4328.

I don't know for a fact that the two drawings below are included in this exhibition, but one gets an idea of the extremely high caliber of work by these artists.

Sharon Allicotti, Study for Cradled, charcoal drawing, 22 x 30"

Domenic Cretara, Going Home, 2005, graphite & pastel, 59 x 39"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Sight Readings," Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery, Santa Monica College

Photos: Top - Opening Reception
Center - Outdoor Banner
Bottom - Inked block for "Pythia" on the press bed

A special "Big Up" to Curator Gordon Fuglie for always believing in my work & being the prompt I so often need to keep my tools sharp & my blocks at the ready. His lecture last night was thoughtful & a verbal translation of what I do on paper visually.

The review below is from the Santa Monica Mirror. The exhibition runs until 10/11/14, & I'm doing a printing demo on Weds., 9/24, from 3 - 4 PM in room 126 of the Art Department on the Main Campus.

SMC Exhibit "Sight Readings" From Artist Roxanne Sexauer Opens Tuesday

POSTED SEP. 1, 2014, 9:17 AM


The Santa Monica College Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery is presenting “Sight Readings: A 35-Year Survey of Work by Roxanne Sexauer,” an exhibition of original works by the printmaker renowned in the contemporary printmaking community as an artist whose aesthetic of abstraction references nature. Sexauer’s work recognizes a long tradition built in the distinctive qualities and processes of hand-pulled prints.
The show will be open to the public from Tuesday, Sep. 2, to Saturday, Oct. 11, with an exhibit reception on Saturday, Sep. 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A gallery talk by exhibit curator Gordon Fuglie, Director/Head of Curatorial Affairs at the Central California Museum of Art, will be held on Saturday, Sep. 13, at 5 p.m. in The Edye (adjacent to the gallery).
Sexauer, who teaches in the Printmaking and Art History Disciplines, School of Art, at California State University, Long Beach, will hold a print demonstration on Wednesday, Sep. 24, at 3 p.m. in Art 126.
As a young art student in 1973, Sexauer fantasized about studying with the last surviving German Expressionist woodcut master, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976). Her earliest woodcut prints crackle with the dark angularities of classic German Expressionism.
By the 1980s, Sexauer embraced postmodernism, developing a hybrid, multi-layered approach that mixes botanical and zoological forms with ideas and images from the history of science, printmaking, and mythology. This direction continues to inform her images, which in recent years combine lithography, silkscreen, and collagraphy.
“I have seen her imagery progress for two decades,” said Fuglie. “Roxanne’s art is distinctive because it is complex, vibrant, and always recognizable for its adroit use of technique with multiple images bearing layers of meaning. Connoisseurs regard her as one of the best woodcut artists in the region.”
The show presents the first career survey of Sexauer’s work, beginning with a 1973 self-portrait in the German Expressionist style, and concluding with works completed this past summer.
SMC’s Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery is located at the SMC Performing Arts Center on Santa Monica Boulevard at 11th Street, Santa Monica. Due to construction in progress, enter the building from 11th Street. Exhibits, gallery talks, artist demonstrations, and opening receptions are free.
Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 310.434.3434.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Saddleback College Steamroller Printmaking Event Rolls Out

A Review byVanessa Donofrio
              Saddleback Steamroller Woodblock Party

Held in the Theater Circle at Saddleback College, this printmakers dream is a must and a delight to experience. Every printmaker has got to try it at least once. I guarantee you will be counting the days until the next time the steamroller’s back in town. Vinita Voogd and Rick Reese, the two Saddleback printmaking professors, and their printmaking students hosted this sweet event. The Dean of the Fine Arts and Media Technology, Bart McHenry, was also there to take part in the festivities and carved a mini plate. There were Easy-Ups to shade the students while they rolled ink over their woodblocks. There were also other shady spots for guests to carve out a mini woodblock and have it printed on a turquoise shirt (also the color of the team shirts this year). There was a section set up for printmaking students to sell some of their prints. Vinita, Rick, and some students got to drive the steamroller over these wooden images. BFK, Stonehenge and tapestries were used to print on, with packing blankets and rubber carpet pads used in place of the traditional catcher, cushion, and pusher blankets/felts. These life size wood blocks were cut with a number of different carving tools such as Speedball tools, motorized Dremels, and other woodcutting tools. The Saddleback radio station, KSBR, had this event on the radio and held interviews with students and Vinita. There was a yummy food truck to keep us fed. It was an awesome time. I enjoyed seeing Vinita and Rick and my former classmates from Saddleback again. I was very much inspired by the amazing images and hard work put into them. I can’t wait until next year. Thank you Vinita, Rick, and Saddleback Print students for a fabulous woodblock party!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tea and Morphine: Women in Paris, 1880 to 1914 - at the Hammer

Tea and Morphine: Women in Paris, 1880 to 1914 Helen Cox 2/24/14
At the Hammer, UCLA - The exhibition runs until May 18th, 2014

This was an impressive exhibit, both for the prints – which included some by Cassatt, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, and Vuillard – and for the information about the plight of women at the beginning of the twentieth century.  According to the exhibit catalogue, a woman had no right to vote or to own property.  Upon her marriage, any assets she did have became the property of her husband.  He could commit adultery with impunity; she could not.  Job opportunities for women were few, but they could become prostitutes, since that was legal.   It was small wonder that morphine, a derivative from opium, had a fatal attraction for many.

The images could be divided into three main categories:  woman as an evil and seductive influence (femme fatale); woman as domestic and refined; and woman as desperate and distraught.  Perhaps the artist who most effectively captured the dilemma of women was Albert Besnard in his twelve etchings depicting women in situations ranging from wealth to poverty, from being in love to being raped, from suffering drug addiction and prostitution to the death of a child.  Some might consider his images a bit melodramatic; I found them sobering and powerful.

The Art Nouveau prints were classic, filled with beautiful, curved, sinuous lines while depicting drug induced states, acid throwing, and shooting up!  What a contradiction between the form and the content!

I chose to include an image from Albert Besnard, Suicide, because I appreciate his use of positive and negative space.  The white of the snow forms a strong diagonal across the composition, a sharp form that echoes the despair of the woman.  She blends into the dark and the darkness of her pain, an unseen form easily ignored by the passing coach.  The lights of the city sparkle in the background; that such beauty and agony coexist is one of the fundamental contradictions in life.  The use of the vertical lines in the etching reinforces the sense of snow and cold, and her plunge into the river below.
Many of the better prints demonstrated an interesting arrangement of positive and negative shapes.  There were a few faded images that did not look resolved.  Most were etchings and lithographs, with an occasional woodblock or linoleum cut.

It is a bit of a drive to get to the Hammer, but the exhibit was well worth it.  There is also an excellent collection of paintings in the next room, including Daumier, Van Gogh, Vuillard, and Rembrandt.  If you go on the weekend parking is only $3.00 and you are close to the Getty.  Go with a friend and the carpool lane gets you home in decent time if you leave by 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Exhibition at the UAM on the CSULB campus - A review of "Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi" by Helen Cox

The author of this post

Thoughts on Traditions Transfigured:  The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi

Review by Helen Cox, January 28, 2014

 I knew nothing of Noh Masks when I went to the gallery, so I read the signs.  I was struck by the goal of the masks:  “incremental innovation within tradition.”  By allowing innovation, there is room for creation and evolving art forms, instead of the emptiness and stagnation in repetition.

 The craftsmanship in the masks is superb.  Innovations are left for the creative aspects; there are strict rules for the craft.  Apparently the use of sandpaper is considered cheating, so the artists who carve these very smooth masks have to be highly skilled and patient.  Their skills extend to painting.  Each strand of hair must be painted with one brush stroke so the thickness of the hair does not change, as it would if the brush were lifted and then replaced.  I can imagine the hours of practice required!  After all that careful work, the masks are then stressed with a brush and a secret formula, to make them look old.

First on display is Yamaguchi’s skill in the traditional art form. Then, the artist became interested in transforming two-dimensional Japanese images into three-dimensional masks. Not only did he apply the Noh mask craft to something new, but he demonstrated innovation within the construction of the mask, employing a modern interpretation to facial features. For example, the nose on the Sharaku print mask is bent to the side, as it was drawn in the three-quarter view of the print. The mouths of the women end half-way across the face. This distortion is meaningful, not random. When viewed from a particular perspective, the mask looks identical to the print or painting.

This woodcut Actor Print is on display with masks, Sharaku, Japan, Oban size, circa 1794
In his third stage, Yamaguchi transformed female icons from European art into Noh masks.  He hit all the big ones:   DaVinci, Vermeer, Velasquez, Münch, Botticelli, etc.  His recreation of the Mona Lisa was spectacular.  I enjoyed the mask more than I enjoyed the original painting (seen ten feet away, through glass and surrounded by idiots with their phone cameras who did not even look at the painting).   He brought back the element in the Mona Lisa that got art historians so excited about the image, before it became a cliché of itself.

 When he created the European art, he even matched the brush strokes to those in the paintings, and of course he aged them in proper Noh tradition.  Some of his innovations were not as successful.  He missed the delicate sensuality of the lips in the Vermeer portrait and made them too red and sloppy, as though her lipstick smeared.  Her tongue is grotesque.  Maria Teresa (Velasquez) had a more bulbous nose and her lips were not quite so turned up; in the mask, she was given a “nose job” which took away some of her personality.  Overall, however, the masks were fantastic, alive, and beautiful.  It was a wonderful way to re-experience images that have become overly familiar.

Note from RS - This notable exhibition will be on display at the UAM until April 13th & was curated under the guidance of Professor Kendall Brown (Interim Director of the Museum Studies Program) by Art History graduate students Karenina Karyodi, Lauren Nochalla, Kristy Odett & Ariana Rizo. A published catalogue accompanies the exhibition & is on sale at the University Art Museum.