Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Artist Portrait Project by Jennifer Spencer

by Patricia Frischer

Jennifer Spencer photo by Pasha Turley
(Other photos by Patricia Frischer)

Jennifer Spencer signing her books. 

The Artist Portrait Project by Jennifer Spencer is launched at Warwick's bookstore (7812 Girard Ave, La Jolla,92037) on July 19th with a little reception at 7:30 pm. This is a photographic memoir of portrait sessions with 50 San Diego Artists with included a presentation and a book signing by the author.

A large crowd turned out for this artists re-union to celebrate the launch of this book which has been in the making for several years. Many of the 50 artists were present and so not only did Jennifer Spencer sign the book, but autographs were collected in the time following a short presentation by the author. 

Jennifer Spencer, through her dedicated work with the umbrella arts organization COVA, is beloved by many San Diego Artists.  These artists make up the bulk of the portraits in this book and what is interesting is how she has continued to learn about and support them. This is shown not only in the words that accompany the images, but in the images themselves. They tell us more than words could ever express.  She has caught a mood of a time and so these photographs, which are works of art themselves, will also be an important historical record of this visual arts community.

Jeffery Laudenslager

Deanne Sabeck

Ann Mudge

Nilly Gill

Helen Redman

Becky Guttin

Ric Todd

Pasha Turley

The large crowd all holding up books that they bought on the night!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Beliz Iristay at Bread and Salt

by Patricia Frischer
Bread and Salt presents Beliz Iristay
Regular Gallery Hours: 11 - 4  Tuesday - Saturday or by appointment

If you have not been to Bread and Salt lately, then it is time for a re-visit. Jim Brown who owns the building is supporting three spaces, the gallery when Beliz Iristay is showing, an artist's residency space and a performing space. The Sardine Bar, an art installation by Max Robert Daily is thriving, the Athenaeum has three spaces, a gallery, a print shop and a soon to be ceramic studio. Kathleen Mitchell and Wendy Maruyama have just moved in to a studio next door and Ice Gallery, one of the first showing spaces is still there. There are at least two other spaces that I saw in partial use and an upstairs as well. 

Beliz Iristay takes full advantage of the large gallery space with a well thought out exhibition that concentrates on her Turkish Heritage. It is wonderful to see traditional symbols and images brought into contemporary artworks. She embraces the past culture and comments on current political issues.

She uses a variety of mediums to explore her concepts, including color transfers on bricks, ceramic sculptures, plates with glazes and slips and even found objects like the Turkish rugs that are Incorporated in a work about Ataturk, the great leader of the Modern Turkish  who brought the county into the 20th century. You see his head tumbling down though the years past fallen minarets but landing upright and still strong. The the current retroactive government of Turkey is trying to turn back the clock to pre-Ataturk times.   

Beliz Iristay has a full schedule coming up with works in the Museum Of Contemporary Art, San Diego Art Institute and a two person show with Irene de Watteville at the Athenaeum in La Jolla. It is gratifying to see this deserving artist getting the exposure she deserves.  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Vanguard Culture’s Sensorium

by Christina Williams

Upon entering the Idea I space (899 Park Blvd. SD 92101), one can’t help feeling dwarfed by the height and breadth of its vastness. The question immediately arises, given the expansiveness of the space, can the aggregate of artists assembled by Vanguard Culture fill the space in a creative exploration and stimulate  and delight the five senses as promised?  Can they actually create an emporium to the sensory, an inspirational Sensorium? The Idea I space creators David Malmuth and Peter Garcia were inspired by a Banksy quote “It’s not art unless it has the potential to be a great disaster.”  The converse of that statement might be “It is not art unless it has the potential to be a brilliant inspiration.”   Which was the outcome of Sensorium?

I was immediately magnetized by the gorgeous and imaginatively costumed women, like human kinetic sculptures sprinkled like psychedelic confetti amidst the stark concrete space.  Next, the enticing aromas of the chefs mixing up magic from their huddled grills in the middle of the courtyard, offering choices from pork belly tacos to paella vegan style.  Chefs Andrew Bent, Felipe Raul Lopez-TorresJ A Fuentes and Mario Medina lured us in with their luscious concoctions.  Surrounding the courtyard were the enticing pastel displays of gorgeous desserts by Dulce Nabil of Sucree, contrasting with the graphic black and white banners of the psychic Art Forest  fluttering in the breeze.  All of this was a tiny precursor, an apperativo, to the thought-provoking variety of performance and visual art to come as the multi-textured evening unfolded. 

The seventeen loft space presentations covered the entire spectrum from the whimsical and uplifting to the alarming and violent.

First up, SURREALITY EXPRESS conceived and produced by the American Dream Theater collective.  The experience was truly a trip, both virtually and physically.  The idea of going on an old fashioned train trip, a mode of travel that makes you slow down and become more observant, more present, seemed initially nostalgic at best. You entered the space soothed by a classical trio, were greeted by a luggage porter, then seated in your “railroad car” with bucolic scenery videos racing by, moving on to decadent oysters in the dining car, pausing for  a peaceful moment under trees festooned with photo memories by “the river”, to finally unload your virtual, emotional, and literal baggage. At your journey’s end, you  enter a lavender, blue and pink lit room filled with love and delight,  inhabited by a charming chipmunk, whose reason for being is to give a hug,  a sweet reward (chocolate chip cookies!) for surviving a trip through your virtual soul. 

In the same light mood was Grace Gray Adams’s conception of heaven; a softly lit room of silver white balloons and popping bubble wrap under foot.  The artist, costumed in flowing white, became an integral part of the installation, emanating a beatific energy. Joy and whimsy also  bubbled up from the San Diego Opera room, where we were encouraged to meld our voices as they were amplified, echoed, and carried into an aural cocoon, all accented by the iconic, ironic accordion. 

Grace Gray Adams (photo Ted Meyer)

Yet another offering was Opera singer Ashley Walhlstrom who lyrically reiterated the soulful commentary of a video narrator projected on the wall.  In the same space, I was impressed by the recycled bottle cap art of Erika Pamiagna, recycled/trash art at its zenith.  The bottle cap encrusted mannequin had an eerie lifelike quality. The tiny assemblages of bottle cap boxes she was surrounded by took on a preciousness beyond their humble trash adornments, The actual toilet bowl in the bathroom filled with discardable bottle tops that had the potential to be a thing of beauty was an intriguing visual statement.

Erika Pamiagna (photo Ted Meyer)

Sara Parent’s adorable pastel, whimsical sculptures set among transient sand piles evoked feelings of joy.  They were so delicious looking, one almost began to salivate.   Stephanie Bedwell created sculptures of arching poles and transparent fabric that evoked a feeling of womb-like warmth that invited you in to wander, as if being cradled in the nest of some exotic creature, protected and bathed by the rosy light of the setting sun.  Her goal was to “convey the archetypical, to convey the space of the nonverbal”.

Sara Parent

Stephanie Bedwell (photo Ted Meyer)

Stephanie Bedwell

Stephanie Bedwell

Moving on from whimsy and warmth were the more provocative pieces.  The life vests made from maps and children’s photos alerted us to the connection between severe, crippling drought and refugee crisis.  In this case the worst drought in 900 years that is destroying the desperate people of Somalia.  Another room had a lovely woman in a glittering cocktail dress, bounteous black hair cascading over her face, lying death still in the bathtub, a searing comment on suicide so currently prevalent.  There was the giant photo of the woman peering out from the closet, and fragments of photos inviting you to cut them up and cast into the tub.  Then there was the alarming video of the piano being smashed to smithereens, and the music video riddled with flames and images of Dante’s Inferno, as if to say ‘welcome to hell.’

Overall the night of dance, fashion, music, art, food, libations, and creative souls took the risks but avoided Banksy’s “potential of disaster.” Sensorium more than fulfilled its potential as brilliant inspiration and succeeded in providing ample opportunities for all five senses to be stimulated and delighted. Astha Saini ’s installation “We are inspired by the fear of being average” seemed to sum up the over the top sensory collection of inspirations provided by this Vanguard Culture event. 

Astha Saini (photo Ted Meyer)

The following images are a few more captured during the evening by Patricia Frischer

James Watts

Becky Guttin

Richard Keely

Aiyana Sphere

Morgan deLuna

Morgan deLuna

Anna Jenkins

Dan Adams

Friday, July 6, 2018

Great Barrier Reef at the Fleet Science Center

By Patricia Frischer

It is always a joy to go to a premier event at the Fleet Science Center and this was no exception. A wonderful DJ and some great passed canapes with a fun blue drink got us into the mood.    Great Barrier Reef is all about the world's largest living wonder with incredible scene in the IMAX theater that made you fell you were swimming among the fishes. Richard Fitzpatrick the Emmy awarded cinematographer was there to introduce the film.  The reef is 1600 miles of coral and that is huge, so even when the North End suffers as it had done with two back to back bleaching due to global warming, there are huge areas of the reef that are thriving. Fitzpatrick reminded us that even when the coral is bleached it is not dead and can come back to life if the algae returns to it.

The film has a heart throbbing moment which a sea horse gives birth to tiny little sea ponies. To get this shot Fitzpatrick had to wait for 72 hours and passed out cold after the event with the stress of waiting. He ended up in the hospital not from his run in with shark and venomous jelly fish but from this sweet moment captured brilliantly on film. 

I had never seen undersea images of creature being illuminated by a black light and what a show that created.  You see colors you never imaginedand everything is moving so colors are pulsating here, there and everywhere. 

Narrated by acclaimed Australian actor Eric Bana, the film celebrates one of the planet's most beautiful and biodiverse ecosystems as well as the "citizen science" movement, where volunteers help researchers gain a more comprehensive understanding of the natural world.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Terra Infirma at Space 4 Art

by Patricia Frischer

Space 4 Art presented a multimedia production about environmental destruction and regeneration Terra Infirma, at their next permanent Home 2529 Market St. 92102 (entry for now off 26th Street alley on south side of property) on Sat. June 9 from 6-8pm.  The evening was curated by dance (Justin Morrison) and music (Chris Warren) and art (Siobhan Arnold) all set on temporary structures built to enliven the space while money is raised for the wonderful new live/work and studio spaces that will be built.  These  structures including an on site gallery, amphitheater and boardwalks were designed and built by Space 4 Art architects and artists with High Tech High Chula Vista and King-Chavez students. 

The final build will be modular and the model was so much fun to see and so well crafted. The work is mainly volunteer and very impressive and all coordinated by Bob Leathers with  Cheryl Nickel. About $1.8 million is needed at this stage, so spread the word. I could see this same sort of structure which is so creative and practical at the same time, with spaces from about 400 to 800 square feet as a wonderful solution for affordable house in lots of communities. I hope to see this  project built so it can be seen as a pilot for others these ideas will spread and flourish.

PS the
 tacos from O My Toco (cash bar; proceeds support Space 4 Art’s Permanent Home project) were delicious. More info: Alexis Negron 619 269 7230

Bob Leathers and Cheryl Nickel

An organic, modular concept which is as interesting as it is practical

Close up of the future gallery in the space. 

Richard Keely, a SD Art Prize recipients, shows Dante's Pillow made from felt, asphalt, wood, chalk, earth, tar and steel was a bargain at $500.

Erin Whitman's Mobius from 2012.

detail from above

Need no explanation!