Monday, June 18, 2012

New Contemporaries V

New Contemporaries V at Susan Street Fine Art Gallery exhibiting all the nominated emerging artists for the SD Art Prize from June 2 to July 3. Shawnee Barton, Lauren Carrera, Noah Doely, Rob Duarte, Alexander Jarman, Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli, Lee M. Lavy, Ingram Ober, Vincent Robles, Deanne Sabeck, David Leon Smith, Brian Zimmerman  Opening Reception: June 7 from 6 to 9 pm (200 North Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, 92075) More info: Melissa Stager 858.793.4442

Now in its fifth year, this showcase for emerging artists in San Diego, never fails to entertain and enlighten us. The artists are chosen for the show by the 2011 SD Art Prize recipients and their champions who are art professionals. There is never duplication in the nominators, spreading the circle of influence ever wider with each show. Melissa Sager was the curator of this show for Susan Street Fine Art and she did a masterful job of choosing and setting the works in the gallery to honor each of them. Amazingly, nothing was out of balance and you could start anywhere in the relatively small space and begin your journey of discovery.

On arrival I noticed the collaged installation by Alexander Jarman immediately. It is rich with imagery mostly floral and body parts in fun warm colors. It was designed with a circle motif and then Jarman grew the work expanding and adding drips and even a shadow portrait. At first glance it seems like wall paper gone loony, but it has staying power.   

Shawnee Barton’s small pair of drawings juxtaposing a car crash and an ice cream cone was endearing and scary at the same time. I found it more potent than the very large circular work “honoring” her newborn.  Lee M. Lavygave us a very sellable rendition of some of his works from the Ice Gallery. He presented three canvases in greys that would fit into many architecturally modern homes. David Leon Smith,’s animals imbued with human foibles are strong and funny and make us look twice at his almost cartoon styling. Only one small work by Noah Doely rounded out the two dimensional work in the show.  Doely’s painstaking technique and calls from other galleries meant a less than dynamic showing of his work, but you would do well to look at his website for a further understanding of this faux historical documentations.

Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli,’s homage to Marne and Marilyn intrigued and satisfied. We understand that there is a mounted accident in her personal life reflected in the mixed media installation of horse and human hair, sound recording, photography. Marilyn’s diary pages are created but re-contextualized to highlight and sensitize the fragility of this tragic icon. They are pencil renderings of the diary with only the most potent of phrases included, one or none on a page.

Vincent Robles and Deanne Sabeck were chosen by Arline Fisch and Jeffery Laudenslager who will be mentoring them for the show at the Art SD Contemporary Fair in Balboa Park in Sept and the Athenaeum Art and Music Library in La Jolla next year. Vincent is showing his rough roller coast version of a step ladder and also a banister like circle of highly crafted wood. Ms. Fisch chose him as a fellow maker of things. Laudenslager and Sabeck have collaborated on past projects and might even attempt our first collaborative work for the SD Art Prize. Her 3-d wall works use dichromatic glass and a special light source to bring life to the geometric designs. It is the colored shadows that steal the show. 

Rob Duarte’s sound machine functions as a sculpture as well as speakers. Brian Zimmerman shows an older work of digital word art along with a recently deconstructed and very playful set of chairs. Lauren Carrera was my choice of artist for the show as the four members of the SD Art Prize are also allowed to make nomination. She made a strong installation of mini shelves each hosting a clear bag with fish lures or a miniature scene of tiny humans. This is a variation on her successful current show at the NTC Liberty Station called Museo de Profundo Mundo. Carrera is dealing with issues of over fishing and pollution as she creates a fictitious archeological exploration.  

I was most impressed with Ingram Ober. He gives us multiple variations on his Vantasy series. A photo sets the scene but it is a miniature van photographed to look like a full size one and reflected in the window of the van is the sculpture that resides in the back space of the gallery. This beautiful monolith with it superb finish is the cleaned up equivalent of those Cadillac Ranch graffiti cars in Texas. And the play continues, with the chocolate molded cars covered in shiny colored tin foil. Ober just looks like he is having such a good time and therefore, so do we.

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