Monday, December 23, 2013

State of the Arts: The Rise of the Living Artist, 2013

By Patricia Frischer

 Buying an art work by an emerging artist is
  • a gamble,
  • a case of love at first sight
  • a genuine commitment

Artists are not making art in San Diego to fill demand. They are passionate about making art even with few sales galleries. They continually find new and non-traditional ways to expose the public to what they create. We do have is an abundance of artists who make art that is easy to like and which enhances lives. A scattering of the best make work that is full of worthy content and which often challenges the viewer.

In San Diego, we don’t seem to have too many collectors that collect just to show off their wealth. Collectors like to meet the artists.  That contact can sway their purchasing decisions because of personality and likeability. We love to see collectors breaking bread with artists and not just thinking of them as investment makers.

But demand is one of the criteria that influences price. Young artist offer the fun of discovery and even the element of the gamble for very reasonable prices. Contemporary art by well know artists is out of the price range of most collectors and that is a new phenomena as we have seen auction figures for live artists skyrocket in the past few years. (Jeff Koons b.1955 sold the highest priced contemporary work this year for approx. $32 million). The amazingly good news is that all boats are rising on the tide and when the prices for contemporary art rises, it rises in all age groups. 

The following are some of our most important venues in San Diego and they are showing local artists.  I take delight that this list includes a very large percentage of women:

Emily Grenader, Jessica Sledge, Joe Yorky at the Athenaeum
Iana Quesnell, Jean Lowe and Doris Bittar at the Women, War and Industry exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art
Catherin Colaw, Linda Kardoff, Allison Renshaw, Julia San Román and Cheryl Tall at the Cannon Art Gallery

SDVAN continues to celebrate the high quality of art in San Diego.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Artists Kathy Miller and Judith Christensen, "Life Lines" exhibition, Rose Art Gallery,(Francis Parker School), San Diego

‘Life Lines’ , is an exhibition showcasing the work of Kathy Miller and Judith Christensen. The show, which takes place within the light and airy space of Rose Art Gallery on the campus of Francis Parker School leaves its mark in several ways.  Familiar found objects draw us into the vocabulary and simplicity of these well crafted works. Miller’s use of recognizable objects of a mannequin, bedsprings, ceramic hands, bits of horse hair, hand spun text, metal, wire and fabric are transformed into a visual poetry that is both elegant and intimate.  Christensen uses language together with found and self-created books, dictionaries and texts to create house structures, paper doll dresses and other sculptural pieces that illicit personal memories in the mind of viewers and engage us in a dialog with ourselves about its meaning. Miller and Christensen’s works have an affinity to the assemblage and sculpture works of  mid-twentieth century artists Joseph Cornell and Louise Nevelson whose simple materials of wood, plastic and metal created an extended linage into the hands of contemporary artists.
This exhibition runs through January 17th, however the Rose Gallery is closed from December 21 – January 5th.  Hours are 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
6501 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92111
Poetic Vessel   10 5/8" x 7" x 7"  
mixed media, hand spun text, encaustic
Kathy Miller
Shroud            12 x 3 1/2 x 2”
Organza with encaustic,
horse hair, wire, wood and alpaca
Kathy Miller

From the Remnant Table   Bamboo,
paper,stone, thread, wood
Judy Christemsen

We All Forget a Word Now and Then
Dictionaries, paper, wax
Judy Christensen

Review by Cathy Breslaw,,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mike Berg: Recent Textiles,Museum of Contemporary Art,Downtown San Diego,Review by Cathy Breslaw

Painter and sculptor Mike Berg has created a body of work in the form of textiles.  Currently living and working in Istanbul, Turkey, Berg worked with master artisans to create these mostly large-scale recent tapestries.  These works reference geometric abstract painting and are made from wool, goat hair, linen, cotton thread and natural dyes.  The natural dyes used provide an array of unique neutralized color palettes of greys, browns, greens, reds, purples, black and white.  In combination with the wool and linen, nubby, raised patterns and textures are visible within the geometric shapes. The geometry within each wall work is not precise - rather they are wonky, curved forms of squares, rectangles, triangles and hybrid angles. These irregular shapes of  varying sizes create movement, and guide the eye in a seemingly never ending circle of engagement with each work. Two of the works use ‘line’ to form the

geometric shapes – and these lines are made of embroidered multi-colored cotton threads. Some of the works appear more like rugs in their materials while others have a similarity to paintings on unstretched linen. Berg’s textiles reflect the heart of a painter who through the use of fabric, has revised the context of painting in an intriguing way.
Mike Berg, Recent Textiles, MOCA, Downtown San Diego, installation

Kilim 3, According to a Set of Principles
2013 natural dyed wool

Review by Cathy Breslaw, 

Dana Montlack: Sea of Cortez, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego,Review by Cathy Breslaw

The Log from the Sea of Cortez(1951) by John Steinbeck documents his six week expedition through the Gulf of California with marine biologist Ed Ricketts. In her current exhibition, photographer Dana Montlack references Steinbeck’s journey through her collaboration with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. Her under-sea images are dissections and magnifications of specimens and charts from the waterways of the Sea of Cortez.  These lambda prints mounted on aluminum are richly hued snippets of marine life and maps collaged in layers on mostly round formats mimicking the eye of a microscope. While we aren’t always sure what we are looking at, these photographic multi-images provide

glimpses unavailable to the naked eye.  They are  fragmentary hyper-views of the natural organic world that appear both wondrous and confusing.  These visual abstractions border on painting as the transparent layering of images blur our vision of the ‘original’ photographs used. Montlack’s photo-collages are unified in their attempts to capture the totality of nature, seeking to remind us of the ‘unseen’ universe.

Dana Montlack  SIO 15, 2013      lambda print mounted on aluminum courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mira Costa College EARTH Art

Dana Smith was kind enough to send me these images of student work on the Mira Costa College campus. 
San Elijo Campus3333 Manchester Avenue
Cardiff, CA 92007

Only up for a few more days so check them out. Well done, Mira Costa College!!!!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Artist’s Mentor: The Hyde Gallery

by Joe Nalven

Nb. The artist quotes below are by Don Harrison.

Grossmont College's Hyde Gallery is showing work by mentors and their students - who are mentors in their own right.

The drawing and print exhibition includes works by Manny Farber, Patricia Patterson, William Mosley, Leslie Nemour and Jim Randall.

Manny Farber / No Film

The Artist’s Mentor
November 12 – December 12, 2013

Grossmont College - Hyde Art Gallery
8800 Grossmont College Dr.
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799

Gallery Hours
Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Legal Holidays CLOSED

What do students say about their mentors?

Leslie Nemour recounted: “Patricia [Patterson] really encouraged me.  I learned from her that it was okay to use things from your own life, every day experiences.  She also pushed me to take painting classes with Manny.  I was so scared of him—he was such an important figure, such a big voice, I didn’t think he would be interested in anything I did.  But then I started studying with Manny, and took graduate classes in film criticism, and I think Manny showed me how film was like painting.”

Both Jim Randall and Bill Mosley offered their perspectives about being influenced by Patterson and Farber.

Mosley saw Patterson's interest in the familiar as a way to frame his work: "Instead of working with ‘bigisms,’ you could work with personal sensibilities—your own life—and they encouraged us to do this. You did images of your experiences in the world and your families.”

Jim Randall recalls his sitting in one of Farber's film classes.  “We were in a pitched arena so he had to put on a show.  There were 200 people in his class and his showmanship matched up to the scene." And about the influence on his art-making: "Before, I was making things that were much more recognizable – the same material, the same source material, but I wasn’t happy with it,” he said. “So I decided to zoom in as if it were a movie and get more atmosphere into the painting.”

The exhibit is more than an exercise in film, more than a series of images; it is also about memories of those who went before and who remind us of who we've become  – as artists.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Art at the SD Airport: Flying HIght

The Art Program at the International Airport is directed by Constance White. Ms. White has brought  energy, elegance and excellence to our city. The airport is a pride and joy and the best introduction any visitor could have to our county. 

I was  lucky enough to get a guided tour of the new additions to the west of terminal two. One of the most impressive installations is that of Jim Campbell called The Journey. It stretches down the length of the gates and the lights flow and glow.

I was struck by the intense detail of construction in every direction. There was such attention given to each aspect of this impressive project.


The food court is especially attractive, with multiple option from local sources but all unified in design aethetic. The giant chandelier set the tones for fine dining instead of speed eating.

The new art gallery is a true jewel in the crown for artist who are also represented by a large number of changing exhibition throughout the airport. Next year the theme for the shows will be featuring art and science combination in keeping with our own DNA of Creativity project. . In visiting a few other airports during this holiday season, it is very apparent how shining and new our own is in comparison. Even the restrooms are exciting and have a true stamp of life in our fair city with ever changing video vistas. And still to come are two special rooms - one a media installation and a meditation room, plus a few more surprises yet to be revealed.

Painting by Leslie Nemour. in the new art gallery

View on the way into the men's loo

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Complete Frida Kahlo’ Exhibit By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Art, Culture and Controversy: ‘The Complete Frida Kahlo’ Exhibit
reprinted from the La Jolla Light

Co-Curator Hans-Jürgen Gehrke poses with ‘The Two Fridas’ at ‘The Complete Frida Kahlo’ exhibit on view at NTC Liberty Station through Jan. 19, 2014.

All photos: Maurice Hewitt

If you go
■ What: ‘The Complete Frida Kahlo’ art exhibit
■ Where: NTC Liberty Station, Barracks 3, 2765 Truxtun Road, Point Loma
■ Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; through Jan. 19
■ Tickets: $14.50-$16.50
■ Website:
■ Tips: Allow two hours for viewing; you can get tickets at the door. If you like audio tours, this one’s worth the extra $5, or borrow or buy the $2 catalog with the same information.
By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
The word “icon” is much overused these days, but it certainly applies to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), a cultural icon whose fearlessly personal self-portraits have made her face known around the world.
She’s currently on view in Reno (“Her Photos”) and in Paris (“Art in Fusion”), side by side with her husband, painter/muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957).
Now, at NTC Liberty Station, there’s “The Complete Frida Kahlo: Her Paintings. Her Life. Her Story.” It’s a special exhibition of replicas of 123 of her paintings and more than 500 pieces of her clothing, jewelry and furniture, plus dozens of photographs documenting the 47 years of her pain-passion-politics-and-painting-filled life.
Curated by the owners of The Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund in Baden-Baden, Germany, and presented by Global Entertainment Properties in Los Angeles, the exhibit promises Frida-fans a total-immersion experience, and offers a two-story display of full-scale, licensed reproductions, hand-painted by a quartet of unidentified Chinese artists commissioned by a multi-national couple who are Frida-fans themselves.

A visitor gets up close and personal with Frida.

How it all began
Hans-Jürgen Gehrke and Mariella C. Remund founded their Kunstmuseum in the town where Kahlo’s German-born father was raised, as a tribute to the Mexican painter whose work they loved.
Gehrke’s field is business organization and marketing. Dr. Remund, the museum’s chief curator, has lived and worked in China since 2003, has a background in “strategic management, branding and neuro-marketing,” and became experienced in “materials science” during her years as a high-level executive for Dow Chemical in Germany.
Both enamored with Mexican culture, they amassed an extensive collection of photos of Frida’s work, and visited the Blue House, where she was born, lived and died, many times.
In 2008, they managed to get a license from the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums Trust to make replicas of Frida’s paintings, which enabled them to create their Kahlo-centered Kunstmuseum. (See “About Replicas” on next page)
“Baden-Baden is too small for Frida,” said Gehrke, as he walked through the exhibit. “We want to share her with a bigger community now.”
Last year, he and Remund began a “strategic partnership” with Global Entertainment Properties, a company that has produced touring exhibitions of “Star Trek” and “Titanic.” They commissioned a new set of replicas, put their own set in storage, shut down their museum, and shipped their collection of Frida artifacts to San Diego for The Complete Frida’s North American premiere.
“Most museum exhibits are very left-brain,” Gehrke said. “We want our exhibit to touch your right brain, your emotions, your heart. We want you to see the whole story of Frida, her cultural environment, the people in her life, the furniture she’d have had.”

The painted rendition of Frida’s bed.
Some members of San Diego’s art community have protested that ads for “The Complete Frida” fail to emphasize that Kahlo’s actual paintings are not on display.
Alessandra Moctezuma, gallery director and Professor of Fine Art at Mesa College, had this to say: “What would Frida, who was a communist, think of corporate interests commercializing her work, Chinese craftsmen paid who knows how little to replicate her paintings?
“Can you imagine a complete Dali or a complete Picasso exhibit that was all of replicas made by Chinese craftsmen?
“As someone who teaches Museum Studies and about standards and the importance of authenticating a work and knowing its provenance, I just can’t promote this presentation of fakes.”
My Frida Kahlo ‘Experience’
My husband and I saw the exhibit on Nov. 2, the Mexican Day of the Dead, an appropriate time for a Frida Kahlo experience. I admired the look of the show, and the range of it, the re-creation of Frida’s rooms, the haunting music of “La Llorona.”
I saw pictures I’d never seen before, including a striking one of Frida’s imagined birth, which happens to be owned by pop star Madonna. I learned that from the catalog, whose informative anecdotes I enjoyed. But I felt something missing in the paintings. You can replicate an artist’s colors and technique, but not her soul.

An attentive visitor at the exhibit.
Other visitors to the exhibit, locals and tourists, didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m so excited to see this, and it’s all so beautifully laid out,” said Alita Hetland, of Mission Valley. Her friend, Janet Millian, who came down from Costa Mesa for “Frida,” echoed the enthusiasm. “You can really feel her presence here,” she said.
Another enthusiastic visitor was Leonor Webb, originally from Mexico. “I studied visual arts at UCSD, and I’ve always been interested in Frida’s work,” she said. “I even have two dogs named Frida and Diego! And it’s nice to get to see all these things in one place.”
The Oxford Dictionary defines art as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Is “The Complete Frida” an authentically artful experience? See it and judge for yourself.
About Replicas
■ A replica is the repetition of the original work either made by the artist or, after the artist’s death, authorized by the holders of the artists’ rights.
■ A replica must represent 100 percent of the original. Replicas have a legal connotation (it is authorized) and a quality connotation (it is a faithful repetition of the original).
■ Frida Kahlo painted her life; her paintings are like an autobiography on canvas. To understand her life, it is essential to be able to see all of her paintings. However, some of her originals are not allowed to leave Mexico, and some are privately owned, scattered around the world, and never loaned for exhibitions.
■ ‘The Complete Frida Kahlo’ exhibition shows all of her paintings for which there is documentation in color. It allows visitors to follow her entire life, from the very beginning as a hobby-painter to her last works before she died. This is only possible with replicas.
■ Four Chinese artists with outstanding technical and creative skills replicated Frida Kahlo’s work in 2008-2009. The curators would have loved to have the replicas made in Mexico, but they worked and lived in Beijing, so they selected artists there.
— Excerpted from