Monday, July 17, 2017

Classic American Playgrounds and Skies Seen Through the Lens of Brenda Biondo

Brenda Biondo: Play
San Diego Museum of Art
Gallery 15: Mrs. Thomas J Fleming Sr. Foyer
Through January 7th, 2018

Article by Cathy Breslaw
Brenda Biondo, Burlington, CO, 2009. Color photograph. Image courtesy of the artist. 


Colorado photographer Brenda Biondo’s constructed abstractions and playground images fill the Mrs. Thomas J Fleming Sr. foyer of the museum with a combination of fascination and nostalgia.  The Paper Skies series are a group of formal minimalist abstractions which at first glance resemble paintings.  However, they are printed photographs created as the result of paper being cut, folded and then re-photographed against the sky. Biondo begins by photographing the sky at different times of day. She then prints out the desired photographs, manipulates them, and then re-photographs the shaped photographs against a sky. The photos are then printed onto thin aluminum using a dye sublimation process, lending a slight metallic sheen and a polished quality to the surfaces.  This series also reveals atmospheric color as well as noting the ambiguity of the real versus the reproduced. These images brings to mind modernist painters like Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly who used geometry in rather simple and straightforward ways but are also visually compelling images.

Biondo’s second body of work comprises 15 photographs depicting the evolution and obsolescence of the traditional American playground.  Her photos unearth memories of early and mid century playgrounds made of mostly metal and materials no longer used in contemporary play structures. To prepare for her photographic series, Biondo researched vintage catalogs and historic photos from the 1920’s to the 1970’s including classic seesaws, slides, spinners and whimsical animal jungle gyms. Her photographs using iconic American symbols like rocket ships, and lunar landers were popular because of space exploration  during the 1960’s, while other photographs depict structures from the 1950’s when cartoon characters, cowboys and Indians, Cinderella and other pop culture references were widely used. Her photographs allow us to revisit icons of childhoods past as well as documenting their place in American culture. Biondo’s playground photographs share similar geometric and minimalist compositions with the paper skies series and the use of light in an atmospheric way.








Monet's Paintings on Exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art

Reflections on Monet
Gluck Gallery, San Diego Museum of Art
Through January 21st, 2018

Article by Cathy Breslaw
Claude Monet   Le Bassin des Nympheas  oil on canvas     1904

 

Inside the Gluck Gallery at the San Diego Museum of Art, is a small but powerful collection of mostly impressionistic paintings dating between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  This intimate, low-lit setting is a perfect place to view three important paintings by Claude Monet, each representing different stages of the artist’s career. The earliest oil painting, Haystacks at Chailly was painted in 1865, towards the beginning of Monet’s painting career, and is thought to be the first of his many ‘haystack’ paintings.  As one of the San Diego Museum of Art’s collection, this small painting is a realistic rendering of a landscape by comparison to Monet’s later more ‘loosely’ painted impressionistic works.  The gorgeous color palette, a range of blues, purples, pinks, yellows and blues light up the skies while a range of greens, yellows and browns emerge from the ground as grass and fields with hills in the background. The haystack is a point of interest but not central to the composition as in Monet’s later haystack paintings. Moving on chronologically, Eglise de Varengeville was painted in 1882, and as most of Monet’s paintings was created outdoors on location.  Upon observation of the coastal cliffs painted from below, the viewer sees active and energized brushwork in several colors as the artist breaks down the rocks into sections of an array of whites, oranges, yellows, reds, browns and greens. The last of Monet’s three paintings exhibited is Le Bassin des Nympheas created in the latter part of his career in 1904. By this time, Monet was fully into Impressionism, using the play and qualities of light, mixing colors on the canvas with thin visible brushstrokes to create movement, and an open composition while depicting unusual angles of the subject matter. This larger painting, also called The Lily Pond, was painted in his garden at Giverny and is a subject he repeatedly painted in his later years.  On loan from the Denver Art Museum, it captures only a small section of a lily pond, focusing in on floating flower pads as well as the water reflections of bushes, brush, and trees on shore.  The blue-greens, greens, yellow-greens, pinks, lilacs, whites and yellows are a sea of multi-dimensional brush strokes activating the surfaces of the painting, adding movement and creating a kind of surreal atmosphere. Also in the exhibition is Notre Dame(1900), an oil painting by French artist Maximilien Luce, Late Afternoon, Giverny(1905-1913), an oil painting by American artist Guy Orlando Rose, and an oil painting, The Edge of the Forest( 1887-1892), by American artist Theodore Robinson – all painted in the Impressionistic style.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

NCAN's Flash Forward: Summary



by Patricia Frischer

Rapt attention from art administrators from Fallbrook, Escondido, Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Solana Beach.

 Flash Forward: North County Arts Network’s roundup of future cultural events at Oceanside Museum of Art connected Industry leaders in Visual Arts, Theater, Music, Dance and Spoken Word worlds. Insights were gained from the 30,000 foot level to the weed roots as overview presentations were made with an emphasis on sector directions in 2018 and beyond.

It was interesting to note the similarities from all five genres. The obvious one was the recognition that COLLABORATIONS would continue to expand and evolve. It was fascinating to see just how many collaborations (or the less arduous term, intersections) are currently occurring. This is a major platform of the NCAN mission and one that we hope the newly re-designed website (launched later this year) will aid. People want to better know what the opportunities and needs are for forward planning and that starts with communications at a central hub.

Another continuing trend is for ADVOCACY ISSUES, not just to support the arts, but issues as subject matter. Concerns for veterans, the environment, health care, politics, LBGT, and a full variety of issues of important to the community at large are and will continue to be expressed. There is a call to use our empathy and our huge array of skills to highlight these issues.  We will continue to support diversity and independent voices. Individuals with talent have to be respected and supported.

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES are ever present and the development and learning curve for using these new tools is a challenge. Augmented reality, virtual reality, social media connect us and distance us at the same time. We will need to create ways to BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER as they become increasingly isolated. Arts and culture venues will become even more vital as gathering places.

The age divide we see especially in theater audiences needs to be bridged as we make sure that an increasingly young demographic becomes more involved in the arts. Not only is this important for attendance levels, but YOUNG LEADERSHIP is vital and everything that can be done should be done in this area.

Audiences who are no longer always wanting to simply watch and listen, are seeking PARTICIPATION EXPERIENCES.  Everything from voting for favorites, to reality TV type experiences, to the ultimate transition from audience to creative maker will continue to be explored.

OUTREACH will continue as the spread of the art education continues to be in demand in all areas of the county and not just the major cities. And reduced and free admittance should be funded for those not able to afford the charges for workshops and performances.  

World cultures are in a state of constant flux. The arts can be a harbinger of things to come and we can have a positive and impactful effect especially if we make considered choices and our actions are united and intentional.    


This summary has been drawn from the presentations made by the following art professionals.



Visual Arts: Kerri Fox, Vice President, Marketing,  New Children’s Museum, President of the SD County Museum Council with 43 museums with 47 locations throughout San Diego County. Museums in north county include: Lux Institute, Oceanside Museum of Art, Museum of Making Music, California Center of the Art, Escondido, California Surf Museum, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum and the newest addition, Craftsman Museum in Carlsbad. Her list of trends include:

Community: access, diversity, empathy, shared experience, inclusion, civic engagement, understanding.
  • Going out into the community with Tech Trucks.
  • Two scientists go into a bar  used 50 scientists at 25 locations to answer any science questions asked.
  •  Outreach educational program occur all across the county including Mass Creativity Day at the New Children’s Museum
  • Empathy“museums hope that they can play a role in global citizenship, educating the public and encouraging visitors to leave with a different mind-set – about respect for human rights, social justice, diversity, equality, and sustainability. David Fleming, Director, National Museums Liverpool. Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Empathy museum which is traveling to Europe, Australia, Moscow, and even Siberia. There is a 48% rise in empathy, but a decline in social trust, a rise in discrimination, bullying and hate crimes. The arts could take a bigger role



Collaboration: Collective Impact, Advocacy, Civic Engagement, Access, Shared Experience, Beyond 4 walls.  Lots of Collaboration is going on but we just don’t realize it. We need to encourage it but also take pride in how much is already going on.
  •         Multi-organization exhibitions i.e. Irving J. Gill: New Architecture for a Great Country, Prisideo to Pacific Powerhouse: How the Military Shaped San Diego, WOW one of the largest collaboration, moved  this year from la Jolla to downtown at Horton Plaza Park, Westfield Corporation; The New Children’s Museum; The San Diego Public Library; Bread & Salt and Border X Brewing; as well as UCSD ArtPower and the first Council curated exhibition, Muse: SD Museum Murals  including 9 museums with 9 artists at  La Bodega Gallery.
  •         Removing cost as a barrier to attendance with discounted and free tickets for under privileged.
  •         More cross border collaboration, given our proximity and the current political climate.
  • ·        Advocacy for funding: Rise Up for the Arts, Preserve Penny for the Arts


Connecting:  Interactive, innovation, technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, engagement, agile design, know your audience, connect with your audience.  Make experience active, as audiences want to interact and be part of it.
  •         That means rethinking the way visitors experience museums to better match the way they lead their daily lives, where tasks as varied as ordering food or finding a date can be accomplished with just a click or a swipe.
  •        Download an app or check out an ipad already loaded with the program of information at the venue
  •       Social media: After years of “no photos” in museums, art institutions are easing up on these restrictions.  A recent poll showed that over 95% of arts institutions are on social media. With museums sharing so much imagery themselves, it can be difficult for visitors to understand that they can’t necessarily do the same. Most major museums have eased up on this policy
  •        The biggest hurdle to wide-open photo policies is the issue of copyright but museums are beginning to accept that there is a benefit in allowing people to snap photos with their phones. They are sharing on social media, they are more likely to want to participate in the art.  Some museums have actively encouraged “selfies”. LACA has an Instagram Artist in Residence. Saachti had a show Selfie to Self expression which included a history of selfies
  •         Interactive screen like the new one at SD New Children’s Museum interactive digital aquarium where a child can paint a fish on a screen and then see it merged into an underwater scene. If touch the fish moves.


Theater: Chris Williams, Associate Artistic Director, North Coast Rep

AT THIS EVENING’S PERFORMANCE until Aug 6 Cast photo

Professional, Semi-Professional, Community, and Educational Theatre
Definition(s) solely based on financial and contractual terms…not artistic merit.

Professional Theatre - Employs a high percentage of union talent, pays health and pension, must apply for professional show rights. North Coast Rep is the only official one in North County (not including La Jolla)

Community Theatre – No pay, pay to play, or stipend to artists; mostly local artists. Applies for amateur rights. About half
 Semi-Professional Theatre – Employs a small percentage of union talent (guest artists), some pay health and pension. Applies for either professional or amateur rights. About 1/4
Educational Theatre – Student-based artists, no pay or stipend. Must apply for amateur or educational rights. About ¼

Trends:
  •        Bouncing back from recession
  •         Big Named Musicals (Oklahoma!, Guys & Dolls, etc) = money makers.~Not every theatre can afford to produce them (royalties, technical, and personnel)
  •       Audiences are generally older. Younger audiences have trouble affording tickets
  •        Good social media and web presence
  •         Word-of-mouth is best publicity
  •         Less capital donations available
  •         Reliant on small donations
  •         Not enough outreach to lower income communities


Predictions and Future Trends
  •        More Diversity in casting and employment.  Thank you, Hamilton!
  •        More politically driven productions. Human rights, politics, social issues
  •        More online presence
  •       Smaller casts, smaller sets
  •        Cultivating younger audiences – More Outreach
  •       More smaller donations



Music: Naimeh Tahna, President,
Encinitas Friends of the Arts

Passport to Africa

Dia de los Muertos


Current trends
  Culture is changing far more frequently than ever before
  Music is closely related to changes in society’s consensus worldview
  There is no dominant cultural stabilizer
  One can transmit music worldwide at a touch of a button
  Society is prone to continual arbitrary change 
  In other words, culture and music flow together
Future trends:
  Musicians will become cultural workers challenging cultural narratives
  There will be more musicians with purpose, and for causes
  Live music will become a platform- with audience participation
  Multidisciplinary art performances- Music with dance, visual arts, spoken word, etc.
  There will be cross-over and experimentations with genres, instruments, etc.
Challenges:
Keeping up with current trends
  The music we think is cool now will probably be outdated. Be ready to let go.
  The music is a representation, a manifestation of what's constantly changing around us.
  We need to be intentional about the cultures we want to create and cultivate with the art of music.
  We would have the influence to empower the hearts and minds of the next generation
Not remembering the artist are key
  Support them through the process, trusting them to push the boundaries
  If you believe in artists, if you are curious and brave, if you trust your own instincts, if you hold your nerve, then you might make history
  That is the job of producers and curators like us
New Technology and lack of younger leadership
  Make the arts accessible and relevant
  We must create a new generation of leaders with vision and creativity
  Foster a culture of connectedness, collaboration, and change
  Need to create paths to success: Student/Intern- staff- future leader
Traditional, hierarchical structures, and practices do not work anymore
  Include cultural representations in staff, as officers and on the boards
  Changing demographics matters
  Involve and engage municipalities
  Connect with the community; become engaged
Opportunities:
  Music has the power to culturally, morally, and emotionally influence our society. Thus, the more intentional we become with the sounds, messages, and moods we create and release through music, the more powerful we will become in making deep positive impacts.
  We have the ability to change the world around us because of the influence we carry, and that truly makes music something worth dedicating a life to. So let’s do it.

Dance: Emily Miller, Director, Performing Arts Workshop

Ballet:
Ballet Arte, Encinitas Ballet, North County Classical Ballet, Performing Arts Workshop (PAW), San Elijo Dance Academy (SEDMA)
Modern Dance:
GETDOWN/PICKUP company, H20 Dance Company, Heather Glabe,  isadoraNOW, Patricia Rincon and Dancers, Sadie Weinberg and Friends, Yolanda Shaith
Dance Schools:
Carlsbad Performing Arts Academy (CPAA), Evolve, Evoke, Oceanside Academy of Dance



Current Dance Scene
  •        Collaboration - Producing work and performance opportunities with other dance artists and with other artists in other genres
  •        Helping each other
  •        Raising awareness
  •        Building a single community
  •        Sharing and advocating

Challenges and Opportunities
  • ·        Granting space
  • ·        Performing for each other
  • ·        Discussion of forming a not-for-profit organization
  • ·        Getting involved in the community
  • ·        DANCING!

Spoken Word: Danny Salzhandler, 101 Artist Colony/Full Moon Poets 
Danny found two great resources to find spoken word performances in SD: Poetry in San Diego and San Diego Poetry Events and he ended our session of presenters with this moving poem.


For Tony  by Danny Salzhandler, 1974
They were the heroes of the war.
Boys dressed in men's clothing.
Didn’t know what they were fighting for.
Sometimes the blessing’s in the not knowing.
So play your magic twager, Froggie.
Like you smiled in the sun.
Those who lived to learn the reasons
your memories a quiet place to run.
So play your magic twanger, Froggie.
Your young life had just begun.
They say God gave us his.
We know your Mama gave her favorite Son.