Tuesday, February 7, 2017

John Dillemuth: Gomos and Contraptions at Oceanside Museum Of Art

by Patricia Frischer

I am featuring John Dillemuth in this posting but also covered are Trinh Mia, Dan McCleary, Alixia Markarian, and Russel Forester, all showing at OMA

John Dillemuth: Gomos And Contraptions at Oceanside Museum Of Art (704 Pier View Way, Oceanside 92054) opening on Feb 4 and runs to July 23 with an opening reception on March 25.  Curated by Vallo Riberto, assemblages, contraptions, vehicles, and paintings combine to create an installation that references the real and imaginary. Also note:  For more info: Collette Stefanko  760.435.3720

In Defense of the Purely Visual: a Humanistic* Essay
By Patricia Frischer

It was a cold snowy night in 1973, when I found myself in an artist’s loft in Brussels. I was on tour shepherding an exhibition of California modern master drawings I had curated around the capitols of Europe through the US Embassy cultural program. My host had to leave me to do a radio broadcast, but asked if I would like to stay until his return. He invited me to open the ice crusted window, and have a drink from the bottle nestled on the snowy ledge while he was gone. This was my first experience of Chateau Eyquem, the most exquisite of the honeyed wines of the world. I was 25, and the world was as astonishing and as sweet as that nectar. This intense vivid experience is the same thrill I get when I see excellent art. That stimulation is present when I view John Dillemuth’s installations at Oceanside Museum of Art, curated by Vallo Riberto.  It is a pure visual delight to wind your way through this unique collection of contraptions and their supporting case of charming paintings.

I find I am in need of visual art more than ever right now. I find it a sanctuary from a crazy political world. I can escape into Dillemuth’s sanity where double meanings are the norm, emotions can be mixed and no conclusions need to be drawn. We are privy to the conversations that Dillemuth is having with himself. The body of work is its own proof of that dialogue. We don’t need to hear it or read it to believe it. We can trust the freedom of expression in front of our eyes. Staying free seems to be of utmost importance right now and in that I find this work extremely reassuring.

In writing this I was inspired by one of the first and greatest essayist: Michel de Montaigne. I read a review (New Yorker, Jan 16, 2017) by Adam Gopnik of a book about Montaigne by Philippe Desan. The review itself was very mixed but was an education to me when Gopnik says of Montaigne, “He’s funny, he’s touching, he’s strange, he’s inconclusive. Ironic, self-mockery, muted egotism, a knowledge of one’s own absurdity that doesn’t diminish the importance of one’s witness, a determinedly anti-heroic stance that remain clearly ethical……” For me, he could be speaking about John Dillemuth.

 And just an added little note, Montaigne’s family owned Chateau Eyquem.

*The humanistic perspective is an approach that stresses the good in human behavior including human rights and equality.

John explains his work to a selection of docents plus the new OMA Director Maria Mingalone

Trinh Mai: Lifeline December 17, 2016–March 5, 2017

I was lucky to see Trinh Mai's work when she shared some studio space at The Artist Odyssey  in Encinitas. In both spaces she deals with wounds and repairs. I have always liked her bones works that are wrapped and tied, but this new series of open wounds (or are they mouths or vaginas?) is a whole stunning  series which have been inset in the wall. 

Dan McCleary, Etchings And Studies: Taller De Grabado, Oaxaca 2000–2016 December 17, 2016–April 30, 2017

McCleary's very intense oil paintings are what really capture the eyes in this show. But most of them have been seemingly studies for the etching and dry points that hang side by side.  I especially liked it when he returned the color back into the printed images in the vase of flowers. The skill is apparent in both types of work, but though the accomplishment of mastering print making must be very satisfying, they still seemed to me diminished.  

Alexia Markarian: Desire Is Never Enough December 17, 2016–April 30, 2017

The title of this show seemed to be more of a holding place for this collection of three or four different series by Markarian.  I was particularly fond of the Terra Obscura series. Nothing to do with desire, but then desire is never enough. 

This and the following work are part of the Terra Obscura series

The Russell Forester show is now over but here are a few examples from this amazing graphic design oriented artist. 

This piece fascinated me with it little windows and dark brooding color. It still reminded me of an advent calendar with little treats behind each door. 

Michelle Montjoy’s show Rope opens  at the same time as the formal reception for John Dillemuth at  on March 25. We are eager to see this exhibition so save the date.

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