Thursday, January 13, 2022

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

 by Patricia Frischer

One of the entrance images with faux fur and paint.

 When I was teaching art in London, I was able to take my class to an important landscape exhibition. Their assignment was to imagine that they were actually in the painting and design what activities they would do there for a day… a picnic, a swim, a stroll, a rock concert, a masked ball. They had to place themselves inside, wandering around, noticing their surroundings. Twenty-five years later, this experience would be made much easier for them with Beyond Van Gogh. But instead of our own imagination, we are invited inside the creative mind of Vincent Van Gogh.

Fanny Curtat, the Art History Consultant for this show, believes events like this might lead reluctant museum goers to seek out the original works that inspired so much effort by her team. Normal Studio with the Paquin Entertainment Group and Primo Entertainment  who put together Beyond are just one of several conglomerates that have packaged the Van Gogh legacy. This one has a large educational component and calls upon it own creative tech artists to imagine the works and words coming together with music and animation for a truly impressive presentation.

Ms. Curtat was careful to emphasis that the Beyond Van Gogh does not concentrate on his self-mutilation, but instead takes you from darker days to huge burst of joy and color. There is a room of lighted text, followed by a space filled with a moving  waterfall of color to accustom you to the final large room with about a 35 minute sequence of images. You can come in at any stage and you might want to repeat parts by quietly sitting on anyone of the benches that seem to be lifted from the style of a Van Gogh room.

Outside entrance to the Wyland Center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

It would be great for every child in San Diego to have the chance to be awed by this display

Boy genius

Words from his trove of letters are brought to life.

Waterfalls of color are created by the artist techs.

Fanny Curtat, Art History Consultant

In November, Van Gogh had his most successful auction month ever, also leading to a yearly record. One outstanding lot was his Young Man with Cornflower, which sold for $46.7 million - having been estimated at only $5 million - $7 million. You can buy your own little bit of Vincent memorabilia in the extensive gift shop at the end of the show. 

Young Man with Cornflower

Many, many, many t-shirts1

Warm feet!

Too bizarre, even for me. 

Van Gogh: The ImmersiveExperience, presented by Keurig
Monday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm
Friday: 11am - 11pm
Saturday: 10am - 11pm
Sunday: 10am - 10 pm
Final entry 1 hour before close.

WHERE: Wyland Center at Del Mar Fairgrounds: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014


Trifecta: Art, Science, Patron at La Jolla Historical Society

 By Patricia Frischer

Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton
Dr. Reuben Shaw
Elegant simple shape, complicated materials and construction

Marcos Ramírez ERRE, the De La Torre Brothers, Siobhan Arnold, David Adey, 
Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton, Debby and Larry Kline,
Mely Barragan, Christopher Puzio,
Cesar and Lois Collective and Wendy Maruyama.  
Now that is a major line-up of talent and they do not disappoint. Curated by Chi Essary and with an absolutely stunning catalog, we were pleased to see this show before it closed. Hopefully this report and the catalog will be a permanent memory of such talent coming together.

The show is a trifecta because these artists were each assigned to a different endowed chair scientist recipient at the Salk Institute. The endowment ($3 million for each chair) is the patron part of the title. These scientists are working on cures for disease and asking those important questions like why do we age, how can we save the planet? What the artists (even ERRE) all discovered was that answers did not come in black and white. The research has shown that finding one answer might lead to more complications. So thank goodness we have these beautiful  visual  images to remind us that life is good and with that beauty comes hope. 

Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton (detail)

Wendy Maruyama
Dr. John Reynold
Ripples of memories reflected in the mirror like surface, more distorted as the piece progresses.

Wendy Maruyama

Wendy Maruyama (detail)

Mely Barragan
Dr. Kay Tye
Trying to connect biologically or culturally.

David Adey
Dr. Jan Karlseder
Dolly the cow  entangled in loops of knowing and unknowing,

Cesar and Lois Collective
Dr. Joanne Chory
Proposing an artificial intelligence that learns from nature not from humans. 

Marcos Ramírez ERRE
Dr. Clodagh O'Shea
Trying to make a black and white world that we can control,

Marcos Ramírez ERRE (detail)

De La Torre Brothers
Dr. Gerald Shadel
The good changes to the bad changes to the good changes to the bad.

De La Torre Brothers

De La Torre Brothers (detail)

Christopher Puzio
Dr. Geoffrey Wahl
Metaphors within metaphors,

Christopher Puzio (detail)

Siobhan Arnold
Dr. Susan Kaech
A secret little message inside of every lymph gland.

Siobhan Arnold (detail)

Debby and Larry Kline
Dr. Thomas Albright
Truth hidden and revealed and hidden and revealed.

Trifecta: Art, Science, Patron
La Jolla Historical Society Wisteria Cottage Gallery
780 Prospect Street, La Jolla
HOURS: Wed-Sunday, 12-4 p. m. through January 16. Free admission.
(858) 459-5335

See also: Seeking Truth & Other Science-Inspired Installations at La Jolla Historical Society Picked RAW Peeled by Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

PHES Gallery Impermanence; Sparkling like a Star in our hand and Melting like a Snowflake

 by Patricia Frischer

Michelle Kurtis Cole.

PHES Gallery presents Impermanence a group exhibition with Wendy Maruyama, Kathi McCord, Michelle Kurtis Cole, and Andres Amador reflecting life's transitory nature. But this is not a sad grouping of doom and gloom but a hopeful one because of the beauty reflected in each of the works.

I am most familiar with the work of Michelle Kurtis Cole. Her dedication to bringing attention to climate change and how it affects the ocean and our environment is a long time theme of her work. We were lucky enough to show a whole selection of her work in the DNA of Creativity exhibition at Oceanside Museum of Art as part of the Sea Change: ACT project. A set of 7 of her dying corals from that show are newly presented here. When corals die they are bleached of all color and appear underwater as ghost of their former selves. 

Michelle Kurtis Cole and Andres Amador.

Kurtis Cole hand sculpts interpretations of the precious undersea beings from red wax. Molds are then made from the waxes as the process is so tricky, that more than one model is needed. Then they are spurred and invested in plaster. The next step of the loss wax process is to melt the wax out of the investment. Then glass frit fills the hollow, the work is adjusted so that parts get more heat than other and the long process of firing begins. Slow heating and cooling assures the safety of the art, and then the lengthy process of finishing these glass gems begins, grinding off spurs, polishing, creating and setting stands to display them. 

There are two new works made especially for this show and if you look closely you can see the glass disintegrating. They are lit from within as if they have souls yet to be released. 

Michelle Kurtis Cole

Michelle Kurtis Cole

Michelle Kurtis Cole (detail)

The delicacy of a pencil line creates the impermanence in the drawings of Kathi McCord Endangered flora and fauna of the rain forest fill two walls. Everyone knows how to erase a graphite line and everyone is invited to do so in room two of her display. It is an emotional experience as demonstrated by the box of tissues available for tears. I could not bring myself to erase a monkey, but someone did and I am sure ended with wet cheeks.

Kathi McCord

Kathi McCord (before erased)

Kathi McCord (after erased)

Kathi McCord - erasers and tissue

Wendy Maruyama makes the most incredible furniture which is solid and long lasting, so seeing her soft and flowing hanging of identity tags from Japanese Americans interred in camps during World War II reminds us of these citizens uprooted from their homes and businesses.  Having your foundation whipped out from underneath you has happened to all of us at some time, but seeing this almost Christmas tree like form in the center of the gallery, almost make it feel like a celebration of resilience, bravery and the determination to survive.  

Wendy Maruyama (detail)

Making a sand castle and then watching the waves wash it away is one of the joys of childhood. Andres Amador takes this experience to a whole new level. It is impossible to imagine how these perfectly formed geometric shapes can be created. The photographs are stunning and it does help to see a video to really experience the dissolution as a complete part of the process. The sand is reborn to be its natural self or a fresh canvas. Amador not only works with sand and water but also clay and water as he uses native American basket pattern on rock formation that are then water blasted away. 

Andres Amador sand and sea

Andres Amador

Andres Amador clay on rock

Ellen Speert, curator of this show and the ES of PHES with husband Paul Henry recalls the words of philosopher Francis Bacon, "We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake."

Impermanence at  PHES Gallery
2633 State Street, Carlsbad Village, 92008   
Open Thurs - Sat 2 – 7 until Feb 13, 2022.
More info: Ellen 760-696-3022

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2021 Cannon Gallery Invitational

By Patricia Frischer

Melissa Walter

One thing you can take to the bank is display of work at the Cannon Art Gallery is always tip top and this show is no exception. Karen McGuire, the curator, has chosen the five artists from those juried into the 2021 Biennial for this 9th invitational exhibition.  The dramatic view when you first enter the show is to the back wall and the stunning wall sculpture by Melissa Walter (SD Art Prize 2020, La Mesa).   Stark but warmly lit, the works draws your eye immediately, but you walk through the graphite black and white drawings by Samantha Barrymore (Carlsbad) to get a closer look.  Barrymore’s art is hyper-photographic and by using the regular texture of the canvas sub-strait, the works almost look pixelated.

Melissa Walter (details)

Melissa Walter

 Samantha Barrymore  (pencil on canvas)

Brad Maxey’s (San Diego) intimate views of building interiors are also hyper, this time realism. They are beautifully rendered in full color

Brad Maxey

Brad Maxey

Jiela Rufeh (Encinitas) was the surprise of the show. Her encaustic and mixed media works seem to invoke a science fiction world where animals heads with extended horns have shrouded human bodies.

Jiela Rufeh

Jiela Rufeh

Jiela Rufeh

The sculptures by Griselda Rosas (SD Art Prize 2020Chula Vista) continue to intrigue me. These multiple media pieces use materials in such unusual combinations and they appear to have some function but that is left to your imagination.   Her wall hanging with embroidery continue to develop in theme, shape and color.

These are the ones to watch!

Griselda Rosas (detail)

Griselda Rosas

Griselda Rosas

To experience the process for making art that Griselda Rosas uses, there are some art kits that are being given away for free. I followed all the instructions and here my own multimedia art work influenced by Griselda and made with all the materials in the kits. 

Patricia Frischer

The Cannon Art Gallery  Invitational exhibition
On view from Nov 13 to Feb 5, 2022.
Carlsbad City Library complex at Dove Lane and El Camino Real in the south of Carlsbad
Tuesday through Thursday: Noon - 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday: Noon - 5 p.m.
Admission is free. Masks are required.