Thursday, December 13, 2012

Art of Science, Science of Art

By Patricia Frischer

The La Jolla Playhouse presented some brilliant local scientists in their Art of Science, Science of Art panel. We hope they hold many more of these events which prove not only that there is a close connection between art and science but also that we have top brain power right here in SD.

It turns out that scientist spend a lot of time and have great respect for the arts. They often try to analyze how it gives them a higher level of focus. They have to be performers themselves when they make presentation for grants or lectures to colleagues. They struggle just like artists to find funding and their process of creation is even longer than most artistic ventures. A play can take up to 10 years from book to script to stage, but research often needs to be funded for 40 years or more. They want to shorten the learning curve but have to contend, as doctors, with every patience being a new canvas. They are working to combine the experience of the old guard with the innovative nature of the young bucks. They all seemed to agree that the most progress is made with a totally interdisciplinary team.

Someone in the audience suggested that large sums of money should be thrown at those projects that have the most chance of succeeding, but Dr. Gerald Joyce (Professor, UCSD-Scripps Institute, Molecular Biology and Chemistry) gave a very succinct reply when he said that  the dinosaurs would have had been funded if we had gone that route millenniums ago. It is better to fund a spread of projects large, medium and small and best if these are chosen by peer groups.  

Dr. Daniel Einhorn, Moderator, Endocrinology Scripps-Whittier) was the moderator for the evening and endured himself when he spoke of that special moment when only you know about an imminent discovery. That is a sweet moment but that isolation which is a factor in a scientist’s life is another reason they look to art to offer a sense of intellectual community. 

Dr. Santiago Horgan (Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, UCSD) spoke movingly of the changes from a time when the "bigger the scar the better the surgeon” to the current minimalist approach. He is actually able to do an appendicitis operation through the mouth with no scar at all.

Both Dr. Thomas Albright (Vision Center Laboratory, Salk Institute) and Dr. Pamela Itkin-Ansari (specializing in diabetes and pancreatic diseases) contributed in many other ways and were equally impressive.

On the art side were Des McAnuff, Director of the new play, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (using the music and inspiration of the band, The Flaming Lips). He reminded the audience that experimentation is the cornerstone of creativity and being able to fail is allowed as long as there is authenticity about the process.  Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director, La Jolla Playhouse, gave a wonderful description of how an usher watching a rehearsal gave him the insight into how to fix an ineffectual scene and add layers of meaning when she suggested that a white man and black women raised all sorts of issues outside of the direct dialogue.

Joe Nalven of DAG seems to think that the event was put on to “close the gap between town and gown, talk up the new play, avoid the politics of other art institutions and artists.” I am just grateful that there was standing room only and a very appreciative crowd in attendance who are curious about the art and science combination.

December 2012 Roundup of Exhibition: Picked RAW Peeled

Tales Of The Maya Skies presents the rich history and culture of the ancient Maya civilization at Chichén Itzá, immersing audiences in Maya science, art and mythology.  Southwestern College Professor of Art History Mark Van Stone, an expert specializing in Maya Hieroglyphs and calligraphy who worked on graphics for the film, and will speak on Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Museum on December 3.

It is not often that you come away from a lecture informed and amused. Prof. Mark Van Stone was as entertaining as he was accurate in debunking the myths of the end of the world that are flying around about the date Dec 21, 2012. And if you are reading this, I guess he was right. Not only is there no prediction by the Mayans, but there is contradiction and confusion among scholars.  And when you add the marketing of sensationalism, there is lots more fiction than fact available to cloud our judgment of a people who would certainly appear to be mathematically extremely advanced.  They figured out a system to record very large numbers with no decimal points or fractions. So we were convinced that instead of the world ending in 12.21. 2012, it might just be the end of one calendar period and the beginning of the next. There is also evidence to suggest that the Maya calendar continues well into the 4000’s

The lecture was given to a room of seemingly very intelligent San Diegans of advanced years on what is known as Senior Mondays at the Fleet.  Afterwards we saw the film Tales of the Maya Skies, a beautifully produced animated film about the origins of the mythology of this culture. It was made spectacular by the huge digital presentation dome a new $2 million screen generously donated by the Jacobs. Every school child should have the opportunity to be mesmerized by presentations like this one. It was visually so exciting with aerial swoops and dives, changing perspectives and great glowing splashes of color. I came out of the theater elated.

Michelle Cole, Journeys  from Dec 3 - Jan 8 at the Encinitas Library,( 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas 92024) Based on life-transforming travels to South and Central America, the South Pacific and Caribbean, these uplifting works of light, color and form explore a passion for the natural beauty of people, their countries, and the oceans. More info: Jim Gilliam Jim Gilliam

 The glass “paintings” of Michelle Kurtis Cole are radiant and seductive. These are not pieces of glass that are painted on but glass that is manipulated while red hot into controlled compositions. Yes, there is an element of happy accident, but Ms. Cole has a second sense of how the glass will perform and she channels her very potent energy and extreme knowledge of the material to coax luminous lines and rushes of intense color into slabs of glass that are very covetable.

When entering when the library was brand new, 6 beautiful lighted display cases greeted you. Unfortunately, those display boxes are now separated and a bevy of rather unattractive book shelves is the first thing you see. I have nothing against books and even feel that displayed correctly they can be a center piece, but this wasted opportunity is distressing to me and I hope it is corrected soon. How glorious it would to see Michelle Kurtis Cole’s art as your first glimpse of the magic awaiting you at the library. 

Remember you can still see Luminous Passage: Works in Glass and Light by  Michelle Kurtis Cole and Abe Ordover until Jan 1 at the L Street Gallery at the Omni (628 L Street, SD 92101) More info: Kay Colvin760.492.2876

One more chance to see the final works of Jen Trute in this  retrospective: Enviroscapes from Dec 8 to April 21
at the Oceanside Museum of Art (704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, 92054). More info: Danielle Susalla 760.435.3720

I was so delighted that the OMA museum did an outstanding job of hanging this show. Great thanks goes to Danielle Susalla Derry for making sure that the show was a first class tribute to this artist of immense talent.   I feel strongly that Jen’s work could take its place in history someday along side of Eva Hesse, another passionate artist who died way too young. Jen Trute had many long time friends. I was lucky to know her and speak to her often about her work.  I was interviewed by Kelly Davis for City Beat about the Jen Trute show and so I decided to repost her column for you to read here.

On her website, Jen Trute explains the inspiration for “Sunbathe Barbie at Bombay Beach”:

“We pulled into the village… and drove around this godforsaken trailer-ville that looked like a modern day ghost town…. The beach was lined with layers of orange and turquoise and chocolate colored foam. Where you could see into the water, pinky beige gunk waved back. There were lots of rotted out houses and trailers submerged out in the lake to about the 4-foot level. A rusted out delivery truck was sunk in sand up to the dashboard. Dead fish lay along the water’s edge.”

Trute was a passionate environmentalist, says longtime friend Patricia Frischer; scenes of environmental degradation fill her paintings.

“It can look like it’s anime or surreal, but… the underlying passion in her life was that,” Frischer says.

Trute died on July 23, 2011, after a long battle with breast cancer. She left her paintings to her friend and fellow artist Dennis Paul Batt, and Batt started making plans for a retrospective exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), where Trute had shown work in the past. But, on Jan. 30, 2012 Batt died suddenly. His sister, though, made sure the exhibition moved forward, Frischer says.

Trute’s body of work is small, Frischer says. The artist spent much of her life in a great deal of pain. “She was very conscious of how much energy she had and how she had to use it very wisely. She couldn’t afford to waste any time and she knew that.”

“Sweetness and fear, side by side” Frischer says, “That is what imbue Trute’s work. She captured that combination so perfectly. She added Pop art and  surrealism  and made them her own.”

The San Diego Museum of Art  has set aside a small room on the left of the grand staircase to showcase the work of Marianela de la Hoz a ten year resident of San Diego County who has established a following through her gallery Noel Baza. . Her detailed painting technique is informed by Surrealism and focuses on representational art. Heaven and Earth, the Determined Freedom of an Undetermined Life consists of an altarpiece with 11 individual paintings and is inspired in part by the Museum’s painting, Madonna and Child, ca.1468 by Carlo Crivelli. But de la Hoz has given us more to ponder and discover with her new masterpiece showing until Feb 2013.


Mark Jesinoski: Aquaticus at Pulse Gallery until 27 December is showing painting which are described by the artist as the organic and meditative abstract paintings where “Life is constantly changing and, like water, we can flow and adapt to our world while gracefully shaping it over time.”. What I see is a great leap forward by this artist who is producing sensitive works that are elegantly painted and showing off really improved skills. I have watched Mr. Jesinoski progress over the last few years as he finds himself not only at a new level within his work, but finding a bride and honing in on a balance between his day job and his passion for art.


Capturing The Wonder of Women at the Women’s Museum of California is first juried show in the brand new gallery space at Liberty Station. UCSD's Li Huai, was the curator and installer and Robert Pincus made his choice for the $1000 prize and two honorable mentions.  More than 150 local and regional artists submitted work for this show and  48 pieces were on display. Ashley Gardener tells us that the theme for the museum future shows at least in the near future will all be about Wonder Women in all sorts of guises. The show had many many artist that we know and love, too many to mention here, but it was a good representation and a wide spread of concepts. Juried shows on themes this vague are not my favorite, but it is a handsome show with something for everyone. AND we are thrilled that the museum now has an elegant and roomy showing space for art by and about women.

   Exhibition view

Lisa Marie Rodriguez

  Claudia Cano
Anna Zappoli
Emilia Sedeghi

 Mele Fox


Monday, November 19, 2012

Good, You Have Talent And Imagination...?

OMA - Artist Alliance Quarterly Exchange Patricia Frischer - Good, You Have Talent And Imagination...? is a lecture with critique following on Monday, Nov 5 at 6:30 pm (704 Pier View Way , Oceanside 92054 Larry Vogel 760.435.3720

When lecturing to artist about their marketing plans, I find the most important thing to do first is to manage expectation. Not all artists need to become super stars. Some just want a few sales to build their confidence. Others are passionate about a message that they want to communicate and need an audience. Others are in love with the process of making art and need the challenge of an exhibition to bring out their best. Knowing exactly why you want to show your work is essential so you can rate the experience of marketing and determine what success means individually.  In this presentation, artists were encouraged to think of these goals and not assume that the failure was determined by lack of sales.

There was a full explanation about how to list and use the calendar of the San Diego Visual Arts Network and artists were urged to either have their own websites or join an association that would let them show their work online. It was also demonstrated how to find opportunities like calls to artists on the site.

The last minutes of the lecture were a call for artists to come together and raise their game by curating their own shows at a higher level. Museum level exhibitions have to have not just an excellent level of creativity and technique, they need a theme that is relevant and can be communicated. The show needs the ability to garner sponsorship from within the wider community that might support the museum. It needs to be PR worthy which might mean novel, amusing, unique, and emotional or even showcase recognition of some worthy cause or person. In other words, making good art is just the beginning of a career in the arts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holistic Education

Holistic Education: Civic Innovation Challenge for the Innovation Incubator

The US is 26th in the world in average internet speed. We look out at a powerful ocean but do not harness its energy to be relieved of the need for fossil fuel or convert it to make us fresh water independent. Our infrastructure would be devastated when a large earthquake strikes our region.

The challenge of finding solutions for these problems depends on our creativity and the ability to work as a team and stop political posturing and greed. We do need to develop the ability to really communicate and collaborate.

My civic challenge is how we restructure our educational system in such a way to teach holistically instead of teaching subject by subject. How would the curriculum change, how would the schools physically need to be altered, how would teachers need to communicate in a new way, how would standards need to be responsive to needs instead of an ideal set of criteria?  

San Diego is still like the Wild West, fluid in its development and not as set in its ways as any other large city. That is why it is possible for this to happen here. San Diego could finally take pride in a really remarkable achievement which could be a pilot for a new way of educating in our future.  We could lose the fun and sun only label and take pride in our community on every level.

It appears that many San Diegan have the idea that if we were to become more advanced, we would lose our small town feel and all the cozy comfort that provides. But I see a future where we still have our small communities but we also have the advantage of a true big city. Sophistication does not need to be “either or”. It can be “and”. We don’t need to choose one or the other, but we can be amongst both. For my challenge local and region wide educational bodies would come together. Schools teachers, advisors, administrator, school boards, advocacy group and students and parent would all be impacted.

A small example of a solution would be to devise a way for art studios and science labs to share the same space. Start teaching these subjects together instead of separately. Stop assuming that some people are artists and some are scientist. Both subjects can be learned and learning them together will aid the creative flow.  Working together means solutions to the multitude of large challenges facing us becomes a hopeful activity. 

Do you have a Civic Challenge for innovation? If so, submit it here

Sunday, October 21, 2012

San Diego Steps It Up

San Diego Steps It Up: Watch for these future arts projects

San Diego Arts Entertainment District (SDAED) is a neighborhood revitalization project for the North Broadway corridor (Front St. to 10th Avenue and Ash S. to E St.) of Downtown San Diego promoting our vibrant arts industry. The district will create activities through art festivals, concerts, holiday events, cultural events, outdoor films, and most importantly though an innovative signage program. . SDAED will support the countywide artistic community through public displays of all types of art and through marketing support that will help drive awareness to showings within the arts community.  Private funds from a revenue share of district commercial signage will be reinvested into the district for the betterment of the local community. This was a process that worked very well in the Denver Theater District and is especially suited to downtown San Diego with its very stringent rules on commercial signage.

But this is not a done deal until its proposal with the City Council Land Use Committee in November and with City Council in January 2013 is approved. We can expect the start of this scheme if all goes well by April of 2013.

The district will be managed by Finwater Municipal Marketing through David Ehrich. The company is a partnership between Finwater Advisors LLC and Marston+Marston, Inc. Several national media companies will provide various forms of signage including LED screens, banners, and flags that will generate district revenue. A local board of directors, comprised of representatives from the City as well as arts groups and private business owners, will govern the district. This Board will review and make recommendations to the City Planning authorities related to all district signage to ensure that the signage meets appropriate public interests and standards. We believe that they will encourage innovative and creative photos and videos and that will help make the signs not an eyesore, but a wonderful added element of art that is constantly changing and spreading the word about arts in our region. Public displays of art will be a hallmark of the SDAED. These displays will provide valuable exposure to arts groups within and outside of the district boundaries.

National Science Foundation awards a $2.6m grant to the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership to lead a national innovation incubator project integrating arts-based-learning and STEM (What we in SD call STEAM). We heard more about the innovation Incubator grant program at the  Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Community Forum when San Diego Innovation Alliance members were invited to join a special informational meeting with Harvey Seifter, Art of Science Learning founder and the project’s director and principal investigator.

This project will take place over three years. The first phase is a planning year when a curriculum will be designed to help the teams and those  teams will be formed through a network of advisors and mentors, faculty and corporate sponsors. Each city will choose a civic challenge and the teams will self form and generate their own themes. The second year will put the 300 team members divided amongst three cities to work. Each city will have 5 teams working on school programming and five teams working on projects with products or services.  At least 20% of those teams will be students. The results will be documented and an exhibition is planned to show case all of the teams in all three cities starting at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

There will also be an independent research project with a control group and one which has undergone about 12 hours of the curriculum instruction. They will then be asked to generate solutions for the same projects that the teams have worked on. This will generate statistics, hopefully, confirming that students that study the arts outperform those who don’t and scientist who participate in the arts are higher achiever than those who don’t. That study will involve both high school students and early career STEM professionals.

They also want to foster engagement through a series of public programs. Of course they will have an evaluation assessment. The main push with this project is to enhance cross discipline practices, strengthen creativity in the sciences and generate innovation. This will hopefully fill the gap in communication skills and facilitate greater teamwork skills. Both of these along with enhanced creativity have been identified as needs to jump start our innovative economic progress.

We also hear rumors of a performing arts annual Fringe Event which will have visual arts component. AND don’t forget the San Diego View Art Now (SDVAN) app coming to you later this year. Produced and sponsored by San Diego Visual Arts Network, this app will pin point events near you on a Google map and be searchable by date or region of SD including Baja Norte.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Entijuanarte 2012

Entijuanarte 2012 October 5th-7th, 2012 at Cecut, Tijuana - We are so grateful to Julio Rodríguez, Cecilia Ochoa,  Brenda Miranda and Juan Saldana for facilitating our trip to Entijuana 2012. There is always something new and exciting to see with each trip.

We want especially to pass on our compliments for the dance performance by Lux Boreal, which was unexpected and got rave reviews from our group. The Nuevo Leon area of northeast Mexico was featured this year and displays for these galleries and artists were well presented.

In fact the entire fair had a fresh clean look as the Cecut had new pavement and two water features were great.  The fair area  and surrounds seemed especially safe. We felt we got a more authentic experience by eating at the great food stalls at the fair. Maybe not so VIP, but with the wine flowing and some rocking music, it was a hoot.

Cesar Vazquez

Cesar Vazquez

Laura Belmores, Nuevo Leon
Laura Belmores, Nuevo Leon

NODO Gallerie

Peter Latham

Brenda Miranda, Alice Diamond

Margaret Latham

rock'n band

Our wonderful group of travelers

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Art of Photography 2012

The Art Of Photography 2012 Reception Sat. Sept 29 to Nov 11 Judge Julian Cox Curator at the de Young Museum, SF. Curator Presentation San Diego Art Institute Balboa Park, SD,. For info: Steven Churchill: 619.825.5575

The crowd was the biggest ever we have seen at a San Diego Art Institute reception and the energy was very high for this international show that was a selection of 104 photos from 17,000 entries, 3,700 photographers representing 33 countries.  Julian Cox from the Fine Art Museum of SF was the curator and enthusiastic supporter for this show. He pointed out how incredible the effort by Stephen Churchill, Lisa Smith and the whole team has been to build this into such a major world wide venue in just 10 years.

Churchill produces a wonderful catalog and works hard to make sure this is a quality product all around. Changes this year that I saw was a choice to include as many  images as possible for the space and thus the decision to make the format smaller. My feeling is that the image and artist determine the image size. Some need a small intimate scale that pulls you in, other need a grand stage to be fully expressed. In a juried show like this it is always a challenge to give the viewers some way into the art and several mini group selections were made that combined colors or subjects or even angles so that you paused to see the comparison of works near by. I had not seen that done as evidently before and found it rather charming.  There are 200 images on the online gallery well worth checking out.

The winner of the largest grant of $2000 was Aglae Cortes from Mexico. Ten thousands dollars in grants was awarded during the opening reception.

Julian Cox

Stephen Churchill
Aglae Cortes, Mexico, Process 1

Krisztina Fazekas-Kielbassa, Hungarian, Holofernes             Eran Gilat, Israeli, Untitled

Top: William godwin, American , Peppermint Shrimp in Vase Sponge
Bottom: Jeroen Berends, Dutch Eggs Frozen Right: Sandra Elkin, American, It Was Wishful Thinking of Her To Sauce It 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Behold America at MCASD, La Jolla

Behold, America!: Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums, Sep 16, 2012 through Feb 10, 2013 at MCASD La Jolla

This exhibition is an exhibition put together from all of the permanent collections of The San Diego Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and Timken Museum of Art  but only the show at MCASD is already open. The others follow in November. I was most impressed with the contemporary works in the show and by the large amount of works that were on display by San Diego Artists including many SD Art Prize recipients. There is a rather strange combination of old master type landscapes either by American artist painting abroad or world wide artists painting American scenes which are sprinkled throughout the exhibition space. This was better than having them all segregated in their own section. If the curator made connections to the works near by, there was no visible explanation of what it was.  It was nice to notice that many of the contemporary works were actually from the SD Museum of Art collection.

Did the show hold together? Not very strongly but it was still a delight to see so many great works of art here in San Diego. And after all, Behold America is a fairly lose way to organize an exhibition. The categories of Frontiers,(landscapes) Figures (portraits), and Forms (still lives) is an excuse to gather the works but at least we get a chance to see these institution talking to each other and bringing works together that have not been shown together before. Huge Davies recently stated that the economy has dictated that they do less expensive show like those that are local and do not entail large insurance premiums.  Once we see all three shows, it will be interesting to take a revised view.

Albert Bierstadt

Alfred Jarr

Ann Hamilton felt boots as part of this installation below

Ann Hamilton presented a room with glass slides on the walls and a glass floor covering glass. A the far end was an embedded video of a mouth receiving a stream of water

Christ drawing

Deborah Butterfield

Iana Quesnel (SD Art Prize)

James Drakes

Paul Kos, Guadalupe Bell, 1989, bronze bell, steel, phosphorescent pigment and strobe light. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum purchase with contributions from the Awards in the Visual Arts program. © Paul Kos 1989.
There was this huge bell and when a visitor rang it, beside the bang of the clapper, you saw a split second image of the Madonna of Guadalupe in a slight blue that looked like an after image.

Always wonderful to see this James Irwin piece and it has been refreshed and you see all three glassless windows in this show.

One of my all time favorites is Milton Avery with these pale but charmingly potent works

Vito Acconci's works start flat on the ground. We were so fortunate to find adventurous visitors that made it come alive.

This is my star shot..amazing what a simple cell phone cam can do!

Einar and Jamex de la Torre (Baja map - SD Art Prize)

Ruben Ortiz Torres (SD Art Prize)