Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kim Emerson for CAC of SDMA at Robin Lipman

Contemporary Arts Committee of SDMA will present Kim Emerson for a short talk about her tile work on
March 11 at 7 pm. It will be held at the fascinating home of  Robin J. Lipman. For more info:858.794.7968

I am continually amazed by the richness of visual art that we have in San Diego. I know I am privileged to be sent tons of announcements to exhibitions, more than humanly possible to attend. I try to get to a venue and experience the art first hand as often as possible. But sometimes my antennae need just the right combination of stimulation to get me to the right place at the right time. I first met Kim Emmerson at the annual fashion show that her sister-in-law produces for St. Madeleine’s Sophie Center. She was charming but it barely registered that she was a mosaic artists except I knew that the students at the center did lots of tile art work. I have known Robin Lipman for a number of years because we seem to have similar taste and she shows up at lots of events I attend. She came on our Tijuana bus trip to Entijuanarte a few years ago. And she became the newsletter editor for the Contemporary Art Committee of the San Diego Museum of Art. I have been a member of that group off and on and always support their activities.

But when Betsy Lane choose Kim to give a talk for the CAC and it was held at Robin Lipman’s home, the muses sang into my ear and told me I must attend. I invited Sandra Chanis who is organizing this year’s Oceanside Museum of Art fundraising auction to come with me. The public is invited to attend one meeting a year without being a member, and I highly recommend you try out this group in that way. You will get swept along into paying the very modest dues and be exposed to a whole fascinating group of artists and art patrons.

I was just astounded with Kim’s work which she presented in a slide show. She was careful to show entire commissions, public works and studio work and also bring us in for close-ups so we could see the intricate details. There were also three small works on display so we could experience them close up. One of the three will be in the Blanks 2 Beauty art auction on April 27 (Buy tickets for Blanks to Beauty Bash only $15 in advance) in aid of SDVAN, Synergy Art Foundation and Feeding America San Diego which is part of our P Squared: PALETTE TO PALATE evening.

There was also a chance to see a work in progress as Robin has commissioned Kim to create an outdoor adornment for her patio. A massive amount of engineering skill is needed to construct these large scale works and make them permanent. I know the weather in San Diego is conducive to outdoor works, but some of Kim’s works make up the most charming additions to Carley’s Garden at Rady’s Children Hospital and so they have to be safe and secure for ill children and they do indeed engender great joy and comfort.

A huge bonus of the evening was to see the home of Robin Lipman. It is filled with every imaginable color and shape, a real feast for the eyes. Everywhere you turn is some wonderful find and they are combined together to make a magical environment. A vintage collector of tomato collectables gives the house its name Tomaytoland. Now Robin has turned one whole room into a gallery with changing exhibitions. She is a huge supporter of local artists. It was a privilege to get this view of her home.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Playing with a Full Deck

Playing with a Full Deck exhibits 54 art quilts representing playing cards.  The opening reception is March 9 from 5 to 7 pm at Visions Art Museum  (2825 Dewey Rd, Suite 100, SD 92106) at the NTC. The show opening March 1 and end May 19.. More info Beth Smith 619.546.4872

In 1995, this exhibition received support from the Smithsonian Museum and opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery. It was conceived in 1993 by independent curator and quilt artist Sue Pierce. Each artist designed one card including the two jokers, Each is approximately 28 inches high by 18 inches wide.

The show traveled throughout the United States and then was bought by collectors Warren and Nancy Brakensiek in 1998. The Brakensieks are well known collectors of contemporary art quilts who recently made a gift of the collection to Visions Art Museum.

Caryl Bryer Fallert  presented a visual lecture about her work and her 30-year career as an award-winning contemporary quilter and we have used her image of a three of diamonds to illustrate this report that deals with myth, fantasy, abstraction and a huge variety of quilting techniques.

 It is a credit to Beth Smith, director of the gallery that she is able to add to the permanent collection of this valuable resource in San Diego.

San Diego: Identity Crisis or Identity Opportunity?

The whole world is also tussling with art issues. The new Pope Francis had, in his past, called for censorship of contemporary art. Kate and William (future king of England) are considering buying contemporary art to make royalty appear less stuffy. What a boast to the art market would that be. The Los Angeles MOCA has turned down a financial rescue package from LACMA. I sometimes wonder what sort of affect San Diego will ever have internationally.  

I attended the panel discussion at the beginning of March presented by the Ilan-Lael Foundation’s at the Mingei International Museum. These are ongoing Conversations on Beauty and this one focused on San Diego in Search of Its Identity.

I have recorded the sounds bites that each of the four participants produced. I think this short summary presents some of the history and wishes of our beloved city.  But each of us must use our own imagination if we want to avoid a SD identity crisis.

James Hubbell, artist and social commentator Ilan-Lael Foundation  - A large vision is important for San Diego which includes the Navy, Baja, Pacific Rim, and High Tech industry. We should let Balboa Park and the Bay creep back into the city. We need to remember to be happy with what we don’t know.

Mary Walshok, author, head of UCSD Extension and industrial sociologist – In the 1890’s,San Diego was attractive as a clean and open city at a time when other cities were perceived as diseased and dirty. It was built almost entirely from federal funding. But there raged a battle here between the industrial capitalist and the art and crafts movement often called smokestacks or geraniums. The city is divided 60% as private space and 40% public. 

Rob Quigley, architect of the new Downtown central library – We have a very engaged community but very risk adverse.  Let’s not have form follow fear. We have to consider emotional functionality.  It is all about being good ancestors. 

Howard Blackson, urban planner – San Diego has the most beautiful outside so we need to get people outside more. Cultural value creates economic gain. Change can not always be seen to be bad. The things you love should be renewed. 

To read an article full of quotes from the evening check out this City Beat link.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Three Gallery View in La Jolla

Cathy Breslaw reports on Art in La Jolla in March

John Millei,   "Red Bow"    Oil and Flashe on canvas  42" x 36"
John Millei: “Anthropomorphic Abstractions”
Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla , CA

John Millei describes his new paintings as “an investigation of personality traits of both men and women through simple mark making”. Curiously, some of these paintings are more obvious about their figurative references while others appear purely abstract. While the title of the show “Anthropomorphic Abstractions”
is a tip off to this body of work, the viewer will often have to search hard to see these references. Perhaps Millei is attempting to create a new visual language for his self defined figurative abstractions but it doesn’t appear necessary.  These abstract paintings stand alone without all that. The character of the brushstrokes are luscious, seductive and bold  - and his color combinations are clearly well mapped. The 19 oil and flashe paintings on canvas vary in size and scale, but appear to have similar proportional dimensions creating a rather static quality to the totality of the exhibition space. There is a series of works called “Hat Head”, another series called “Torso”, and six others whose titles are unique to the particular work. Works titled “Red Bow”, “Lips” and “Yellow Streak” seem to fit Millei’s intended investigations best. One thing is certain –these paintings are power-packed with energy, vitality and emotional intensity that viewers will appreciate.

Miya Hannan "Trapped Histories"  Installation: Resin, Bone, Concrete, Tree Limbs
MiyaHannan ‘Layers and Missing Links’
R.B. Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla,CA

MiyaHannan’s exhibition, “Layers and Missing Links”, explores the complexities of the cycle of life and the histories and connections between human beings and nature. The heart and soul of this exhibition is a room -sized installation constructed from bones, resin, and tree branches that span the main gallery space suspended from ceiling to floor. This archeological landscape conjures up thoughts of skeletons and earth excavations alongside chain links created from concrete repetitive forms. The long cylindrical white and golden ‘icicles’ extending off the branches of the tree forms, lends a visual starkness that is mitigated by the spiritual feeling this landscape evokes. The concept of linkages of people from past to present to future is central to the work in this exhibition.  Included in Hannan’s other works are several suspended sculptural forms - a series called “Roots”. Hannan uses tree roots, epoxy resin, concrete, wire and phone books to amplify repetitive organic and skeletal forms as they float in space suspended from the ceiling. A triptych called “Rings” features burned pages of phone books and the concept of time - of people, past and present, visually portrayed in the form of sliced off tree trunks framed in raw wood.  The relationship between life and death, and body and spirit, all come into play in the constructions of this intriguing and thought provoking exhibition.

Arnold Kramer  "Breakfast Room" silver gelatin print 16" x 20"
Arnold Kramer ‘Interior Views’
Joseph Bellows Gallery

Arnold Kramer’s “Interior Views” is the artist’s first west coast exhibition of his photographs.  They are all vintage gelatin silver prints measuring 16” x 20”.  The show features work from a 1978 critically acclaimed exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Kramer is well known for these black and white photographs which focus on the importance of the environment of everyday indoor life. Most images are of rooms where families typically gather – living rooms, dining rooms, in front of the T.V., and kitchen. No matter which room is photographed, the objects are flatly illuminated and are shot with a bare bulb flash. The photographs have an airless, toneless homogenized quality and have a certain starkness of appearance. The images of these environments appear static, and firm, and possess a certain rawness, with no emotional temperature expressed by Kramer. The photographs are more about depicting domestic habits in a suburban environment where the compositions are about the scrutinizing of the distribution of objects. Kramer seems to be most interested in photographing how things are arranged in a particular manner in a particular room.  This compositional perspective highlights an appreciation he seems to have for the person who has arranged them. While Kramer’s images depict a certain simple topography of furnished rooms, there is an element of sensitivity about them that transcends their ‘at first glance’ ordinary persona.

Cathy Breslaw