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

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