Sunday, November 9, 2014

SD Art Prize at Art San Diego

SD Art Prize at Art San Diego  presented by the San Diego Visual Arts Network opened on Wed. Nov 6 and ran until Sunday Nov 9 . SDVAN showed at booths #300 and #301 with the 2014 recipients Marianela de la Hoz with emerging artist Bhavna Mehta and Philipp Scholz Rittermann with emerging artist Joseph Huppert, Art Notes by Roxana Velásquez, Maruja, Baldwin Executive Director, San Diego Museum of Art , Constance Y. White, Art Program Manager, San Diego International Airport, Kathryn Kanjo, Chief Curator, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Ben Strauss-Malcolm, director, Quint Gallery . Balboa Park Activity Center (2145 Park Boulevard, San Diego 92101)

San Diego Art Prize is now in its 8th year and the quality of the artist and their works continues to be the gold standard for art in San Diego. Make sure and watch for the larger show of these four artists coming at the end of March to the Athenaeum in La Jolla. 

This year Marianela de la Hoz chooses Bhavna Mehta and their works share a dedication to intricate processes: egg tempera by de la Hoz and hand cut paper by Mehta. The works explore the cycle from old age to birth with Mehta bringing us the seeds of beginning and life rituals and de la Hoz  describing that delicate and important relationship between the very old and the very young and the fantasy world they share. There is also an element of role reversal as the old become young again. Both Marianela de la Hoz and Bhavna Mehta are represented by Noel-Baza Fine Art

Bhavna Mehta
Bhavna Mehta: without her ancestry having seeds the family would never have survived the great Indian famine. This homage to relatives is calculated to have 60,000 cuts using between 200-300 exacto knife blades and taking over one month to create. But it is the play of the shadow cast on the wall which is not apparent in this photo that make this tour de force come alive. This is also an homage to Op Art. It was a meditative work for the artist and can serve that role for the viewer as well.  Detail below

Bhavna Mehta presents these four works with windows so we can see in and be tempted to leap out. Again they are cut paper and very 3-D which is hard to tell from the photo so the light and shadow bring them alive. They make strong reference to the Indian Miniatures with small format and  strong colors each one telling a story

Bhavna Mehta

Bhavna Mehta (SOLD)

Bhavna Mehta
Bhavna Mehta:   Two large mandalas were displayed with yellow background like the sun shining down upon the booth. The largest paper doily's you will ever see. Like all mandalas they are used for meditation with their every widening symbols and motifs.
Bhavna Mehta: New water jet cut stainless steel works that are powder coated. These works actually glow with a silver luster hard to catch in a photo.

Marianela de la Hoz; if you look closely you can see that the little girl in this image is actually an old women with grey hair and a wrinkled face.Considering that these works are egg tempera they are large works. The process uses the yolk of an egg to mix dry pigment and each individual stroke of the brush is completely transparent. It take two layers to begin to see color so it is slowly built up creating the finest possible details. This work is actually framed together with the story below
Marianela de la Hoz: this silver point drawing on gesso only truly reveals itself over the months as the silver lines oxidize. The story is one often told to the artist by her mother of an old lady who complains of not having enough food, clothes shelter etc even though she actually has an over abundance. She eventually dies of "wrinkleism":

Marianela de la Hoz: notice the old hands of this young lady and her very worn soles. We can imagine this as an old women re-living her memories

Marianela de la Hoz

Marianela de la Hoz

Marianela de la Hoz

Marianela de la Hoz

Marianela de la Hoz

Marianela de la Hoz

Marianela de la Hoz and Bhavna Metha installion
For the first time in the history of the SD Art Prize, a pair of established and emerging artists have decided to collaborate on a work. Philipp Scholz Rittermann and Joseph Huppert conceived and created these four images together using the strengths of both. Rittermann is well know for his large scale urban and natural landscapes that with his precise eye show us a very particular view of the world which we may have overlooked. Huppert is an interventionist who goes into a space and changes it, again making us more aware of that space. Together they have gone into an urban setting, Rittermann behind his camera and Huppert placing objects (in this case bits of black card and green rectangles) so that the our sense of perspective is denied. They have further manipulated the images flipping the triangle onto the background of the grid and vice versa. In each case, we become aware of a myriad of details of the natural scene at first not noticed.

(My apologies to the artist for the poor quality of these reproduction taken on my smart phone...these works need to be seen in person as with all fine art) 

Philipp Scholz Ritterman and Joseph Huppert

Philipp Scholz Ritterman and Joseph Huppert

Philipp Scholz Ritterman and Joseph Huppert

Philipp Scholz Ritterman and Joseph Huppert

Philipp Scholz Ritterman and Joseph Huppert

Usually I make a choice of the work shown by other booths at Art San Diego to share with you. This year, I am asking my volunteers to make their own choices. The first one is Janine Free's choice of Michelle D. Ferrera-Lubin showing at the San Diego Mesa College Museum Studies booth of work from their faculty and from submission from the San Diego Art Institute. The second one is Julia Rasor's choice of Ellen Dieter shown by Adelman Fine Art which is a gallery opening soon in SD. By the way, Janine Free is showing right now at Mission Trails Regional Park with Beverly LaRock in a show called Now and Zen (until Dec 15, 2014.


The picks by two more our our volunteers; Patricia Franklin has chosen a work by Los Angeles based artist Carmen Stiffleman. Kaarin Vaughan has chosen Oakland's own David Fenton.

Carmen Stiffleman.
Carmen Stiffleman, side view

David Fenton.

Our last day at Art San Diego and we have picks from Vallo Riberto  who choose Collective Magpie 
in collaboration with Steven A. Lombardi, who together created the Wieghtless Lounge in the central hall of the exhibition. Mexican shopping bags were inflated and sealed to create this enclosure. Bebe Brookman picked Rita Maglioli's scultpures, Gailee Walker decided on Pat McNabb Martin, Denise Bonaimo Sarram loved Michelle Kurtis Cole glass works from Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance, and Tom Noel's pick was Gustavo Montoya from Ford Gallery.

Magpie chose by Vallo Riberto
Bebe Brookman loved Rita Maglioli
Pat McNabb Martin was chosen by Gailee Walker

Michelle Kurtis Cole at Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance was Denise Sarram's choice

Gustavo Montoya from Ford Gallery. Tom Noel's choice (from Noel-Baza Fine Art)

My own choice  (Patricia Frischer) was from the booth of furniture design at SDSU. I liked the whimsy and surreal qualities of this floating chair by Tom Shields called "Secure".

This is the sixth year of the art fair as it transitions from ownership by Ann Berchtold to the Redwood group. The art displayed was more commercial than in previous years in general, but well chosen and well displayed. Sales, we understand were up. Attendance was good and we all appreciated the new LED spot light which reduced the heat in the space dramatically. The Art Labs in the fair always add an element of experimentation  which is so welcome (see Nodo Galeria brings intricate conceptual work to Art San Diego City Beat by Kinsee Morlan) and SD Art Prize continues to set the bar high for quality.

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