Friday, May 27, 2016

Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston at SD Museum of Art

by Patricia Frischer 

The San Diego Museum of Art presents Quilts and Color from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through September, which celebrates the vibrant color palette and inventive designs found in the outstanding array of early American quilts amassed over decades by the collectors Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy.  Over 50 quilts from the19th century to to the 1920's, have combined classic American quilting patterns with an innate and sophisticated grasp of color theory. The works in the exhibition are grouped according to visual effects, including chromatic vibrations, mixtures, gradations, harmonies, and optical illusions. 

We were lucky enough to be invited to the discussion between Ariel Plotek, Associate curator of Modern Art at SDMA and Beth Smith, director of Vision Art Museum at Liberty Station as an introduction to this show., Smith is very knowledgeable about all things to do with Quilts especially contemporary fabric creations. She was very prepared for this presentation and had communicated at length with Gerald Roy.  Paul Pilgrim has unfortunately already passed but Mr. Roy is still collecting. 

Imagine these two gentlemen, decades ago, who were both keen contemporary connoisseurs, driving down the road and spotting what they thought was a Joseph Albers painting hanging on a clothes line.  When they discovered it was a quilt, an obsession was born. 

There is a saying about handkerchiefs, "one to blow and one to show."  The same is true in quilts and Pilgrim and Roy decided to collect only show quilts, those in prime condition and not made from worn out used scraps. Instead they wanted pristine examples that focused on geometry and the sophisticated use of color, in particular the color orange in many cases. 

Beth Smith revealed many less than obvious details about the quilts on show. For example, Quaker quilts never use cotton in respect of their abolishionist beliefs. Slaves picked cotton, so no cotton even in the batting. Wool and silk were materials of choice. Shapes were very prescribed by the community. That is why we see so much geometry. But the variation in, for example, the log cabin design, are huge. It was fascinating to look close and see how many of the quilts which looked hugely different were actually log cabin patterns. 

The patterns are stunning but the color is the star of the show. Many examples especially those with tangerine orange seemed to glow on the walls.  I found out that each quilt has a specific light designation. Light meters were use to make sure that the lighting wes equally spread and just exactly the correct intensity. I have included the backgrounds for each of the quilts below as they were chosen very carefully for maximum effect. 

You don't need to be a quilt fan to enjoy this show. It is quite obvious that each one was chosen for the OMG factor. These are quilts to drool over so bring your hanky to blow.   


June 23 | Culture & Cocktails: Quilts and Color
July 3 | Family Drop-In Day: Exploring Quilts
July 28 | Painting on Tap: Quilts and Color 
August 1 | Film in the Garden: How to Make an American Quilt

Breakout: Quilt Visions 2016 at Vision Art Gallery
October 15, 2016—January 8, 2017

Opening Reception: October 15, 5-7pm


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Today San Diego, Tomorrow the World

William Feeney,, Sasha Koozel Reibstein, Shinpei Takeda
2016 New Contemporaries.

By Patricia Frischer

I so much believe in the quality of the art in San Diego, that I just can’t believe that no major art institution here has made it their mission to make sure that the artists of our region are recognized world wide. It seems to be a concept that has slipped through the cracks of our vision leaders.

The SDMA and MOCASD don’t have missions to feature local artists. But they are probably in the best position financially to fund exhibitions that reach out to other cities. I do believe that to be a world class museum, you should be creating exhibitions and traveling them even if the subject is not contemporary art. But I believe it is actually the quality of the living artist in our community that is our most valuable asset.

Other visual arts institutions in SD probably don’t have the budgets for this expensive exercise, but it should be a long term goal. If you don’t have a dream, how are you going to have a dream come true.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Souls Made of Stardust at Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance

By Patricia Frischer

Souls Made of Stardust
Opening Thur. May 19 and Sat. May 21, noon to 4 pm
Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance
RSVP and directions: Tom Sergott 858.766.2377 

This is carefully selected exhibition curated by Andrew Utt on show by appointment at Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance. Some of the artists included have not been shown before by SCAA, but it was fascinating to see some of the artists we are familiar with in a new context. Utt has done a very careful job of writing an introduction to the show which is available at the gallery. I have my own take on the relationships between these works. But it is true that as Utt says, "Each artist performs an act of self-understanding and healing that leads to a sense of balance and peacefulness with their works. " The gallery was quiet and elegant due to the works being given room to breath.  

There were literally stars in the works by Madhaven Palanisamy  and Hung Viet Nguyen which set the stage for a celestial or cosmic content that was easy to read in Tania Alcala sky inspired abstracts.  The planet-like spheres created for the video of Momilani Ramstrum took advantage of the specially invented gloves she used to size and space the images and broadcast her voice. She gave a live performance but the video on display is an excellent example of her creations. Luján Candria's  photos of obscure city scapes were more earth bound but connected to the foggy realms of astral atmospheres.
Momilani Ramstrum (USA)

Momilani Ramstrum (USA)
Hung Viet Nguyen (Vietnam & USA)
Tania Alcala (Mexico)
Momilani Ramstrum (USA)

Luján Candria (Argentina) - These works have to be seen as reproduction appear flat and they are actually quite subtle and lovely
 Echo Lew continues the theme of light more specifically when we learned that these dark lines were actually the negatives of pin point light beams maniputated in space and capture on film. The corresponding black background with white lines does exist as well. This is a case where the works stand on their own but are enhanced by our under standing of their creation. 

Echo Lew (China & USA)
Echo Lew (China & USA)
 Luis González Palma is one of the most famous artist in the show and it was a treat to see his work in person. These photos are very much about relationship which is a strong theme for the last three artists. The back to back intertwined chairs with no seats, but a heavily patterned floor are ripe with symbolic meaning as are the mother and children chairs which face each other quite pointedly. These works glow magically because of the gold leaf that is applied to the back of the transparency.
Luis González Palma (Guatemala) 
Kodalith on gold leaf
Luis González Palma (Guatemala) Kodalith on gold leaf
Tarrah Krajnak, although not in search of her own identity, is definitely trying to create an identity from a particular time (1979) and place (Peru) of her birth. She has collected the flotsum of life at a turbulent time in her county when she was put up for adoption. This large concept gives a certain validity to the work which is not necessary in Anna O’Cain wonderful collection of objects from her past.  They stand on their own and any woman who has had to go through her mother's belongings will recognize the nostalgia of this grouping. But they are not over sweet or burdened with too much personal content. Instead we can relate to the works as markers in an ongoing and continuous compilation of the life process. 
Tarrah Krajnak (Peru & USA)
Anna O’Cain (USA). Notice the growing light for the sweet potatoes which will root during the course of the show. In California that would be an avocado seed! There is also a wonderful stack of letter sandwiched between two wall shelves. When asked why the numbers went to only 11, the artist replies that this is an ongoing series.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Looking Back/Forward at Art Produce/ Allied Craftsman at Sparks

by Patricia Frischer

Join Art Produce on Sat. May 14,  for a two month celebration (ending July 3) of the past 15 years of exhibits and the launch of new cultural activities and engagement opportunities for the neighborhood.  Looking Back/Forward is a retrospective group show of 25 local artists who have previously had solo exhibits at Art Produce (3139 University Ave, SD 92104). This includes many New Contemporaries artists (William Feeney, May-ling Martinez, Marisol Rendón, Anna Stump, Dave Ghilarducci,  Lee Puffer,  Nina Karavasiles) and Terri Hughes-Oelrich curator of the upcoming New Contemporaries exhibition at City College.  Watch for the new ChuckAlek Biergarten in the Urban Garden (Herman Street entrance.) More info: Lynn Susholtz  619-584-4448

Many of the artists below are in multiple shows in SD right now and I am heartened to see artists getting more and more exhibition opportunities. 

Three cheers for Lynn who has created a community art center which is a  wonderful art asset. It is gallery, restaurant ( Tostadas: fresh fruit and seafood bar), classroom, garden all in one. Wine in the front, beer in the back and even a shop for handmade goods and t-shirts. Here are just a few images from the show of the artists that have shown and supported her for the last 15 years in this space and more than 20 years in the community. 

 Lynn Susholtz
a community game

William Feeney  
a desk that vibrate making writing a challenge..notice the plunger feet.
William is one of our
2016 New Contemporaries artists and will show in June and July at City College Gallery

Dave Ghilarducci
another moving sculpture that waves at you with tiny acrylic hands


 May-ling Martinez

 Michelle Montjoy

 David White

ChuckAlek Biergarten Urban Garden at night, but it is just as delightful full of mothers and kids during the day

This image and below shows some of the careful detailed work in the development



Allied Craftsmen 2016 / A Group Show
May 13 until July 17
530 Sixth Ave, SD. 92101
More info: Sonya Sparks  619-696-1416 

This is always an interesting show. We don't know how artist are chosen for the Allied Craftsmen but not all the work is of the same high quality as the following which were our focus. The show was hard to see as it was mixed with other artists represented by Sparks Gallery and it was a very full space. On the up side there was probably something for everyone. 

Cheryl Tall's group of three ceramic sculptures

My favorite detail from Cheryl Tall

Vincent Nobles gives us exquisitely crafted laminated shapes.

Vincent Nobles

We adore Sasha Koozel Reibstein's jewel-like works. She is also one of the nominated artists for the SD Art Prize showing at City College as part of the 2016 New Contemporaries exhibition.

Arline Fisch - very simple but classic work by this county treasure.

Aren Dace Belhing is another artist showing in
2016 New Contemporaries

I will be watching for Dave Cuzick in the future as these were such  intriguing figures.

Jeff Irwin has his white sculptures on view but I really loved these two plates.

Jeff Irwin

I think it may just be me, but I am a sucker for this shape. I I congratulate Marlo de Casto

Shelia Moran created this mysterious little space for her raincoat man. I kinda want to be him unless he is a flasher.

Terri Hughes-Oelrich
is the curator of this show and this charming little collages on wood are her creations. Terri is also in the Looking Back/Forward show at Art Produce and she is the one of the curators of the 2016 New Contemporaries
I am adding mention of two bonus shows in the neighborhood of Art Produce. Sunny Side up at Art on 30th just opened and is surprisingly successful as the theme is simply the color yellow. The gallery seemed to glow with life. 

 Sunny Side Up 
May 14 to June 13
Art on 30th

4434 30th Street, SD 92116

Two of my favorite works were by Ellen Dieter especially this one with cheerful color but an ominous low sky, leaning utility pool and possible flying board. This is not a new work, but one that deserves extra attention. 

Ellen Dieter

Melinda Resendes (displaying Owen Burke) is the latest studio to open at Art on 30th. She is featuring work by other artists to begin but is working to come back into the art world with her own work.  She was previously a commercial saleswomen for a national chain of galleries. Melinda knows a thing or three about selling art and she will be a great addition to the space. Not too late to join this educational event for artists given by Stephen C. Wagner coming up on Wedn. Representation: Approaching Art Galleries with Studio Fine Artists Network
Wedn. May 18 from 7 to 9pm
$20 at the door
Art on 30th
4434 30th Street, SD 92116
More info: Stephen C. Wagner  415-518-6485

I want to give a shout out to 50 To Watch at The Studio Door (3750 30th Street, SD 92104) which we also visited. Their open studio event is coming up in September and Patric also gives marketing lessons to artists.
More info: Patric Stillman  619-255-4920
 This show had very nice report: To See or Not to See: '50 to Watch'  City Beat by Seth Combs 

Monday, May 16, 2016

NCAN Quarterly Meeting: Arts Education in San Diego

by Patricia Frischer

NCAN quarterly program themed Arts Education in San Diego was on Wedn. May 11. Networking is at the Muramid Museum and Art Center (212-F Artist Alley) from 5:00 - 6:00 pm and the formal meeting at Sunshine Brooks Theater (217 N Coast Hwy), operated by the Oceanside Theatre Company at 6:00 pm. The program is presented by NCAN's Arts Education Committee led by Leah Goodwin (CCAE) and Lynnette Tessitore-Lopez (City of Chula Vista Arts), with additional support of Jacque Kilpatrick (CSUSM). This arts education program featured some of San Diego's most knowledgeable and impactful arts educators and administrators discussing the opportunities and challenges for strengthening youth arts education.

Muramid...murals and pyramid!

We were delighted to see the stunning new home for the Art Miles Mural Project, the Muramid Museum and Art Center.  You can see samples of the 5280 community murals involving ½ million people  that this organization has created in over 100 countries. They are still creating and send out murals from the collection for exhibition all the time. The future holds a line of merchandise with images used in the murals but for now there is a lovely shop with gourds and jewelry. 

Julia Reasor at Phantom Gallery

After viewing this space and the halls,  we took a look at the Phantom Gallery in the same building. Ruth Jameson, who has been given the space by the owner, is hoping for a permanent director to finance the gallery and keep the space as a commercial gallery.

Diane Carey drip painting

When we arrived at the Sunshine Brooks Theater across the street we were greeted by the Oceanside Theatre Company. The lobby has a lovely display by Diane Carey with painting and sculpture.   Two short and delightful performances by young singers Tristan Lee and Brooke Eyler vocalizing A Whole New World and a delightful song Gabrielle Dodaro followed.

Jim Gilliam, art administrator for the City of Encinitas was the MC for the program. Updates on NCAN projects and its committees included news of his Civic Committee: They will be hosting a workshop of all Civic Arts participants including administrators, commissioners, staffers and friends in the fall as well as helping to move Oceanside closer to the goal of having civic art staff. The first step toward that is forming helping to form a Friends of the Arts in Oceanside similar to those in Encinitas and Carlsbad.  

Visual Arts Committee’s Looking Glass Project:  Patricia Frischer told us of a stunning demonstration of the technology by Ryan Jefferies,  projection equipment with a bulbs which last over 6 years, clearance from CalTrans.  They are now looking for specific venues and starting the process of selection of the artwork for this project which has a grant application accepted to fund the project, which they are doing in collaboration with San Diego Visual Arts Network. 

Economic Development Committee: Daniel Foster is working with his committee to organize the Art and Business Summit probably in the summer of 2017. A county grant of over $7000 was requested to this end. 

Performing Arts Committee: Alex Goodman group is moving forward with section mapping and collaboration with marketing, more details to come in the future. 

The Marketing Committee: With amazing help Brigid Pearson, this committe has stepped forward to be in charge of the mapping project and will be sending out information about best practices. They also in charge of the website and are already thinking of a special site for events listings. All committee are helping with sector mapping and Brigid requested lists of any resources and artist in this ongoing effort. More details and contact can be found on the NCAN website. 

Matt Armstong, Pauline Crooks, Lauen Shelton, Steve McCormick, Meryl Goldberg

Finally Arts Education Committee: The evenings program was led by Leah Goodwin (CCAE) and Lynnette Tessitore-Lopez (City of Chula Vista Arts). The panel covered two main topics. Arts Funding and Arts Integration but there was also discuss about teaching art as a subject matter. It is important to note that arts integration is using the arts to teach all sorts of other subjects. 

Lynnette Tessitore-Lopez introduced each of the following panelist and gave us an insight in just how professional and diverse they each are in their area of expertise. 

  • We learned from Pauline Crooks, San Diego County Office of Education about how there are 42 school districts in the county. Each district has different strategies for funding the arts. The unified districts for the city of San Diego has granted $3 million for the Learning through the Arts program. This program stress arts integration.
  •  Matt Armstrong, VAPATOSA for San Marcos School District explained how each district gets a grant for their educational programs but a separate supplemental fund LCAP is used for the arts. All stakeholders (parents, student, staff, faculty, public) interested in the arts for their district has to petition for funding by going to meeting, being vocal and being knowledgeable about the programs you want.  These funds go to Title 1 school so those programs have to address English as a second language, foster and low income students. The arts luckily help all three of these categories to learn more effectively.
  • Lauren Shelton, Artist/Arts Instructor, Chula Vista School District is the stunning administrator that brought in $15 million dollars ($5 million a year for three years) and almost single handedly hired 70 art teachers from across America in three months. This all started with a strategic plan and did not call for new money but instead shifting momey from substitute teachers to full time teachers. All students in Chula Vista now get art either once a week or once ever other week.

  • Steve McCormick, Director of Education, La Jolla Playhouse participates with Lauren. Her program includes art as a subject matter and art integration and that is where Steve comes in. The programs started very small and proved itself. Each program has a non-profit arts organization, a school district and an accounting body like the SD County Office of Education. Steve and his colleagues find out what teachers and students are struggling with and then helps by using innovative arts to give an emotionally charged learning experience. He calls this 3-D learning.  Although art and music are creditional programs on their own, we now know that drama is part of the English department and dance is part of physical education. This obviously is an advocacy matter. 

  • Merryl Goldberg, Ed.d Professor, CSUSM, nationally recognized arts education leader has learned that even at the college level, most of her student have no real experience of art for art sakes. Art to them means fashion, tattoos and cars. Art Integration is key to addressing social justice and access issues. She is aware that the Teachers Performance Expectation of 2013 is judging not just the experience of the  student, but also that of the parent, teacher and community and the environment for learning

Leah Goodwin summed up the evening: Become, Create, Advocate