Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Timken Museum and the San Diego Symphony Team Up with Witness to War Exhibition

The Timken Museum, San Diego
Witness to War: Callot, Goya and Bellows
On View through May 28th

Article by Cathy Breslaw

Goya    Disasters of War   No. 39     lithograph     1810-1820

Witness to War is a selection of more than 100 works of a combination of etchings and iithographs documenting the consequences of war. A selection of works by three artists, Jacques Callot, Goya, and George Bellows, the exhibition spans wars from the 17th to 20th centuries. It covers three different centuries including the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and World War 1 (1914-1918). These artworks portray wars’ suffering, savagery and abuses in a straightforward, honest and sometimes brutal way. There are a series of 18 etchings by French artist Callot depicting soldiers pillaging and burning their way through towns, country and convents. Francisco de Goya’s series of 80 prints are entitled The Disasters of War and The Tragedies of War. He depicts mutilation, torture, rape and many other atrocities besides – performed, indiscriminately, by French and Spanish alike. German atrocities of war in their invasion in Belgium during World War 1 were graphically depicted by American artist George Bellows. It is fascinating to study and observe the similarities and differences evident in each century’s wars depicted by these three highly acclaimed skilled and knowledgeable artists of their time, each examining war during their respective years.

In a unique collaboration with the San Diego Symphony, Special Project Director Nuvi Mehta choreographed a soundscape for the exhibition using the music of composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Gustav Mahler who produced symphonies influenced by their own experiences with wars’ brutality. The music, though heard in low volume, adds a fascinating dimension to the visual works on the walls, enhancing the emotion and intensity of the works. Witness to War provides viewers an opportunity to see war through the eyes of Callot, Goya and Bellows who each viewed war through the lens of their own particular time in history. The beauty of the lithographs and etchings exist in stark contrast to the atrocities they depict, which when closely observed, are quite evident. 

This exhibition is on view through May 28th.

What You See Is What You Get: Sculptor Richard Deacon Reveals Materials and Process

Richard Deacon
What You See Is What You Get
San Diego Museum of Art
Through July 25th

article by Cathy Breslaw
Richard Deacon     Under the Weather #1       wood     318 x 103 x 95 cm    2016

Artist Richard Deacon gives us clues to the nature of his work with exhibition title What You See Is What You Get. Deacon’s sculptures reveal the history of how they are created as well as using screws, magnets, fasteners and other finishing materials as functional artistic visual details that add beauty and a distinctively unique quality to his work.  Nothing is hidden in his sculpture – there are no underlying structures or armatures used in his organically created forms – the outside and the inside are one in the same.  

Winner of the Turner Prize, Deacon creates abstract sculpture from many materials including wood, metal, galvanized steel, ceramic, paper, vinyl, leather, and rubber, and sometimes combines these materials into single sculptures.  Deacon experiments with his materials - his wood sculptures are often created using a steaming technique that leaves a residue of the belts or material used to hold the parts together during the creation process.  The residue adds complexity and character to the surfaces and a certain authenticity to the works, revealing to the viewer the ‘hand’ of the artist. Deacon uses the steaming process to guide wood into twists and curves that we don’t inherently expect from this solid and hard material.  There is a formal compositional quality to many of the works and especially with the ceramic and paper works, a playfulness and levity not present in the steel sculptures. 

Deacon’s work ranges in scale from a huge-sized public art commission Distance No Object (1988) 103” x 147” x 240” originally created for MOCA Los Angeles to a small paper, epoxy resin and thread sculpture “…And…”  2 ¾” x 15 ¾” x 5 ¾”(1994). Dancing In Front of My Eyes(2006) and Dead Leg (2007) both created from wood, share a movement and rhythm reminiscent of expressionistic abstract painting. 

Also included in this exhibition are aquatint etchings, block prints and screenprints on paper and vinyl.  Closely relating to the forms of his sculptures, these works are not preliminary ‘drawings’ but beautifully crafted artworks.  Deacon sometimes calls himself a fabricator, but explains that fabrication has a double meaning – one is a piece of built material but the other is to make things up – it appears he does both.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Passing on a legacy

by Patricia Frischer

The passing of a loved one also means the passing of possessions. Yes, that means photos and china, glass and silver, but in my case it means the transfer of a collection of well chosen art works that were cherishes by those in my family who acquired them. 

As an artist myself, I have a visceral attraction to certain works. The feeling of their surfaces, their design and my imagined meanings of these objects are sacred to me. I feel the treasures are entrusted to me for my lifetime and hope they will always find a home as honored as the one I intend to give them. 

I think I feel  so intensely about this aspect of memorializing family because my whole life is about the visual arts. I hope to raise money to sponsor a public art mural of some kind in honor of my mother and father and eventually I would like to show the these pieces, which include pre-columbian ceramics, wooden African artifacts and contemporary works.  

My mother's ashes will be scattered on the ocean after she serves her final wish giving her body to science. But these things of beauty and her short stewardship of them continue to give me great pleasure and will be a pleasure for generations in the future. 

My mother Florence was a great supporter of SDVAN. She proofed many of my articles for years and encouraged me in this project. She even left a mention in her will that if all of her children and descendant were to pass before her, then her worldly good would go to the non-profit SDVAN.

Florence Meyerson Frischer, age 96, passed away on March 5, 2017 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. Florence was born on June 28, 1920, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  She was the daughter of Mary Falk and Herman Meyerson.  She was married to George K. Frischer for 34 years until his death in 1976.  She lived in Kansas City, Missouri, during her marriage, and later moved to Cathedral City, California. Florence attended Abraham Lincoln High School and the University of Nebraska, where she was a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and her sisters Mildred, Gwendolyn, and Pearl. She is survived by her daughters Dion Frischer (husband Robert De Young) and Patricia Frischer (husband Darwin Slindee), and by her granddaughter Marissa Frischer Sisk (husband Joseph Sisk), as well as by many nieces and nephews and friends.  Florence had a passion for golf, the French language, cooking and entertaining, bridge, mah jongg, and watching NFL football. She dedicated many hours to volunteering at the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, California, and created there an innovative donation program. Florence was an intelligent, generous, and lively woman, who taught us to live and love well. The family wishes to thank the caring and compassionate staff and caregivers at Belmont Village, Cardiff, California.  Florence donated her body for medical purposes to the University of California at San Diego Medical School.  The family requests that any memorial contributions be made to the San Diego Visual Arts Network.

Michelle Montjoy at OMA

by Patricia Frischer

Oceanside artist Michelle Montjoy and Oceanside Museum of Art  were selected as one of five recipients of a Creative Catalyst grant from the San Diego Foundation in 2016. 

"Her exhibition River is the re-imagining of traditional techniques and attitudes of knitting into a contemporary role that connects communities through comfort, inspiration and empowerment. Over a six month period hundreds of community members contributed to the project by knitting with used t-shirt material on large, handbuilt table top looms. These resulting abstract fabric forms embrace the connection, fluidity, and vitality of the many hands of the community involved. Not nostalgic or sentimental, the artwork is a translation of domestic form to cultural object. It is a retro-revolutionary approach to engagement and art making."

Each person while participating is documented and video recording are on view of the whole process. All the energy of creation is thus caught, one stitch and one moment at a time to make these shapes become more than a sculptural objects, really a true focus of spirit.  

River is funded by a grant from the Creative Catalyst Fund of The San Diego Foundation. Montjoy is also the current artist in residence at Art Produce Gallery and Garden in North Park and is one of the 13 emerging artists (10 of which are women) nominated for the SD Art Prize. Her work will be shown at  at basileIE + CMCuratorial from Sat June 3 to Aug 5. Her show at OMA opening March 25 and is showing until July 9th. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Intergalactic Dreaming Exhibition Opens at San Diego International Airport

All images of Irene de Watteville's  Art can be viewed at the new west terminal in baggage claim.

Airport-wide display inspired by space exploration and the cosmos
San Diego International Airport (SAN) has unveiled Intergalactic Dreaming; the Airport Arts Program’s 2017 temporary exhibition. This year’s exhibition explores notions of celestial phenomena and astronomy, and uses past, present, and speculative depictions of the galaxy and space travel as inspiration. 
“A key goal of the airport’s Arts Program is to find creative ways to showcase the talent and cultural community of San Diego, and one way we accomplish that is through our temporary exhibitions program,” said Thella F. Bowens, President/CEO of the Airport Authority. “By highlighting collections and original artwork developed around a relevant theme, travelers and visitors through SAN are taken on a unique visual journey.”
The year-long exhibition features 15 distinct installations displayed throughout the airport by 15 different artists and organizations, including: Irene De Watteville; Adriene Hughes; Don Porcella; student artists from Southwestern College; Joshua Krause; Carolina Montejo; artists working with NASA/JPL-Caltech; objects from renowned science fiction collector, Edward Marsh; Matthew Bradley; San Diego Air & Space Museum; Sheena Rae Dowling; students from High Tech High Chula Vista;  Lisa Blatt; Melissa Walter, and Michael Giancristiano.
Exhibition highlights include:

  • A ceramic galaxy of fantasy figures where the mythological meets storybook by Irene de Watteville. 

  •  Photographs taken exclusively with a cell phone from Adriene Hughes’ DREAMING OF YOU series, challenging viewers to question the presence of extraterrestrial beings;
  • Oil paintings featuring interstellar nebulas by Sheena Rae Dowling, as well as a piano adorned with her artwork, available for the traveling public to play;
  • Sculptures embodying alter egos of students from High Tech High Chula Vista, made from pipe cleaners as part of an artmaking workshop with artist Don Porcella. 

To download hi-res images of various installations, visit
In addition to temporary exhibitions, the Airport Arts Program includes public art and performing arts components, aimed at engaging travelers and creating an ambiance unique to the culture of San Diego. For more information about the Airport Arts Program, visit
Irene de Watteville

Irene de Watteville

Irene de Watteville

Irene de Watteville installation view

Friday, March 3, 2017

Making Communities: Art and the Border at UCSD Art Gallery

Making Communities: Art and the Border
University of California, San Diego, University Art Gallery
And SME Visual Arts Gallery, UC San Diego
Curated by Tatiana Sizonenko, Ph.D

Opening Friday, March 3rd,  5:30 – 8:00 pm
Show runs through April 13th, 2017

Article by Cathy Breslaw
David Avalos   Donkey Cart Altar   mixed media 1985

Making Communities: Art and the Border, features artists who are alumnas of the University of California, San Diego, with artworks created from 1978 to the present.  Wide ranging in its mediums including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and film, this exhibition is timely in its focus on Mexicans living and working in the Tijuana/ San Diego border regions as our country faces the challenges , complexities and controversies over our immigration system and policies.  

Through their art, these twenty artists examine immigrant communities, in both celebrating cooperation and engagement with both sides of the border and as a source of creativity, as well as highlighting the struggles people of this region endure. Yolanda M. Lopez’s lithograph “Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?” is the oldest of the works(1978) using the familiar army poster “Uncle Sam Wants You” to question whether we are citizens of the U.S. or merely illegal aliens imposing ourselves on a land originally occupied by Aztecs and other Native American groups. 

David Avalos used his work “Donkey Cart Altar”(1985) as a political statement when he placed it in front of the San Diego Courthouse, serving to express the belief that immigrant laborers, working to feed their families were being treated as criminals. Judge Thompson ordered the work removed as a “security risk”, while many viewed this as removing Avalos’s right to free speech. 

Elizabeth Sisco, who photographed life along the U.S.-Mexican border for 15 years(1986-1988), exhibits thirteen silver gelatin prints, which are part of an ongoing documentary project that began in 1978, revealing the raids and policing activities of U.S. Border Patrol agents in neighborhoods and on public transportation, as well as examining biased stereotypes of Mexican workers. 

Ruben Ortiz-Torres’s combination videos (in collaboration with Eduardo Abaroa) and sculpture(1991, 2002), uses humor to explore contemporary culture influences seen from both Latin America and the United States, morphing one another in a pop-art style to speak to debates about blurred boundaries and how Mexican and North American identities are constructed. Through use of a combination of Speedy Gonzales and Mickey Mouse cartoon characters he makes a statement about first and third world media, the political economy of free trade, tourism, Mexican labor and immigration. 

Artist Victor Ochoa’s painting “Mestizo” (2010) expresses his concerns over the misrepresentation among Hispanic people, identifying “mestizos” meaning “mixed” combining indigenous and white Europeans who have historically populated the regions - but who do not choose a racial category, and many consider being Hispanic as part of their racial background, not just an ethnicity. 

Deborah Small’s “The Ethnobotany Project”(2009-2017) is an installation of plants, herbs, books and materials -  part of an ongoing collaboration that promotes the cultivation and restoration of native plants, to bring awareness of cultural practices and to improve health and well being of Indian communities on both sides of the border. Highlighting Baja communities, Small’s work serves to educate about practices of the people of Baja, as well as to stimulate cultural exchanges and sustain traditions. 

Other artists included in the exhibition are those of the Cog’nate Collective, Collective Magpie, Alida Cervantes, Teddy Cruz, Ricardo Dominguez, Louis Hock, Las Comadres, Fred Lonidier, Jean Lowe, Kim MacConnel, Iana Quesnell, Allan Sekula, Perry Vasquez, and Yvonne Veneges.  Curator and alumna Tatiana Sizonenko Ph.D. Art History, comments “For artists represented here, the border is not a physical boundary line separating two sovereign nations but rather a place of its own, defined by a confluence of cultures reflecting on migration and cross-pollination.”

A good companion piece to this blog is The Most Memorable Acts of Protest Art at the Border Voice of San Diego by Kinsee Morlan