By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt
|As a toast to museum and gallery re-openings, here’s Liqueur, one of the amazing colored-pencil drawings by Madrid-based artist Ana de Alvear at San Diego Museum of Art.|
In the next gallery, there were more surprises: we were blown away by Everything you see may be a lie, still-lifes that look like oil paintings but were actually drawn with colored pencils. We were lucky enough to run into the Madrid-based artist, Ana de Alvear, who had come to town for the June 19th opening of her exhibit and was about to return to Spain.
“Since I was 12, I’ve been fighting to change the idea people have of colored pencils,” she told us. “This is not a minor technique!”
She’s found ways to facilitate that change, by making the drawings in such a way that viewers experience them as paintings or photographs, or sometimes making them very large-scale. Her two galaxy pieces here are each 3 meters by 7 meters—that’s almost 10 by 22 feet! It would be hard not to take them seriously.
Size Matters: Ana de Alvear with In the Forced Vortex (Black), her “black hole” piece.
“I invented these galaxies!” she said. “They’re mine! And they’re valid, until some scientist can prove that they’re not!”
Fifty colored-pencil drawings went into her black hole piece, which took a year to complete, not counting the years of creative thinking that preceded it. Each individual drawing is tacked onto the wall with a magnet and a push pin; the things that look like tiny stars are shiny magnets, and this black piece, like all her others, was done on white paper.
“I cook my own colors,” she explained. “Sometimes I have eight colors on top of each other.” It’s impossible to get a real feel for her artworks in photos. You’ll have to go see for yourself.The next exhibition, by far the largest, brings you back in time to Western Europe from 1500-1800—the Renaissance to the Rococo. Cranach to Canaletto: Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation is part of an impressive collection assembled by Georges Bemberg (1915-2011), an Argentine/French writer who bought his first painting as a student at Harvard. Currently housed in Toulouse, France, this is their first public showing in the United States. It’s also a lovely opportunity to recognize the influence of their techniques on the artists in the two previous galleries.
|Portrait of a Young Woman, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, dated 1525-1530.|
After viewing these new exhibitions, be sure not to miss the permanent collections, which now look better than ever. And perhaps consider lunch at the museum’s plein-air restaurant, Panama 66, and a stroll through the Sculpture Garden.
Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado, Balboa Park
San Diego, CA 92112
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. Sunday,12-5.
MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS
From SDMA, it’s just a short stroll down El Prado to the Museum of Photographic Arts, where there’s an eclectic showing of works made by famous and not-so-famous photographers when they were still under 35 years old. This Beginnings, Forever exhibition, from the Kiyosato Museum in Japan, has just been joined by the works of photographers half that age and younger in MOPA’s 15th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition: Darkest Nights, Brightest Stars.
These yearly exhibitions featuring K-12 students from San Diego and Tijuana are always delightful, and the talents of some of these 5- to 18-year-olds are staggering. This time around, due to pandemic closures, there are two years on display—138 chosen from almost 1,000 submissions. And there are two different themes—Growing Up (2020) and Space (2021)—which the young photographers were free to interpret in whatever way they liked.Here are two of our favorite pieces from Beginnings, Forever, both revealing the expressive powers of artists at age 27. They’re followed by two from the Youth Exhibition, both revealing a level of artistry beyond their years.
Man and Woman #20, a 1960 gelatin silver print by Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe.
|Interpreter, a 2001 gelatin silver print by Czech photographer Vojtech V. Slama.|
|Growing Up in the Middle of Pandemic, by Katelyn Li, age 9, Ocean Air School.|
|The Space Between Us, by Cali Liu, age 18, La Jolla High School. Cali writes: “This photograph of my mother’s and grandmother’s intertwined hands after receiving the vaccine gives me hope that the spaces between us will soon disappear.”|
There’s much to admire at MOPA these days, and admission is free, so now is a great time to drop in.
of Photographic Arts
1649 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego
(619) 238-7759/ INFO@MOPA.ORG
Summer Hours: Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free Admission/ Pay what you wish
ATHENAEUM MUSIC & ARTS LIBRARY
|Marking Time: What Athenaeum Artists Create in Quarantine|
This is what’s happening in La Jolla: an exhibition of 49 artists who have had solo shows at the Athenaeum or designed program covers for one of their concert series. Each artist is showing one or more pieces created in Covid-time, all are for sale, the exhibit runs through July 31, and there will be a special reception July 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Les Petites Bee Tiles, by Irene de Watteville. Porcelain bees with majolica glaze.
|Collage (1-6), by Ellen Salk.|
|Loft, by Lael Corbin. A series of 35 wooden pieces made from basswood scraps left over from a show he did here in 2018. See one of his wooden airplanes on display in the adjoining Reading Room.|
|Perspectives 2020, by Marcos Ramirez ERRE. Automotive paint and rust on aluminum; wooden chair. Photo by Lidia Rossner.|
2020, by Marcos Ramirez
Automotive paint and rust on aluminum.
Music & Arts Library
Jolla, CA 92037
10 am-5:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday & Monday.
MUSEUM OF ART
currently has six exhibitions on view—all well worth seeing. Particularly
notable is the second-floor Color of Sound, which includes paintings,
drawings, weaving and sculpture by 14 artists on the autism spectrum. It’s
curated by The Art of Autism, a nonprofit organization, and the title
refers to synesthesia—a condition in which senses combine and cross
over, so music, letters or numbers may be perceived as different colors.
Music & Arts Library
1008 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037
Hours: 10 am-5:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday & Monday.
OCEANSIDE MUSEUM OF ART
OMA currently has six exhibitions on view—all well worth seeing. Particularly notable is the second-floor Color of Sound, which includes paintings, drawings, weaving and sculpture by 14 artists on the autism spectrum. It’s curated by The Art of Autism, a nonprofit organization, and the title refers to synesthesia—a condition in which senses combine and cross over, so music, letters or numbers may be perceived as different colors.
|Gorgon Mozart, by Austin John Jones.|
|Randomosity, by Syance Wilson.|
Here’s the link to a fascinating hour-long video featuring four of the artists in the exhibition—all on the autism spectrum, two only able to communicate with the aid of speech-enabled equipment. All four express themselves with enlightening words about their lives and artworks, so you might want to watch this before your visit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pruHNqIU_Rc
Museum of Art
704 Pier View Way, Oceanside CA 92054
Hours: Thurs-Sat, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 11-4.
Hours are subject to change, and some exhibits end soon; confirm hours and end-dates before going.
Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org