Sunday, February 19, 2023

Balboa Park Museum Round UP for Feb 2023

by Patricia Frischer 

Sreshta Rit Premnath

I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon in Balboa Park and was rewarded with an entire load of images and stories. The entire museum area was packed, but the museums themselves were not too crowded. I later found out that there was a Fungus Fair which is in its 25th year put on by The San Diego Mycological Society. That explained why parking was impossible!

Sreshta Rit Premnath: Grave/Grove at ICA Central until Feb 26, 2023 

Sreshta Rit Premnath is an Indian artist based in Brooklyn so it is not surprising that these American big city materials are combined with live plants in this exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art Central in Balboa Park. I saw the show Feb 19 and the plants are almost all dead. The watering system set in plastic bottles like IV drips is symbolic and it is sad to see these little weeds struggling to survive.  What did strike me was the exit signs with their simple words illuminated like poetry trying to show you the way. I also appreciated the large sculptures which are no beautifully curved and loved finding out that they were made from bed foam of some kind, draped over solid object and covered with plaster to solidify their positions.  


Carlo Miranda: In Search of Sonder at the San Diego Museum of Art until Nov 19, 2023


The Filipino-American, Carlo Miranda lives in North Park and works as a registered nurse but he is an amazing portrait artist. You can tell he chooses his subjects carefully and with an eye for authenticity.  The works are kind but very intimate and very realistic.

John Koenig is an author who wrote The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows  where he invented new words for emotions. In the title of the show,  In Search of Sonder,  sonder is described by the  author, as “the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own….” So maybe when you see these portraits, you can relate in some way to Carlo Miranda and his complexities.  

P.S. Art of Elan presents Portraits and Pictures at San Diego Museum of Art  on March 15 at 7 pm inspired by these fascinating works. 

Myth and Magic: 16th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition at the Museum of Photographic Arts until Feb 26, 2023

The 16th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition at MOPA for student K-12 has never disappointed me and gives me great hope for the future of the arts in San Diego/Tijuana.  Magic & Myth was a fun theme and you could see more and more of the works playing with computer technology. Some inspirations seem to come from dreams other from creative storytelling and others from the downright amazing world of magic. These are only 77 from the 700 entries and they hold up extremely well to the professional works in the Sony World Photography awards. This is obviously a large effort by the jurors and staff of MOPA, but we also need to applaud the teachers of these students and the parents who have such amazing kids.  

Mariana Rich Guilot,  age 17

Daniel Farcus, age 12

Chloe Lestyk,  age, 12

Keezhing Chang, age 18

Isaac Rodriguez, age 15

Emma Allen, age 11

Rhoslyn Azores, age 15? (Sorry, Rhoslyn, my photo missed your age!)

Sony World Photography Awards at Museum of Photographic Arts until April 16, 2023

This is a World Photography Organization exhibition and sponsored by Sony for the last 15 years. There are four entry areas Student, Youth, Open and Professional with a whole range of themes.  MOPA is the first venue in the United States to exhibit this work. If one of the goals of photography is to bring us all together, then seeing these images shows the variety of life that has been documented to in that pursuit.

Hanna Lisava

Ryan Rogers

Martin Broen

Vincente Ansola

Alnis Stakle

Ricardo Teles

Be Here Now at San Diego History Center ongoing

Be Here Now is an active demonstration of how to use the visual arts to learn about history.   The San Diego History Center (SDHC) has a large collection of fine art, remember they were founded in 1928!  All the art on display is owned by the history center and made by artist either born here or creating in our region. But this display looks at those works not with an eye on composition and color but as archival documents.  I was so impressed by the graphic display in back of these works, which also confirms that this is not art for art’s sake. Instead, they are asking questions, right on the walls in both English and Spanish, to try to get their audience to examine your own sense of place.

Nathan Harrison: Born a Slave, Died a Legend at San Diego History Center ongoing

I found Nathan Harrison’s life a performance art piece. He was either a freed or escaped slave, who managed to survive not only slavery, but the craziness of the Gold Rush. He married into an American Indian tribe but had to hide his literacy and play to a crowd who wanted to hear his stories of a black man in the wild west. He lived on Palomar Mountain from 1850 to 1920. This exhibition and the virtual documentation on the SDHC website, is fascinating because it shows the research that went into discovering this whole story. The replica stone slave cabin, along with a selection of artifacts is on display, but the layout of the show has the actual squares of digging with video projections of the archeological evidence of the dig.  The Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era…Harrison was able to manipulate all comers.

Nathan Harrison exibit

Our thanks to Leilani Alontaga-Caithness, Collections Specialist at the SD History Center for touring us through the underground archives of the center. This wonderful print by Martha Mathews was just one of the many splendors I viewed with Chi Essary and Lara Bullock. (Chi is the past SD Art Prize curator and passing that duty on this year to Lara) 

Chi Essary, Lara Bullock, Patricia Frischer, Leilani Alontaga-Caithness 

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