Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Glimpses at Techne Art Center

 By Vallo Riberto

Kathleen Graham - Vermillion Cliffs 
(please note: photo size are not relative to their original sizes)

Whatever your interest in art, be it appreciation or practice, and you haven’t made it over to the Techne Art Center yet, then you are missing out on an in-depth aesthetic experience.  Techne Art Center (T.A.C.) co-owners and director Chuck Thomas and girlfriend, Leslie Wang, a multi-national couple (with roots in New York City and Cheng Du, China) is now in its second year of operation and located east of the five freeway, just a short drive from downtown Oceanside.

T.A.C. is a venue that we would associate more with L.A. or NYC, a large, 8,700 sq. foot warehouse structure including an upper mezzanine with additional exhibition space and offices. The exhibition on the main floor has been divided into four galleries. The large central space has high ceilings and can accommodate almost any large project. 

Allison Renshaw, curator

The current, group exhibition titled, GLIMPSES, features artworks by Carla Goldberg, Kathleen Graham, Christine McKee and Deborah Myers, and was curated by San Diego painter, Allison Renshaw.  It was under Ms. Renshaw’s mentoring that these four painters have now come together. The title Glimpses alludes to what might be deduced or intuited from within these mostly abstract compositions. 

Kathleen Graham

Kathleen Graham - Cup of Sugar

Kathleen Graham Ancient Journey

The exception is the three works by Kathleen Graham.  In one piece titled, Cup of Sugar, a stand-alone, representational, mixed media work, Graham offers her viewers an intimate, personal environment with paint altered photos. This is an homage to family and friends, with loosely composed elements of collage, layers of personal experiences and memories that convey a sense of time and place. She deftly combines images with abstract patterns and shapes. The two other works, Ancient Journey and Vermillion Cliffs are also representational with elements of abstraction. Her compositions are well crafted and reinforced by her excellent color choices. Vermillion Cliffs with its deep, sonorous shadows and interlocking planes of grayish colored rock displays a mature, disciplined hand.

Christine McKee - Synapse

Christine McKee - Major Tom 

Christine McKee - Beacon

Synapse, Major Tom and Beacon are by Christine McKee. All three of these works are abstractions with elements of collage. Major Tom, is a reference to the persona developed by the late David Bowie.  McKee hones in on this galactic theme and melds together the micro with the cosmic. An arch of four or five multi-colored lines and shapes are suspended over a vertical, muted orange form tethered to a strong, dark line. That line moves off the form in a soft geometric arch to another, larger, abstract, muted white and yellow shape. All together this works gives the impression of Bowie’s space man persona about to break away from our world and float off into a cosmos beyond.  Beacon and Synapse both play with the concept of combining the cellular with the cosmic-macro.  Beacon uses lines effectively, connecting painted and collaged elements to suggest clouds drifting through a sky scape, or in the painting Synapse connecting loosely depicted, neurons and synoptic activity.

Deborah Myers - Untitled

Deborah Myers - Moulin Rouge

Deborah Myers - Nashville

Deborah Myers is also represented by three, abstract paintings, her Untitled, is a color rich composition with interlocking, map-like forms of vivid reds, muted blues, yellows, turquoise and grey, clustered together in a shallow space and interlaced with black. Untitled, at 30”x 30” is the largest of the group and the largest painting in the room.  Moulin Rouge appears very large scale in reproduction but is a small 8”x12” composition. It’s an action painting that could easily be taken as a painting from the New York School of Abstraction.  The palette is rather unique in contrast to the more colorful Untitled and Nashville compositions. Moulin Rouge is more open with broader forms of pale yellows, oranges, greens and creamy whites juxtaposed with four, dense black forms. One of these rises from the left bottom of the canvas toward another horizontal swath of black and is balanced against a large, muted yellow green form to the right.  In the lower light there appears to be a small, horned animal in black sgraffito, and just below, another black that could be referencing a Paleolithic cave image. This work, despite its small scale has movement and a certain sophistication seen in more developed professional painters.

Carla Goldberg - Untitled

Carla Goldberg - Untitled

Carla Goldberg - Untitled

The last in the group are a quartet of small paintings executed between 2021 and the present by Carla Goldberg. Mrs. Goldberg’s work is comparatively diminutive at roughly ten by ten inches, but rich and engaging in color and concept.  Goldberg traverses an aesthetic territory between fantasy and abstraction.  Her untitled, underwater seascape is pure fiction, an intuitive window onto the ocean’s depths. Although Goldberg has opted for a darker palette, she affixes elements of found detritus, bits of wood or cardboard that she then animates with bright, pure hues of primary and secondary colors.  Mrs. Goldberg has spent a good part of her adult life around visual culture as a volunteer in museums and galleries.  She spent some time at university studying architecture, but had to quit to attend to family duties. It is just recently that she has begun to paint with passion and determination. These small works, like all of the paintings in this exhibition are a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit, the desire to express feelings of freedom, mystery and deeply personal experiences, and take that deep dive into the simple joys creative life. 

This exhibition is also a testament to the vision of Chuck Thomas and partner, Leslie Wang, having the insight to mount such an exhibition and to Alison Renshaw for shepherding these four women to excel and blossom. Its inspiring, refreshing and very much need in the present, post-modern visual culture.

Leslie Wang - co-owner, Techne Art Center

Chuck Thomas - co-owner of Techne Art Center

Glimpses from August 11,2023
Techne Art Center
1609 Ord Way, Oceanside, CA 92056
Wed-Fri 1-7pm, Sat 12-6pm  917.972.1752

Vallo Riberto is the Alliance Studio Visit Program Chair, a support group of the Oceanside Art Museum. He is an Independent curator, Oceanside Museum of Art, and the Bonita Museum of Art and Culture, the Zone Contemporary Art Gallery, Osaka, Japan and is on the Exhibition Advisory Committee, San Diego Public Library Gallery 619.603.2214


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