Visual Artists


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I visited MOLAA a few weeks ago  and highly recommend this museum which offers, among others, poetry, films, cooking classes and is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary of Murals Under the Stars starting on July 18th. I might just have to go back on that day just so I can taste the Mango Cheesecake offered by Viva Cafe. I had their arroz con leche on the outdoor patio and I can still taste the generous offering of sticky sweet rice and cinammon.

Their current exhibit: “Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamin” runs through August 16th.

The pictures on this post are only a small sample of the eclectic art gracing the Robert Gumbiner Sculpture and Events Garden.

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Oswaldo Guayasamin’s El Grito II, The Cry II, 1983, Oil on canvas.

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One thing I love about the Bootleg theater is that they often have great art work in the lobby and if you take the time to look at it you realize it was created especially for the show currently playing. Just received the following press release that I find terribly enticing. Tomorrow’s preview is Pay What You Can.

WHAT:
The bomb may have dropped out there, but the party’s just getting started in here. The REPO division and Bootleg Theater present the world premiere of Doomsday Kiss, a savagely funny, terrifying, and sexy multimedia collaboration between visual artists, writers, directors, actors and musicians riffing on the theme of doomsday. An art installation, four interwoven plays and musical performances combine to examine the complicated relationships between people facing certain annihilation.  The central character is Randal Maxit, a has-been designer of the apocalypse desperate to atone for his sins.  A lobby exhibition of Maxit’s life’s work (developed by artists from various mediums) offers a reference point before entering the theater.

WHO:
* Written by: Eva Anderson, Clay Hazelwood, Wesley Walker and Sharon Yablon
* Directed by: Adrian Alex Cruz, Andrew Hopper, Amber Skalski, Gordon Vandenberg
* Featuring: Shawn Buchholz, Hank Bunker, Alana Dietze, Michael Dunn, Jessica Hanna, Lily Holleman, Niamh McCormally, Ben Messmer, Gray Palmer, Babar Peerzada, Alina Phelan, Mickey Swenson, Tina Van Berkelaer, Annie Weirich, Jacqueline Wright
* Art installation curated by: Sandy Rodriquez
* Visual artists:  Ron Dotson, Jorge Javier Lopez, Isabelle Lutterodt, Derrick Maddox, Rigo Maldonado, Anne Martens, Guadalupe Rodriguez, Rebeka Rodriguez, Sandy Rodriguez, Brian Scott, Allessandro Thompson, Armando H. Torres, Vincent Villafranca, Victor Wilde and Scott Winterrowd
* Musicians: Toni Senatore and Cody Cameron
* Creative Director: Andrew Hopper
* Presented by: the REPO division and Bootleg Theater

WHEN:
Preview: April 16
Performances: April 17 through May 10
* Thursday at 8 pm: April 16 (preview)
* Fridays at 8 pm: April 17 (Opening Night), 24; May 1, 8
* Saturdays at 8 pm: April 18, 25; May 2, 9
* Sundays at 7pm: April 19, 26; May 3, 10

WHERE:
BOOTLEG THEATER
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057

HOW:
213-389-3856 or http://www.bootlegtheater.com

TICKETS:
General Admission: $25
Students/seniors: $10
Preview performance: Pay what you can

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Sam Cherry:Photographs of Charles Bukowski, The Black Cat, and Skid Row

Malcolm McNeill and William S. Burroughs:The Lost Art of Ah POOK

April 4th-May 2nd, Track 16 Gallery @ Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Bldg C-1, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Telephone: 310-264-4678

Sam Cherry’s photographs take the viewer on an historical journey through intimate moments with Charles Bukowski, the 1940s Bohemian scene at The Black Cat Café (San Francisco’s creative hub), and Los Angeles’ Skid Row in the 1980s. The gallery also presents the west coast premiere of The Lost Art of Ah Pook IS HERE, paintings, drawings and prints from the unfinished collaboration between William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill. Named LA Weekly’s Pick of the Week last week, these are two exhibitions not to be missed!

For more information, go to http://www.track16.com

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JK Gallery is excited to announce an exhibition of recent work by Jennifer D
Anderson
.  This exhibition will be held from November 1 through December
20, 2008.  

Working on found ledger paper, the surface generally used for transactions
of monetary funds, Anderson combines images to highlight the uneasy
exchanges that often take place in terms of body and soul in warfare.
Injured and exposed bodies contrast with the cool crisp font of the word
cash printed at the top of each page as well as the handwritten names and
the clean lines of children playing soldiers and formal regalia of the
military.  In the artist’s own words she explains, “Without any intention of
furthering any side of the present debate regarding war, this work is about
the loss of innocence shown through the simple line figures and diagrams of
soldiers, guns and children playing with the harsh reality of loss of life
and limb that occurs in the theater of war.”
 
The visceral and corporal understanding of the body presented in Jennifer D.
Anderson¹s work arises from the folklore of her Southern Appalachian
upbringing. Through the combination of hand processes and digital imaging,
she examines the complexity of the human form and life, creating these hard,
harrowing images tempered by their vulnerability and ephemeral nature.  Her
work has been exhibited in both national and international venues and is
included in several public and private collections including the Royal
Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp, Belgium. Anderson has a MFA from the University
of Georgia and presently is the instructor of printmaking at Orange Coast
College. For more information on the artist, please see her website.
 
JK Gallery is a unique and important addition to the art community in the
Culver City Art District, a integral part of the exciting Los Angeles Art Scene. JK Gallery is dedicated to presenting meaningful artistic expression that engages
a diverse clientele. It dedicates time to hosting and exposing local,
national and international artists and art.
 
For further information, please contact:
Javad Kheradmandan, Director
JK Gallery
2632 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034
jk@jkgallery.net                                
Telephone:310.837.3330                  Fax: 310.837.4001

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Ofelia Esparza by Gil Ortiz. Tropico de Nopal fashion show 2006. Copyright Gil Ortiz/Tropico de Nopal.

The photograph on Ofelia’s head piece is that of her mother’s great grandmother, Mama Pola, and Ofelia’s baby brother.

In 2001 for Day of the Dead at Self Help Graphics, Ofelia recreated a prison cell in a corner of the gallery. She intended the entire installation to represent “grief for the living dead”–those who are in jail, their loved ones, and others around the world who lead lives that are unfulfilled, tragic, or lack freedom. At the foot of the bed she assembled a small traditional ofrenda made from materials that would be available to prisoners: papel picado made from newspapers, paper flowers of toilet paper, small offerings of pictures and flowers. Thus she celebrated a universal human condition in a truly traditional Mexican manner.Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

To celebrate Ofelia Esparza’s first solo exhibit, I asked the artist to answer a few questions knowing that what Ofelia truly deserves is to be the subject of a documentary or a book about her life and the lives of her ancestors for whom she builds altars year after year not with grief but with a deep love and admiration for the blessings her ancestors received and the hardships they lived through and conquered, if not within their time, at least within hers.

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Ofelia Esparza’s peace altar for the LA VS. WAR art show, April 2008.

Smiling Spider: Who are the artists who have influenced you the most?

Ofelia Esparza: There are many artists I have come to admire and from whom I draw inspiration today. But there are three who have been in my sights since I was a child. The first one has been my mother from my earliest recollections. She never called herself an artist, she didn’t learn her art in school, but her resourceful, creative spirit, her imagination sparked my own beginnings in my life and love for creativity and art.  Thus, I have been greatly influenced by the Mexican folk art that I have been surrounded by for most of my life.  During my childhood, folk art, brought back from my mother’s visits to Mexico every year, mirrored my mother’s own style of bright colors and handmade decorations for her home altars and our celebrations.  Perhaps this is why- as a very young girl, when I discovered Diego Rivera (from postal cards my mother sent me on her trips) I was drawn to his images of people who resembled me or those in my life around me, and by the familiarity I found in Rivera’s images of people engaged in activities I recognized.

Later, by the time I was in junior high school, I discovered Charles White in his book of portraits called “Images of Dignity”. I was always drawing things around me, but especially faces of people- mostly my own. White’s graphite drawings of ordinary people in his life, was an inspiration to me to keep drawing and striving for likenesses in my images. As I got older I began to understand why White called his portraits images of dignity– something I recognized in people around me–they  had not written a book nor held any degrees, but many commanded respect through their hard work, and carried themselves in dignity despite their humble possessions or limited resources. Charles Whites’s influence has held me to this day.

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Charles White, “Spiritual.”

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