Saturday, December 6, 2008

Since thanksgiving, it seems that LA has taken a break. However, there is always great art to be seen.

First, I would like to congratulate Meghan Reid for the great review in Friday 12/05/08 review by Holly Myers in the LA Times. Holly is dead on in her analysis of Reid's work. She states, "Maeghan Reid’s solo debut at Chung King Project — one of the strongest in recent memory — revolves around the figure of the drifter, the gypsy, the nomad or the outsider. Solitary silhouettes roam her collages with walking sticks in hand and bags slung over their shoulders. Small groups gather in makeshift camps; buildings loom in vast isolation, on the peaks of hills or surrounded by plains. There is a prevailing sense of both alienation and freedom, exclusion and liberation."

To read the complete review, please click this link:

Last Thursday, downtown Riverside had its monthly art walk. There was something quite enchanting and almost magical about the downtown area. The Mission Inn was covered in Christmas lights. There were children skating in an ice ring near the Inn. There were carollers singing Christmas songs. It was beautiful. Although I went to see the shows at the Riverside Art Museum and the UCR Arts Block, I can't help but to love the Christmas season.

Now the art. My first stop was at the Sweeney Art Gallery and the California Museum of Photography. At the Sweeney, the group show entitled "Like Lifelike: Painting in the Third Dimension," curated by Brad Spence, exhibits a group of artists who are comfortable in breaking free from the norms of rigid categories of representation. In his essay, Spence states, "It is presumed that artists will want to disrupt rigid classification and that creative possibilities lay precisely in such transgressions. Nonetheless, for my part, the limited surface of paintings has always represented such a desirable refuge from the flux of things—my trajectory as a painter being a steady retreat to the thinnest, faintest airbrushed surface, tinted by a mere breath of the material world." The artist in the show are all strong and I enjoyed the work shown. My favorites in this show, the ones I think stand out the most, are Michael Reafsnyder, Tom LaDuke and Mark Dutcher. definately go see. Ends December 20th.
UCR Sweeney Art Gallery
3800 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501

At the California Museum of Photography, Leica Hasselblad: A Selection of Classic Cameras from the David Whitmire Hearst Jr. Foundation Collection was being shown. Although the breath and scope of both cameras and photographs were quite impressive, I did not care for the show. I though the selections of photos were the basic classic photos you would normally see in an art history course, with some exceptions of course. I have never been interested in the actual physical camera as an object of art or interest in fact. Go see it if you like cameras and photos.
Closes January 03, 2009

California Museum of Photography
3824 Main Street
Riverside, CA 02501

The final stop was the Riverside Art Musem where PAINTING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: THE 1980s Neo-Expressionism and Driven to Abstraction II, Curated by Peter Frank, this exhibition shows works that have been neglected by recent art histories of Los Angeles art. If you look at books and exhibitions about Los Angeles art, they almost entirely skip the 1980s. When one thinks of neo-expresionism, you think of the cerebral and noir Germans like George Baselitz or Anselm Kiefer or the hyper-ego driven artists such as Julien Schnabel. Here, Peter Frank shows artist that are compelling in their style and their expressiveness of both mystical and religious aspects of life (Jim Morphesis) or as Peter Frank states in his essay,"inflected their own versions of neo-expressionism with their particular interpretations born of everything from geographic context to stylistic attitude, lavish material intervention to broad humor." I think most importantly, neo-expressionism gave a voice to Chicano artist such as Gronk, Patsi Valdes, or Carlos Almarez. I believe that LA art from the 1980s needs to be reconsidered and revaluated. There is no doubt that the LA artist from the 1980s are relavant to today's emerging LA painters. These artist are the forebearers of some of todays most up and coming LA painters such as Pearl S. Hseing and Brian Falhstrom (both shown at the 2006 California Biennial Exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art).
Go see this. December 2, 2008 - February 21, 2009.
Riverside Art Museum
3425 Mission Inn Ave.,
Riverside CA 92501,
Phone 951 684-7111

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