Saturday, August 31, 2019

An Inspiring Palette

Van-Gogh-Go, mixed media on board, 10”x10”

With my Post-Folk Art Series, I  have been making collages from scratch, where I paint, cut and reassemble. The colors I use have been influenced by traditional Polish folk art.  This time I went to a different source, the South of France, Provence to be specific and let the warm palette of Van Gogh be my source.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Middle Ground at the Main Library

Yesterday's visit to the Steps Sale  at the main library was also my first chance to check out the Exploratorium's new installation/exhibit Middle Ground: Reconsidering ourselves and others.  
Art, community engagement and I found a tattered, but serviceable first edition of a work by Brendan Behan for the sum of $1.  

Monday, August 19, 2019

Three Museum Weekend

Any visit to Southern California offers a huge choice and variety of art museums to see.  I got a look at four excellent shows this weekend in three museums.

Proyecto Queer Icons, Gabriel Garcia Román

Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art  was the first stop.  This summer the entire museum is devoted to Gráfica América, a comprehensive showcase including artist collectives, print shops and publishing houses.  The exhibit features work by over 100 U.S. and Latin American artists.   It’s an opportunity to get a sampling of a wide variety of print work ranging from historic and traditional print methods to digital processes.  The only regret was, in many cases, that I wanted to see more work from some of the artists shown.  I was snapping photos of prints and museum labels with my phone for the purpose of looking up many of these artists online.  Of course I was excited to see map themed prints from artists like Lorena Pradal   and Maria Villanueva  and the final gallery offers print making opportunities for visitors that include making postcards (yay!).

Self Portrait, Patrick Angus

I enjoyed all the shows I saw over the weekend, but the one that blew me away was the Patrick Angus retrospective at the Long Beach Museum of Art.  I was unfamiliar with Patrick Angus until this past Saturday.  He was a painter’s painter with work that is unmistakably Californian in light, style in palette.  His life was sadly cut short when he died from AIDS in 1992.  The two New York cityscapes shown are something akin to California meets Hopper.  The influence of many artists from Diebenkorn to Picasso to Hockney comes through in his work.  The work is far from derivative but shows an artist with an observant eye who makes each painting his own.  The Galerie Thomas Fuchs has a good sampling of Angus’s work on their website.  I wish this exhibit was going on tour after it closes — Patrick Angus’s work needs to be seen.

Bob Mizer, historic costume

There was a smaller show of Bob Mizer’s work at the same museum.  From books, film and the internet I am no stranger to Mizer’s work.  But what made this show special, beyond the photography, was the collection of props, costumes and memorabilia — oh the stories those jockstraps could tell.  I really want to see it all find a home in the Smithsonian.
Sunday afternoon found me wandering the historic heart of Los Angeles with a visit to La Plaza de Cultura y Artes.  After some L.A. history, it was time to explore Linda Vallejo’s large solo exhibition Brown Belongings.  Her mandala-like and graphic pieces seem straightforward and stand alone on their visuals but look closely and read the labels and see each one is embedded with meaning and statistics documenting Latinx demographics and culture. In these times, it never hurts to remind us we live in multicultural and diverse society.  The second floor included many pieces from her Make ‘Em All Mexican series with the latinxafication of many of cultural and historical icons.  With some brown paint and pigment, you get a revised perspective on everyone from Marilyn Monroe, to Bob’s Big Boy, to George Washington to “Mateo” Damon.   The pieces have a serious message, but they are great fun.  It’s the sort of show that would trigger the deplorables — but they would not even get out of their cars if they found themselves in that part of L.A.  The ceramics are safe.

Make ‘Em All Mexican series, Linda Vallejo

A weekend with three museums reaffirms why Los Angles (and environs) is one of the world’s great art cities.