Monday, September 7, 2009

Saturday's art openings







With each first Saturday night come two important gallery openings that coincide with the Santa Ana Artists Village Art Walk, and it's a good thing, too.

Art being sold on pedestrianized 3rd Street and in the historic Santora Building basement's galleries is really a mixed bag, and while the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) seems to manage to pull the rabbit of out the hat with its programming with a fairly high degree of consistency, it's really Cal State Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center Gallery that almost always "wows" art lovers.

That was certainly the case again the other night, as CSUF's new show "F+" showcased the works of its faculty artists working in a variety of media. It was all quality stuff (you had to enjoy the double entendre of the show's title).

My personal favorites were two paintings by Joe Forkan, inspired by famous works of art: Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ and David's Death of Marat. They were not slavish reproductions, mind you, (nor were they parodies) but totally independent works that openly referenced the themes and structures of the originals in an indirect manner.

I was also very fond of Lawrence Yun's series of small watercolors of palm fronds. Some might consider them "tame" in contrast to other artists' works in the exhibit, but they went beyond decorative to achieve a zen-like serenity in their precision and composition.
Though it's hardly a genre that usually turns my head, Hala Swearingen's vivid fantasy scenes are so masterfully executed, I paused at each one to admire their fine detail.

The Grand Central Art Center Gallery also included a one-man show, occupying the better part of what is typically their shop. Entitled "Idiosyncratic Behavior," the paintings by Paul Torres are reminiscent of Reginald Marsh's mass-of-humanity beach scenes--only the people depicted are truly grotesque. This distorted view provoked me to snicker, as I'm sure it's intended to.

OCCCA's "Jecca+1" featured a prominent international artist's photography and video installations that were mostly comprised of still images, some static, some put into motion. One series found the beauty in automobile fuel cap assemblies. There was a disturbing video intended as a 9/11 memorial and an amusing upside-down video outside I.M. Pei's pyramid entrance to the Louvre in Paris. The companion artist's works seemed a total afterthought (Rob Mintz).
Before I headed to Santa Ana, I swung by The LAB's Artery exhibit space for a quick view of Terry Kim's works in a show entitled "Re-Inventing the Wheel" by this self-described "underground artist." Well he's got a highly-skilled illustrative hand and the paintings are less unconventional than you might expect.

1 comment:

Jake said...

There's so many cool art galleries and exhibitions in the Orange County and Laguna Beach areas!