Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday in the galleries

I finally made it over to OC Fine Art Storage in Anaheim. Co-owner Brian Ross has been nagging me to get there, so when I received an invitation to a showing of works by Doris Rosenthal, I seized the opportunity. OC-FAS is not a gallery per se but a secure, climate-controlled facility to store art for museums (all of OC's major museums use it), for collectors and for businesses. Periodically, Brian hangs a show in the front half of their facility, which has one gallery-sized room and several smaller rooms with wall-space enough to display about 40 works--the number in the Rosenthal showing. Her works (above right is one of the oil paintings on display) are mostly depicting peasant life in rural Mexico where she spent most of her life as an artist after having studied in New York at the famed Art Students League in the 1930s (though she was originally from California). She was the recipient of three Guggenheim fellowships, and was most active in the 1950s and 1960s. Her step-grand-nephew Dennis has lovingly assembled the bulk of her works, had them restored and reframed, and opened them for view to invite museum curators to consider them for future exhibitions. Her compositions offer perspectives that are unexpected and demonstrate a hand skilled at capturing the spill of natural light.
I first met Enzie Shamiri at a dedication of murals installed at the Laguna Hills City Hall a year or so ago, but we had already been Facebook friends. She is the featured artist right now at Artist Eye Laguna Gallery where a collective of 17 artists exhibit. Enzie has a particular fondness in Oriental art throughout the ages, but especially oil paintings that portray Middle Eastern life in realistic style--and she often posts images of works she comes across on her Facebook page. In her own oils, she also explores these themes, but some of her works reflect a slightly more heightened, almost dreamlike quality--like in the portrait of the girl above, a lovely yet rather haunting image.
Peter Blake remains an OC treasure as he exhibits in his Laguna Beach gallery the work of cutting edge artists--some famous, like Tony Delap and Lita Albuquerque, some less-known but established artists, as well as emerging artists. The recession has been a struggle, Peter admits, but the "enthusiasm" in the art market is returning, he said. Delap's deceptively simple angled geometrical paintings in forest green, white and black--some on a burlap colored textile--evoked for me the national flags of some African nations. Pastine's subtle gradations of of solid color have always appealed to me.

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