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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Conceptualization of Memoirs

Rey Armenteros

Memories From the Radio-
Of Daughter's Arrival and Father's Farewell

ARC Gallery
14403 Pacific Ave.
Baldwin Hills,CA

The Ladder  2014 (11" x 14" mm, acry, on plexi-glass)

Kicking Baby 2014 (11" x 14", mm, acry, on plexi-glass)

Rey Armenteros current solo exhibition at ARC in Baldwin Hills, CA is , as Armenteros states: " an unbound book" of memoirs dedicated to the birth of his daughter Abigail Su Yun (September 2012)  and death of his father (February 2013). Armenteros, first generation Cuban-American, is also a writer who has dedicated aspects of his art, if not in its entirety, to the conceptualization of memoirs. His current exhibition of fifty-five (11"x 14") paintings is only a selection of paintings based on his visual lamentation of the relationship with his father, the influences of his Cuban heritage dictated by the imprisonment of his grandfather in Cuba, his parents journey to America as young people, and of a reticent new father experiencing a basic human creative act of producing a child.

Armenteros uses the concept of Tarot cards as a "facilitator" for his paintings.  The grouping of the fifty-five paintings is based on the various spreads of Tarot cards. The paintings are installed in "modules" -number spreads of 17, 9, 3, etc.  Depending on how the paintings are grouped, the "unbound" book becomes about something else. The grouping of 17 paintings installed in the main space gives the audience a synopsis of Armenteros' current creative/psychological exploration of his life to this point.  He is not alone with regards to personal insecurities, the need to belong, to be loved and to be able to come to terms with one's own path.  

Armenteros was a child of divorce.  The painting entitled The Ladder portrays three year old Armenteros under the ladder as his father stands on the ladder painting the side of their house.  A splat of paint lands on Armenteros' arm.  This painting memorializes a key moment before his father left their family unit. Many would say that the splat of paint is significant because Armenteros is a painter and defines the incident with an artistic metaphor.  This is true. There are several portraits of his father, Muscles, portrays father flexing his muscles and "sucking in his gut", Death Mask, is a portrait at the end of his life.  Armenteros' selective gestural marks  capture and define an egocentric father with humor, criticism, and mythology. His interest in comic book illustrations is evident in the rendering of the images of his father and daughter.  The definition of memoir and caricature are undoubtedly linked elements in Armenteros' art work; both words describe how a person chooses to remember and interpret a person, place, or thing. 

Armenteros' challenges as a new father are illustrated by images of a crying baby- a frightening and frightened baby.  Armenteros realizes that his daughter is trying to communicate in her own way.  Abigail Su Yun, who's name means "fountain of joy" (Abigail) and "water" (Su Yun) is a true beauty in person.  Armenteros' influence of Francis Bacon's grossly frank and elliptical images exist in the portraits of his daughter. In Kicking Baby the baby's screams and frustrated kicking motions can be heard emanating from the painting. Armenteros' Kicking Baby reaches out to all parents who have been faced with discerning methods of disciplining their children. Armenteros' shared his empathy for his daughter's efforts to communicate her needs.  As an artist, he more than understands creating optimal modes of communication. Humorously, he commented that his wife asked him why he depicted Abigail in such an unflattering way.  Would a beautiful, smiling, pink baby tell the same story?

The paintings are painted on plexi-glass which can be seen from both sides. He begins his paintings by creating images on strips of paint and medium that he describes as "skins".  The skins are painted onto a latex-like surface that allows the pieces to be easily removed.   These copious series of skins are miniature drawings and paintings that will be added to the plexi-glass depending on the story he is about to tell.  His concept of using interchangeable modules in his completed paintings also exist during the planning stages of his work.  

Armenteros has dedicated this current exhibition to the death of his father and birth of his daughter.  Additionally, he credits his interest in Tarot cards and numerology.  During our extensive telephone and gallery interviews, he spoke of his dwindling skepticism about the genuine value of numerology and Tarot cards in his life.  His interests in the metaphysical, mystical, magical and spiritual world can be attributed to his mother. Armenteros described his mother's adult spiritual life as being interested in Gnosticism. Numerology, faith in mythology, and personal views of the world have been part of Armenteros life all along.  The desire to understand someone's own heart is evident in his current series of work.  Perhaps a future exhibition could include or be dedicated to the influence of his mother.

Muscles 2014 (11" x 14" mm, acry, on plexi-glass)

Death Mask 2014 (11"x 14", acrylic, mm on plexi-glass)

Baby Thoughts 2014 (11"x 14", mm, acrylic, on plexi-glass)

*additional interviews on


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Velvet Marshall and Torrance Art Museum

3320 Civic Center Dr
Torrance, CA 90503

Hours : Tues-Sat. 11am-5pm



Presented in conjunction with the Torrance Artists Guild and the South Bay Watercolor Society
South Bay Focus is Torrance Art Museum's annual Contemporary and Traditional juried art exhibition. 
Juror: Scott Canty, Director and Curator of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Velvet Marshall and daughter Natassia Perez
in front of Marshall's painting "Tightrope" 2014 
featured at South Bay Focus 2014

Exhibiting artists:  

Cat Ferraz, Dael Patton, John Chase, Pam Brown, Lelde Bracken, Orion Fisher, Rebecca Schillinger, Lee Clarke, Isabel Fowler, Lynne Mori, Ariel Swartley, Ashley Evans Bandy, Campbell Laird, Lorraine Shue Weber, Lynn Doran, Claudia Bear, Monique Ozimkowski, Winnie Shepardson, Velvet Marshall, Karla Schmidt Commins, Susan Josepher, Jean Shultz, Beth Shibata, Jeanne Dunn, Eunsil Jeoung, Parrish Hirasaki, Jesus Max, Michael Chomick, Kruise Sapstein, Moon Landing, Valerie Wilcox, Cecelia Caro, Ben Zask, Gloria D. Lee, Annemarie Rawlinson, Vivian Wenhuey Chen, Roger Thomas, David Courtney, Maureen Vastardis, Cynthia Stewart, Julia Chu, Vickie Myers, Mary Lou Slagter, Russell Knight, Cie Gumucio, Michelle Deniaud, Nina Zak Laddon, Marie-Laure ILIE, Luis Avalos, Suzanne Kuuskmae, Herlinda Rojas Giandalia, John Tarlton, Joyce Weiss, Karen Yee, Kelly Greenwood

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chicano Dream-"Subversive-but in a good way..."

Chicano Dream
The Collection of Cheech Marin (l980-2010)
June 27-October 28, 2014

Musee d'Aquitaine
20 cours Pasteur
33000 Bordeaux

This summer in July, I was observing Los Angeles based artist John Valadez' social media postings about his mural project for the Musee D'Aquitaine in Bordeaux France.  Additionally, another Los Angeles artist, Margaret Garcia, was also posting images of her work from Bordeaux.  Both of these artists along with twenty-seven other "Chicano" artists are part of an exhibition in Bordeaux which consists of a partial collection of the famed American "Chicano" actor, Cheech Marin.  During our phone interview Marin humorously stated that he was the "Johnny Appleseed" of the Chicano art world.  Marin has been an avid collector of Chicano and Latino art for over thirty years.  Many of the artists, like Valadez, have become lasting friends with their patron.

I was intrigued by the images that were coming out of Bordeaux by the American "Chicano" artists.  I have been privileged to see many of these works of art in Los Angeles by participating artists like: Shizu Saldamando, Germs, Gronk, Diane Gamboa, Patssi Valdez, Sonia Romero and Frank Romero.
The paintings of the exhibition entitled "Chicano Dream" are a mirror of the work that has been part of the European landscape for over a hundred years.  I envisioned the "Neo-Fauves" coming to France all the way from American cities like Los Angeles.  These artists are like the Fauves, liberated, energized, and inspired by the warmth of the southern California sunlight.  Similar to the Fauves they apply formalism to their color palette partnering complementary colors throughout their paintings.  But most essential is the expressive and emotional nature of each piece of art.

Margaret Garcia speaks of the "subversive" element of art that is shared by the Chicano artists and the French.  Garcia says, "Viva la differance", the French welcome differences and that is one of the reasons why she felt they were invited.  "We were going home to where it was acclaimed and celebrated."  Relating to the Impessionists and the Fauves, Garcia said her work has been compared to Gaugin's.  She mentioned that Gaugin's mother was of Peruvian ancestry and that perhaps there was a Latino connection with the "high key palette" and the use of "arbitrary colors".  For Garcia "Chicano Dream" offered another "perspective outside the European realm, urban, political, socially concerned and with the consciousness of heritage." 

John Valadez a "wild beast" from Los Angeles was invited to paint a mural for the outside of the museum during the exhibition.  With only four and  a half weeks to finish this historic work of art, Valadez had two local artists (Florence Hery and Laurent Bastide) to assist him with the project.  Valadez' family has been in America for four generations.  He is an American of Mexican heritage.  As a child he was punished for speaking Spanish.  The term "Chicano" has had many definitions.  In my lifetime it has meant "wetback-illegal alien" and through the sixties it became a political term-a term of pride.  The word continues to evolve.  The same is true of the artist group named "The Fauves".  In the early 20th century, these artists were not eagerly invited to join the club.  Now they are a group that has become admired, emulated and influential.  Valadez stated: "...the thing about being Chicano is to take it on and be positive about it. We write, and paint and film the contradictions."  He continues to say: "...I like to put conflict in my work...the way people interact with each other...I like to tell stories...". The mural he painted (named "Convertible Opera" 20' x 14.8') had the theme of LA road rage and the LA beach mainstay of the convertible.  He said the convertible car provides room for the figures to stand up similar to a stage.  Also, there were additional images to be found in the clouds of the mural. 

These artists that I interviewed for this article have well defined interpretations of their art and their place in the world.  One important observation was that Marin, Garcia, and Valadez felt it was important to share their passion for art on a global scale.  All ethnic groups were welcome to express similarities and differences.   The "Chicano Dream" coming to France was as Garcia said: "we were coming home to where it was acclaimed and celebrated."

Artists exhibiting : Carlos Almaraz, Jari "Werc" Alvarez, Jesus Barraza, Chaz Bojorquez, David Botello, Melanie Cervantes, Alfredo de Batuc, Carlos Donjuan, Diane Gamboa, Margaret Garcia, Yolanda Gonzalez, Glugio Gronk Nicandro, Roberto Guiterrez, Wayne Alaniz Healy, Leo Limon, Albert Lopez, Jose Lozano, Gilbert "Magu" Lujan, Cesar Martinez, Frank Romero, Sonia Romero, 
Ricardo Ruiz, Shizu Saldamando, Eloy Torres, John Valadez, Patssi Valdez, Vincent Valdez, Geroge Yepes, Jaime Zacarias, alias GERMS..

Margaret Garcia and John Valadez (in front of Convertible Opera Mural)

Natasha Marin and Margaret Garcia at exhibition

Patssi Valdez installation ASCO

alternative views 

Jaime Zacarias (GERMS)

Mural assistant Laurent and son

Mural assistant Florence and daughter

Laurent and son

John Valadez

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stealth Rituals

Jennifer Faist-Hill and Eric Zammitt
Beyond the Surface
Launch Gallery
170 S. La Brea (Upstairs)
Los Angeles, CA 90036

September 6-27, 2014

I have been following Jennifer Faist-Hill's work for some time now.  Her work reflects her quiet stillness and gentle interaction with her art colleagues. Nostalgia layered with grief and loss finds their ways into producing works of art that heal and restore Faist-Hill's creative impulses.  The designs inspired by her mother's clothing are permanently encased like insects in amber.  The viewers are persuaded to play along and remember their mother's or family members distinctive style.  Many artists' first creative journeys begin with the styles and finesse of their parents and relatives.  I personally was influenced by my father's sense of style and the way gestures and everyday tasks where turned into works of art.  Faist-Hill carries on the legacy of her family and gives them an opportunity to reach immortality.  

The arduous process of sanding, pouring of resin and layering, is also related to the way different societies prepare their family members for the afterlife. The importance of preparing the body of a loved one by bathing, anointing with oils, wrapping with fine cloths, appears metaphorically ( and not so metaphorically)  in Faist-Hill's work. Process is obviously paramount to Faist-Hill's work, however, the content and back story are the foundations for the success of each work of art.  

Eric Zammitt and Jennifer Faist-Hill complement each other in their demeanor and approach to their work.  Zammitt also is enveloped in the process of creating layers of color that eventually become bands of chromatic radiation that pulsate as a stealth undercurrent for visions. During the current exhibition at Launch Gallery the artists have created a balance of sincerity and a voice for methodical diligence that puts them in their own categories. 

Jennifer Faist-Hill
Sticky Wicket 2014 l0"x7"x1(acrylic, resin, on wood)

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Elias Telles

August 2-30, 2014

The Good Luck Gallery
945 Chung King Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Elias Telles proudly represents himself as an American whose family has been here since 1795.  He served his country as a Marine in the Vietnam War.  As a daughter of a WWII veteran, I understand the pride of fighting for your country and the importance of patriotism by the young men we send off to war away from the warmth of their loved ones.  Telles continues to express his love for America and the diversity that keeps our country in constant flux and growth through his artwork.  

Telles has only been painting for a little more than ten years.  He said he woke up one morning and wanted to start painting. He was fortunate to listen to his epiphany.  His work has a naive style, but his autobiographical messages are considerate of his family members, teachers, historical figures, politics, and interpretations of his dreams.  He said his mother and his teachers where the people who most inspired him in his life.  At the gallery, during our interview, he showed me a painting that was dedicated to his high school literature teacher Miss Cartmel.  She introduced him to theater by taking his class to see The Glass Menagerie. The value of this creative experience continues to work its magic on Telles.  Miss Cartmel is portrayed as a "school marm" from the late nineteenth century.  Like many of his paintings- time is a state of mind.  One of the healing properties of his art is that he can time travel on a paint soaked paintbrush and give his lifelong connections a memorable audience.

 I was curious about how he survived Vietnam.  He said that he didn't think about it that much anymore.    However, "once a Marine always a Marine".  His creative surge is a partner in  keeping him grounded.  Telles at times has fearful dreams that are centered around turbulent bodies of water.  In Self-Portrait he portrays himself as a thumbnail image in a red shirt standing precariously on a sand bar.  His courage and tenacity are powerful against the ominous viridian  sea and tempestuously choreographed waves. Even though he is a speck in the middle of the sea, he stands upright and redefines the importance and value of each individual.  Telles' bravery as a young Marine is now exemplified in his paintings.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Little Death-Petite Mors Jouissance

curated by Tucker Neel
July 27-September 7, 2014
Roundtable Discussion: August 24, 2014, 5-7pm

Featuring :
Nancy Baker Cahill, Kiki Seror, John Weston

Little Death-Petite Mors Jouissance

Kiki Seror- "A Phial Where Memory and a Soul Flashes Into Future Lives; Finding Time Again," 2014 (detail) (The Private Pleasure of John Holmes, l983)
477 C-prints each 4"x6" Installation dimensions variable
Edition of 5

I was once told by an art therapist that kids were sexual beings.  Kiki Seror's photographic installations are based on her childhood interest in pornography of the 1970's and l980's.  Her first introduction was keenly her parents porno stash.  Seror's brave honesty, regarding her early sexual experiences, creates an open field for the viewing public to make allowances for their own childhood sexual peccadillos. Each installations consists of approximately 430-520  photograph stills taken while viewing pre-digital pornographic movies.  These movies are from the days of "Beta-max" and "VHS".  The installations as sexual foreplay, methodically and patiently produce cerebral orgasms. Seror referred to an orgasm as a "little death"- "petite mors jouissance",

There is a similarity to Gerhard Richter's "blurred" photographs and paintings.  Richter said that blurring images made " everything equally important and equally unimportant" and blurring also made "all the parts a closer fit".  Seror's photographs blur in and out of focus making some of the images identifiable and others left to the imagination.  Like Richter the images vary in "importance" and "un-importance" and their grid format produce a unified field-"a closer fit".

Nancy Baker Cahill-"Virgil No. 20", 2014
Graphite on paper, 70"x55"

Nancy Baker Cahill's graphite gestural drawings where born out of Cahill's re-entry into making art.  She said that she had been away from her art practice for a little more than ten years.  She began by making a drawing each day in a sketch book.  The exhibition contains a book of her daily drawings in addition to large scale drawings on paper.  These drawings are simply displayed unframed and pinned to the gallery walls.  Cahill's presentation defines her need to be intimately involved with her work-which she named "conceptual intimacy".  During our  interview I asked her how her work fit into the "explicit imagery" category.  My imagination went to "pubic hair".  She said that the "id was in charge".  Cahill called her drawings "erotic landscapes" with a fair amount of ambiguity.  Her simple elements of paper and graphite can produce aggressive marks that exceed the boundaries of her physical body.  She continued to describe her process as "viscera at work"-searching ceremonially and experiencing a range of emotions.

John Weston- "Spare The Rod, 2013

John Weston shares Seror's focus on genitalia.   There are multi-cultural influences in his work. He includes his personal travel experiences of Japan and Japanese imagery from art films and comic books.  Many of his patterns also originate from Navajo and Mexican pottery.  He expressed an interest in the "vernacular"-the everyday patterns as seen in Native American, Mexican, Islamic as well as Psychedelic, Pop and Op art.  The complementary colors create vibrations that could be associated with an "orgasm".  The stylized representation of the phallus and the vagina are reminiscent of Indian-Hindu religious interpretations of the Yoni and the Lingum. The union of these two symbols are representative of the eternal process of creation and regeneration.  Weston spoke of "stylized sexuality" which "vascelates" to a more "literal" context.  The same is true of the sculptural interpretations of the Yoni and Lingum .  The Yoni can be an abstract of Shakti and Devi the creative life force (feminine) and the Lingum-the generative power of the Lord Siva (male).

Installation shot of the three artists at CB-1 Gallery

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Daniel Rolnik (Curator) and Simone Gad (artist)
August 2-29, 2014

121 E. Union Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Currently at Flower Pepper Gallery is a group exhibition of over 50 artists working in North America.  The show exhibits a variety of styles that complement the artists that were selected by curator Daniel Rolnik.

Daniel Rolnik and Susan Feldman Tucker (participating artist)

Simone Gad and her artwork

Monday, August 4, 2014


Curated by Kelly Thompson
FEATURING: Alice Bag, Diane Gamboa, Meg Madison, Shizu Saldamando, 
                         Lorraine Scognamillo, Kelly Thompson, Sashkio Yuen

August 2-12, 2014

Coagula Curatorial
974 Chung King Rd
Chinatown, Los Angeles,CA 90012

Diane Gamboa's mixed media baby entitled "Mutation" 2014, defines the show of seven woman who are supporting each other with perseverence of  their creative missions. Gamboa has been on the art scene since the seventies. As an artist/feminist/punk practitioner, she is a standing influence on young artists who emulate her work and lifestyle. Gamboa once said that Punk Rock saved her life. Her participation in this group exhibition demonstrates the nuturing  power of the punk ideal on Gamboa and the other women in the exhibition. 

Alice Bag, the lead singer of The Bags, the infamous Punk rock Los Angeles band of the late seventies, is a childhood friend and colleague of Gamboa. This is Bag's first art exhibition which exhibits her portrait paintings and showcased her musical talents as "Punk royality" on opening night.  The seeds for this exhibition are demonstrated by the work of Shizu Saladmando, a prolific painter and exemplary tattoo artist who is influenced by Bag, Gamboa, fringe and the neo-punk community. 

Meg Madison's Letters to Mother are a psychological and contemporary exploration of reaching completion with her mother. Madison also shares her experienced journey with the other women in the exhibition, Kelly Thompson (curator), Lorraine Scognamillo, and SashikoYuen.

Alice Bag Portrait & Diane Gamboa's pre-installation flowers

Kelly Thompson (curator and artist)

Alice Bag Portraits

Alice Bag, Diane Gamboa, Shizu Saldamando

Opening night of "Heads Will Roll"


Shizu Saldamando

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yarn Bombing LA-Good Luck Gallery

Yarn Bombing Los Angeles TAKES OVER!
Good Luck Gallery
July 12-26, 2014
945 Chung King Rd 
Chinatown-Los Angeles, CA 90012

213-625-0935 (Paige Wery)

Julie Kornblum (Table and Chair)

Yarn bombing in a protective environment at Good Luck Gallery in Chinatown.  A creative way to "cuddle puddle" or what the Baby-Boomers called a "love-in".  This show is encouraging for artists that are not only working with mixed-media but that incorporate materials used in "domestic arts"-home craft works.  

Yarn bombing has been considered a form of graffiti but instead of the aggressiveness that is associated with leaving your mark on private property, it infiltrates in a soft, gentle, familial way. 
It is a "Make Love Not War" - "Non-Violent" form of protest. And still embraces the human need to be he heard.

Amy Inouye (Mushrooms)

Family unifying for project-Luv/Peace

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Velvet Marshall- Merced Fields

Velvet Marshall

3rd Annual California 101 Art Exhibition

Redondo Beach Arts and Redondo Beach Art Group
Pier Plaza Galleries
Redondo Beach Pier, California

Artist Velvet Marshall's painting entitled "Merced Fields" was featured at the exhibition June 20-29, 2014. (contact Ms. Marshall:

Velvet Marshall & her painting "Merced Fields" (oil & tar on canvas, 25"x 19")

Marshall's "good luck shoes"- bon chance!

Lisa Adams-In the Land of Entropic Beauty

Lisa Adams
In the Land of Entropic Beauty
June 15-July 20, 2014

CB-1 Gallery
207 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Deus Ex Machina, 2014
Oil on canvas over panel 48"x 72"

Adam's continues to strip away images from the canvas as she continues to simplify her life with her art.  Her thesis-her vision becomes more evident in works such as, Deus Ex Machina 2014.
What appears as a planet and a bunker fueled by a yellow fan belt, expresses Adams need to keep moving and maintain viability with the aid of her paintings.  

Adams' paintings appear as  declarations of a tragic aftermath.  However, looking at these paintings in terms of time minimizes what they represent. Adams' daily dose of "YouTube" videos streaming from the secretive nation of North Korea, affirm history maintaining the status quo that are portrayed in her paintings. 

During our phone interview Adams expressed the of power to think and form ideas,  as profound blessings. Whether Adams paintings are channeled prophecies or the interpretation of life as it is, they define the artist's diligent drive to express ideas.  

Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (EM) 2013
oil on canvas over panel 48"x 40"

Portentous Rhapsody, 2013
oil on panel, 40"x 48"

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spandrels and Dormers Metson's Mini-Dakota


A Better Home for a Quiet Wolf

Coagula Curatorial
974 Chung King Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90021

March 15-April 19, 2014
Wed-Sat 12-5 pm

Metson creates mixed-media /assemblage works reminiscent of architecture of the l800's like the infamous "Dakota Apartments" of New York City.   They are abstracted memories that he composes from rescued artifacts.  These portraits of sleeping souls, knick-knacks, and architectural findings are bridges to the subconscious for Metson and the participating art patrons
Metson's proflic artworks are mitzvahs to the people in the photographs.  He gives the people an eternal shelter of honor and protection.  Metson experienced Katrina in New Orleans which helps to define his process of reconstructing structures from found and discarded objects.  Each assemblage piece injects our vision and stimulates memories we had or thought we had.  There is tremendous time traveling occurring -laced with numerological predictors.  Most of Metson's works contain numbers showcased singularly or in a series.  The numbers add to the mystery of the destiny of the people in the photographs and the objects that surround them.