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Monday, December 12, 2016

We Are All Surfers...I Catalog...

Michael Torquato DeNicola

December 4-16, 2016

B&B&CO Gallery
516 E. 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

We Are All Surfers...I Catalog

by Sandra Vista

"We are all surfers.  We are all riding waves in our lifetime...". DeNicola's current solo exhibition at B&B&CO Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, consists of his emotionally and physically charged paintings and mixed-media pieces.  As a "down to the soul" surfer, his art work captures his perpetual mission of being in flow with nature.  DeNicola's creative enthusiasm unfurls in the entry of the gallery with his "I am Torquato" character icon. He created this character about twelve years ago and is designed to encourage the artist and his viewers with life's challenges.  The "superhero" serves as an inner voice of love and support.

DeNicola describes his paintings as "cataloging highlights" of his personal experiences.  The acts of painting and surfing are metaphors for each other.  It can be considered an exaltation to live embraced by the elements and principles of design.  Line, pattern, repetition, movement, are terms DeNicola uses to interpret both vocations of art and surfing.  His recent relocation from the beach-Pacific Palisades to downtown Los Angeles has given his paintings an ephemeral quality.  As in some of their predecessors, the current paintings are not contained in resin. Flashes of fluorescent brushstrokes sensation DeNicola's immediacy in a new environment.  

Torquato, Amore

A Season At The Sea, Perspective (40"x30" , mm, paper, resin on canvas)

Shark Fin Grin

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Form as Memories-Memories as Form



Cal State University Northridge Art Galleries
August 29- October 8, 2016

18111 Nordhoff St. 
Northridge, CA 91330-8299

curated by: Damon Willick

Landscape Study/NH #37, 38, 2014  12"x 36", oil on canvas

Karla Klarin in front of "A Loft on Mill", 1980, 48"x 72.5", acrylic on 3D

Los Angeles is the city for warriors.  You have to have guts to live here and equally to be an artist here.  Karla an "intelligent valley girl" (not an oxymoron), born in Van Nuys in 1953 did not have a choice.  Los Angeles has always been her home.  Karla's current survey beginning in 1980 is an authentic LA Story.  Karla's intimate-poetic depiction of her life in Los Angeles as a "Baby-Boomer-Feminist-Power-Mama", is a visual autobiography and a benchmark for artists to "live and learn".  Karla's innate tenacity, she believes artists are born, is the seed that has continued to multiply and diversify in her creative atmosphere.  Her exhibition of works for the past 36 years tells the story of her life to this point.

Karla shares her creative epiphany through the story of "Natalie's House" and Natalie herself, a neighbor, ballerina, Modernist, and everlasting-muse.  The combination of pink, black and white are one of Karla's favorite color combinations thanks to Natalie's design aesthetic.  In post-war neighborhoods of tract homes and uniformity, Natalie's pink house, with white rock roof, black driveway and black and white rock garden,  became a location of visual, emotional and physical magic.  A magic that continues to influence Karla's work.  

There are several paintings dedicated and inspired by Natalie's House", the emotional washes bounce off the geometric geology of black and white forms.  In the 1950's and 1960's everything seemed to have more mass and weight.  Homes were constructed with stronger materials-the Zenith TV set weighed a ton.  Karla's geometric forms appear to have the weight of actual rocks and black tar of the asphalt driveways.Like Karla's daily childhood bike rides through her neighborhood, the ebb and flow of gray values highlight the timeless architectural, and topographical forms. 

A notable favorite of the exhibition is a painting from 1980 entitled " A Loft on Mill". Karla spent over ten years in downtown Los Angeles with her artwork becoming part of her creative evolution. She stated that she started working on constructions while at  San Francisco Art Institute (1974) under her instructor and mentor, Sam Tchakalian and during graduate school at Otis Art Institute (l978) with Emerson Woelffer.  The architectural forms like her drawings give the impression of weight and mass. The gilded, mono-chromatic structure jets out of the canvas as an object to be observed and rectified.  Karla's interpretation of downtown Los Angeles structure also touches on her thoughts of what a "Place" can be.   She states that her living location also becomes part of her "physical and emotional state of being".  

Karla currently resides in Santa Monica with her husband and family.  Several of the paintings  are influenced by Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park Series and the Bay Area painters like Elmer Bischoff , David Park and Joan Brown.   She considers these artist to be pure California artists that capture "my California". Her palettes range from primary colors and delineated horizon lines to her favorite black, pink, and white palette.  Also included are portraits of her children and her spouse David.  The portraits are minimal in imagery but still have the strong deliberate marks associated with "Natalie's House" and Natalie's aesthetic. Bravo to the "Gal from the Val".

Babylon's Children #2, 1981, 48"x 96", acrylic on 3D

Drive Thru, 1996, 84" x 96", oil on 3D

Dave and Leigh, 1994, 56"x 60", oil on canvas (left)
Leigh and her Mom, 1994, 54"x 66", oil on canvas

Sunday, September 11, 2016

LOOK HERE "Be Here Now" at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery

Be Here Now at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery
August  28, 2016, 12:03-1:09 pm
Kim Schoenstadt , Aandrea Stang, Paul Schimmel, 
Isabel Avila, Carrie Yury, Ruben Rojas

Lilli Muller and Friend


by Sandra Vista

More often than not, when I get off the sofa and take action for a current art event , I am grateful and "feel so good".  On Sunday morning August 28 at 11:00 am, I was lounging and reading on fb  that Lilli Muller, (phenomenal conceptual, /sculpture artist dtla)was at Hauser Wirth and Schimmel.  I was reminded of the 700 women artists event and decided to take my chances and invite myself.   From finding a parking spot directly behind the gallery, to getting my "non-rsvp" number (721), the entire early afternoon was a plaza of multi-generational women artists with resonating chakras.  

As a "Baby-Boomer", I have experienced Love-Ins, Be-Ins, and NOW Conventions; "Be Here and Now", can be viewed as one of the granddaughters of these experiences.  Boomers burned their bras-the Millennials are "free the nipple".  The value of this event continues to unfurl as it is shared by over 900 (+)  women that attended.  Most of the women have advanced degrees, many are educators as well as practicing artists.  The importance of education for women can not be underestimated.  Kim Schoenstadt, the architect of the project, along with Carrie Yury (photographer), Aandrea Stang, (Hauser Wirth & Schimmel), Isabel Avila (photographer), expressed determination, diligence, tenacity, and affirmation of women who have been exposed to a variety of art historical and societal models directed to the rights of women.  

During the actual gestalt photograph, the 900 (+) women were asked to "look here" at a sign posted on the roof top where the photographers and project designers were stationed.  "Look here" played a part in directing focus for the participants during the event and for their "debriefing sessions" with art colleagues,  friends, and loved ones.  Everyone seems to have experienced a welcomed "pat on the back" and acknowledgements to continue their journeys as artists and harbingers of cooperative societies for humanity.  

My princess goldenrod phone, circa l968 , was taken away from me by my mother because I made three long distance calls to my boyfriend.  No second chance either.  21st century princess phone owners can make long distance calls all day long without worrying about having the phone yanked off the wall and they can also post information out into the world in real time-that is a hell of difference .  Joyful exuberance was felt by me and my immediate friends throughout the day of the event as the postings came through on social media.  Be Here Now, has continued to receive positive reviews by news organizations and the voices of many of the participants who continue to share "the multiple self-portrait" of cooperation.

Joan Kahn and Friend (artists/painters/educators)

Alexis Smith in foreground (mm/conceptual artist)
should read: Dame Alexis Smith

Isabel Avila, Kim Schoenstadt, Ruben Diaz (sponsor)

Kim and Carrie Yury

Claire G Holzer  (new friend)

Sandra Vista

Friday, August 5, 2016

Jorge Gutierrez

July 9- August 14, 2016

Closing reception : August 6 (5:00-8:00 pm)

Gregorio Escalante Gallery
978 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA

"Scarface was my Star Wars"
by Sandra Vista

"Un hijo de norte america", Jorge began his education crossing the Tijuana frontera at the age of nine.  In San Diego he became "George".  Not speaking a word of English, he said a nun (parochial school) told him he would no longer be called "Jorge".  He said Cal Arts freed him to become "Jorge" again. Jorge's story is a bullet train of nature and nurture.  He was fortunate to have parents that were supportive of his creativity.  Funds were limited in the beginning of his college career so there was no time to waste.  A strong work ethic developed by necessity and creative drive have produced a lucrative career in his field of animation.  Currently, his animated feature, "The Book of Life" has garnered Jorge creative acclaim.

Jorge's current exhibition is his first solo show in a gallery setting.  Gregorio Escalante was introduced to Jorge's work while on a flight from Spain.  He felt compelled to look him up and give him a solo show.  True to his strong work ethic, Jorge began working on his paintings on a nightly basis.  What started off as nine paintings became 57.  The paintings are autobiographical interpretations of Jorge's virtues.  Each painting illuminates a life lesson-many focusing on familial advise. There is the allegory for "El Ultimo Super Macho", which was dispensed by his "Abuelito" distinguishing between a non-violent/faithful man and a reactive/unfaithful man.  Jorge describes it as Mexican Zen.  Abuelito bravely confessed that he was the latter-"Macho" not "Super Macho".  Jorge is aspiring to become "El Ultimo Super Macho". Jorge is a family man with Sandra, a lovely wife/creative partner and Luka, a young artistic son.  His son Luka was  included as part of the creative process by helping with the portrait of "Che" named "Presidente de Urban Outfitters".  Mexican Zen being channeled through generations, Luka's touch is more minimal.


Presidente de Urban Outfitters

Jorge, Sandra, Luka

 Jorge is an exemplary model of the creative energy of the Mexican-American borderline/ la frontera/the frontier.  Jorge uses the word "bootleg" for the art work, curios, tee shirts, music, CD/DVD's that are copied and sold by frontera entrepreneurs trying to appeal to the American market and the Mexicans trying to live the American life.  "Bootleg" is a form of deciphering, interpreting, and feeling what is being experienced by the people living near that border.  Jorge was a time traveler on a daily basis between Tijuana and San Diego.  Because of his creative mind he has been able to absorb information visually and emotionally.  An obvious example are the bold colors in his paintings: chile red, mango orange, pineapple and canary yellow. Respectfully, and trying to remain authentic to the local artisans, Jorge used house paint as the medium for his paintings.  Also, true to form, he substituted a paint color when the original one was depleted.  So a red apple may wind up being a blue apple-more Mexican Zen.  

One of Jorge's defining quotes: "Scarface was my Star Wars", encapsulates his youth in a "pop-nostalgic" manner.  Since l983 "Scarface" the movie and its anti-hero/hero Tony Montana, has continued to evolve into the ultimate immigrant story that epitomizes bravery, survival, diligence, crime, murder, and abstracted adaption.  Through his paintings Jorge communicates his experiences with frontera colloquials/Spanglish like "Escarface" for "Scarface" and "Bobesponja" for "Sponge Bob".  Also relevant is the work of an educated man. His Cal Arts education, has become a vital component to Jorge's success.  The paintings include art historical references of Aztec glyphs, Dia de los Muertos symbolism, combined with crown references to Basquiat.  

Alfred Korzybski said: "The map is not the territory."  Jorge is a man that moves the boundaries and demonstrates community, brotherhood, interconnection, ancestry, and love. A perfect example was during the opening night of the exhibition when a young girl came to the show dressed in the "Dia de los Muertos" costume from "The Book of Life".  Jorge Gutierrez-
El Ultimo Super Macho...

Antonio Raimundo Tony Montana 2016 (16"x 20")

Ese Mi Bob 2016 (16" x 20")

Gregorio Escalante, Jorge Guiterrez, and Dia de los Muertos

Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Vista

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Feminist Perspective...The Soft Sell...Yeah, Yeah, Yeah....

We Choose Art/ Shoebox PR
Feminist Perspective #2

4817 W. Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

May 21-June 5, 2016

closing reception : Sunday June 5, 2016 4-6pm

The current exhibition at MUZEUMM is the collaboration of We Choose Art and Shoebox PR, 
with curators Baha H. Danesh and Kristine Shoemaker. The exhibition represents a soft sell 
approach to a feminist exhibition.  The exquisitely displayed exhibition contains various familiar themes seen in feminist exhibitions with familial presentations.  There were also performance artists and poets during the opening night.  Today is the closing party from 4-6pm.  Pizza for the "symbolically starving artists and patrons.


Saturday, May 21, 2016


May 7-27, 2016

Beyond Baroque
681 Venice Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

Currently at Beyond Baroque is the "Second Annual Mask Exhibition" curated by Dulce Stein.
The exhibition's flavor, essence, pheromones, are a familial spin at the historical space devoted to artists' creative endeavors.  Dulce Stein is a current "Curatorial Whirlwind" providing a multitude of exhibition spaces for local and worldwide artists.

The exhibition has various definitions/interpretations of "masks".  There are traditional pieces, paintings, and mixed-media pieces such as the "Mud People  Installation" found in a stairway "to nowhere",

The Mud People Installation

Dulce Stein, Curator

Mark Tovar-Thanks for the photographs