Follow by Email

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Forest Bathing / Shinrin Yoku

Loren Philip and Tomoaki Shibata

Year One
November 9-27, 2018

Curated by: Peter Frank

Castelli Art Space
5428 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 

by: Sandra Vista

Forest Bathing/ Shinrin Yoku

The twelve large scale collaborative paintings, on drop cloth, are installed to envelop and bathe the participants in a forest of barrier free sensations.  Philip said that most of the paintings began with intersecting lines of black ink.  The broad gestural movements defer to previous abstract expressionists like Franz Kline and Jackson Pollack and Automatists/Surrealists like Joan Miro and Max Ernst.  

For the past two years Philip and Shibata have worked in Philip's studio between four and eight hour sessions.   They riffed on each other's unconscious- dynamic marks until they felt each painting was complete.  The cooperative paintings still allow for each artist's personal marks and palettes to be represented.  Philip's signature, cobalt/ultramarine, lavish slathers float throughout the paintings.  Shibata's delicate line drawings of caricature-like figures appear at varied scales.  Notably, Shibata's marks are poetry and music that have been developing throughout his creative lifetime.  

Forest bathing / Shinrin Yoku is a form of forest therapy medicine that allows for people to simply bask in the atmosphere of a forest.  When I saw a photograph of myself at the exhibition, I recalled what it felt like to breathe the healing air with trees that have existed for many human lifetimes.  The psychic emotional exchange that the artists shared during the development of each painting is a taste of this experience. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

John Valadez - Los Angeleno Artist Treasure "Tesoro"- Puro de Verdad

John Valadez - No One More Magical
November 1-7, 2018 

Castelli Art Space
5428 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

curated by: Isabel Rojas-Williams

by Sandra Vista

Los Angeleno Artist Treasure "Tesoro"- Puro de Verdad

"Piernas Anime" 2017 oil on canvas 108"x 70"

Valadez is a ceremonial "keeper of the flame"- an artist who documents the sky and the earth of people of Los Angeles.  Primarily, Valadez focuses on the communities of East Los Angeles-the Los Angelenos with a defined Mexican-American style.  He says he is never going to retire.  It would be impossible for him stop the fire from burning.  His insightful, heart wrenching, art work, serves to feed him, the community he represents, and the art devotees privileged to experience his art work.  In "Piernas Anime", (Legs Anime), the "beach girls" are walking off the canvas, plopping their high heels and wedges into the wet sand.  West side surfer girls have particular styles-perhaps Roxy and Vans.  These girls, that appear to vacillate from the past and the future, give us a glimpse of an alternative beach attire that is puro Los Angeles tambien.

Valadez' current exhibit invites us to see varied mixed-media, collages, digital prints and paintings.  There are collages, on faux newsprint, of "pulp Mexican novellas" with traditional Mexican iconography of Dia de Los Muertos.  Additionally, there are digital prints of downtown Los Angeles bodegas, Pop-graffiti on doors and buildings, and illuminating deference for the Native American and Chicano culture.  

John Valadez, Isabel Rojas-Williams (curator), Carlos Iglesias (director)

One of Us

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Group Show
Curators: Kelly Thompson and Stephanie Allespach
Jan 13-Feb 3, 2018

Cactus Gallery
3001 N. Coolidge Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039


Trix by Ted Meyer

"Trix are for kids..." When I heard that expression it was okay to eat sugary morning cereal.  The GLITTER GROUP SHOW is a whimsical, fanciful exhibition designed to bring a smile for the new year.  Many of the pieces, as with Ted Meyer's "Trix" and "Frosted Flakes" are Pop Art based. The element of glitter itself is part of popular culture in children's crafts, make-up, and costumes.  Glitter is known to exist in cave paintings, and the ceremonial makeup of the Native Americans.  

Sandra Mastroianni, director of Cactus Gallery says she exhibits art for the people.  Much of art is designed for the fledgling art collectors.  

Douglas Alvarez

Terri Berman  (Wildcat)

 L to R : Love is Possible-Martina Moreno, Jill Emery-Sallygotsthe Emery, Baha H. Danesh, Holly Topping, Carolyn Castano, Denise Bledsoe, Douglas Alvarez & Opal Unicorn - Laura Castellanos

Stephanie Allespach- co-curator and Glitter piece

from L to R: Andrea Bogdan, Kelly Brumfield-Woods, Eden Folwell, Stephanie Allespach, Evad Art and Sue Zola, Kelly Thompson, Sydney Croskery and Ted Meyer

Wednesday, January 17, 2018



by: Sandra Vista

Loren Philip is a Los Angeles based abstract artist who is part of Coagula Curatorial's "New Curator's Series".  After sessions with Mat Gleason, art director, the artists have an opportunity for a hands-on experience of curating their own exhibitions.  When I visited Philip's studio last month, he described the method in which he was designing his own abstract art group exhibition.  He has been a "fan" and supporter of the artists he chose for his exhibition.  He mentioned discovering Jimi Gleason's illuminating paintings and meeting him at William Turner Gallery.  Philip was overwhelmed and honored when Gleason was open to being in his group show.  

Jimi Gleason

Philip's selection of abstract artists is defined by their idiosyncrasies.  Jimi Gleason's abstract painting with a metallic scalene triangle, no lines are equal,  shines like glitter from ancient Egyptian beetles.  The metallic form invites memories of using colors from nature.   As an abstract artist he allows for the viewers to make up their story.  The placement of  metallic collage and stained canvas release a sacramental image which is an idiosyncratic element of abstract art and connections with spiritual realms.

Philip designed the placement of the paintings into a quasi-color wheel that begins in the entry of the gallery.  To the right is Philip's painting which consists of various shades of oceanic cool blues.  Proceeding clockwise is Gleason's painting with earth tones and complementary orange to Philip's blue.  The strong contrasts, the production of afterimages, support the title of "Abstract Power".  

 Steve Seleska's painting continues the connection with magenta-blue hues marbleized and interwoven on the surface of his work.  With Philip's devotion to the ocean in his art work and lifestyle, he would obviously be attracted to Seleska's textural plankton forms cautiously emerging from the depths.   

Steve Seleska

Farzad Kohan has two paintings in the show that combine an abstracted " language of the heart" as the primary element of the color field.  The haptic, lachrymose, marks of Crazy for You exude passion and sensuality.  Kohan's stains of purple and blue become an extension of Seleska's painting and Philip's palette of fluid blues and white gestural marks.  Kohan's My Love consisting of magenta and pink hues is reminiscent of the romantic side of  Philip's paintings.  Philip attributes the love of his wife and daughter as a vital component for his painting practice.

Farzad Kohan Crazy for You

Farzad Kohan My Love

Emily Elisa Halpern's mossy green hues-a glimpse of nature and its lyrical dance, also relate to Philip's poetic and romantic nature in his art.  Halpern's painting also complements Kohan's pastel pinks and engages Michael Torquato DeNicola's two dynamic paintings of bold warm hues. 

DeNicola's stated that he works and reworks his paintings which are evident in the mosaic-like forms that ascend and descend.  His creative diligence is an architectural fete of alchemy.  DeNicola and Philip are brothers in arms in their allegiance, medicinal and spiritual realm of surfing and the purification of the ocean. 

Philip's maiden voyage combined artists whose creative idiosyncrasies are independent voices that became an extension of his artistic practice and fervor.

Emily Elisa Halpern