Posts filed under ‘Art Appreciation’

Art LA Contemporary 2012

Rounding out the lineup of major art fairs in Los Angeles this January, we come at last to the outlier: Art LA Contemporary. Unlike the other shows which were held downtown, this one took place in Santa Monica. It’s a long haul from downtown to Santa Monica, and there’s no public transportation between the two. (You gotta have a car. It’s Los Angeles.)

Art LA Contemporary, having the word “Contemporary” in the name, is aiming for the bleeding edge of cutting edge art. The artists aren’t just alive, many of them are barely out of their teens. It’s conceptual art, mostly. Which means I’m going to take a pretty jaundiced view going in, because frankly most conceptual art comes off as childish and ridiculous to me. Not all, but a goodly percentage. Still, I enjoyed last year’s show well enough to return this year. Buried amongst all the pretentiousness is the occasional gem, and that’s what I like to concentrate on.

Let’s take a look.

Art LA Contemporary 2012, photo by Barbara J Carter

The show isn’t huge, and it’s laid out in a very easy-to-understand grid. You can go through it pretty quickly and find the few pieces you really like.

Holton Rower, poured paint Holton Rower, poured paint over square forms, shown by The Hole, New York.

I had previously seen this video showing how the artist pours the paint, so it was fun to see the finished product in person. This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas. Simple but elegant. And I do love all the dazzling colors.

light sculpture Light sculpture by Ryan Perez (according to commenter Brett Schultz), shown by Yautepec Gallery, Mexico City.

Again I’m drawn to the simple idea, well executed. It’s just wood and fluorescent tubes, but this piece made a dramatic statement. It is admittedly a little reminiscent of Dan Flavin (an artist known for his work with fluorescent light tubes) but I think this is distinctive enough not to be derivative. I’m sorry I don’t know who the artist is, there was no sign in the booth and the gallery’s website doesn’t help. Thanks to commenter Brett Schultz for identifying the artist. (Too bad there’s no photo of the piece on his website.)

At another booth, I found myself snapping photos of several pieces by several different artists, rather than my usual one (or none!). This was the booth of Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California (near San Diego). Any time I see a high concentration of work I like, I figure this is a gallery I should pay closer attention to. Here are the pieces that caught my eye:

Ryan McGinness, Women Parts series Ryan McGinness, Women Parts series, acrylic on paper, 30×22 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

Thomas Glassford, Espejo 1, anodized aluminum Thomas Glassford, Espejo 1, 2011, anodized aluminum, 32×42 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

The more I looked at this piece, the more I liked it. You could see the different kinds of industrial aluminum extrusions used: threshold, drip edging, siding, and other common building materials. The varying textures and colors are playful, which I appreciate. I like art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Peter Alexander, Royal Blue Drip Peter Alexander, Royal Blue Drip, 2011, polyester resin, 24×18 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

I enjoyed the simple yet luscious sensuality of this piece. It looked a little like slumped glass, thick and heavy yet floating slightly away from the wall. There’s no way Royal Blue Drip is the right title for this piece. I’m guessing Royal Blue Drip sold and was taken down and replaced by this similar green piece (probably called Kelly Green Drip or somesuch) and no one bothered to fix the wall label.

Kim MacConnel Kim MacConnel, enamel on board, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

I could just sit and stare at these all day. Love!

Continuing my stroll through the show, here are some more pieces that caught my eye:

Zoi Gaitanidou Zoi Gaitanidou, textile work, shown by David Castillo Gallery, Miami, Florida.

artist unknown Unknown artist, shown by Altman Siegel, San Francisco, California.

Sergio Sister Sérgio Sister, Caixa series, 15x10x3 inches each, shown by Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. Not dissimilar to the previous artist, eh?

Andrew Schoultz, Melting Gold Flag (Made in China) Andrew Schoultz, Melting Gold Flag (Made in China), 2011, gold leaf, acrylic, and molten gold fluid on stretched American flag, 30×54 inches, shown by Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan. Sold, but no price shown.

Marco Maggi Marco Maggi, cut paper in slide mounts, 2×2 inches each, shown by Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. These utterly fascinated me. The intricate precision of each tiny cut had to be seen to be believed. He must use a very sharp surgical scalpel to make these. Click on the photo for a bigger version.

Marco Maggi More by Marco Maggi. Because they’re so amazing!

Frances Richardson, detail Frances Richardson, 010611, colored pencil on paper, detail. Shown by Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles. Full view below:

Frances Richardson, 010611 Frances Richardson, 010611, 2011, colored pencil on paper, 19×26 inches.

Mike Pratt, Redred Mike Pratt, Redred, 2011, oil, enamel and resin on canvas, 83×55 inches, shown by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK.

Georgi Tushev Georgi Tushev, Strange Attractor series, oil painting with embedded iron filings, shown by Fitzroy Gallery, New York. You can see more photos of this series here. I was fascinated by the dimensionality this artist achieved with such simple materials. He apparently uses a powerful magnet to draw the wet paint up into these spiky, mounded shapes, which retain their shape as the paint dries.

The prize for most colorful wall at the show goes to the same gallery, Fitzroy Gallery of New York, for the outside of their booth:

Fitzroy Gallery booth at Art LA Contemporary 2012

And the prize for the biggest paintings of… nothing in particular, but in REALLY bright colors and cheerful, goofy shapes goes to Ed Moses shown by ACE Gallery, Los Angeles:

Ed Moses at ACE Gallery

Ed Moses is turning 86 this year, and still paints every day. A good example for us all, I think.

You may have noticed that none of the art had prices. There were no price tags at this show. Apparently being cutting edge means avoiding all trappings of commerce. We’ll have none of that filthy capitalism here, we’re above all that!

Never mind the foolishness, it was a fun show. Totally worth the $6 Groupon admission price. Thank you Groupon!

February 10, 2012 at 4:50 am 4 comments

The Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair 2012

The year 2012 brought a brand-new art fair to the city of Los Angeles: the Affordable Art Fair.

“Affordable” is defined here as $10,000 or less for each work of art. If you were paying attention to the prices at the LA Art Show and the LA Fine Art Show, you’ll realize that restricting an entire show to works under $10,000 is a rather novel concept in art fairs. (Mind you, the kinds of shows I exhibit in are typically way below this price range.)

The Affordable Art Fair is already a big hit in New York and a couple other places. I hope it becomes a regular show here; Los Angeles could use a few more art fairs, especially fun ones like this.

To get to the Affordable Art Fair, all I had to do was walk out of the Convention Center (where the LA Art Shows were held) and cross one street:

street view, 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair

…and then climb a bunch of rickety stairs to get to the rooftop deck of LA Live, where a ginormous tent was pitched:

2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair entrance

It hardly felt like a tent inside. Sturdy walls, bright lights and carpeting made it very welcoming:

2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair interior

Some of the booths I liked best were right by the entrance, so we’ll start there:

2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair booths

The first booth was the Conrad Wilde Gallery from Tucson, Arizona. I loved just about everything they had on display, including this gnarly wall sculpture (visible in the photo above):

Jessica Drenk, "Cerebral Mapping," books, wax and glue, 100x42 inches. Jessica Drenk, “Cerebral Mapping,” 2012, books, wax and glue, 100×42 inches, $10,000. Conrad Wilde Gallery. It says it’s made from “books” but it looks more like “strips of pages from books” to me. Quibbling, I suppose. More work from the same booth:

Robert Moya, "Untitled 2," "Untitled 6," and "Untitled 3," glue on panel, 14x14 to 24x24 inches. Robert Moya, “Untitled 2,” “Untitled 6,” and “Untitled 3,” glue on panel, 14×14 to 24×24 inches, $950 – $1800. Conrad Wilde Gallery.

Joanne Mattera, "Silk Road 125," encaustic on panel, 12x12 inches. Joanne Mattera, “Silk Road 125,” 2009, encaustic on panel, 12×12 inches, $2400 (between “Silk Road 120” and “73” above and below). Conrad Wilde Gallery. This is an artist I highly regard; I read her art blog religiously and have heard her speak publicly before. I even have a signed copy of her book about encaustic painting, a medium I greatly enjoy looking at and hope to someday learn.

Conrad Wilde Gallery at 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair Pieces by Jessica Drenk (left), John Dempcy (center: “Vent Life,” 2010, acrylic on panel, 36×36 inches, $3200), and an artist (right) whose name I failed to note, sorry. Conrad Wilde Gallery.

Miles Conrad, "Bioslice Pink," "Bioslice Green," and "Bioslice Orange," 2006, encaustic on panel, 10x10x3 inches. Miles Conrad, “Bioslice Pink,” “Bioslice Green,” and “Bioslice Orange,” 2006, encaustic on panel, 10x10x3 inches, $600 each. Conrad Wilde Gallery.

Clearly if I ever find myself in Tucson I need to visit the Conrad Wilde Gallery! I just loved their display.

Moving on, we suddenly find ourselves in the Australian outback:

Cicada Gallery at 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair The Cicada Aboriginal Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

OK, the gallery itself is located in staid Brisbane, but the artwork is produced by Aboriginal Australians (the native peoples) many of whom live in the outback. I find their traditional art inspirational and exciting to look at, so this booth was a real treat for me. Here are a few highlights:

Judy Martin, "Ngayuku Ngura (My Country)," acrylic on linen, 48x24 inches. Judy Martin, “Ngayuku Ngura (My Country),” acrylic on linen, 48×24 inches, $2500. Cicada Gallery.

Cicada Gallery display at 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair A selection of works from the Cicada Gallery. Upper left: Yinarupa Nangala, “Mukula Rockhole,” 18×15 inches, $1950. Upper right: Matthew West Tjupurrula, “Ngarru,” 18×15 inches, $1700. Middle left: Maisie Campbell, “My Mother’s Country,” 18×15 inches, $990. Middle right: Wintjiya Napaltjarri, “Pinari Rockhole,” 18×15 inches, $1850. Bottom: Charlie Tjapangati, “Pirrinya,” 12×24 inches, $1600. All paintings acrylic on linen.

Cicada Aboriginal Art Gallery, 3 artists' works on display at the 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair Left: Wintjiya Napaltjarri, “Pinari Rockhole,” $1950. Middle: Charlie Tjapangati, “Pirrinya,” $1440. Right: Kayi Kayi Nampitjinpa, “Ngaminya Rockhole,” $1850. All: acrylic on linen, 34×11 inches, from Cicada Gallery.

Returning to the U.S. we pay a quick call on Artspace Warehouse, a European gallery with a relatively new storefront in Los Angeles. The gallery’s focus is affordable art, dovetailing nicely with the theme of the Affordable Art Fair. My friend Barbara Kolo‘s works, the two blue paintings in the center of the photo below, were featured in the booth alongside works by several other artists. At least one of Barbara’s pieces sold at the fair, which makes sense because her work is lovely (and she uses dots, which I think is fabulous!). Congratulations to Barbara, Artspace Warehouse, and the lucky buyer!

Artspace Warehouse at 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair Artspace Warehouse, Los Angeles, California.

Meandering further through the fair, I enjoyed this visual feast from the Accola Griefen Gallery from New York, a painting hung on a custom-painted wall:

Accola Griefen Gallery at the 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair

Here are a few more pieces that caught my eye as I wandered hither and yon:

Peter Arvidson, "Village Greens," oil on canvas. Peter Arvidson, “Village Greens,” oil on canvas, 36×36 inches(?), $4000. Offered by Rice/Polak Gallery, Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Mauro Soares, "Vincent," acrylic, 42x42 inches. Mauro Soares, “Vincent,” acrylic, 42×42 inches, $10,000. Offered by Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York. I’ve seen his work before, at the Los Angeles Art Show in 2010. I still love his technique but wish he’d find more interesting subject matter to cover. But his skill is undeniable.

Teresa Stanley, 3 pieces, acrylic & resin on panel Teresa Stanley, 3 pieces, acrylic & resin on panel. Largest piece: “Road Map No. 2,” 42×42 inches, $4900. Offered by Anelle Gandelman Fine Art, Larchmont, New York.

Anat Shiftan & Andrea Bonfils Works by Anat Shiftan & Andrea Bonfils shown by Anelle Gandelman Fine Art. Left: Anat Shiftan, one “Bronze” and 8 “Celadon” pieces, all porcelain, 8×8 inches, $500 each. Right: works by Andrea Bonfils, “Momentum,” 2 panels above (crow in tree branches), each panel 40×20 inches, $4800 for the pair, and “Colored Woods” below, 30×40 inches, $4200, all oil and encaustic on panel. Yeah, I have a thing for encaustic.

At the back of the tent were tables and chairs which I gratefully made use of (and the obligatory Wolfgang Puck cafe, which I studiously ignored).

Seating at the 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair

While resting, I noticed a display of, well, something strange and interesting. I needed to see what it was. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be uber-geeky “maker” stuff, a DIY 3-d plotter called “The Replicator” by MakerBot. They had several of the things set up, whirring away, making 3-d stuff out of molded plastic… very very slowly.

Replicator by MakerBot at 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair The upper box is the “Replicator,” which you can buy for under $2000. (The lower box is just a display case.) Considering the technology involved, I’m impressed it’s so cheap. Remember when 3D prototyping was cutting edge technology? Now it’s something almost anyone can have at home. Amazing.

Here’s a closer view:

MakerBot replicating a plastic bust at the 2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair You feed a spool of plastic (it looks like the stuff that goes in a weedwhacker, and comes in various colors) in the back; it gets heated and extruded through a nozzle, kind of like a glue-gun. The nozzle is on an x-y plotter, and moves back and forth quite quickly. The platform it builds the model on moves slowly in the z direction, giving you the ability to create 3-dimensional plastic parts…slowly.

I watched for several minutes. While I could see the nozzle moving back and forth, I couldn’t discern any growth in the model bust. I guess it takes hours.

The hard part is generating patterns for the 3d objects. MakerBot has a huge library of objects you can make, but I’d think the most interesting (and hardest) part would be creating new parts that no one else has ever made.

2012 Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair

I thoroughly enjoyed the Affordable Art Fair’s Los Angeles debut, and fervently hope it’ll be back in future years. I think this is just what Los Angeles needs: an easy, comfortable, entry-level art fair where buyers can shop without busting their budgets. I appreciated all the thoughtful touches the organizers put into it. Lots of comfy seating throughout the fair, a reasonable size and layout, a very useful printed guide, extended hours, and (great for cheap folks like me) a special “free entry” time. Thank you for that!

If it comes back, I’ll definitely be back.

Next up: Art LA Contemporary.

January 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm 2 comments

LA Art Show 2012

My last post covered the Los Angeles Fine Art Show (Jan 19-22, 2012). Now we turn our attention to the LA Art Show, the “other” show held simultaneously in the same location at the Convention Center. Confused? Never mind, it’s all art.

The LA Art Show, the subject of this post, was the modern & contemporary side. That means 20th and 21st century art. Much of it by artists who are still alive, some of them even quite young.

Let’s take a look:

LA Art Fair 2012 aerial view

LA Art Fair 2012

I enjoyed perusing the work in this booth (below), Denis Bloch Fine Art of Beverly Hills. Some famous names in there. Did you spot the Damien Hirst spot painting? They seem to be everywhere these days.

LA Art Fair 2012, Denis Bloch Fine Art

Speaking of spots, I did see quite a few dots this year. Perhaps it’s a trend? You know I’m all about the dots, right? So I do tend to notice them.

Here’s an example from a Korean artist, who overlays accent dots on top of traditional eastern landscape paintings. The twist is that the dots follow the underlying shapes but are intentionally offset a little, like when a printer mis-registers the different colors:

Hyun-Jae Chang, mixed media on linen, 50x50 cm Hyun-Jae Chang, untitled, 2011, mixed media on linen, 50×50 cm, $1,750. Offered by Chung Jark Gallery, Seoul, South Korea. Detail below, showing the offset dots.

Hyun-Jae Chang painting (detail)

I enjoyed this colorful arrangement of dot art by Justina Ko:

Justina Ko paintings Justina Ko monoprints, 15×11 inches each, shown by ECF Art Centers, Los Angeles.

Although I don’t much care for political Chinese art, I succumbed to the allure of Chairman Mao decorated with an overlaid grid of dots (you can see the dots in the detail view below). Reminded me of some of my own paintings where I put a grid of dots over an underpainting (like this one).

Liu Sheng, "Chairman Mao," 2011, acrylic on linen, 110x90 cm Liu Sheng, “Chairman Mao,” 2011, acrylic on linen, 110×90 cm. Shown by Hao Space, Guangzhou, China. Detail below.

Liu Sheng, Chairman Mao (detail)

Perhaps it’s a stretch, but this next painting struck me as one big dot made up of many little dots (dabs of paint, really, but I’m not picky):

Richard Pousette-Dart, Radiance (untitled), ca 1965-67, oil on canvas, 30x40 inches Richard Pousette-Dart, Radiance (untitled), ca 1965-67, oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, $350,000. Detail below.

Richard Pousette-Dart, Radiance (untitled) (detail)

Continuing with a circular theme, we have these delicate-looking constructions by Korean artist Hee-Kyung Kim:

Hee-Kyung Kim, "Bloom" series, 2011, Korean paper, 60x60cm to 90x90cm Hee-Kyung Kim, “Bloom” series, 2011, Korean paper, 60×60 to 90×90 cm, starting at $2,800. Offered by Art Company Misoolsidae, Seoul, South Korea.

What goes with dots? Stripes, of course! There were several flavors of stripes, but I especially liked these big colorful ones:

Tim Bavington, Susie Q and Susie Q (distortion) Tim Bavington, “Susie Q” and “Susie Q (distortion),” 2011, 64×64 inches each, synthetic polymer on canvas, $20,000 each. Offered by Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Is “synthetic polymer” a fancy way to say spraypaint?

More stripes:

John Waguespack, Hollywood Hills John Waguespack, “Hollywood Hills,” 30×40 inches, oil on canvas. Shown by The McLoughlin Gallery, San Francisco.

From the linearity of stripes we move to rectilinear geometry, created by carving patterns through layers of multi-colored acrylic paint. Most striking (and most easily seen) from an angle:

David Allan Peters, "Untitled #4," 2011, acrylic paint on panel, 60x48 inches. David Allan Peters, “Untitled #4,” 2011, acrylic paint on panel, 60×48 inches, $18,000. Sold (congratulations!) by exhibiting gallery Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland, California. Detail below:

David Allan Peters, "Untitled #4" (detail)

I’ve seen Peters’ work before and I’m always intrigued by the idea of carving through all those layers, like an archeological dig.

I’ll wrap up with this piece, also rectangular, though it seems just about ready to jump out of its geometric outline:

Matt Devine, "Ember #2," steel with red, 48x48x6 inches. Matt Devine, “Ember #2,” steel with red, 48x48x6 inches, $14,500. Offered by Madison Gallery, La Jolla, California.

Next stop: we venture across the street to the new Affordable Art Fair, which made its Los Angeles debut this year.

January 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm 3 comments

Los Angeles Fine Art Show 2012

As I mentioned, this year the LA Art Show expanded. The promo billed it as “1 Weekend, 3 Art Shows!” referring  to the LA Art Show, the Los Angeles Fine Art Show, and the LA IFPDA Fine Print Fair. All three were held in one big open area in the Los Angeles Convention Center, with a single entry fee.

I think calling it “3-shows-in-1” is overstating the case, but it certainly is a big show. The “three” shows all ran together, and most visitors had no idea which one they were in. There was some separation between the two big parts (the LA Art Show and the LA Fine Art Show) but it was a pretty subtle distinction. (The third show, the Fine Print Fair, was just a single row of booths. I hardly felt it counted as a whole show.)

The LA Art Show, the largest segment, featured the more contemporary cutting-edge work. The Fine Art Show, about half its size, showcased the more traditional work: old masters, Early California Impressionists (always big here), and contemporary realism. That’s where we’ll start.

Here’s a peek at the Fine Art Show:

2012 Los Angeles Fine Art Fair - aerial view

I walked this side first.

It wasn’t until after the show was over, while I was looking through my photos, that I realized there was one major difference between the two parts of the show: the Fine Art Show, the more traditional side, was carpeted and had colored walls. The LA Art Show, the bigger and more contemporary side, had polished concrete floors and white walls. I didn’t notice the difference when I was there. Too busy looking at the art, I guess!

Daniel W Pinkham, "Enlightened," 44x38 inches, oil on panel Daniel W. Pinkham, “Enlightened,” 44×38 inches, oil on panel, $32,000. Offered by American Legacy Fine Arts, Pasadena, California.

Pinkham’s painting really grabbed me as I entered the Fine Art Show (the traditional side). The artist, new to me, apparently lives right here in California, and, unlike most of the other artists shown in the “historic/traditional” side, is still living. I love his work and am quite pleased to learn about him.

Here’s another landscape painting that intrigued me as I walked by:

Hugues Pissarro dit Pomie, "Bancs de Sable en Baie de Falcarragh," oil on canvas, 51x38 inches Hugues Pissarro dit Pomié, “Bancs de Sable en Baie de Falcarragh,” oil on canvas, 51×38 inches, $28,500. Offered by Stern Pissarro Gallery, London.

This artist is apparently the grandson of the famous Camille Pissarro. The gallery specializes in works by all the Pissarro family members. Does artistic talent run in families? They certainly think so!

S. C. Yuan, "Carmel Highlands," oil on masonite, 26.5 x 64 inches S. C. Yuan, “Carmel Highlands,” oil on masonite, 26.5 x 64 inches, $90,000. Offered by Trotter Galleries, Carmel & Pacific Grove, California.

This long landscape painting (which features an artistic “error” according to the curmudgeon/painter Stapleton Kearns, but which I think is perfectly fine) caught my eye, and pulled me into the booth where I spotted two more by the same artist. I enjoy his blend of eastern and western painting styles. Again, this artist was completely new to me, so I was glad to learn more about him. He led a hard life, trying unsuccessfully to balance earning money with making art, ultimately losing his marriage and taking his own life.

S. C. Yuan, "Monterey Pine," oil on canvas, 40x40 inches S. C. Yuan, “Monterey Pine,” oil on canvas, 40×40 inches, $115,000. Offered by Trotter Galleries, Carmel, California.

S. C. Yuan, "Pine Tree - Ronda, Spain," oil on canvas, 24x30 inches S. C. Yuan, “Pine Tree – Ronda, Spain,” oil on canvas, 24×30 inches, $55,000. Offered by Trotter Galleries.

Here are some more landscapes I liked. What, more landscapes? Yes, a pattern emerges. Our intrepid reporter does like the landscapes, indeed she does.

William Wendt, "Ranch in the Valley," oil on canvas, 30x40 inches. William Wendt, “Ranch in the Valley,” oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, $225,000. Offered by George Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood, California.

Edgar Payne, "Harbor of Camaret," oil on canvas, 22x26 inches. Edgar Payne, “Harbor of Camaret,” oil on canvas, 22×26 inches, $85,000. Offered by Redfern Gallery, Laguna Beach, California.

OK, that’s enough landscapes. I take pictures of the paintings I like, without looking for anything specific. Apparently this year the stuff I liked on the traditional side of the show was… landscapes. Never fear, there were very few landscapes on the contemporary side! But that’s another post.

In closing, I owe a big thank-you to these guys:

M. S. Rau Antiques M. S. Rau Antiques booth (from New Orleans, Louisiana)

They provided an online coupon to get into the show, for which I was most grateful! They also had an amazing booth which I wish I could show you. They were so busy talking to customers that I was unable to get permission to take photographs. They had a lot of beautiful pieces by old masters, including (most thrilling to me) an entire room full of 15th century Italian Renaissance altar paintings (like this one) with madonnas and gold leaf. I love that stuff!

That capped my visit to the Los Angeles Fine Art Show, the historic/traditional side. My next post will bring us firmly back into the 21st century with a look at the contemporary-art side, the LA Art Show.

January 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm 3 comments

The 2012 Los Angeles Art Fair Season

January in Los Angeles means art fair season. Los Angeles may not be Miami (not even close) but in 2012 suddenly the big international art fairs in Los Angeles grew and multiplied. Are we witnessing a renaissance for art in America’s second-largest city, or a desperate last gasp before the LA art market goes belly-up? Time will tell.

Entrance to 2012 LA Art Fair, photo by Barbara J Carter

Here’s the lineup:

The LA Art Show, held in the downtown Convention Center, got so big this year that it declared itself “three shows in one.” Overstating the case, but it certainly expanded. Official website.

The brand-new (to Los Angeles, anyway) Affordable Art Fair made its debut just across the street at the LA Live venue. I liked being able to easily walk between the shows. Official website.

Art LA Contemporary returns this year to Santa Monica. Too bad there’s no easy way to get between the downtown shows and this one, but it’s worth the trip anyway. Official website.

2012 Affordable Art Fair entrance, photo by Barbara J Carter

By the end of this weekend (Jan 19-22, 2012) I’ll have been to all of these shows. I will post about them all, with pictures and commentary.

Note: I am highly biased. I don’t love all art. There are a few genres and styles that I am drawn to, and many more that I don’t care for. My reporting will emphasize what I enjoyed in each show. The good news is every show had something I liked. That is what I’ll be sharing here.

As I post about each show, I’ll put the links here. (Or, you can subscribe to my blog and get the posts automatically! See the right sidebar for subscription options.)

1. Los Angeles Fine Art Show 2012

2. LA Art Show 2012

3. The Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair 2012

4. Art LA Contemporary 2012

2012 LA Art Fair, photo by Barbara J Carter

I’ve done this before. You can read about my visits to previous years’ shows here:

A look at the 2011 Los Angeles Art Show

Rambling through Art LA Contemporary 2011

The 2010 Los Angeles Art Show

The 2009 Los Angeles Art Show

The 2008 shows

January 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm 2 comments

Rambling through Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2011

At long last, my promised second post about the two big commercial art fairs held in Los Angeles each year.

In my previous post, I talked about the more traditional art fair. Here we’ll turn to Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the more contemporary of the two. (In other words, most of the artists in this one are still alive.)

Actually, there are more than two fairs now. The big contemporary art fair in Los Angeles in January used to be ArtLA, but at some point it moved both its location and time (it is now held downtown in the fall). I attended ArtLA back in January of 2008 and found it quite lacking. The work was crude and sophomoric and the crowd full of annoying posers. Not surprisingly I didn’t return until this year. Or so I thought.

In January 2011 when I attended a big contemporary art show being held in ArtLA’s old location at ArtLA’s old time, you can imagine my confusion. I thought it was the same show. But boy did it look different! Sophisticated, edgy, interesting, and polished. The work shone, and the crowds were grownups. I was amazed. Could this really be the same show? It was so much improved! (It turns out: no, it’s not the same show. Ha.)

Right, we’ve cleared that up. Whew!

This was Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2011:

hall shot 1

hall shot 2

Per my usual MO, I attended during the week to avoid the big weekend crowds.

To lay claim to the title of “contemporary,” incomprehensible live performances in the halls are de rigueur:

performers at the fair

A male and female performer, faces obscured, rolled around silently on the floor. Had the crowds been thicker it might have obstructed traffic, but we were hardly inconvenienced. At one point, the male rubbed an iron up and down the female’s legs while she jumped up and down and waved her hands over her head (photo below). It’s all very deep and meaningful, I’m sure.

live performers ironing

One of the galleries held a live performance in their booth every hour. It also consisted of a male and female, but these two simply held static poses for several minutes. They were in an elaborate mini-stage evoking the Garden of Eden. Adam groped Eve, while Eve considered whether to pluck fruit or dollar bills from the tree:

Adam and Eve

The best part of this performance was how big a crowd it drew, and how long everyone stood around looking at the tableau. This performance did interfere with traffic, blocking the row and spilling into the booth opposite.

Said booth happened to belong to Kalfayan Galleries from Athens, Greece (they were very philosophical about the periodic inundations). They were showing work by artist Antonis Donef, who collages pages from antique books and then hand-alters the line illustrations. The results are intricate and intriguing, inviting close study. I indulged for quite some time.

Each piece was quite large, several feet across:

Antonis Donef, full view

Here’s a detail view:


I especially like the creature popping out of the roof at center, peeking up the lady’s voluminous (and enhanced) skirt. (Click image for a closer view.)

Asya Geisberg Gallery from New York had some work that struck me as pretty interesting:

Angelina Gualdoni Untitled (Green Stripes) by Angelina Gualdoni, 50×47 inches, 2010.

Todd Kelly Work by Todd Kelly.

After spending thousands of dollars for the booth space at the fair, airfare from New York, meals and hotel, there was apparently very little left for wall tags:

wall tag

In contrast, some galleries pre-printed their wall tags with all sorts of information (but hardly ever price, unfortunately). The most elaborate were mounted on foamcore:

wall tag with actual information Now that’s a good wall tag!

But I digress. Back to the art.

Here are some paintings by Gary Lang, shown at ACE Gallery (Beverly Hills). I had seen these pieces at the gallery, but I was thrilled to get a second look. I love his work. The bigger round painting is some 10 feet across or so. Enormous. Just moving that thing around requires some serious engineering. (I had to ask.)

Gary Lang round paintings

Here’s one of his plaid paintings, which I also greatly admire:

Gary Lang plaid painting


detail of Gary Lang painting

Some more huge paintings at ACE (artists unknown, sorry):

ACE Gallery

More galleries! Here’s “The Company” (Los Angeles) with color-coordinated 2D and 3D art:

The Company

I really liked this big orange and green painting shown by Steve Turner Contemporary of Los Angeles, but a quick scour of their website yielded no information about the artist.

Steve Turner Contemporary

Here’s 1301PE (Los Angeles). I particularly liked the big blue and yellow painting on the back wall:


I saw more than one fishnet. That officially makes it a trend. Here are some nets I saw:

Honor Fraser Work shown by Honor Fraser of Los Angeles. (Click to see larger version, net is in gold-colored piece on the right.)

Paul Heyer Work by Paul Heyer, shown by the Night Gallery. This piece is made from the wooden backside of a painting, sans canvas, filled with hardened resin and overlaid with a fishnet adorned with mussel shells. The wall it hangs on is painted dark purple everywhere except behind the artwork, where it’s white. Tricksy stuff.

A note about the Night Gallery. I couldn’t figure this place out. Speaking with the folks staffing the booth didn’t help. It has some kind of identity crisis, or maybe it’s trying way too hard to be obscure and mysterious. Location? Hours? (Night only? Really?) Is it an art gallery? What’s the relation with Paperchase Press? Why is the website a .ca domain (Canada) when it’s clearly in Los Angeles? I don’t know.


Soo Kim Plucking Up Courage by Soo Kim, hand-cut chromogenic print and acrylic paint, 26×26 inches (framed), 2011. Shown by Angles Gallery, Los Angeles. (If this seems vaguely familiar, that’s because this is the source of the “good” wall tag I showed earlier.)

Also at Angles Gallery, I was highly intrigued by the next piece. I like its rhythmic, organic feeling. I thought it was a painting until I read the wall tag. Thank goodness for good wall tags!

Ori Gersht Floating Petals by Ori Gersht, inkjet print (of a photograph), 51×80 inches, 2010.

We’ll finish off with these striking giant cross-stitch pieces by Liz Craft. What an appropriate name!

Liz Craft Mixed-media art by Liz Craft, shown by Patrick Painter, Inc. of Santa Monica. These pieces are 4 feet across each. That’s some thick “thread!”

Good stuff. Definitely gotta go back next year.

May 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm 4 comments

A look at the 2011 Los Angeles Art Show

In January, two large commercial* art shows took place in Los Angeles: the LA Art Show and Art Los Angeles Contemporary. I visited both, and will share some of my snapshots and thoughts here. First up: the LA Art Show, the more traditional of the two.

LA Art Show photo by Barbara J Carter

The LA Art Show brings together galleries from all over the world, showing a broad range of visual art from old masters to the work of living artists. This year, Joan Miro was much in evidence, along with Chagall and Picasso (the usual suspects of the “old guard”). There were also plenty of California Impressionists as usual.

More interesting to me was the work of contemporary, living artists. We got to meet one such artist in person: Tony Abeyta. We enjoyed viewing several of his works on display in Blue Rain Gallery’s booth:

Blue Rain Gallery's booth at 2011 LA Art Show, photo by Barbara J Carter

Here he is standing in front of one of his paintings:

Tony Abeyta at the LA Art Show 2011, photo by Barbara J Carter

The painting is “Animal Tamer,” 68×54 inches, priced $16,500 and offered through the Blue Rain Gallery of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

If that’s too much for you, they do offer more modestly priced works of his, like this one:

Tony Abeyta painting at the LA Art Show 2011, photo by Barbara J Carter Untitled work in charcoal and ink on paper on canvas by Tony Abeyta, 30×30 inches, $4200 from Blue Rain Gallery.

We visited the show on a weekday, which allowed us to enjoy the art without the crowding typical on the weekend. It also allowed me to snap shots of the show without too many bodies in the way. But it was by no means empty.

2011 LA Art Show, photo by Barbara J Carter

2011 LA Art Show, photo by Barbara J Carter

2011 LA Art Show, photo by Barbara J Carter

There’s an interesting gradient in the art on display from one end of the exhibit hall to the other. At the far left side the galleries show old masters and California Impressionists (collectively I call ’em the “dead artists.” It’s a widely acknowledged fact amongst artists that the best way to increase the price of your art is to die.). To the far right you’ll find excruciatingly avant-garde conceptual works, with a heavy emphasis on contemporary works from China and Korea (most of which tend to be heavily political). Somewhere down the middle is where I’m at my happiest, amongst the works that try neither to shock nor soothe excessively, but which I find visually intriguing and offer nuanced messages.

At the more traditional end, I found some Pointillist pieces that I liked, by artists I’d never heard of. I’m rather fond of Pointillism, since my own paintings draw heavily on that tradition. I’m always excited to learn about other artists who painted in the Pointillist style. (Yes, they’re always dead artists. Sigh.)

Sandzen painting, photo by Barbara J Carter Sven Birger Sandzen (1871-1954), “Untitled (Moonrise)” c. 1914, oil on canvas, 12×16 inches. Offered by David Cook Galleries of Denver, Colorado. Price not posted.

Sheets painting, photo by Barbara J Carter Millard Sheets (1907-1989), “Wild Horses” c. 1970, watercolor, 22×24 inches, $28,000 offered by The Redfern Gallery, Laguna Beach, California. As my friend said, “Pointillism and ponies,” a combination guaranteed to grab my attention!

Some of the more contemporary work that I found exciting included angular, geometric paintings by Siddharth Parasnis:

Parasnis painting, photo by Barbara J Carter Siddharth Parasnis, “Hometown #25,” 2010, oil on canvas, 48×48 inches, $11,000 offered by Sue Greenwood Fine Art of Laguna Beach, California. (The gallery’s website appears to be down.)

And I enjoyed this intriguing construction of thread and paint, which looks suspiciously like curly black hair (but I was told it’s definitely not hair):

Jiang Xin painting, photo by Barbara J Carter Jiang Xin, “Deconstruction,” 2010, mixed media, 59×59 inches, offered by the Proud Gallery of Beijing, China. No price posted.

Next up: Art Los Angeles Contemporary.

*I’m calling these shows “commercial” to distinguish between them and the kinds of art shows I typically do where individual artists represent themselves. The two types of shows occupy very different spheres of the art world. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in one of the big commercial shows who even is aware that our little street shows exist!

February 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm 6 comments

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Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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