The Art of OC
An eclectic look at the season's cool visual culture, from classic California Impressionism to the edgiest of the Avant-Garde
Laguna Art Museum's Art and Nature
The debut of Laguna Art Museum’s Art and Nature program last year was a stunning success, with art exhibits and events at the museum and top local galleries, a family festival, and artist Jim Denevan’s intricate and monumental sand drawing that covered Main Beach and was illuminated by solar lanterns at night. Denevan will be back this year for a sold out art performance/gourmet dinner dubbed Outstanding in the Field. The 2014 Art and Nature (November 6-9) features the work of Elizabeth Turk in her first major museum show, including her magnificent marble sculptures and intriguing X-ray mandalas, which discover beauty and synchronicity in the structure of stone. Art and Nature again includes a Main Beach performance, this time by artist Lita Albuquerque. She’s known and admired by local collectors from her shows at Peter Blake Gallery, and it will be her performance art that will be perhaps the most talked about aspect of this year’s program. Titled An Elongated Now, it will include hundreds of volunteer performers both on the beach and in the museum, led by the enigmatic and intellectual artist herself. She’ll also have an art installation in the museum called Particle Horizon that opens October 1 and will be part of the November 9 performance. Volunteers serious about participating should visit the museum’s website for more information.
Making an Impression on California Art
For aficionados of contemporary art, plein art painting is part of the past. But many art fans love the painterly representations of coasts, coves and canyons from the California Impressionists of the early 20th century, as well as the plein art painters of today. Each October, artists can be seen with easels set up around Laguna Beach creating new works as part of the Laguna Beach Plein Art Painting Invitational. The 35 participating artists were selected by Laguna Plein Art Painters, and activities take place all across the beach town October 12-19, including Main Beach, Heisler Park, LCAD and at the event’s headquarters, The Ranch in Aliso Canyon. The $150 per ticket Collector’s Soiree will be held on Saturday, where winners of $20,000 in total prize money will be announced, followed by an exhibit of the work on Sunday.
The Laguna Beach Plein Air event is considered the most significant and most prestigious of its kind, according to Jean Stern, executive director of The Irvine Museum and a great expert on California Impressionism. His museum will have an intriguing exhibit of its own October 11 through January 15. Called Scenic View Ahead, it includes art by iconic painters commissioned for the covers of Westways magazine between 1928 and 1981. The member magazine of the Automobile Club of Southern California is widely read and wildly popular, so featuring work by artists that include Maynard Dixon (he did all the covers in 1930), John Frost, Donna Schuster, Rex Brandt and others was a great contribution to the contemporary California art of that era. :: irvinemuseum.org
The Go-To Gallery Scene
Orange County has an increasingly eclectic collection of art galleries that serve as vortices of creativity, inspiration and commerce. A wide array of painting, sculpture, photography and other media are available, from classic styles to cutting-edge contemporary and conceptual art. Here is a small sampling of exhibits on display this season.
One of the most intriguing points of creativity in OC over the past few years has been found at As Issued Art + Design Bookstore. Located at The Lab in Costa Mesa, the small bookstore owned by Dana “DJ” Jazayeri has an impressive collection of design and art books that inspire creative types in the county, as well as offering a place for artists to display their work. Through Oct. 12, the store/gallery is celebrating it’s third anniversary with an exhibit called Tres Ãnos, featuring 21 artists who have not had shows in OC in the past.
In Santa Ana’s East End neighborhood, Jazayeri and partners recently opened Marcas Contemporary Art, which brings a similar contemporary aesthetic to the city’s burgeoning downtown art, culture and culinary scene.
The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art is an urban pioneer in Santa Ana. It’s been an anchor of the Downtown Santa Ana Artists Village, triangulating the pedestrian plaza for First Saturday Art Walk and other events, along with Grand Central Art Center and Santora Arts Complex. Through October 12, OCCCA is collaborating with UC Irvine’s Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center to explore the convergence of art and science in an exhibition of conceptual medical art.
In Laguna Beach, the JoAnne Artman Gallery has a show featuring one of the gallery’s most collected artists, Robert Mars. Mars is clearly influenced by Pop Artists, and continues to explore our fixation with iconic images of advertising, film and celebrity. The artist appropriates vintage signs, photos ripped from magazines and other forms of ephemera and transforms them into arresting works of art that question popular culture’s obsession with image and symbol.
Next door, Sue Greenwood Fine Art features new work by Linda Christensen and Marianne Kolb. “These two women are my power painters,” Greenwood says of the artists, whose shows often nearly or completely sell out. “Their paintings are bold, strong, and fierce. They never hold back. They always lay it on the line and their collectors love them for it.”
Iconic skate and music photographer Angela Boatwright will have a show at Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow opening October 11.
In November, AR4T, Sue Greenwood, Art Cube, Peter Blake Gallery, DeRu’s Fine Arts, LCAD, Redfern Gallery and KM Fine Art will join Laguna Art Museum in its Art and Nature program, with special exhibits relating to and commenting upon the theme.