Saturday, June 7, 2008

George Billis Gallery

One of the many galleries we visited was the George Billis Gallery located in Los Angeles, which has become an area for contemporary art. There were several artist featured in this gallery, which included the works of Bonita Helmer, David Shevlino, and Vezna Gottwald.

Bonita Helmer’s work is focused on two main principle both research and discovery that can be visible in her paintings. In other words, she is concerned with the content and communication of the work by experimenting and innovating in order to enhance the paint with mixed media. One of her paintings is entitled “Without Beginning, Without End I,” that displays her interest for movement based on time and space. The painting is a splash of cool colors with the illumination of warm colors that cause brightness to appear. It also reminds our group of outer space similar to what a star up close might look like that creates a beautiful spacious setting. Therefore, Bonita achieves abstraction in her work through several media in order to display a deep space.

Bonita Helmer

Without Beginning, Without End I

Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60", 2007

Another artist that our group was able to acknowledge was David Shevlino, who from a very young age was exposed to art and became interested with the kind of painting that represented craft and technique. His goal is to balance the abtract/conceptual side with the technique side, which is visible in his paintings. One of his paintings entitled, “Big Jump,” demonstrates the capacity of his technique based on his use of color, brush strokes, and texture. Our group found that as one looked closer to his paintings the more colors appeared to make the overall picture. This work in particular is very captivating because Shevlino is able to capture the seconds prior to an action, which makes a connection to viewers as to what is going to happen. Shevlino is an artist that maintains technique, but is not afraid to experiment with the direction of the painting.

David Shevlino
"Big Jump"
Oil on Canvas, 2006

Furthermore, the final artist that our group took into account was Vezna Gottwald, an abstract painter. The reason our group found her so intriguing was because of the beauty of her work that takes the form of thick brush strokes. The brush strokes are compiled to create a texture surface with the balance of colors and spacing. Her painting entitled, “Initiation” demonstrates this successfully since she was able to balance orange hues in contrast with gray and black, yet is not overpowering. The title of the piece only adds to the unity of the painting because the viewer understands the purpose, which is emphasizing the beginning of something monumental or not depending on how a person perceives it. Ultimately, Gottwald’s style of abstract work is very rich, colorful, and soothing to look at.

Vezna Gottwald


oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 X 72"


David Gallery

My group viewed a photograph series by Eve Arnold which showed four women. Each woman was putting on different makeup. One was curling their eyelashes, another putting on lipstick, another painting her toenails, and anther putting on mascara. Eve Arnold had other pieces that my group viewed all of which seemed to be filled with glamour, feminine beauty, and fame. All of his photographs were black and white and seemed to look like something one would see in the movies. All the people seemed posed as opposed to being photographed looking natural.

images by Eve Arnold

Taylor De Cordoba Gallery

The first piece my group saw as they walked into the gallery was a piece by Kimberly Brooks titled, Yosemite Walk 1. The piece was very peaceful and tranquil. There were tall yellow and green trees. The colors were soft and blended well. There were three people walking along a path and seemed really small next to the trees.
"Yosemite Walk 1"
30" x 24"
oil on canvas
by Kimberly Brooks
Kimberly Brooks also had a piece titled, Ahwanhee, 2008. The picture consisted of a mother and a little girl at a restaurant. The little girl sat in the window. Outside the window were soft colors of trees filled with colors such as yellow, red, and green. The foreground, being the table was filled with colors such as pink and purple. This color contrast made the piece unique.
24" x 18"
oil on canvas
by Kimberly Brooks
Lastly, my group viewed a landscape by Kimberly Brooks titled, Ojai. There was a tree to the right that stretched all the way across the sky. There was the sea which had a different blues blended beautifully together. Like her other pieces this landscape looked peaceful and the colors were softly blended making the piece pretty.


56" x 84"

oil on canvas

by Kimberly Brooks

Yvette Gellis

The first piece my group enjoyed by Yvette Gellis was titled Matter and Memory #1, 2008. The medium of the piece was acrylic, oil, oil crayon, resin and charcoal on canvas. The picture takes one inside a train with windows. There are blue, green, and purple colors. There is a sense of motion in the picture as well. My group felt that there was a part of the painting that looks peaceful and pretty and yet another thing about it makes one reconsider, perhaps from the motion one gets from the piece or the fact that the background looks peaceful in pretty colors, yet the foreground has an element of darker colors. All of Gellis’ paintings are similar in the way
that I described the first piece.
Another piece we viewed was titled, Open Window. Again there was a sense of motion. The picture showed a room with windows. The painting goes form light to dark.
Lastly, we viewed another piece by the same artist titled, Cacaphony in Pink, 2008. This piece showed a view from outside a train rather than from the inside. This piece contained the same elements and colors as the previous ones and was in the same medium as mentioned before.
"Open window"
96" x 78"
Acylic, oil, oil crayon, resin, charcoal on canvas
by Yvette Gellis

"Matter and Memory"
96" x 78"
Acylic, oil, oil crayon, resin, charcoal on canvas
by Yvette Gellis

"Cacophany in Pinic"
96" x 78"
Acylic, oil, oil crayon, resin, charcoal on canvas
by Yvette Gellis

LA Contemporary

One piece my group liked at this gallery was a piece by Chase titled Icon Series, 2008. The piece which consisted of multiple parts was acrylic on canvas. My group enjoyed viewing the piece due to it being really colorful and trendy. The images looked like something one would find on a t-shirt. Most of the colors used were green, blue, and yellow.

"Icon series"

Acrylic on canvas

20" x 16" x 2"



A second piece my group enjoyed by the artist named Hashim Thomas was titled, #6 Gandhi, 2008. The piece was acrylic, spray paint, and paint marker on wood panel. A picture of Gandhi was in the bottom left side. Behind him were swirls of purple and brown. The background seemed to look like the universe which my group thought made the piece interesting.

"Be the change wish to see Gandhi"

Arylic, spray paint, paint marker on wood panel

36" x 48"


by Hashim Thomas

Another artist at this gallery was Defer titled Bullet Proof Soul, 2008. The piece was acrylic spray paint on canvas. The words bullet proof soul, were in the painting. The painting looked like graffiti. There was a woman in the center of the piece with wings and looked like an anime figure. The picture consisted of many blue, purple, and pink colors.

"Bullet proof soul"

acrylic spray paint on canvas

50" x 40"



Angstrom Gallery

In Culver City at the Angstrom Gallery my group viewed pieces by an artist named Colin Chillag. One piece my group enjoyed was titled Colony, 2007. It was acrylic on canvas. The piece looked like a landscape. In the picture there was the beach, clouds, and airplanes. The picture was full of detail. One could see details such as trees and cars, freeways and crops. One thing my group found interesting about the piece was that the objects in the painting were off scale and not proportional. A car would be the same size as a building. It was interesting and fun to look at.

acrylic on canvas
84 x 95 inches

Another piece in the gallery by Colin Chillag was An Erroneous Model, 2007. The piece was acrylic and graphite on canvas and seemed to replicate the moon. The picture was gray and had no color. Some parts of the moon looked like liquid, making the piece seem interesting. The moon was replicated in some ways we imagine a moon to be replicated, along with ways in which we do not.

"An Erroneous Model"

acrylic and graphite on canvas

82 x 92 inches


A Graphic Display of Quantitative Information by Colin Chillag was a piece that was acrylic on canvas as well. The painting had a display of 25 faces showing different facial expressions all of which look in some way frustrated, sad, or angry. The faces are arranged on a graph that seems to indicate that as fear increases so to does rage.

"A Graphic Display of Quantitative information"

acrylic on canvas

83 x 96 inches


Friday, May 23, 2008

China Town

Chinatown Galleries

Our mission this past Saturday was to visit at least 15 galleries all around Chinatown and write about 5 galleries that interested us the most.

One of the first galleries that stood out to our group was the China Art Object gallery, which exhibited the work of Seb Patane. The reason this artist stood out to us was because his work seemed creepy and dark. Several of his pieces had the same pattern of scratching or covering of the faces as well as the eyes of the figures. It was interesting how a lot of his pieces were randomly placed all over the gallery, leaning against the wall on the floor and so forth. This setting added to entire context of the show by creating disruption and confusion to the viewer.

The next stop was at the Happy Lion Gallery, which featured the artist by the name of Lauren Beck. At first glace, our group was not aware of the media, until we got closer to the pieces and we realized it was watercolor on paper that demonstrated high amount of color and detail. The art work was very surreal with several images of naked women and random settings. The women figures were the focal point for they seemed very overtly sexual and contained random bloody cuts all over their bodies.

Next, we went to the Black Dragon Society Gallery that exhibited the Heather Brown show. This show took our group back to basic concepts, such as referring back to basic shapes like lines and circles. Also, several of the work focused on the essential primary colors and symmetry. This show was refreshing to view because it demonstrated how the simplicity of using certain shapes and colors can create a huge impact on the viewer since these are elements that are easily recognizable.

Another gallery that our group found intriguing was The Box gallery that exhibited the artist Naotaka Hiro. There was a round shape ball that appeared to be made out of rice and hung down from the ceiling by a wire. Our group later came to know that over a 3-week period Hiro applied sticky rice to a skull in order to create a sphere, which are group was able to see only the end result. There’s a video that goes a long with this piece, which displays quick movements of male nudity, but the image is actually upside down, while the skull is right side up. Our group found this piece extremely random and confusing based on both the nudity and hanging skull, yet it made us want to question it and learn more about it, which at the end of the day serves a good purpose.

Finally, one of the most interesting galleries our group visited was the Peres Project Gallery that featured an installation piece by Terence Koh. As we entered the gallery we noticed a black floor with imprints of several white shoe marks that lead down a set of stairs to a basement. The floor of the room was completely covered with a thick layer of white powder from one side to the other. The white walls complimented the floor and along the side of a wall there were white painted objects, such cups and shelves. Our group found that walking through this powder and white atmosphere created a strong impression and fun experience. Later, we found out that the white powder was reference to cocaine, which we had already made the connection. Our group found that an installation piece conveys a message better than any picture because an experience is much more memorable.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Our first stop was the Museum of Jurassic Technology. There were many interesting things, but my group enjoyed a piece titled “A Bell Wheel” from Musurgia Universalis. Kircher had done some research in music and acoustics. The music the bells made were a melody found in a manuscript from Sicily. “A Bell Wheel” was seen as something spiritual and sacred. My group liked it because it was as if sound was put in the form of art.

I took this picture while the wheel was spinning

some other very interesting pieces. This one resembled an astronomy.

professor Lattu wanted me to check this out, there was an image of man reflected (video clip) onto the head of an animal. The man was crying and screaming ... overall, I felt creepy.

This piece caught my eyes, it was displayed on a little frame, the wave figure kept on rolling; hence creating an 'ocean' atmosphere.

Birdfoot, Mississippi river

Our second stop concerned Birdfoot. There were many pictures, videos, and brochures on display. Most of the pictures showed the Mississippi River and how it splays out into the Gulf. From the many pictures and videos one can see what goes on around the Delta such as the destruction from the hurricanes and the construction going on. Many people brought up the question whether this was considered art or more documentary. As we all know many people have their own interpretation on what art is, but I once heard that art can be anything that is put on a wall or on display for people to view. This museum can be a good example of such an interpretation.

satellite view of the delta

groups watching the presentation

panorama show

Thirdly, we stopped to see a panorama. The panorama showed what looked like an arctic scene while having fake icebergs and water on the ground as well. Many people noticed aspects such as the horizon line changed a few times and the light shifted in areas. What my group found interesting was something Brandon had stated. The panorama fitted the architecture of the room and I think that aspect made the panorama work as a nice piece of art.

very realistic night scene

iceberg looks very real

Watts towers

Lastly, we went to the Watts Towers. During our tour we learned a lot about Simon and how he created the towers for the community. One thing the tour guide pointed out that I did not notice until she did was that it looked like a ship. The outside wall Simon built had waves on the side to look like water. My group thought that was really creative and interesting. There were many tiles with many patterns and colors, which are why I think the Watt Towers, could be considered art. Some parts even looked to be sculptural. I think many people who saw the towers were fascinated by it. My group agreed that those towers showed a lot of strength and fascination from one man.

side view of the Watts tower

inside view of the tower

shape of the ship, decorated with different tiles and textures

use of lots of colorful patterns and colors

Friday, May 9, 2008

LACMA Museum

At the LACMA Museum my group viewed the work of Jasper Johns. The piece we enjoyed by Jasper Johns was titled Watchman, 1964. We learned that Johns was influenced by Duchamp. He took a readymade object that was a chair with a leg and had it appear to be falling. The oils he used appear to be dripping which made the painting look interesting. My group thought his work was well done in that he moves the viewer everywhere. Johns works with abstract expressionism and minimalism which were incorporated in his piece Watchman.

Secondly, my group viewed a piece titled Canyon, 1925 by Robert Rauschenberg. This piece was a painting and a sculpture, using a found object which was an eagle. My group thought that what made the piece really great was the fact that everything was put together into a collage. There were many images put into the piece such as the image of a small boy and the statue of liberty.

Ellesworth Kelly was influenced by Brancusi. Kelly works mostly with space, shape, and color. The artist looks at how these elements relate to their surroundings such as the wall and architecture. What makes this artist fascinating is that she makes one look at isolated forms more deeply. One of the artist’s pieces we viewed was titled Blue Red, 1968.

Other work we viewed was by Roy Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein uses advertisements and cartoons for his work. He takes commercial printing and puts it into art. One piece we viewed was titled Mirror #1, 1969. Lichtenstein is interesting in that he takes other artists and their pieces such as Claude Monet and his Cathedral series, and takes those images and recreates them using his style.

Furthermore, John Baldessari’s pieces are interesting in that there is only one thing a person needs to know in order to view his paintings which is the English language. A piece we viewed by Baldessari was titled Everything is purged from this painting but art; no ideas have entered this work 1967-68. My group thought Baldessari was interesting in that he is not like most painters who normally paint an image or use a lot of colors, Baldessari just uses words.

Lastly, Robert Therrien had a piece titled Under the Table, 1994. This piece was made of wood, metal, and enamel. The piece is a table with chairs around it. The piece is huge, almost touching the ceiling. What most people liked about it was how the piece made them feel. It was a feeling many people have never felt before viewing any artwork. Personally, I felt small and almost helpless like an ant looking up at a picnic table. It was not only fascinating, but fun.

outside view of LACMA

installations at LACMA

Thursday, May 1, 2008

MOCA - Allan Kaprow and Lawrence Weiner

We meet as a group at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles and as a group we observed two shows entitled Art as Life by Allan Kaprow and As Far AS the Eye Can See by Lawrence Weiner.

very hot day in Los Angeles
Entering the Geffen
ice exhibition that was held night before

In the Art as Life show by Allan Kaprow, there were several installation pieces that captured our group’s attention.

The first installation piece our group participated in was entitled, “Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Allan Kaprow 2008” that was a reinvention of Kaprow’s 1963 piece. It was an installation piece that included blue painted furniture, different pairs of shoes, and plastic sheeting, which the audience was encouraged to participate by “pushing” and “pulling” the items around. At first, our group hesitated to engage in this action, until we read the instructions that gave us very brief instructions on how to begin interacting with the items. Kaprow really wanted to move away from traditional artwork that was just meant to be looked at. His goal was to have people play with his art work in order for people to gain an experience instead of just observing some painting that looks pretty.

Furthermore, there was another installation pieces entitled “Trade Talk,” that included a mixed media and performance, which was inspired from another work entitled, “Trading Dirt” that was a video. The purpose of “Trade Talk” was to have people sit around a circle and discuss their experiences of Kaprow’s work. Our group was able to experience this first hand since several of our other classmates joined us in the circle including the professor and we sat to discuss Kaprow and his work that made the installation piece fulfill its purpose.

“Trading Dirt” is a video that actually inspired “Trade Talk” because it shows Kaprow discussing the purpose for the space. Our group found this setting very interesting since several of Kaprow’s work involves the inclusion of people; therefore, an installation piece wouldn’t be successful without an audience.

Finally, the most fun piece our group actively participated in was entitled, “Apple Shrine, 2008” that was a reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s 1960 piece. The installation piece looked almost like a maze where people had the freedom to write or pock the paper sheeting walls, and they were able play with the shredded paper that was on the floor. Some people had a little too much fun (Michael) with the shredded paper, which was all in good fun and it really made our group enjoy the experience. Kaprow really focused on the environment and space, which our group thinks was the reason for the apples that were seen all over this installation piece. Maybe Kaprow wanted the audience to gain a connection with the environment that really serves as a strong message for today’s global concern.

Another show that our group was exposed to that day was entitled As Far As the Eye Can See by Lawrence Weiner. This show was an accumulation of Weiner’s body of work from throughout his 40 year career. His show includes work that demonstrates how he plays with language on an experimental level that’s descriptive, creative, and almost poetic. For example, the following statement was on display in bold blue letters on a white wall that stated, “Drops of Blue Water Forced Over the Rim of a Pot Made of Clay.” Our group discussed how Weiner considers the instructions of a piece as valuable as the piece itself. In other words, the description of the concept is just as good as a solid object, film, sculpture and so forth. Another work that stood out for our group was the green splatter paint on the white wall that was unlike any of the other pieces. Maybe Weiner was trying to make the viewer focus on the green paint for what it was, a fluid substance that drip down the wall. Again, just the simplicity of his work made his work that much stronger since it relies on the viewer to fill in the blanks that the artist intentionally omits from the language.

Indeed, the show of Allan Kaprow and Lawrence Weiner complemented each other since it presented art in a different form that made our group’s visit to the museum very memorable.

Lawrence Weiner's exhibition views.