Wednesday, March 16, 2011


DIY art show won't be here long

Usually, I'm all for planning ahead. (Hey, I'm a Virgo!) But seizing a window of opportunity that opens up unexpectedly can lead to happy surprises as well. Case in point: the tasty new DIY exhibit up for just a few more days at the Santa Cruz Art League.

When local artists Carol Bowie and Sefla Joseph heard the SCAL gallery space was going to be vacant for 11 days between exhibits, they did what any red-blooded American entrepreneur would do: they called up some of their friends and said, "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!" That show is "Polishing the Mirror," featuring the work of ten Santa Cruz County artists at the top of their game.

The SCAL gallery is the perfect place for such a scaled-down, intimate show; each artist has plenty of space for a representative sample of work, but there's also enough breathing room between pieces for the viewer to wander around and see everything. About half of the pieces are paintings, mostly figurative, loosely exploring the thematic idea of "Who's there now," gazing back out of the mirror.

Bowie is showing some handsome new larger works in oils, in what she calls "somber" colors, in keeping with this introspective theme. Many depict a figure (or figures) rendered in bold, linear strokes that recall her vibrant etchings, placed before a solid background. (She's also having some cheeky fun painting life-sized department store mannequins.) Joseph also contributes some newer work, figures sketched in bold colors, captured in moments of reflection or discovery.

Carol Jeneid is showing some larger landscapes with a series of small (about 12" square) mixed-media pieces with a lot of graphic energy. There's something vivid, yet emotionally muted in the color palette of blues, greens, and rust in which Susan Dorf paints her impressionistic portraits and figures. (That's her intriguing, "She Sings to Them," above.) Dorf's trio of "Muses," one morphing into a ripe pomegranate, the others moodily mysterious, was my favorite.

Another favorite was Susan Leone Howe's "Stagelight," a dynamic whirlwind of movement, tension and color, in which figures seem about to spin off the canvas in the midst of confetti colors and pulsing stars. Also featured are Barbara Bartel's abstract series of watercolor portraits, "About Face," and the mixed media of Bill Clark.

"Star Gazer," by Peggy Snider (above)

Complementing the 2D work are pieces from ceramicist Peggy Snider (inquisitive, piquant-faced figures from her "White Album Collection"), the compelling, demon-haunted spirit figures of clay sculptor Tom Wolver, and an impressive selection of handmade antler and driftwood baskets from Larry Worley.

"Shaman's Bowl," by Larry Worley.

There's plenty to ponder and enjoy in this show, and it'll disappear like Brigadoon after Sunday, March 20, so put down that keyboard and go!

And speaking of limited-time-only offers, the Dante Aligheri Society of Santa Cruz is presenting one of the all-time classics of Italian cinema (or any cinema) this week: Otto e Mezzo (better known as 8 1/2). The great Federico Fellini directs this 1963 masterpiece about love, art, memory, and cinema. Marcello Mastroianni stars as a celebrated filmmaker turning to the women in his life—past and present—while trying to draw inspiration for his next movie. Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee and Sandra Milo lead the femme cast.

The movie won Oscars for Foreign Language Film and Black-and-White Costumes—proving that the absence of color in no way interferes with a film's visual panache, especially in the hands of a maestro like Fellini. (Fun factoid: from the '40s to 1967, two Oscars were awarded every year in each of the three visual categories—Cinematography, Art Direction, and Costumes—one for color and one for black-and-white. Since then, hardly anybody makes movies in B&W any more, which is cinema's great loss.)

8 1/2 also spawned various adaptations, most notably Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland (1972), with Donald Sutherland, and the lavish Broadway musical, Nine—which, in turn, was made into a movie in 2009, starring Daniel Day Lewis. But Fellini is the real deal. Don't miss this chance to see it on a big screen, and if you've never seen it before, your film education starts here. Showtime is 7 pm, Sunday, March 20, at the VAPA Art History Forum Room 1001, Cabrillo College. Admission is free, and you're invited to come early with an Italian snack and non-alcoholic beverage to share. Visit the Dante Society website for more info.

No comments:

Post a Comment