Thursday, October 18, 2012


Here's what we did on our Open Studios "vacation" (meaning—the one weekend that Art Boy & I have off from his own OS). These Westside artists will all be open for "Encore," this weekend, as well.

It's always fun to visit ceramic sculptor Peggy Snider, on Meder Street (on the way to UCSC). The rustic shelves of her workspace are loaded with lively clay creatures ready for a good home—winged angels, muses, sun-haloed wisewomen, human figures just about to take flight, and fanciful critters of indeterminate species. Don't miss the column of animated little faces made from bits of leftover clay that decorate her door jamb ("Nothing goes to waste around here!" Peggy laughed.)

More winsome pieces decorate the railing of her side deck; stroll along until you get to the steps leading down to her enchanting sculpture garden. This is a meditative space perfect for gazing at her larger, more formidable and hypnotic pieces.

Over on National Street, painter and mixed-media artist Glenn Carter is showing a range of work. Some are monumental works in progress destined for a gallery show early next year, but he also has walls full of small, intriguing framed pieces with an interesting history: they were created from large mixed-media on paper pieces that  Carter felt were no longer working. So he cut them up into smaller bits, then ripped, repurposed and recombined the various elements into a completely new series with an energy and mystery all its own.

Carter works with all kinds of materials, from large steel monoliths and a giant, dried agave root, to wire, string, cheesecloth and wax. His wide-open two-room studio is a terrific display space for his work. And while you're there, take a moment to wander the brick pathways that wind through the fantastic succulent gardens he and his wife, Denise, have put in over the years. Who wouldn't feel creative in such a beautiful space?

The oil paintings of Westside artist and art teacher Isabell Fearnsby are moody and mysterious, especially her renderings of iconic local places like Shopper's Corner, the Boardwalk, and the Rio Theatre. I like how she imbues this image of the Del Mar with a haunting, otherworldly feel.

The plain pegboard display of unframed pieces on the lawn of her Sacramento Street home could use an upgrade, and her painting studio inside is tiny. But we enjoyed watching her at work at her easel.

While we were there, she was working on the underpainting of a new piece, and it was interesting to see how she gridded out the canvas and mapped out where the most compelling focal points would be. The chance to view the artistic process in action is a big part of the appeal of OS.

It's too bad paperwork artist Will Marino doesn't show more of his process for us conceptually-challenged types. The simple explanation is posted in his San Juan Avenue studio that his raw materials are used, vintage dartboards whose coiled paper interiors are deconstructed, refolded and rewound. But I still can't even imagine how he gets such extraordinary effects.

The color, texture and detail of his wall pieces are simply amazing.  This one is called "Big Sur #2: After the Fire," combining wound paper with pieces of charred wood. He makes vivid use of greens in some landscape-themed pieces, but his monochromatic pieces are just as visually intense. 

So are his sculptural pieces. A forest of proud, majestic cones dominate one area, while a variety of sinuously arching, leap-frogging, slinky shapes pop up on shelves and other surfaces. And don't miss the Steampunk-style, hand-cranked paper cone extruder in one corner. It's hands-on all the way with Marino's exceptional, one-of-a-kind work. Don't miss it!

Studios will be open for this final, Encore weekend from 11 am to 5 pm. Let's hope this gorgeous weather holds out!

No comments:

Post a Comment